Why I Twitter (and Facebook)

Twitter! Facebook! These "social networking" sites are all the rage these days. And I've joined in - for some specific reasons. I now have three main portals on the web: this blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Each has a unique purpose for me and they're all interconnected.

Quick links:

  • Follow or subscribe to this blog (see links to the right)
  • Stop by my Facebook page.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
1. Why I Twitter
Twitter allows you to send very brief (140 characters max) messages out to all your friends about what you're doing and thinking right now. Being as brief as these messages ("tweets" - isn't that cute...) are they're hardly conducive to stimulating deep sharing or thinking. But they're great for maintaining a sense of connection with a person throughout the day. Ever have a friend or family member you never seem to have enough time to connect with? Twitter is one partial answer - without taking much time both sender and receiver can stay caught up on some of the little stuff in life.

The value of this for me as a pastor has become evident over the past couple years. Leading a church that has over 400 people participating with some regularity is daunting: I can spend hours each week e-mailing, phone calling, and having face-to-face conversations, and still I will have not touched even 1/4 of our congregation! Twitter allows me to create a small window into my day-to-day thinking, and any church members who care to look through that window will have some connection to their pastor as a "real guy." This is no substitute for deep relationship, but it is a very convenient touch point where one would otherwise not exist. And that's why I Tweet!

If you just want a window into my daily world, you can follow my Tweets directly from my Twitter page or you can follow them on my Facebook page, which leads me to...

2. Why I Facebook
Facebook is the main, one-stop place I use to connect with many people. I have my Twitter updates set to update Facebook, which is where many people see them. I also use Facebook to let people know when I've written (hopefully) helpful and useful things on my blog, or elsewhere on the web. It is the bridge that links all my other writing and connecting. I read everything people post on my Facebook Wall, and that's a great place to connect with me sociall throughout the week if you so desire.

Harvest Community Church also has a great presence on Facebook, so I'll connect directly with church members quite a bit as well. If you're at all connected to Harvest, I invite you to connect with us on Facebook too!

3. Why I Blog
This blog is a year-and-a-half old now, and it is my true love. Here I develop the craft of writing, expand on ideas that I may not have had time to get into during sermons, and write for the edification of fellow Christians. My blog focuses mostly on the intersection of biblical theology and personal worldview; that is, how Scripture shapes our entire view of life. I also cover some personal and fun items here, but the blog format gives me a greater chance to go deeper even with those subjects - to dive below the surface level.

So if you want to join me on a few deeper dives into what makes life matter, this blog is the place to do it! It is my sincere hope that fellow Jesus-followers find this blog instructive, challenging, inspirational, and edifying. That's why I blog. My goal is to post once per week, and I read every comment posted here and respond to virtually all of them as well (whereas I can't respond to every Facebook interaction - though I do read all those as well).

Social Networking Sites - Philosophy
Twitter & Facebook are not without controversy. Many people avoid them completely, believing they're narcissistic and promote shallow interactions, thus cheapening relationships. These things are undoubtedly true to a large extent. Yet while others (John Piper for instance) see these dangers they also see the potential to redeem such technologies and use them for good. I tend toward this latter position, though for different reasons than Piper. I think he's overly optimistic in his attempt to harness Twitter and use it for larger purposes. But I do think that if we take technologies like Twitter and Facebook for what they are (very wide, shallow, fun connective media) and utilize them as parts of a larger approach to relationships, they can be quite useful.

I think Piper is right to point out that all technologies from movies & TV to the internet & Powerpoint have upsides as well as dangers, and they all call for discipline. For instance it's pretty easy to spend hours each day poring over pretty meaningless stuff on Facebook, and to be thinking about it even when you're not on it. At that point Facebook runs my life. So as with many other things I'm developing some boundaries on my usage. It's a discipline to write one blog post per week (takes a lot longer to write them than to read them!) and so I have designated times throughout the week in which I write whether I feel like it or not. I have also limited my Facebook and Twitter usage to certain times of the day.

As with many things, when used in moderation and with purpose these internet tools can be great ways to connect, teach, and build others up. That's my goal, and I look forward to being better connected with many people! Whether you want to join me on a journey of thinking about the Christian life here on this blog, or you prefer to connect via Facebook and/or Twitter (or all three!) I look forward to seeing you on the web!

Below is my Facebook page - click to expand. Note that some of the updates (center column) are from my Twitter account. I like the way Twitter & Facebook connect!


Judith said...

I found your summarries on why you tweet and book face (trying to turn another noun into a verb) informative and even helpful, Matthew. It is so easy for technology to get away from some of us 60+'s. As with computers, if you don't keep up with technology the day comes when you can no longer buy a cord that fits! Attempting to do this Facebook thing - even on a limited scale - should help in keeping me supplied in appropriate gear, so to speak.

Judith said...

Honestly - I do know "summaries" has only one r. Can't see the screen with my glasses and apparently I can't see without them either.

Matt Guerino said...

It's easy for technology to get away from me too, and I'm not even 40! But I'm glad your love of gagetry has brought you into blogging and Facebook! Makes staying connected at a distance a little easier.

And for what it's worth, I mis-spell at least one word on about every other blog comment I leave!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin