Like any good company, Twitter is looking for ways to increase their business. Not being a marketer or business guru I don’t know all the ways this is accomplished, but I do know that they look at usage; they want me to use, they want you to use.
They look at what tweets are most popular, why they are popular, and how they can increase tweets, retweets, and new love affairs with twitter.
The NY Times published an article a few months ago called “Christian Leaders are Powerhouses on Twitter”. The article said that it was in looking at popularity of tweets that a twitter employee found out about the “faith world”, in particular the “evangelical world”.
As they studied this group, they noted that followers retweet the twitter posts of religious leaders more than twice as much as popular “pop culture” leaders, the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. While Perry and Bieber undoubtedly have more followers, their tweets get shared less.
This was a world they had largely ignored, mainly because they didn’t realize that it existed as a business prospect. Why the popularity of these tweets? What content did these leaders have that could compete with Katy Perry’s 26 million followers and tweets like “KATYCATS! It’s time for YOU GUYS to take home a trophy! Vote for Biggest Fans (and Best Female & Best Pop) at
#MTVEMA.” of “There’s no place like Tokyo, there’s no place like Tokyo, There’s no place like Tokyo.”
As a business venture, this group matters. How do they increase both the understanding and use of twitter among religious leaders and their followers? How do they teach someone that it’s a “tweet, not a twit” and more?
Social media and religion are an interesting mix. One person argues that “The Bible is made for twitter” (most verses have 100 characters or less) so tweeting a verse from Proverbs on a Monday morning could be a perfect way to influence someone’s day. Others said this is a perfect way to engage, connect, challenge and encourage.
And then there is the inevitable tweeting of thoughts and opinion, no matter how intimate, twitter is the perfect way to spread to the world what we are thinking and feeling.
But it brings up some questions….
When do we, when do I, need to keep my thoughts to myself, to not spread them to the world but instead to ponder them quietly with God, sometimes in awe, sometimes in amazement, other times in searching or struggle? What should be seen by the world, and what is too precious, too personal, too “pearl-like” to cast before the world.
I’m not sure of the answer to this, but I know that we are not designed to be emotionally naked with everyone. In sharing my information with the world, I am entrusting it to a fickle and capricious audience.
And I have to wonder — would Mary, the mother of Jesus, have been tempted to tweet to the world “Wow Just had an amazing revelation that I’m giving birth to the Messiah #amazing #unbelievable”. She would have been 45 characters shy of her limit. Somehow I think she would have kept quiet on the social media front and continued the pondering in the heart.
What do you think? Ponder in our hearts or tweet to the world — what’s the balance?
- Christian Leaders Are Powerhouses on Twitter (nytimes.com)
12 thoughts on “Pondering in Our Hearts or Tweeting to the World?”
It is definitely true that people (especially teenagers) have a tendency to share too much on social networking sites. People often use twitter as a chatting tool, forgetting that you may be chatting with your friend, but the whole world can read it.
As far as tweeting a verse everyday, I have varying opinions on that. In one way, it might be great because someone might read it and be positively influenced by it. On the other hand, the audience us, as you said, fickle and may not hold something in as high an esteem as you do.
In this age of rapid social media development, its hard to know where to go with the flow and where to sit tight.
Zainab – you are wise beyond your years and I feel lucky to know you (at least through this world! I hope to meet you in Pakistan some day!) And I think the deal with twitter is just what you say – nothing on twitter is private – nothing. So as with Facebook we can at least control privacy settings (we think!) and with blogging we can choose our words with care and give context, tweeting is totally different. Thanks for commenting.
I’ve grown steadily addicted to your blog and always find your perspectives refreshing! Also, please do not hesitate to let me know if you ever are in Pakistan! It’s always wonderful to connect with other bloggers and especially those who share a love for Pakistan.
Marilyn, this is a very interesting topic. Our society has been bombarded with tell-all books, interviews, reality TV, Facebook, Tweeting, etc. by celebrities and those who want to be celebrities. What benefit all this personal sharing and exposure? Where is the line between decorum and disgusting? Wait, I need to ponder before I go further!!!
I love this Bettie! I’m all smiles as I read your last sentence! And I think the question “Where is the line between decorum and disgusting?” is such a wise question. Thank you for your wisdom. I feel blessed that you comment.
As I am starting to blog my thoughts to the world, I have also been wondering about situations when I need to keep my thoughts to myself because they are simply “half baked.” I will never get everything right, I will never have all the information that I need to develop a completly informed opinion and I will always be in danger of misinterpreting God’s word simply because I am human. So do I never say or write anything for fear of making a mistake? This is the other extreme of the issue.
Anne – this is so good and good question. I got an email from a reader that said a similar thing about sharing thoughts. Those of us who communicate this way, do so out of a passion and desire to have a voice – and those things I believe are God-given. I also think blogging gives more room than 140 characters – more room to describe and give context. That in itself can mean all the difference. So I guess we pray hard, write boldly, and post carefully? Does that make sense? Would love to hear more of your thoughts on this.
This is so good. A reminder that I needed to hear.
Thanks Jessica – and since you’ve been reading CAB for a bit, I think you know that I write when I’m convicted!
Sometimes I am really surprised how much people are willing to share on twitter (or facebook). Something that can be discussed normally can be shared, but personal stuff and things you don’t want to end up arguing about ( certain opinions ) or something that is between God and you, why would anybody want to share that?
Me as well Khaula! I have occasionally put something controversial on Facebook just because I have so many friends on opposite sides and they tend to be pretty respectful to each other (at least when I’m monitoring – hahaha!) but then there are those things for just me….
And a good confidante to rant or cry to :)