Twitter. Everyone today knows exactly what you mean when you say the word Twitter. It has become not just a cultural phenomenon but a part of every day life. You can’t go anywhere without seeing something that somebody tweeting or what’s trending. Before twitter, the pound sign was just that, a pound sign. Now it’s a hashtag. Tweets help break news and communicate life.
I was not an early adopter but I did get into Twitter before it really broke out. I started on Twitter in January of 2009, while I was still in seminary. Back then, I guess it was in the late stages of being hipster (which is funny cause I’m not the hipster type) because it hadn’t broken into the mainstream. I grew to like Twitter and over 21 thousand tweets later, it is one of the big ways of expressing myself on social media. But through the years, I’ve come to understand like a lot of things it is useful but it can also be something to watch out for as well. So for this post, i wanted to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of Twitter.
This is the fun part to write. There are a lot of good things about Twitter. First off, it’s a good way to express ideas or thoughts quickly. I like to write as has been documented and Twitter is a good means of doing that. Twitter is especially good at expressing what I’m thinking in real time. While blogs are good for sit down thought provoking means, Twitter is in the moment capturing thoughts and ideas. Major sporting events, TV shows/movies or news events are now covered on Twitter. It has been cool to be able to share my thought in real time to those events and to follow those events as well. Twitter has been a great way to keep up with friends that are far away as we can have quick little conversations about life and events. It has also been a really cool way to connect with celebrities and athletes in a way I never thought I would. I have had twitter conversations with some pretty famous people and it has been really cool.
There are some downsides to Twitter. One major one being the 140 characters limit. It is hard sometimes to express all you want with those limitations. Sometimes it takes a couple of tweets in a conversation to convey one’s thought completely. Also it’s hard to have very extended dialogue on twitter with someone. Twitter is a great starting off point and a way to have some conversations but it doesn’t substitute other means of conversations.
Like most things, Twitter can be used for evil as well as good. The ugly side is how some people use Twitter. They use it as a means of attacking other people. I’ve seen it (and some ways experienced it as well) how mean and cruel some people can be on Twitter by the things they say. Curse words beyond belief, vulgar language and even hateful threats are thrown out by people. Not even that, there is the tendency to be snarky and mean on twitter that seems to be prevalent at times as well. It is sad but this is a part of the way of life on Twitter.
For all the faults and wrinkles, I think Twitter is a pretty cool thing. It is a great means of expressing one’s ideas as well as one’s faith. It is also something that has to be used responsibly. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you have to watch what you tweet. I know this is something I always keep in mind when I write something down on Twitter. I check it before I tweet because I know as soon as I send it that I’m responsible for what I tweet. Whether I’m tweeting a bible verse, a thought or reflection on something God is teaching me, a quick conversation with a friend or celebrity, or something about a news or sporting event, I want to tweet something that reflects my faith in Jesus Christ and doesn’t deter from that. That can be hard sometimes, because just like speaking it’s easy to say something and not think about the words used. We as followers of Jesus are called to be salt and light. Twitter is another avenue to do just that. So the next time you break out your smartphone or get online at your computer to tweet, think about what you tweet. Like I said, Twitter is a pretty cool thing and can be a valuable asset when used responsibly.