I have finally given in to the rest of the world and joined Twitter. I thought I never would, what with all the time I spend on Facebook it seemed academically-suicidal to tack on another distracting element. But I’m quickly discovering a few benefits.
First off, avid Tweeters are more likely to post new information or updates via Twitter rather than Facebook. ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers, and my beloved Oregon Ducks have posted several tweets within the last hour or so updating on the status of the team or certain players or just posting interesting things to read online that talk about the teams’ performances. Or, they just post something funny a certain player or sports analyst said or did. There are all kinds of things happening on Twitter that have only made me realize one thing: there’s a bigger world out there than my own little bubble.
With Facebook, this is still clear, no doubt. I see maybe 50 or 60 different friends posting something happening in their lives every day, give or take 10. Either they post thoughts on their frustrations, pictures from a recent event they went to or had, or throw up a status just to let the FB world know what’s going on. With Twitter, however, there seems to be more room for an interaction not only with other friends, but with people whom you might not normally ever meet, let alone have a conversation with.
No, I haven’t talked to Donald Miller or Mark Driscoll, but I have seen more activity from them via Twitter than I have via Facebook, which keeps reminding me that even though I don’t see them publish books very often, they’re still working; they’re still doing something with their lives.
Another benefit/challenge involves the certain category that Twitter falls under: micro-blogging. If blogging is writing about stuff that has happened in your life with however many characters you wish, then micro-blogging is doing almost the same thing, but with only 140 characters or less. It’s like a blog-summary, so to speak. And it’s really difficult.
I’ve only had Twitter for two whole days, but I see quite a bit of potential usage for when I’m blogging on a more frequent basis. I’ll be able to post a link to my blog site on my Twitter page and write in a line that kind of alludes to what I talk about in the blog. People will read what I tweet, and possibly subsequently read what I write in my blogs. At least, that’s how I’m looking at it right now.
The final benefit to having a Twitter draws from what I’ve already been talking about: It lets me know there are more people in the world than just my FB friends and me. I’ve already used athletics as an example, but maybe in the future I might take interest into certain politicians who are avid Tweeters or NPR hosts? And if/when I start to follow them, I’d be revealed to yet another perspective, yet another story in the world. You might not be the same way, but I need the constant reminder that there are other people in the world. More often than not I’m concerned with my life and my life only. But Jesus commissioned His disciples to look outward. I think Twitter and Facebook help me do that.
I don’t mean to sound like this extreme Twitter enthusiast because I’m not. If anything I hate being distracted because I feel – more than anything – distracted from God. But I can’t ignore the benefits from the few things I’ve discovered while using Twitter. It’s another way to connect with people and being the relatively-shy guy that I am, I could use a few more people in my life just for the sake of sanity.
I’m well aware of the dangers of mixing Twitter and Facebook. Before I signed up with Twitter, I asked my friends on FB if I should get one. The response I received was educational; some were for and some were against and both sides had great reasons. I’ve already discussed many of the reasons in favor of having a Twitter, but the most persuasive reason against having a Twitter account is the mere fact that it will take my time. If I’m not careful, I could be so wrapped up with Twitter and Facebook that I may never get anything done for school and heck, I may even be distracted while at work. So there definitely is a balance I must strain to keep under control.
But who says I can’t enjoy the small excitement from something new, albeit something seemingly-materialistic?