A few weeks ago Anthony Coppedge released an e-book entitled Why Your Church Must Twitter. That book and a few events in recent days got me thinking about why I Twitter--and by extension, why you should, too.
First, one has to ask, "Why don't people Twitter?" I think the reason lies in how it's explained. The original marketing premise of Twitter is to answer the question, "What are you dong right now?" When most people hear that, they say, "Why would anyone care what I'm doing right now?" It seems an odd concept to most that pounding out 140 character (or fewer) missives about the activities of their day would be interesting to anyone besides their mother. I've found that to be far from true, however. So in the paragraphs to follow, I'll explain why I Twitter. Along the way, maybe I an encourage you to jump in and give it a shot as well.
Many people laugh when I tell them this, but it's true. Because of Twitter, I've become friends with people I never would have met. I started with Twitter because of Colin Burch (@faithtools) and Van Metchke (@vanmetchke). That came about because of a FaithTools episode I was part of (which is another story I'll recount later). I joined the Twitter-verse in April of 08. Having followed Colin for almost 8 months, we met for the first time in November at WFX. Now, I'm an introvert who doesn't do well with small talk. When I meet someone for the first time, it tends to be awkward because I'm not good at 20 questions (I'm in awe of people who are). Typically I stumble around for a while before I get comfortable with someone. When Colin and I met at breakfast, it was like meeting an old friend. We hung out for 2 days and had a great time. Why was it so easy? Twitter. We already knew a lot about each other.
Same thing happened the other night. Jason Cole (@jasoncole), Dave Stagl (@fohdave) and I hosted a TokBox session on wireless mics. Before the event started, I was getting my TokBox session set up and Jason rung me up. I've never actually met Jason, and we've never actually spoken before. But when we did, it was like talking to an old friend. Why? Twitter. We've been following each other for 8 or 9 months and know a fair amount about each other.
I like to joke with people now that I watched the SuperBowl with my Twitter friends. There were about 7-8 of us all watching at home, all over the country, all Twittering back and forth the whole game. It was a blast.
Twitter Shrinks the World
Thomas Friedman wrote The World is Flat a few years ago. In that tome, he talks about how technology is making the world a smaller place. Twitter advances that concept. Though I live in Minneapolis (which sounds better than Minnesota), I follow friends in Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Alabama, Tennesee, Texas (quite a few in Texas, actually), Arizona, California, and Minnesota. Throughout the day, I know what's going on all over the country, and in the lives of my friends. When storms were raging across Texas the other day, I knew about it before the news reported it. Fires in SoCali last summer? Same thing. I learned of the plane landing in the Hudson via Twitter.
Chances are, without Twitter, I would never know most of the people I follow. Or if I did, I would not know them nearly as well.
Twitter Helps Me Bless Others
I'm blessed quite often by things other people Tweet. So it stands to reason that once in a while, I say something that blesses them as well. Instead of me simply thinking of something that might be a blessing, I Twitter, and the 100 or so people that follow me "hear" it. That's pretty cool.
Tomorrow, reasons four through six. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter at @mikesessler