4 Lessons All Pastors can Learn from Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter now for a few months. I was asked to write an article for a national publication back in February about social networking so I thought I’d give it a try. I was instantly hooked. I’ve heard someone refer to Facebook as the place “to connect with long-lost friends” and that Twitter was the place “to connect with people you’d like to be friends with”.

tour_1I like Twitter more than Facebook.

I’ve learned so much from it! Just interacting with the website has taught me a lot — but also, I’m learning so much from the people I’m following.

I was talking to a Pastor recently who was inquiring about why he should join the twittering and here’s what I told him. Simple things I believe that Pastors will learn — even in a few months. For these reasons, Twitter (a free subscription) is worth a lot of money!

  1. Economy of Words. All the jokes that can be said for this point would minimize the impact that Twitter will have. So I’ll abstain. Twitter limits you to 140 characters for each post. The one thing I don’t like about Facebook is people go on and on (and on) about something that takes too much time to read and could have been said quite succinctly. When you have a limit, it forces you to be brief and it hones the ability to say things quickly and effectively. Now, all of us, including Pastors need this ability! We’re far too wordy in this culture. Twitter has single-handedly taken the blog genre and created a micro-blog genre. It allows you to enter into blogging without a lot of commitment — and say something in a short fashion!
  2. People Want to Follow you. Many times I’ve heard the axiom — if you are leading, take the time to turn around occasionally and see if people are following. If not, you’re only out for a walk. I figured that I would try Twitter and no one would be interested in hearing from/about me. I would be one of the accounts with no followers (9% have none; 35% have fewer than 10). But I came discovered that if you write regularly, fill in your description, and tell people about the fact you Twitter — PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW YOU! Amazing, eh?! It took almost 3 months to get 100 people to follow me. Now in the last week, I’ve had over 50 new followers. Are they people I know? Absolutely not. It is cool that I have an impact outside of my regular groups. As a Pastor, you can have people in your church follow you AND also expand your territory to a much wider audience.
  3. The ability to Edit. As a creative writer, I often need to edit. For the advertising business, it’s important to get a script under 30 seconds or the words to fit a certain space. Twitter has allowed me to get really good at aiming for the 140 characters and using every one. Granted, there are times that I want to say so much more, but I am forced to edit to the space. As a Pastor, you have a limit on what you can say in the time that is allotted to you for a sermon. I’m sure you want to say more, but you have to have the ability to pick the best points and edit the information down to something that is still grasped, yet within the time frame. Twitter will help you!
  4. What Topics are Current. I use TweetDeck on my computer to view tweets throughout the day. On this simple program, you can create a column and can see what is tweeted about right now (it’s called TwitScoop). The larger the point size of the word in the list, the more the discussion worldwide. The other day I was showing this function to a client and “Maddon” was huge along with other smaller words. I went to Google and searched for “Maddon”, and sure enough 4 minutes previous, John Maddon had just retired. Can you imagine how this could help you with relevant sermons? You can instantly see the common words of 6-10 million people who Twitter all over the world. Or you can enter specific words into the search function, and instantly read the tweets of people who are talking about that topic. Talk about research!

Now, there are lots of other reasons to use Twitter, and I’ve written about them in the past, but hopefully, you’ll join and try it, based on these 4! Please be sure to follow me: markmac1023. I’ll look for you there!

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