Twitter, the social media phenomenon, turned seven on Thursday. In terms of technology, seven years is a lifetime. Seven years ago, my phone wasn’t smart, I had not entered the blogosphere and, I hadn’t heard of the Twitterverse. Fast foward to 2013. It seems like everyone has a Twitter account, whether they use it or not. Even Pope Francis has his own official Twitter account (@Pontifex), although he has only tweeted three times since his election as Pope last week. But, given the fact that Pope Francis already has over 2 million followers, I’m not sure he has too much to worry about when it comes to the frequency of his Tweets. Perhaps the old adage, “less is more,” might apply to the Pontiff’s Tweets.
As an old guy (46 seems old when it comes to using Twitter, as my 13 year-old son will attest), I have been late to the Twitter party. Although my From Law to Grace blog articles automatically (and somewhat magically) become Tweets, I have not really utilized Twitter until recently. I suppose that hanging out with some younger guys (@drrandle; @jaredhmoore) at last summer’s SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans gave me a desire to try some new tricks, although my hiatus from blogging also delayed my full-orbed use of Twitter until recently.
With a new I-Phone 4 (it was a free upgrade) replacing my pathetic Droid, it has become much easier to use Twitter. Now I’m apprised of the latest Tweets from those I follow (41 and counting) and can more easily compose Tweets from my phone to send out to my legion of followers (35 and growing). I know it’s not much when compared to the Pope, but a guy’s gotta start somewhere!
With 411 Tweets under my belt — most of which are simply Tweets of my blog posts — it’s now time to step up my game when it comes to Tweeting. Although I can compose a basic Tweet, I’m still learning how to use #hashtags, how to Tweet a link to an article (I think I did that one wrong today), and how to retweet someone else’s Tweet. And, as a former attorney-turned-pastor, I find it terribly difficult to compose a Tweet using only 140 characters. I’ve been known to give rambling, 15-minute answers to simple questions at a church business meeting and, on occasion, to “go over” the allotted time with my sermon. Do you realize how hard it is for someone who used to get paid by the word to limit his speech to a measly 140 characters? Believe me. It’s much more difficult to be pithy than to be verbose. Even without Twitter, that’s a challenge that most pastors face every Sunday as we step into the pulpit. We can always learn to be better communicators, whether on blogs, on Twitter, or in Church.
I don’t know whether or not Twitter will make me a more effective communicator, but it can’t hurt. I’ll try to use Twitter in a positive manner, hopefully avoiding some of the inane Tweets that many celebrities seem to be fond of making. So, as I end this post, let me make a plea (hopefully not a shameless one) for you to follow me on Twitter @fromlaw2grace. As the pitchman for a famous commercial from the 1980’s would say, “Thank you for your support!”