In July of 2006 a new social network was launched called Twitter. It was unique in that it only allowed one to post in 140 characters or less. These short posts were called ‘Tweets”. Although many make fun of the name and often inane posts, each day there are over 340 million searchable Tweets from around the world! Today there are over 203 million active users.*
I joined Twitter in December of 2007. Since then I’ve posted over 37,000 tweets (even I’m surprised at this!) and have over 3,000 followers. I’ve posted almost 700 photos across the years. I’m not bragging about these stats … just recognizing that for many people Twitter is a part of the daily experience and with re-Tweets (people re-posting your Tweet) an innumerable audience is available to read your posts.
So that’s why Twitter posts shot off-the-hip can get one in trouble.
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was fined by the NBA for thousands of dollars for tweeting: “Im sorry NBA fans. Ive tried for 13 years to fix the officiating in this league and I have failed miserably. Any Suggestions ? I need help.”
In 2011 Congressman Anthony Weiner from New York was forced to resign after “accidentally” tweeting a photo of his manhood.
Charlie Sheen accidentally posted his phone number to Twitter. He thought he was sending a Direct Message (private Tweet) to Justin Bieber. After thousands of calls and texts he had to disconnect that number.
This week Seinfeld favorite Jason Alexander (@IJasonAlexander) was on Howard Stern’s radio show when he said something unkind about a costar -Heidi Swedberg – who played George’s fiancee Susan. Realizing how it all sounded, he took to Twitter to apologize:
Mr. Alexander is not the only on apologizing. Ted Cruze just made a joke about Joe Biden while his son is about to be buried. There’s a time and a place for everything. Mr. Cruz doesn’t seem to know … but he did apologize on Twitter!
I guess that’s a good way to use Twitter after a media-aware mistake. I’m certainly not bashing Twitter nor blaming Twitter. But there is a principle at work here that especially Christian Twitter users should remember:
Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19
The problem with Twitter is that it is very easy to zip off 140 characters at flaming speed and like spoken words, you can’t take them back. James might have written to our contemporaries, “Let everyone be slow to Tweet”. This applies, of course, to all social media.
*Sometimes we don’t have all the facts.
*Sometimes we respond in anger.
*Sometimes we type out a thought from our human nature and forget to let Jesus have his way with us.
*Sometimes we feel so right about something but the next day we may realize we had a wrong impression.
*Sometimes we get very personal with our criticisms … sometimes even bordering on the profane.
What would Jesus Tweet? Well, take a look at the Beatitudes and consider them as brief, terse, instructions. What would Jesus have tweeted to the lawyer who asked about the greatest command? What would have have tweeted to Peter after the resurrection?
I know, it’s hard to imagine Jesus walking through the streets of Jerusalem with his head down, thumbs clicking on a phone, bumping into people. I doubt he would be that rapt with the thoughts of the world flying by one tweet at a time.
Just …. think before you tweet. Or you could be like Bae:
Good luck with that Bae.
Here are some of my favorite Twitter accounts (there are too many to list them all!):
Paul David Tripp @paultripp
Christine Abraham @WomensBibleCafe
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson @ShellieT
Church Curmudgeon @ChrchCurmudgeon
Larry Richards @FrLarryRichards
Well, I realize now that by starting a list I have started something that never ends! Who are your favorite Twitter accounts to follow? Thanks for reading!
*Thanks Wikipedia for the info on Twitter!