Twitter Tangles

I hate and love Twitter. It can be a time sucking nuisance and enriching in equal measure.

I was praying for a friend this week who is struggling at work and trying to figure out what God wants her to do/not do. This situation was in my mind when I saw these concurrent tweets by the lovely Nicky Gumbel @nickygumbel:

1. God guides us INTO things, NOT just OUT of them. Stay where you are until God calls you INTO something new

2. Do not be afraid of growing slowly. Only be afraid of standing still.

Number 3 was a few days later:

3. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. -Einstein

Now I know all of these are individually great titbits of encouragement and guidance and certainly they all have truth. They will cause people to reflect, contemplate and hopefully check with God directly over whatever place they find themselves in! I’m sure that is what Nicky hopes for.

But the contradictions in these Tweets, even when viewed with a less pedantic eye than mine, is surely clear.

I understand to some folk it is important to maintain a presence on Twitter with pithy soundbites so that their other works can reach a wider audience. But are we running the risk of causing confusion even with the best of intentions? Am I being too pedantic, too harsh? Do the benefits of little bits of scripture and encouragement being delivered throughout the day rather than in a single download on a Sunday outweigh the risks? Should we be considering that what we write on Twitter may only be 140 characters long, but it is part of a longer and wider narrative, that is easily accessible?

What do you think?

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7 thoughts on “Twitter Tangles

  1. To some degree I think you’re right. I only occasionally quote things, but it’s more of a reflection upon myself, my story etc. I do it in the hope that I can connect with someone else on twitter in a similar spot.

    I think people often misunderstand the point of Twitter. They’re there because they feel the ought to be. For me, it is all about connecting with people that you would never of had a chance to meet. Like yourself! Never would have found you if it wasn’t for twitter, and would never have found this blog either.

  2. Totally agree with Freya! I’ve only really recently learned the benefits of using Twitter, but there are a lot of creative people who use it in what could be described as a pretty selfish manner. Like many things in life a suggested etiquette emerges so everyone can benefit in a community. I’ve written a rough post which I will probably publish as a guest blog on the whole issue.

    • I don’t think that every time a new form of Social Media arises, we need to invent new rules of etiquette. Yes, tweaks will be needed because of the functions of the SM tool such as the 140character limit in Twitter and that twittequette is to not have too many (if any) multi-tweets. But the overarching etiquette is that of life – try not to massively contradict ourselves! My main point is that remembering that each tweet isn’t stand alone and is part of an ongoing narrative is key – and that isn’t specific to twitter. Everything we say and do forms part of our complete narrative and people who are followed specifically because they are seen as wise people (such as Nicky Gumbel) would do really well to remember that.

  3. I didn’t say you did! I didn’t say the word ‘need’ anywhere. I said ‘suggested’. Maybe it will make more sense when I blog about it? I’ll give you an example – people who follow you, you follow them back because you like the sound of them and then you send them a tweet to say’ Hi etc’ and strike up a chat. Then they ignore you lol. It’s not cool. I think it’s rude especially if they carry on tweeting merrily. Wouldn’t that bug you?

    Or the use of the Autotweet DM on being followed, it’s massively impersonal and pretty insincere even worse so when they’ve attached a piece of self-promo to it. Good relationships are mutual. That was what I meant by etiquette.

    • Might help if you apply etiquette and press reply on the post you’re replying to 😉 Just being silly! I do feel the need to again emphasise that I wasn’t talking about the etiquette of Twitter in general terms, but specifically about ongoing narrative and the problems faced when people quote flippantly or without acknowledgement of the wider implications. There is plenty of twitequette that is broken on a daily basis, but this isn’t so much about that.

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