The New Worship Question:
To Tweet or Not To Tweet

By Kami L. Rice

The Rev. Matthew Johnson discovered Twitter a year ago at a conference. He marveled at the way the odd collection of questions and comments projected on a screen and referred to as a Twitter-feed turned “a rather large and passive event into an interactive and oddly relational experience.”

In an e-mail interview, Johnson called the moment “revelatory.” After downloading the Twitter application to his phone, the associate pastor at The United Methodist Church of Geneva (Ill.) “held the conversation in [his] hand while the lecture happened across the sanctuary, and imagined the room getting smaller and larger at the same time.

He thought Twitter might be just the tool for his church’s alternative worship service. Intended to be very interactive, the service can be intimidating for people who do not like speaking in front of others. Perhaps, he thought, Twitter would help include introverts in the conversations.

The latest social networking application to grow from buzz to roaring phenomenon, Twitter is everywhere. Users share information in very short bursts, called tweets, of 140 characters or less. They open accounts in order to follow updates from other Twitterers and create a list of their own updates that can be viewed as a Web page by non-Twitter users. New Twitterers can learn the process simply — and follow others whose tweets provide ongoing tips and instruction.

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