Twitter emailed me today.  There was apparently some concern in their home office that I was missing out since my tweet-sending and tweet-reading had registered low of late.  They gently nudged me in the email to get back into the game:

Don’t miss out. Stay up to date on what’s happening.”

Graciously, they sent some links they thought I would enjoy.

One of those links was to a story about Twitter and Catalyst over at CT.  In a gesture of impressive magnanimity, Twitter execs are giving attention to church leaders.  As it turns out, theology and pastoral ministry are among their concerns.

On another encouraging note, WordPress is really helping me along in this blogging thing.  I noticed a while back that the WP powers-that-be began to provide accolades upon my reaching a certain number of posts:

“Congratulations!  This is your 160th post!”

Then they started setting attainable objectives: “Next goal: 165 Posts.”

It is nice for us Christians to get all this attention, you know, with Twitter helping pastors extend their reach and with WordPress coaching writers along in their blog ministries.

But of course, WordPress would probably say “Congratulations!  This is your 160th post!” even if my previous 159 were all about how to make bombs and hurts lots of people really badly.

Now, I really like WordPress.  And maybe they track content enough to know if there is some terrorist activity underway.  But my point is that those of us trying to communicate through social media should be careful about taking our ministerial and theological cues from the corporate suites of the social media industry. 

What does it mean when the media we use to communicate with others begins talking directly to us?  Because social media do not just amplify our voice… they have voices themselves:

“Don’t miss out. Stay up to date on what’s happening.”

“Next goal: 165 Posts.”

Activity vs. Content

Twitter’s apparent anxiety over my Tweetlessness and WordPress’ enthusiasm over my pressing of words is about activity, not content.  Neither of the two companies, fine and upstanding as they are, are weighing the validity of my blog posts or my (very) occasional Tweets on the basis of their integrity, accuracy, or stylistic sophistication.

Formatted into the bottom of my “new post” screen is the inspiring exhortation, “Just Write.”

Just write… what?  Anything?  Just write… because writing creates posts, and posts create traffic.  Traffic is activity.  And somewhere down the road for a dot-com, activity is income.

Scripture has a lot to say about the activity (frequency) and content (soundness) of our public discourse.  Here are some samplings from Proverbs:

“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?  There is more hope for a fool than for him” (29:20).

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (18:2).

From the New Testament, James warns about the activity of the tongue (Jam 3:1-10).  But perhaps the most daunting command about what we say comes from Jesus:

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give an account for every careless word they speak….” (Mt 12:26).

I was not at Catalyst.  Maybe the Twitter interaction was actually really good, perhaps even edifying for the church in the long run as these pastors depart with an invigorating vision for social media use.

The selections from Proverbs and Jesus demonstrate that helpful and powerful things can indeed be said in a Tweet (all three comments are well under 140 characters).  I would not have found that article at Christianity Today were it not for “listening” to Twitter “speak” to me in that email.  And the truth is, I will tweet this blog post.  After being somewhat of a curmudgeon about social media some time back, I am warming up to it.

But I am not sure I should take my cues about how to use social media from the social media execs.  WordPress may not assess my posts on their content.  But Someone out there certainly does.

Time to click “Publish.”

(Congratulations! This is your 171th post… next goal: 175).

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