Keeping Words Short and Tweet
This month, Twitter celebrates its 12th anniversary. Short, pithy, snarky statements are the currency of Twitter, but, how should Christians engage? Should Christians use Twitter at all? Is there anything, good, noble, true, or beautiful that has come out of Twitter? If Twitter is lawful, can it also be beneficial? How can Christians be in Twitter without becoming of Twitter?
Read below 8 tweets that explore the Christian’s relationship to the short-form social media outlet.
Twitter is best as a personal medium of broadcasting for attention, information, distraction, and entertainment. Its strengths are that it goes out to everyone, instantly, with news and images and links and updates of whatever you deem tweet-worthy.
These strengths are also great weaknesses. Even if you have changed your account setting to private (the default setting is public), then any regrettable thing you say will most likely be shared, retweeted, or screen-captured by those who know how to make things go viral.
A simple rule of thumb to ask yourself before posting: would I say this to the face of the person I am speaking about?
This means that if you decide to delete your tweet, you can safely assume it is too late. You should therefore operate under the assumption that you can never “unsay” anything you’ve posted on Twitter.
Unlike a hurtful word between individuals, where context, nuance, and an apology can be offered, a Twitter screen-grab is a visual reminder, in perpetuity, of your offense. Worse still, because the medium’s speed demands instant call-and-response, offensiveness is trendy.
Snark is the cream of Twitter. It rises to the top of the Retweet milk. It is the perfect medium for the first thing that comes to your mind and is thereby simultaneously the worst medium possible for the thing you wished you’d said after some reflection.
All digital media favor and reward reaction over reflection. This is why you can’t offer your perfect tweet any time but right now. Thus, the best way to tweet is to ask, “If I were to tweet right now the thing I wished I’d said tomorrow morning, what would it be?”
A simple rule of thumb to ask yourself before posting: would I say this to the face of the person I am speaking about? If the answer is no, then edit until the answer is yes. Imagine creating a world in which they actually knew we were Christians by our tweets?
Neil Postman suggested we relieve ourselves of the need to have an opinion on everything. Goethe’s Twitter advice? “Every day one should at least hear one little song, read one good poem, see one fine painting and—if at all possible—speak a few sensible words.”
- In Twitter We Trust (JR Vassar)
- Should I "Like" a Social Media Post about Grief? (Nancy Guthrie)
- Social Media Isn't All that Social (Elyse Fitzpatrick)