Social media like Facebook and Twitter have received an abundance of critique, not the least of which is that social media users are self-absorbed. But I wonder if we might turn answers on Twitter to the question "What are you doing?" or on Facebook's status update into an opportunity for self-examination. It might even be an opportunity for Twitter and Facebook users to examine not just what they are doing but how it aligns with our mission.
I've spent some time observing pastors who tweet or regularly update their status on Facebook, and I'm far from convinced it's simply self-absorption or an attempt by little people to make themselves famous. But these updates do reveal what is uppermost on the mind. But let me begin with a confession: I use these social media tools to draw folks to my blog and to the concerns I have there. In addition, on Facebook I have a good time with my "Friends" discussing sports or the news.
And I'm not alone. The idea of both Facebook and Twitter is to share with friends – real friends and not just cyberfriends – what you are doing. We all know that this can slip into silliness with tweets like: "Having a chocolate macchiato latte, double shot espresso with a raspberry scone" But we should also admit that tweets can be a valuable communication form. And another thing is clear—Twitter and Facebook are here to stay. Over time the craziness will wear off and the abilities of social media will become more clear.
Still, there are observations to make about what we see from pastor tweets. Over time I've noticed that many pastors tweet links to business people and leadership gurus, Seth Godin being the most common. We discover plenty of emphasis on news items, especially controversial ones. Pastors ...