[Worship Leader’s Toolkit] Twitter

February 16, 2012 | Get free updates of new posts here

[This is a post from my worship leader’s toolkit blog series. You can read the series intro and find links to the other posts here.]

Twitter started out for me as a bit of a goofy novelty. I was at a conference in early 2007 and we all jumped on board with new Twitter accounts as a way of interacting with one another and the speakers during the conference. I was already blogging here at chrisfromcanada.com so I thought it made sense to grab the @chrisfromcanada Twitter name.

It was fun while it lasted but I thought it was a bit of a trend which would only interest a small number of people. I was intrigued by the concept, thought Twitter was lots of fun to be a part of but couldn’t see how it might become a part of my daily life.

Those thoughts lasted about one day!

When I returned home from that conference, I tweeted that Twitter had been fun for a little while but I was giving it up. If you follow me on Twitter (@chrisfromcanada) you know that my decision did not last long. Nope. Within a few days, Twitter roped me back in and I’ve bought in to it hook, line and sinker ever since.

I will often get questions about how I use Twitter (I’ll outline some of the tools in this post), why I tweet so much (anywhere from 10 to 100 times per day) and how I track with the thousands of people I’m following. I’m going to gather up a bunch of my thoughts on Twitter and the tools I use in this post. If you haven’t given Twitter a shot, maybe this will inspire you. If you are already using Twitter, maybe you’ll find a suggestion or two in this post which will help take your tweeting to the next level.

Twitter Apps

Over time I’ve looked at a ridiculous number of Twitter apps (desktop and iOS) and for me the big winner is Tweetbot. The layout, speed, functionality and design of both the iPhone and iPad apps can’t be beat. Tweetbot actually makes Twitter more fun than it already is! Adding accounts is a breeze since Twitter is now embedded right in to the iOS and the app has all kinds of shortcuts to save you a couple of steps in your Twitter tasks.

Tweetbot is not free (and I’m not one to usually buy apps when there are free options available) but the quality and fun factor are totally worth the $2.99 price tag. You can get Tweetbot in the app store here for iPhone and here for iPad.

Apps like Tweetbot make it very easy to track Twitter lists, allowing you to break down the ones you are following into more manageable chunks. I have Twitter lists for everyone I know from my church on Twitter, other worship leaders I follow, pastors and other leaders that I find really inspiring, plus a list of people that I just like to keep up with on Twitter.

Buffer

Buffer is an incredible Twitter app which I discovered almost a year ago. Ever had a handful of links (maybe articles, quotes, interesting stuff on the web) you wanted to tweet but knew that if you send four or five tweets back-to-back it might annoy your followers? Buffer gives you a solution to this. Setup your account, tell Buffer what times during the day you’d like it to tweet for you and then input the links as scheduled tweets. Throughout the day, those tweets will be sent to your account automatically giving you a nice spread out pattern of posting.

You can use Buffer to post links to your blog posts, remind people of important events, send out interesting quotes, whatever you like.

Don’t want to always head to the Buffer site to send your tweets? Tools like the browser extensions, iPhone apps and send-by-email all make Buffer a really great “next level” tool for Twitter and it has become a crucial part of my Twitter strategy.

(If you click the Buffer links in this post and sign up, it’s a referral link so we’ll both get an extra slot in our Buffer – free!)

Hashtags

The real value in Twitter is the people. Technology and tools like Twitter really are only as good as the people who are using them. Thankfully, there are lots of people using Twitter – over 300 million accounts, right now. When you get that many people using the same tool to communicate, the value of the collaborative communication is incredibly high. Got a question? Someone on Twitter can answer it. Stuck with a software problem? Someone on Twitter can help you get unstuck. Looking for some new ideas? Someone on Twitter can give you inspiration.

The downside of a massive community group like Twitter is information overload. How can you possibly sift through all of the content which is produced by Twitter users every day? One really great way is by using hashtags both when you are tweeting and when you are searching.

Here are a few hashtags for worship leaders that I’ve found to be really helpful –

  • #worshipset
    Worship leaders all around the world are posting their setlists from weekend worship services using this hashtag. You can get some great inspiration from looking at the songs that other worship leaders are doing in their churches. I will also use this hashtag if I have a song selection question that another worship leader on twitter may be able to answer.
    [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/jgreenkee88/status/169815682182168576″]
  • #crtvmin
    This is short for “creative ministry” and is a great way to scan for new ideas as well as events or conferences related to church creativity.
    [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/thejonmorris/status/167847805220687873″]
  • #ctln
    Church Technical Leaders Network is a great way to get connected to anyone serving in audio, video, lighting in church world. This hashtag has been a huge help to me and others as we’ve been planning the Reconnect Tech Conference. You’ll often see job postings listed with this hashtag, as well –
    [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/wwakefield/status/169871030783967232″]

Posting tweets using these hashtags and also searching those hashtags can give you some really great information. Of course there are also hashtags for specific events, conferences, online discussions, etc.

As far as free tools go, it’s hard to find anything as valuable as Twitter. I can’t tell you how many real life friendships have been initiated and sustained because of Twitter. It is so much more than the “Look at what I’m having for lunch!” social network.

If you’re on Twitter, are we connected? Go ahead and follow me @chrisfromcanada so I can follow back and keep up with you. Are you a Twitter dropout? I’d love to hear about it. How are you using Twitter?

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply adam herod February 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Checking out Buffer now. Thanks Chris! I always feel like I use Twitter in spurts. This will help me manage some of that out.

  • Reply Adam Ranck February 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I first started using Twitter a couple years ago just to try it out. I found that it was a great resource to follow and learn from others. However, just as you said, the information overload was .. well an overload. I gave it up, because it was taking too much time to sift through everything. I think it was the perfectionist in me. I needed to see it “all”.

    However, about a year ago, I gave it another shot. It took some discipline to get over the “see it all” mentality (I don’t want to miss anything good!), but the resourcefulness of learning and the connections you build with people really make it a great resource.

    I use twitter to follow other leaders and writers to push myself to grow and learn. From them, God has broken and rebuilt several of my thoughts and gave me fresh perspectives on different areas of my life to enhance my ministry and relationship with God.

    It’s also been a great resource in keeping engaged with my passions with other people who share the same passion (worship leading, leadership, music, art, technology). Looking through the internet yourself is time consuming, difficult at times, and quality can sometimes be a problem. But by finding, getting to know, and following people on twitter, you can build a friendship of trusted people who have similar interests and want to share their similar passions with one another. It’s a community of like-minded people who care about the same things and for each other.

    Plus, because everyone is different, it’ll challenge your point of view to consider other opinions and grow your perspective. It’s a great community.

    • Reply Chris From Canada February 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      I love that you were willing to give it another shot. Love interacting a bit on twitter!

    • Reply Adam Ranck February 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Me too. and I’ve enjoyed the interaction as well.

  • Reply Becky February 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    This is good. Thank you for sharing about the Twitter hashtags. I follow #crtvmin #worshipset #setlist #worship #churchmedia (unofficial but some use it), and now #ctln too. Looking forward to seeing what this one has to offer. Do you know if anyone has considered or unofficially started a Tweet Chat for Worship Leaders/and those interested?

    • Reply Chris From Canada February 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Hashtags are great. Really easy way to search through so much info.

      No idea on tweet chat for worship leaders. Anyone else know?

  • Reply Blog Series – Worship Leader’s Toolkit | Chris From Canada February 20, 2012 at 12:31 am

    […] of great visual media for worship 9. Evernote – you’re an artist, you need a brain 10. Twitter – some tips on tweeting for […]

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