I love Twitter. I find it much more enjoyable than other forms of social media. It’s short and it’s sweet. Plus, no one ever sends me tweets trying to get me to play Farmville. However, my fellow Christians, I’ve had enough with your lack of Twitter etiquette. Here’s a list of the things you do that are frustrating me:
Endless Self-Promotion: You wrote a book, that’s awesome. It’s also pretty cool that you have a blog. But you don’t have to tweet about it five times every hour. Put the link to your website on your profile. Tweet when you write a new blog post. That’s cool, but I want to see you promote Jesus more and you less. Okay?
Flaming: Twitter is a wonderful place to share opinions and exchange ideas, thoughts, and etc. But we all need to watch our tone at times, especially when criticizing other Christians publicly. Remember that Twitter may not be the best forum to “speak the truth in love.” At 14o characters, we are often left with blunt truth and no love. I recently watched in dismay as a fairly intelligent pastor accidentally offended T.D. Jakes via a tweet. From where I was sitting it was pretty obviously a product of Twitter’s limited content. From where T.D. Jakes was sitting it was simply hurtful.
You Follow Me Just to Drop Me: This actually infuriates me. It happens all the time. I get followed by a Christian with a book, website, blog, radio show, or ministry and I follow back only to be dropped a week later by the person that initiated the whole thing. I must be honest, if you’re following me just to add to your numbers or to get me to buy your book or for any reason other than you find what I say interesting – don’t bother. It’s rude.
Automated Direct Messages: You’re not fooling anyone. When I follow you and immediately get an automated “thanks for following” direct message, I know you didn’t write it for me. It’s the equivalent of getting a form letter. It will never appear to be personal and I will almost always resent it. I’m trying to think of a single automated message that I thought was well done … nope, can’t do it.
My brother (@brewologist) tweets about beer. He writes a weekly beer-column for the newspaper that has become fairly popular. The last time I checked he had well over a thousand followers. Here’s what I’ve noticed about his beer crowd. They’re not trying to sell anybody anything. They follow one another because they share a particular interest in all things beer. They review different brands and share tips and brewing techniques. They seem fairly polite even when they disagree with one another. They encourage one another all the time by saying things like, “Hey thanks for the tip!” or “Nice review last week!” Basically, they are enthusiasts gathered around a particular interest. It’s fun to watch. It makes me want to know more about beer.
Shouldn’t the Christian community on Twitter resemble the beer-drinking crowd? Should we be enthusiasts gathered around our particular interest in Jesus Christ? We should be more encouraging to one another. We shouldn’t view one another as just a market to peddle our brand, but rather as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ. Our tweets should ring with the celebration of our salvation. When we disagree, we should enter into debate cautious of twitter’s limitations and an awareness that others are watching us. Our tweets should make non-Christians want to know more about Christ and the Bible.