I first heard about Twitter two years ago when I was researching for a parent Internet workshop I was preparing to teach. When I found out that the purpose of Twitter was to supposedly answer the question, “What are you doing now?”, I actually laughed about it. I made fun of it in front of my class! But then I signed up for an account and tried it out. The rest — as they say — is history.
You can now follow me at http://twitter.com/shawnmichael. As you can see, I’m pretty much fully immersed in the “NOW” culture that is Twitter.
If you need a little help with how Twitter functions, take a second and watch this…
HOW HAS TWITTER BEEN A RESOURCE AND A TOOL FOR ME IN YOUTH MINISTRY?
* It has helped me network with youth workers locally. I can keep in touch with what local youth workers are doing outside of our monthly network meetings. Depending on what they are tweeting, I can find out what they are teaching, what they are struggling with, how I can pray for them, and — yes — what they are eating for lunch and other trivial things that people tweet about. But I see value in ALL of it. I like getting to know people outside of their youth-ministry-world, too.
* I can also follow leaders in the field of youth ministry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gleaned some of my best ministry ideas in the past couple of years from my Twitter stream. In addition, I’ve even been able to send short comments to them and, in some cases, hear back! What fun!
* Lots of great student ministry sites utilize Twitter. Be the first to hear about new content, prizes, and youth ministry ideas that they have to offer.
* Keep parents/guardians informed and updated on student trips. Parents can now get updates from camp, youth convention, weekend retreats, etc. in real time and it is as easy as sending a text from your phone.
* Stay current on just about any topic. Twitter is a great way to keep up-to-date on youth culture, local news, youth training events, etc.
* Get quick answers to general questions. Sometimes if you post a question, you’ll get answers within minutes. For example:“Does anyone have a good resource for teen counseling in the event of a family loss?” “Looking for an extra pop-up tent that I can borrow for camp next month. Any ideas?” “Is there a good online resource for junior high small group curriculum?”
* Get travel help when trouble arises. True life example… I texted the following: “The interstate is shut down due to snow. Anyone want some surprise overnight visitors on the eastern side of South Dakota?” I had about six invites to stay overnight within a couple of hours. Not bad at all!
I could keep going… Twitter has opened up a whole new world of resources for me. I hope I’ve encouraged some of you to, at least, give it a try. If so, let me know! I’d be glad to help you get started.