Using Twitter to Network in Ministry

Some people don’t understand the “point” of Twitter.  I absolutely love Twitter.  Some use Twitter to get breaking news from sports teams, celebrities, and news corporations.  I do that.  Some use Twitter to post everything they are doing that day. I’ve occasionally done that.  Some use Twitter to be passive aggressive about something.  I’ve been guilty of that.

But my favorite usage of Twitter is networking, especially with others in Youth Ministry.  When I was in college, I was an officer in the Baptist Association of Christian Educators, a national organization of Christian educators dedicated to networking.  My position was to facilitate connections with others going into ministry within my university.  BACE became my and the other officers’ baby, as our understanding of the need of networking within ministry increased.  Why is networking with others in ministry important?  That’s simple.  Because ministry is relational; networking provides resources, encouragement, and communication.

Twitter is a great way to network.  You can connect with people without exposing your profile to “creepers” like on Facebook.  There are many people who I communicate with on Twitter that I wouldn’t “friend” on Facebook because they are two completely different kinds of networking.  Facebook is more for connecting with real-life friends.  Twitter is more for connecting with people who you may not have met in real life, but still gain some kind of relationship with without sharing too much personal information.

Here are some #TwitterTips for networking with others in ministry, thanks to Rachel Blom @youthleadersac, searching #TwitterTip, and some own interpretations and pet peeves…:

  • Follow religious leaders, other ministers from around the country/world, and teen news sources.  All three will give you a nice plethora of information.  Make “lists” on Twitter to keep track of different groups of people.
  • Be generous in retweeting others’ posts. It’s a compliment and builds connections.
  • Tweet a mixture of personal and professional tweets.  Why?  Because the professional tweets give people resources, the personal tweets give people a relationship.
  • Do not tweet your personal blog post multiple times a day.  Maybe twice, perhaps three times; but posting the same personal blog post more than that is grounds for the “unfollow” button.
  • Don’t make your personal Twitter your Twitter for your ministry group…if you tweet dozens of times a day, parents don’t want to read that.
  • Post prayer requests.  There are Twitter accounts dedicated to praying for youth pastors.
  • If a stranger legitimately replies to your post, respond! You’re not too good for any Twitter relationship (if the account is legit).
  • If you want your tweet retweeted, leave room so they can do so. When retweet others’ posts, add a comment so show then your appreciation.
  • #HASHTAG. This is how you will find people to network with.  Hashtagging makes it simple to find the kind of information you want and people to follow.  My favorites are #stumin, #youthmin, #uthmin, and #fammin
  • Post a variety of resources.  In my Twitter feed, you will see news stories, music to listen to, blogs, and products.  They are all related to Student Ministry, but there is a lot of different resources
  • Follow people who follow you. It’s just polite. And there must be some reason they want to follow you, so check that out.
  • Attracting followers means communicating with them.  Don’t expect to have 1000 followers if you don’t talk to any of them.
  • Put the type of people you want to follow you in your Bio. If you want to network with those in ministry, put you are in ministry. Simple.
  • Try tweeting at different times throughout the day and see when you get the biggest response.
  • Numbers aren’t everything. It can be pretty easy to gain hundreds of followers, but would you rather have numbers or community? (sounds like a Jesus Juke!)
  • Tweet people the way you would want them to tweet you.

There are many things I am missing. For more #TwitterTip, look up that hashtag on Twitter. Also, here are the official Twitter Rules.

Question: What #TwitterTips am I missing?

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