Twitter is reaching out to religious leaders, encouraging them to use the social media platform, 140 characters at a time.
Religion has not received the same kind of attention in the company as other categories, says Claire Diaz Ortiz, leader for social innovation at Twitter, Inc. But its growing popularity is changing that.
"The kind of content that religious users and influencers are creating is really incredible," Diaz Ortiz told Christianity Today. "They have really high engagement rates."
She hopes to help the company connect to Christian leaders to ensure that popular accounts are not being run by imposters. Twitter uses a verified symbol to suggest the authenticity of celebrities, authors, and other influencers, but many pastors have not been verified. For example, Mark Driscoll (who has about 172,000 users following his posts) and Rob Bell (who has about 80,000) are not verified.
Twitter's attempts to connect to religious leaders come after ministries have faced struggles with some other technology companies. Earlier this year, Google cut churches out of its nonprofit program, and Apple has pulled applications from Exodus International and the Manhattan Declaration amid protests on the groups' views of homosexuality.
Part of Twitter's effort included networking—the physical, handshaking, business card exchanging kind—at Catalyst, a conference of about 13,000 pastors and other attendees that ends today in Atlanta. Diaz Ortiz is meeting with speakers and attendees, planning to follow up on the company's site.
The theme of this year's Catalyst was "Be Present," with many speakers noting the struggles they face with the idea as they interact with Twitter, Facebook, text messages, e-mails, and other communication ...