10 Ways You Could Be Blowing It on Twitter (Christian)

christians online, Twitter, sharing Jesus onlineDo nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~Philippians 2:3-4, NIV

by Toni Birdsong
I saw a tweet this week that inspired this post. It said: “I’m disappointed my Twitter following isn’t growing. My resolution is to work on this in 2011.” I had watched this person. He was a Christian tweeter who had been on Twitter for nearly two years and still didn’t have a clue about community or engagement. I wanted to take him out for coffee and kindly help him out . . . but he wasn’t following me back so I couldn’t send him a Direct Message. Go figure.

So, my friend (and others like you), here’s why people may not enjoy engaging with you on Twitter and tips on how to turn that around:

  1. You don’t notice other people. It’s all about “my new post,” “my beliefs,” “my thoughts.” Tip: Listen to others, respond to their ideas, post on their blogs. In short: Get over yourself.
  2. You digitally strut. That’s right. You either strut your position, title, or your all-around awesomeness. Tip: Dial back the “me,” focus on the “we.” (We are the body of Christ).
  3. You write in all caps or go crazy with your symbols. It’s hard enough to catch streaming text. This makes you appear sloppy and angry (caps = yelling). Tip: Believe enough in what you post and that it can be communicated in lowercase letters. Proof your posts before you hit “send.” People don’t like to RT or muddy their stream with caps and mistakes. Take the extra time necessary to communicate well.
  4. You stream scripture 24/7. This is not engagement, this is just a nicer form of spam. Tip: Mix it up. If scripture is what you love, then paraphrase now and then. Link to Christian videos or sermons. Respond to others, RT others’ ideas that echo your own beliefs.
  5. You choose your pulpit over people. You are a pastor, or teacher who appears above everyone else. Twitter has become your second pulpit. If (and only if) you interact, it’s with your tiny clique. You are the smartest person in cyberspace and it shows. Tip: Engage with others, get to know what they’re passionate about (and they are as passionate as you!) Respond to their posts or tweets. You might just find the audience for your sermons growing.
  6. You ask too early in the relationship. You just started following me and already you are calling me out personally asking me to listen to your podcast, buy your book, or give you a job. Tip: Listen, learn, and engage appropriately. Add value to others, it’s not about what you can get online but what you can give. Seek to serve, not to be served.
  7. You are inconsistent. You post helpful, inspiring content but then shift gears and post questionable jokes and links or make fun of someone else. Tip: Pick a speed and drive. Having two personalities online confuses your followers. Don’t post anything on Facebook, you wouldn’t be proud to see posted up on a roadside billboard the next day.
  8. You fail to say thank you. You don’t acknowledge a re-Tweet, a link that applauds you, or an act of digital generosity. You appear as if you are the only person in the room. Tip: Acknowledge the kindness of others. You can’t build a community without first being a good neighbor.
  9. Your profile is set to private & you don’t follow back. This is Twitter, not the witness protection program. If you want privacy go to Facebook. This is a hassle and doesn’t allow others to see what you are about before following you back and it makes you seem closed off. Also, follow back. Tip: Unlock your settings and engage freely for a while, if anything really terrible happens, lock up your avatar again and we’ll be quiet. Follow back: Create a list if you want to follow a select group of people but return the favor of a follow until someone gives you reason to unfollow.
  10. You are combative. You wait for others to make mistakes and then you pounce. You correct others publically and make a sport of sparring over theology. Tip: Direct Message someone with a critique or strong opinion. Don’t waste precious time majoring in the minors. Remember, hundreds are looking on and listening to your conversation so be nice.

What do you see other Christians doing online that gives you pause? What suggestion can you offer them (be nice)?

Post/Tweet this today:
Your words may be someone else’s lifeline today. Get out of your head and engage with the hearts around you. #LiveSticky

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  • http://refreshernetwork.blogspot.com/ Linda Seidler

    Wow Tami…love this post…thanks for your insight and for sharing…

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  • Anonymous

    Glad you like it – thanks for dropping by and for being Light online! Have a great (& highly engaging) day in the Twitterverse Linda! :)

  • http://refreshernetwork.blogspot.com Linda Seidler

    Oh, and sorry…thank you too, Toni..haha!! Didn’t mean to overlook..I just know Tami from Women in Christian Media. Have a great day!

  • http://www.jesus.org.uk/ Aidan

    Hmm wise. Thankyou.

  • Christy, The Simple Homemaker

    EXCELLENT…oh, sorry. I wasn’t yelling. I was excited. I get loud when I get excited.


    Excellent post. The best I’ve read EVER (oops)…ever about Twitter. I have to go spam everybody with it now.

    I’m a slow learner.

  • http://twitter.com/SandraHeskaKing SandraHeskaKing

    Oh, wow! This is a WOW!

    Oops. I just used caps.

    I’ve noticed that some people have created lists like “people who recently followed me” or “people I recently followed. That seems to be a great way to engage new folks.

  • Anonymous

    Haaa! Love that Christy! LOVE IT! you are so sweet. Yeah, let’s go spam everyone with this one! :)

  • Anonymous

    Nooo. We are one. I just happened to be online as early as you were this AM so I responded. Couldn’t believe you posted so early. We are both looming around popping in and out! Will we see you at the conference later this month?

  • Anonymous

    Good to see you aidan – thanks for dropping by!

  • http://www.wendiwrites.wordpress.com Wendi

    Thank you for this. It’s good advice for me (I’m a newbie), and others, too. We forget sometimes to simply be loving, peaceful, patient, kind, generous, good, thankful, faithful… wait a minute… haven’t I heard that somewhere before…? 😉

  • Kmac4him

    Followship! This is our 1st priority. Without our relationships with Jesus, without listening to His Voice, receiving from Him His wisdom, character and love, we are nothing but a clanging cymbol. Simply-Significantly to make an eternal difference, a tweet that matters from here to there unto forever… we must have our Followship issues settled. Followship of Jesus Christ 1st and all other comes out of the 1st. I don’t even know how many people are following me, honestly, I never look… but I know where my position in Christ, I start each day by not stepping out and up but by stepping down to the ground. I bow before my AWE-GOD everyday, I lay my will down, my wants down, my way down… I fully face My God in reverent-submission and it is from here my heart is filled with tweets…. AWE-GOD!

  • http://refreshernetwork.blogspot.com Linda Seidler

    Well not for certain on that I am sad to say…our ministry (The Experience) is in the process of a move within a two-month time frame, and I just don’t know whether I can take time to come down (from WV) this year…I’ve been to nationals and absolutely LOVED the connections and comradery..and in the very beginning of WCM in Nashville, I was actually a part of the task force team. Hope to meet in person some day, Toni…love what you and Tami have created with @stickyJesus…genious.

  • Anonymous

    You are a stream of fresh flowing water Kim. Put Christ at the center and watch ALL your communities come together: starting with you and Him; your marriage; your kids; your neighborhood; your online community. AMEN! (yes, yelling from the AMEN section of the church!)

  • Anonymous

    It’s all the things that Jesus taught us, right Wendi? He’s the best model for all of this. Glad you feel more equipped AND welcome to Twitter. I’ll be sure to follow you!

  • Anonymous

    Lists are excellent and what we recommend in @stickyJesus to really build a strong community. Thanks for getting excited about this Sandy!

  • Laura

    “Don’t post anything on Facebook, you wouldn’t be proud to see posted up on a roadside billboard the next day.” I would go a step further and say : do not post anything on FB, you wouldn’t want Jesus to see. That can really rock your world if you really concentrate on it. :)

  • Tami Heim

    Spam me, spam me! I think excited yelling is okay.

  • Tami Heim

    Indeed – we need that filter governing our thoughts! Thanks Laura.

  • Tami Heim

    I am sitting in the same pew with you Toni. Amen. Preach it Kim!

  • Tami Heim

    I love lists to help me keep track of people. There are too many I don’t want to miss.
    Snady – you can WOW all you want here.

  • Tami Heim

    Thanks Linda! You are very kind, friend. I will be praying for you and the ministry as you move during the next couple of months. We’ll miss seeing you – I’m sure our paths will cross again soon. Bless you for joining in the conversation-catch you in cyber stream.

  • http://twitter.com/SLitton Shannon Litton

    Great as always! Isn’t it interesting that all of those blowing it issues are an online manifestation of an “offline” issue (pride, selfishness, ingratitude)? Twitter gives us all the very public opportunity to air — and in some cases even promote — our shortcomings. Thanks for the heart check!

  • Anonymous

    Great point Shannon. Guess it’s more of a discipleship issue that goes layers deep. Too many rock stars. Not enough Jesus. Pray that our kind learns the beautiful balance. The bride must be prepared when the groom comes for her.

  • Rick

    Great article. Thanks so much.

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    Thanks for joining in Shannon. You have the gift of discernment when it comes to what is ‘tweetable’ and what is not. Your heart is always in check and checking. I appreciate you.

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    Thanks Rick – glad you stopped by!

  • Nancy

    OK – you got me on some of those – great content and I’m convicted. God is using you mightily!

  • Debbie

    This was so good. Thank you. We all need to remember even though we are not “face to face” we still represent Him and are called to minister in His name. Bless you (yet again) for helping us all remember that God is concerned about how we interact in through the internet as well as “face to face” and that our words hurt and heal here too. (P.S. “we” and “I” are interchangeable here. :0) )

  • Debbie

    Oooopppps. As you can see, I really followed what you wrote — forgot to proof. “God is concerned about how we interact in and through the internet…” (I was sooo much tougher on my students than I am on myself. Hmmm…..)

  • Tami Heim

    Thanks Nancy. Be encouraged-He can use all of us!

  • Fiona

    ohhhh i love all this advice. Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    Thanks Debbie for joining in and no worries – grace abounds here. We agree He cares about how we interact online. He cares about we represent Him in all things.

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    Thanks for coming by Fiona! Hope to see you here again.

  • David

    Thanks. I saw lots that I need to change. Appreciate this post very much and will pass it on.

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  • Jim Davis

    I like the idea of taking time to communicate well. I would add that good communication includes spelling, punctuation, grammar and correct use of words. Too often, our message doesn’t get respect because we don’t respect our own writing.

  • http://twitter.com/JoeyBasta Joey Basta

    Awesome, Awesome post. I hope it wasn’t me :) …. Very good points for being engaging & community Minded. Its so true, doing any kind of social media is not about us, its about others. How can we sow into someones life being self centered. That goes for on and offline. You guys are so sticky for Jesus and others … Keep up the incredible awesome work you guys are doing.

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