November 2011-July 2012 Tweets
Why the theology doctorate and why ecclesiology is practical

Why Twitter? and July 19 to August 10 2012 Tweets

I tend to do most of my "blogging" on Twitter these days so thought I would post my recent tweets. My basic approach is to pass on stuff I find very interesting and helpful for other thoughtful Christian types like myself, mostly pastors and professors. I also link to places where I have made extensive comments on a blog post. I end up posting about 1 tweet per day. Having been on Twitter since 2008, that's is quite a few little tips and resources but mercifully they are brief (140 characters) so easily skimmable. See all my past tweets at my blog category Twitter.

How did I come to use Twitter?

I started experimenting with blogging in 2004 when Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code (2003) and Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ (2004) were the talk of the Christian community and the conversation began to get shift from Yahoo email distribution lists to blogs. I started blogging here with TypePad at my own url in January 2006. I have always seen the blog as an overflow outlet for my "real" life as a pastor, professor, and then doctoral student--posting answers to frequently asked questions I receive and pointing people to great resources as the internet has developed over the years.

I started also using Twitter in 2008. Before Twitter, I had subscribed to perhaps 300 blogs in my RSS reader Google Reader. It was much too onerous of course to look up everything everyone wrote (there were often 100 posts per day) so I did what I think everyone does now who uses an RSS feeder: skim through the titles of the posts. I would pick maybe 5 out of 100 to check out. Fewer still would I comment on, perhaps 1 a week. Besides occasionally finding written gems and finding kindred spirits online, the upside was keeping a basic pulse on what people were talking about through skimming the titles of the blog posts. It is sometimes perspective-enhancing to realize what you are up to is not the only thing going on.

Twitter therefore was a very natural extension to skimming blog post titles in an RSS feeder. I follow around 200 people, who happily only tweet a couple times a day or less. They, like me, try to make their 140 characters count: sharing useful stuff. I enjoy their humor, wit, passion, and insight. In the old days, pastors and professors recommended keeping a file system for illustrations and resources. I think Twitter and blogs are something like that--marking but also sharing(!) good illustrations and resources.

P. S. Many of my favorite people including my wife and most of my best friends have very little online interest: no blogs, Twitter, Facebook, online reading, etc. but they read books and are present with the people in front of them. If this is you, don't worry about tweeting or facebooking or blogging. Just keep doing your thing. You will find out anything you need to know by "just" talking to people.

P. P. S. I would try not to worry about who follows you on Twitter and whether people are offended that you don't follow them. I would also try not to worry about how many people read or subscribe to or comment on your blog. For one thing, you won't get rich anyway, says Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, the first book on writing you should read. Second, if you can write with the general aim that something you write might be helpful to someone out there, it really isn't about the numbers. Third, because writing itself is fulfilling in that you clarify your own thoughts and concerns by writing them down, there is eventually some joy and satisfaction in that. Anne Lamott is a little over the top on this topic, sometimes making creative expression sound almost as good as Jesus (which she sometimes clarifies is not the case), but she is on to something when she says things like: "creative expression . . . .can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty." And on Twitter, "Writing is about not being in the mood and doing it anyway. When I blow off my Writer, it injures my Being, my wild creative worker-bee soul." All of that to say, don't worry about your stats, just write, journal, blog, and tweet to get out your swirling thoughts and to possibly help people.


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