I tried it for about two weeks several months ago, but haven't used it since. In fact, I just deactivated my account. I've been thinking about why Twitter is not for me, and here is what I have concluded:
- To be an effective Twitterer (Tweeter?), you have to do it regularly. You truly have to integrate it into your daily life. It's useless to tell people to check Twitter for updates when you don't post them. But I don't have the time or desire to post that often. It feels like pressure to me, to keep up with it.
- I am an introvert (more on that in another post sometime). I am learning that writing for an audience, while a silent activity, is still an act of extroversion to me. For me, Twitter was an energy drain, as it also took away from my emotional recovery/"down" time.
- I honestly don't want to spend time learning a new tool. I feel that as I get older, I have to be more and more choosy about which new technology I will embrace and learn. I only have so much time in a day.
- The rap on Twitter is that it is an egocentric marketing tool disguised as a social networking platform. The ten most-followed Twitter users as of this writing:
- Britney Spears
- Ashton Kutcher
- Lady Gaga
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Barack Obama
- Kim Kardashian
- Justin Bieber
- Oprah Winfrey
- Taylor Swift
- John Mayer
- Advocates of using Twitter for ministry claim that the platform has value for communicating ideas and making connections, and for learning how to condense your thoughts into 140 characters or less. While I think some people might be disciplined enough to use it this way, I don't buy that the majority of people on Twitter exercise that much self-reflection and control. I personally believe that celebrity-watching is just as much an obsession in Christian ministry as it is in sports or entertainment. "What did so-and-so write now?" "Did you know that famous-preacher-person is following me?" "I read on celebrity-leader's Twitter feed that... (fill in the blank)." It's too easy for me to get caught up in that world as a follower or a writer, and I want to minimize the temptation.
- The biggest reason I don't use Twitter is that for every minute I spend sending updates on my activities and thoughts to the rest of the world, I am potentially missing an opportunity to minister to the people God has put right in front of me. I am deeply troubled when I see ministry leaders who pay more attention to their iPhones than to the person sitting across the table from them at lunch. I don't want to be one of those, so I am working to minimize distractions in my life.
You may use Twitter. You may find it to be an exceptionally useful tool for your life and ministry. That's great...for you. For now, I've chosen otherwise.