6. Twitter: Twitter is a hot topic in all circles – from the cultural analyst to the church attempting to be socially relevant. Yet the unusual thing about Twitter is that no one has figured out the supreme way to use it. A quick search on several websites brought up several and rather radically different opinions. So the questions are: is Twitter itself a good medium? And if so, what should Twitter be used for?
Mark Galli in his article “Does Twitter Do Us Any Good” remarks:
…The test of whether any technology is “godly” (that is, tending toward the fullness of God’s intention for us) is whether it encourages shared bodily life or undermines it.
This has been at the center of a lot of my wrestling with how I use the internet. I have mostly worked off the assumption that shared bodily life is superior (which I still believe) however, in the world of the internet, it also seems that things occurring outside bodily life can be edifying and positive. And let’s be honest, Twitter, except in the rare case, is primarily a disembodied distribution of thoughts, emotions, experiences, etc. Most people follow at least one individual who they do not know face-to-face (I follow many).
So is that it then? Does that mean that Twitter cannot be godly? Well, hold your horses. Because as it seems to be going down that path, Twitter makes a sharp turn in the hands of John Piper. His explanation of why he tweets (see here) has been a powerful reminder that all tools are just tools – in this case, he uses Twitter to remind, point and encourage people with the gospel. Certainly Galli cannot mean that Piper’s use of Twitter is ungodly simply because it is not explicitly incarnationally ministering to people?
Turning to my own tweeting habits I find that I do not tweet as thoughtfully as I would like. Oftentimes I tweet an attempt at humor (which, as my girlfriend has reminded me, are only funny to me and a handful of people – who probably don’t have Twitter accounts anyway). But there is grace (yes, even for the jokes I make that are funny only to myself).
I think Twitter can be used in an effective and godly way. Despite the fact that I may never personally interact with my followers, there is still room for influence and interaction. Each moment of influence gives me another chance to point to the gospel. Sure, my tweeting habits are not at the level of @JohnPiper. I fail, I send out a pointless tweet, but as @matttimms I’ll keep tweeting so that I may at the very least have the opportunity to point to Christ. And hopefully, I pray, I’ll take advantage of that opportunity regularly.
What do you think about Twitter? Just another social networking site? Or potentially something more?