Twitter Possibilities

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Recently I had an interesting experience on Twitter. While it's not revolutionary, it is simple and effective at finding people in your area that have similar interests, are looking for a new church, or just searching. 

Not only do I follow friends, some businesses, and churches on Twitter, I also follow several bands. Recently another band started following me, which spurred an email alerting me that I have a new follower. I was curious how they found me, so I checked out their music and their website. Their music is very similar to other bands I follow so they must have looked at their followers.  From the snippets of music I heard I was interested so I decided to follow them. Later they sent me a direct message thanking me for the follow and welcoming me to their adventures. The band did get me to follow them but I also felt that they gave it a personal touch by sending me a direct message (even though the message was probably sent by a bot), and I thought it was ingenious that they looked at the followers of similar bands to find me.

So what would this look like for your church? What if your church followed some of the followers of other area organizations that you church is involved with? Then when they follow your church back you could send them a private message thanking them for following you and invite them to a service or event at your church. Several other ways you can find people is by searching locally, or use a saved search of your city's name or several keywords.

By incorporating these ideas into your Twitter presence your church can engage with your community, spread word about your church, and share in the hope of Christ. Does your church do anything similar to this or do you have any fresh ideas about engaging on Twitter?

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Community Builder

Good thoughts, Dave. I like the idea of twittering for my church, but I already have a kind of hard time figuring out what to put on the church's Facebook status, let alone what to tweet. Do you tweet on behalf of your church, or just personally, and it includes churches?

Having the church send tweets does indeed have a lot of potential, especially when it comes to making connections and keeping the church a presence in people's lives throughout the week. But institutional tweeting also requires a lot of care. I would venture to say that the most important task in institutional tweeting is choosing the right "tweeter."

The job requires ruthless consistency. My personal tweeting is very inconsistent: sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes once every few weeks, sometimes about important things, sometimes about trivial matters, sometimes specifically personal, sometimes very impersonal and general.

It seems that if someone is going to tweet on behalf of the church, such irregularity should be avoided. We want the church to be consistent in the integrity of preaching, and so we require trained preachers. We want the church to be consistent in the administration of pastoral care, and so we often divide the congregation into households under the care of specific elders. We want the church to be consistent in the presentation of the church's life in the bulletin announcements, and so we usually appoint one qualified person to be the final editor and printer of the bulletins. Similarly, we should aim for consistency by appointing someone who is careful and "professional" about their tweeting on behalf of the church.

In this regard, the CRC has found an excellent institutional tweeter (is it Tim Postuma?). Very consistent, professional, and impersonal/formal, but still warm and friendly. The inconsistent and overly personal tweeting by some tweeters for other organizations (I'll refrain from naming names) in my eyes damages the credibility of the institution. (I've seen institutional tweets directed at specific individuals who are friends of the tweeter and tweets that seem to be based on the tweeter's individual interests and opinions, rather than the institution's interests and official positions.)

All that is to say, if you do have your church start tweeting, appoint the tweeter carefully!

Community Builder

I agree! That combination of discipline, good writing, and the right choice of subject matter would be so important. Another reason we haven't started tweeting yet!

Admin

I agree with everything Nick said. In fact, it's such a good comment I think I'll tweet about it
:-)

Participant

Totally, what Nick said.
And Tim should tweet about this on behalf of the CRC especially Nick's comments about how excellent a tweeter he is. :-)

Dave, I get these Twitter adds all the time from crazy fly-by-night companies that search for a word that's in my tweet and from people locally that want me to buy something from them. (ie, North Dakota tourism started following me when I ripped the North Dakota tourism commercial....I mean, come on, North Dakota?) I get similar adds on MySpace Music, etc. from bands I don't like.

Any how, I find them more annoying than helpful....like the Twitter version of spam or junkmail. Don't we run the risk of becoming a simple nuisance or looking like the desperate kid in high school who asked out all the girls hoping to get one date?