Should I Twitter?
April 23rd, 2009 by Sonja

That was the question posed by a friend in response to my FaceBook status this morning.

I found my reply somewhat cynical and that surprised me:

Hmmm … I don’t know.

I’m feeling more and more out of the loop even though I’m sort of in it.

It’s a weird liminal space where you’re sort of connected, but really, you’re not. It’s just people hurling information at you. Most folks are following so many people that if you try to start a conversation or ask a question, it gets lost in the flotsam.

As I sat back looking at what I wrote with the objectivity of a stranger, because I was really that surprised by myself, Hamlet’s famous soliloquy came to mind:

To be or not to be, that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. 

And I wondered, is it really blogger suicide to not Twitter?

Many of us have joined.  Some more enthusiastically than others.  Now Twibes are forming.  Hashtags are being used for convenience.  I’ve been a tweet or a twit or whatever-you-want-to-call-it for quite some time now and have over 2,000 updates … most of them useless pieces of information about my life that really no one should care about except me.  Strange thoughts and errant conversations.  Clogging the information highway with my little automobile of me.

So, why do we do this?  Why do we want to connect on Twitter and with our FaceBook status and on Plurk and all the other social media that’s out there beckoning?  Bob Hyatt wrote a compelling piece on this matter the other day that’s worth a read about why we need to keep this all in proper balance.  But I’m wondering about the deeper magic of why?  LightHusband even came back from a defense contracting conference last week and told me that the upper level management people (i.e. in their 50’s and 60’s) were talking about how to use these sorts of platforms in the workplace to engage young people as they come into the various agencies; how to secure them, etc.   What?!?  Defense agencies want to use social media??  Surely Jesus is about to return.  😉

So what do you think?  Do you Twitter? Or FaceBook?  Why? or why not?  What do you think of the social media revolution thing?

12 Responses  
  • Should I Twitter? | Auto Insurance Online writes:
    April 23rd, 200912:30 pmat

    […] original post here:  Should I Twitter? Share and […]

  • brad writes:
    April 23rd, 20091:11 pmat

    The internet is full of ironies. Especially delicious was your tweet re: whether to twitter. Aye, that is the question …

    Second best, current attempts of businesses and agencies and churches to pimp their pride to catalyze tribe. And to whit might I echo the (in)famous words of SpongeBob, “Well, good luck with that!”

    Were the good Jane Austen – Queen of Ironics – with us today, perchance she would name a character Private Fitztwitter Puken. Hero? Villain? Or fare too middlin?

  • Patrick Oden writes:
    April 23rd, 20093:27 pmat

    I don’t twitter. And I don’t want to (even though I ask if I should).

    Twitter is small talk. Small talk is its own art form sure, but it’s small. It’s talk. Lots a talk. How’s the day? What do you do? What toothpaste do you prefer?

    Lots of information. No real knowledge.

    It also contributes to a particular malaise of our present spirituality. We’re caught in a frenzy of rapid absorption and interaction. We are a contemplationless generation.

    Walking around Fuller seminary. Everyone is always on a cell phone. Always shooting the breeze with the other. We’re never alone in the wilderness in more. We’re always with a crowd, even when we’re alone in a room.

    We’re great at reaching people. Are we saying anything?

    Maybe the fact that very few people particularly care what I have to say makes me think even fewer would be quite interested in what I do. Facebook has already become Twittered, and I’ll use that, but I am struggling to keep up with every little bit of ways of saying less and less.

    Sure, 140 words makes for succinct statements, but it’s not an aid to writing. If all a person has to say can be summed up in 140 words it’s probably not worth saying at all, not outside of small talk or buzz words or inspirational motivation. Jesus sat and talked for hours with his disciples. Told long stories, because theology couldn’t be reduced to mere statements.

    It just feels artificial. Voyeuristic involvement to help us feel more connected with other lives than we are, and impoverishing, I feel, our real relationship by inducing this frenzy of information in our lives where we’re always elsewhere and never where we’re at.

  • cynthia writes:
    April 23rd, 20098:51 pmat

    I use facebook to keep up with my family and friends, for instance, sharing photos of our newest grandson.
    I do have a Twitter account and I use Twitterfeed to update it with my google reader shared items, with my facebook status, whenever I write a blog post, etc.

    I subscribe to other Twitter accounts from subjects I am interested in … like Emergent Village, Art therapists and homeschooling.

    I am probably not plugged in enough online but that isn’t really my goal. I want to make the things work well for me not have my life consumed by them.

  • Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes:
    April 24th, 20096:52 amat

    Twitter has been great for me for conversation, connection and support. Our ministry has also hugely benefited from it. Of course, like any medium, it has its flaws and dangers. Some are avoidable, some are inevitable.

  • Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes:
    April 24th, 20096:55 amat

    I disagree with Patrick, I’m afraid. While Twitter can be artificial or lacking in meaningful “knowledge”, it can also be a vibrant, deep and meaningful communication/social medium. It is not for everyone and, like I said in my last comment, not without its failings. However, I can tell you personally how deeply impacted our life & ministry in the inner city has been improved via Twitter because it connected me to people.

  • Matt Stone writes:
    April 25th, 200912:26 amat

    I wrote some thoughts about blogging and twitter earlier today that touches very much on your comments:


    Bottom line, I don’t think macrobloggers need to microblog. I keep a toe in it to let microbloggers know what I macroblogging about but that’s about the extent of it.

  • Sonja writes:
    April 25th, 20096:43 amat

    Very interesting comments that seem to represent the broad spectrum how people feel about Twitter.

    There’s a new app now that let’s you figure out when you joined … I joined December 21, 2007. I guess that makes me a long timer of sorts. But I still don’t even have 100 followers, nor do I follow even 100 people. I can’t, it makes my head spin.

    I did read your post, Matt, but it was late last night. I’m considering cutting way back on my twitterizing and getting back to writing in my blog. That’s my real love … I’ll use Twitter for sharing links, and silliness. But I need to write and I need to turn off Tweet-Deck … that’s the bottom line.

  • Matt Stone writes:
    April 25th, 20098:06 amat

    Beyond the writing I am also trying to get back to reading other blogs. Sharing the love.

  • Patrick Oden writes:
    April 25th, 200911:04 amat

    Don’t be afraid Jamie. 😀

    I love your comment. I’m admittedly a nascent luddite at times and love to hear where this sort of thing really is a whole lot more helpful for people than I imagine.

    I think maybe I’m still more with Matt. Macro and micro. I am a wordy fellow, and given my past experiences of isolation I don’t have this pressing expectation of connection. I blog mostly as a way of sketching out my thoughts and writing what comes to mind.

    I think that’s a different goal. But for your context, Jamie, you’re in the middle of things, you’re in this swirl of ministry and networking in a vital way.

    I think I’m seeing some light about all of this.

  • Liz writes:
    April 27th, 200912:23 amat

    well, I’m going to put in my horribly capitalistic two cents: it all depends on why you are blogging. If you are blogging to link up with like minded people and just hang out together online, then do what you want to do. IF however, you are using your blog as a platform to publicize writing that you hope to get paid for and/or other media skills that you also want to get paid for, you are throwing away cheap, easy, almost effortless advertising.
    I admit it seems like a waste of time for peeps who are just doing it socially, but it is a very good way to spread your brand far and wide on the web. I guess I see a lot of people in various media industries taking advantage of it. Those who don’t are at a distinct DISadvantage.
    Take this as you will.
    I guess I see it as a good thing. But then I am not twittering about brushing my teeth or taking a poop or what I ate for dinner, etc, etc, etc. I post links to my blogs and blips and I also put up teasers that I think will make people say to themselves, hmm…I”d like to check out more of what this gal has written. I also throw up interesting links from time to time.

  • Steve Hayes writes:
    April 27th, 200911:11 amat

    Yes, I Twitter, but I started doing it because I thought it would make it easy to let the family know I would be late for supper.

    But none of the people who would be interested in knowing I’ll be late for supper are following me, and none of the people following me are interested in whether I will be late for supper (or at least I can’t think why they should be), so I just Twitter about what I’ve blogged about, but nobody seems to be interested in that either.

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