Tag: twitter (page 2 of 3)

Scheduling Updates

Ever wonder how some people always seem to be online?  They’re posting updates to Twitter and/or Facebook all throughout the day, even into the night!  I’ve got 2 explanations for that.

1. They’re online all of the time.


2. They’ve learned how to schedule their updates.

If you fall into the first category, then please, please, please…get off of your computer, call a friend, and share a face-to-face conversation.

I am often asked, “How do you have time to always be on Twitter/Facebook?”  My answer: “I don’t.”  Part of my strategy is scheduling my updates to go live throughout the day.  Keep reading to find out which I use, and how to schedule out your updates.

There are many programs out there to schedule your updates (Twuffer, Future Tweets, Tweetdeck, Tweetlater, Social Oomph, Sendible…just to name a few), but the best that I’ve found (by far) is HootSuite.  

Here’s why I like Hootsuite:

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s really easy to use.
  3. You can manage multiple social network accounts (including Facebook, Facebook Page, Twitter, FourSquare, MySpace, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, and WordPress).
  4. It supports Twitter lists.  Which means you can put certain followers into lists, and see their updates first.
  5. URL shortening.  It shortens your links so they’re not 3 lines long.
  6. Scheduling is incredibly simple.
  7. You can use it on your phone (iPhone or Android) and your desktop, and have them sync lists and settings.

How do you schedule updates?

  1. Sign up for an account at Hootsuite.
  2. Add your social networks (if it doesn’t prompt you automatically, simply click the picture of the owl in the top left corner of the screen.  Scroll down to “Setting” and click on “Social Networks.”  At the top of the middle column, click “Add Social Network.” Your social networking options will be on the left side of the new popup box.).  Remember, you can add multiple accounts, and update them all from Hootsuite.
  3. Indicate which social network you’d like to post to by clicking your avatar (right beside the status bar at the top of the screen)
  4. Type your status.
  5. Click the icon below your status that looks like a calendar (it should have the number “30” in the middle of the icon, and when you hover your mouse over it, it should say, “Schedule Message”)
  6. Choose the date and time you’d like to post your update, and click “Okay”.
  7. Click the “Schedule” button, on the bottom right corner of your status update.

Now, you can schedule out your updates so they don’t all happen at one time on one day.  In fact, the way I often update my accounts is this way, sitting down for 5 minutes and typing out (and scheduling) lots of updates at one time.  This saves me the time and hassle of logging back onto Twitter or Facebook (or both) to update my status regularly.  It frees me up, and keeps me from being tied down to my computer and/or phone.

What do you think?  Is this do-able?

Do you feel deceived that I (and others) use scheduling, and don’t post everything live?


Follow Friday, my coworkers

Continuing my Follow Friday series (you can catch up HERE), I thought I’d keep it in-house this week.

I love the guys I work with at Grace Community Church.  We’ve got an amazing team, with creative folks that are working their tails off for the Kingdom.  I’m humbled to be a part of the team, and work side by side with these guys as we passionately serve Clarksville.  You should follow each one of them, and hear how they’re leading in their respective ministry.

Adam Bayne – Director of Children’s ministries.  Twitter. Blog.

Michael Bayne – Director of Family ministries.  Twitter. Blog.

Christy Crosby – Systems coordinator.  Facebook.  Blog.

Ron Edmondson – Co-pastor.  Twitter.  Blog.

Karen Grizzard – Director of Volunteer placement.  Twitter.  Blog.

Melanie Hill – Director of service programming.  Facebook.

Rog Hill – Director of serve ministry.  Twitter.  Blog.

Brandon Reed – Director of college ministry.  Twitter.  Blog.

Chad Rowland – Co-pastor.  Twitter.  Blog.

Jason Roy – Worship pastor.  Twitter.

Katrina Watts – Director of preschool ministries.  Blog.

Dennis Weiland – Business administrator.  Twitter.  Blog.


Twitter & SMS

I hear this a lot:

I just don’t have time to be getting Twitters on my phone all day.

Let me debunk a Twitter myth for you: Twitter isn’t just a text messaging social network platform.

If it were, I wouldn’t have time for it either.  Here’s the skinny:

When you “follow” somebody, you are subscribing to every one of their updates.  But you’re given a choice.  You can leave your subscription on the web (I use a third-part client, Hootsuite, to check updates).  Or, you can indicate certain people’s updates to go straight to your phone via SMS.  You’re able to change this setting at any point.

Here’s a shot before I clicked to “Follow” Jack:

Here’s a shot after I clicked “Follow.”  Notice the mobile phone symbol.  If i want to receive Jack’s updates via SMS (short message service…a.k.a., text messages), I’ll click on that icon.  If not, all of his updates will appear in my timeline only. (To get caught up on the language of Twitter, read my guide HERE)

I don’t receive any Twitter updates via SMS.  None.

Twitter is too powerful to not jump in and try it.  And it won’t dominate your time unless you allow it.

Let’s leverage this resource for good.

Ready to give it a shot?


Follow Friday

I’m convinced that Twitter and social networking are operating on the cutting edge of society.  Not necessarily the platform itself, but the opportunities it opens up for the spread of ideas.  What used to take hours to reach the print is now being spun out in real time.  What you used to have to wait for the evening news to see, you can now see instantly wherever you are.  What used to take months to get to to the print press as a book is now updated daily.

But social media is so large, now, that it can be tough to find those people that you’d like to follow.

For a while now, Twitter users have been promoting their friends using the hashtag #FF (which stands for Follow Friday).  Basically, on Friday, you mention a few people that you enjoy following on Twitter, and encourage others to follow them, too.  (by the way, if you need a crash course on the language of Twitter, read mine HERE)  Here’s an example:

It’s kind of like Facebook’s “Suggest” button.  Mike suggests that people follow these Twitterers.  Make sense?

I’m taking this concept one step further.  I’ve been on Twitter now for about 2.5 years, and have stumbled upon some great leaders.  To save you the time of reading their updates and visiting their blogs to see if they’re worth following, I’m handpicking the best of the best.

Not on Twitter?  No worries. Even if you don’t use Twitter, you can follow people on Twitter. Just open up a Google Reader account, and subscribe to their RSS Twitter feed. (that sentence lose you? Don’t fear. My explanation of Google Reader is HERE)

Each week, I’ll present a different crop of Twitterers that you need to be following.  This week, I give you 5 people who are influencing me right now.  You should follow them…immediately.

5 people influencing me:

Seth Godin – Seth Godin is a entrepreneur, author, and speaker.  And he’s a marketing genius.  His books are helping shape the way I think about leadership and influence. Follow him on Twitter, @ThisIsSethsBlog and find him on his website HERE.

Matt Chandler – Pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, TX.  I often listen to Matt’s sermons when I run…which means I laugh, I’m convicted, and when I’m done running, I have pages worth of notes in my head.  My small group is also going through his Philippians study.  Follow him on Twitter, @mattchandler74

Michael Hyatt – Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael is a prolific blogger (blog HERE) and Twitterer.  His content is consistently helpful and insightful for me in my area of leadership.  With my love of leading and writing, I don’t miss one of his posts.  Follow him on Twitter, @michaelhyatt

John Burke – Pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. His book No Perfect People Allowed will mess you up. Follow him on Twitter, @johnburke_, though he’s not a prolific Twitterer.

Rick Warren – To be honest, when the Purpose Driven Life craze was in full swing, I was not on that bandwagon.  Not because I had anything against it…I just hadn’t bought in yet.  Or read it.  Which explains why I hadn’t bought in.  On top of that, early in my ministry career, Rick Warren was lumped into a category of pastors who were seeker-friendly at the expense of the Gospel.  I’ve learned that that category is far from fair with Rick.  His short Twitter updates strike to the heart. Follow him on Twitter, @rickwarren

Who’s influencing you?


Twitter vs Facebook

I have found great benefit in social media.  I’ve written about social networking HERE.  Primarily, I use Twitter (you can follow me HERE) and Facebook (you can follow me HERE) when it comes to sharing short bits of information.  Right now, though I find great benefit in both, I much prefer Twitter to Facebook.  Why?

5 Reasons I prefer Twitter over Facebook:

1. It’s quicker. Facebook takes a lot of time.  When you read a status update, especially one that you like, you feel the need to read all of the comments.  Then you find a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while, and you click on their page.  And find a status update…and the cycle continues.  Facebook can quickly become a never-ending pit of time-wasting.

2. It’s more information-driven. I’m a “learner” (according to Strengths Finder), so I love gathering information.  Twitter is a great tool to share news and ideas quickly and efficiently (especially because it’s limited to 140 characters).

3. There’s no Farmville. Or Mobster.  Or Cafe World.  Or Treasure Isle.  I just can’t get myself excited about that stuff.

4. There’s no poking. I’ve been poked by somebody.  Seriously.  I just looked at my Facebook page.  And I have no idea what that means, why they poked me, or what I should do in return.

5. With Twitter, you can reach well beyond your circle of friends. On Facebook, for us to interact, you have to accept my friend request before I can see anything that you’ve shared.  Facebook seems to me to be designed for you to interact with people that you personally know.  Twitter is built for interaction with a broader audience.

What about you?  Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?


6 reasons not to use Twitter to bash your organization

I posted this on Twitter the other day:

Church politics are stupid.

It was based on a conversation I had with a guy about his past experiences with local churches.  He had been burned many times, and still carries some of those wounds.  It wasn’t based on anything that’s happening in the church where I serve on staff.

I’m all about challenging my system.  And I’d encourage you to continually evaluate the effectiveness of your system, too.  Tweak it, hack it up, throw it out.  Make your system do what you want it to do.  Criticize it.  Mock it.  Stomp on it.

But if you’re a leader in your organization, don’t do it on Twitter.

Why not?

6 reasons to not use Twitter to bash your organization

1. It’s too easy. For me, wisdom doesn’t roll off of my tongue.  Stupidity does.  If I’m going to say something that’s dumb, it’s going to be because I don’t think before I speak.  I just rattle off something without putting diligent thought to my words.  Twitter makes it incredibly easy to post whatever you’re thinking.  It’s as easy as a text message.  And though that’s one of the beauties of social media, it can be one of the uglies when you don’t think before you update. (Which makes me so thankful that social media wasn’t a big deal when I was in high school…because I would have publicly said some dumb things)

2. There’s little accountability. You can fire off an update and then just let it ride.  Although there’s the false sense of accountability because Twitter operates on the public sphere, it’s not really accountability.  Because you can always wriggle your way out of what you said.  “Oh, that was just what I said on Twitter…”  And an @reply or a direct message (for you Facebook users, a wall post or a message) is much more easily ignored than a coworker sitting across the table from you.

3. All of the right voices don’t hear it. As much as we Twitterers would like to think, the whole world hasn’t adopted social media.  Though it’s changed the landscape of information sharing, not everybody has bought in.  And even for people who have bought in, there are varying levels of involvement.  Some people check it once/week.  Others check it once/hour.  Lots and lots of information is shared…and lots and lots of information is never read.  If you’ve got some scathing criticism to say about your organization, there are other key leaders who need to hear that…not just your friend from 2nd grade.

4. You’re limited to 140 characters. How would you feel if your boss came into your staff meeting and said, “Can’t believe the decisions our finance team is making! Hope they enjoy getting fired…” and then walked out of the room?  You’d want a little more explanation, right?  You want more than 140 characters to help you understand where you went wrong, and possible solutions to the problem.  There’s too much left up to interpretation when criticisms come through Twitter.

5. You have little control over the conversation. If criticisms are introduced in person, they can be immediately addressed and explained in person.  If they are introduced via Twitter, your words are stewed over, conversed, and twisted before you can ever fully explain yourself.  It could be days before you are able to sit down with those you criticized, and in the meantime, your words have taken on a life of their own.

6. It could get you fired. Read the story about the Cisco employee HERE.

If you feel the need to be critical of an organization you don’t work for, that’s a different story.  I’ve done that…and it’s worked out well.  Read my story HERE.

But if you work for, or are a leader in an organization, and you feel the need to be critical, that’s fine…just don’t do it on Twitter.


9 Ways to Increase Your Twitter Influence

Perform a Google Search for “How to Increase your Twitter Follwers” and you get plenty of websites/services to follow.

Many of these are services, where you opt in to following 10 people then auto-following everybody else back, guarantee that you’ll have 20,000 Twitter followers in 30 days.

Others give ways to buy Twitter followers.  I’m not kidding.  For only $87, this site will get you 1,000 new followers.

Other sites tell you things you need to do with your Twitter account, such as making sure to fill out your bio section, learning the language of Twitter (Reply, Retweet, Direct Message, hashtags, etc.), and following the people who update about things you want to read. (these are all good things, and should be done, but they’re not what I’m focusing on in this post)

But my goal in using Twitter isn’t to have more and more followers.

I would much rather have influence than followers.  Because followers often represent people who aren’t listening, but are merely speaking.  They don’t care anything about what you have to say…they just use Twitter as a platform to get the word out about their business/life/hobby.

If you want to increase your followers quickly, it will cost you $87.

If you want to build your influence, it’s a little tougher and takes longer.

(If you need a refresher on the language of Twitter, read my post HERE.  If you need some reasons to start Twittering, click HERE.  If you have no idea what Twitter is, click HERE.)

9 Ways to Increase your Twitter Influence

1. Be authentic. Give people a snapshot into who you are.  What makes you tick?  What do you enjoy?  What unique angle/wisdom can you give on an event that you’re attending?  A book that you’re reading?  A blog that you follow?

2. Share helpful content. If your posts only benefit you and your dog, people probably will tune out after a short period.  For example, I’m a small groups pastor, so I try to post content that applies in my field.  I try to be authentic, but I make sure the content is broadly applicable whether you live in Tennessee or California.  Whether you’re young or old.  Whether you go to my church or meet in a house church.

3. Invite conversation. Try to phrase some of your updates in a way that invites others to join in the conversation.  Pose a question.  Leave your update open where others can share their thoughts, opinions, and disagreements.  If it’s broadly applicable, helpful, and uniquely you, others will want to join in.

4. Post consistently. If you only post occasionally, people will tune out.  If you only post once/week, you’ll never show up in your follower’s timelines (because they’re based on the latest posts), and people will never see your updates.

5. Create conversation with others. I’m making a distinction here from #3, above.  Creating conversation means that you reply to others.  Retweet things you find important, inspirational, helpful.  Continue the dialog with others.

6. Don’t post only facts. When you have a conversation with someone, do you merely share facts with one another?  If you do, your friendship will quickly dry up.

7. Respond timely. If you’re consistently putting helpful information out there in a way that invites conversation, you will inevitably receive replies to your updates.  Make sure to thank those who are spreading your ideas.  And do it in a timely manner.  Also, if someone sends you a Direct Message, try as much as possible to respond in a timely manner (I use the 24-hour rule on any email sent to my inbox).

8. Give some link love. If you read an article, or a blog post, that you think may be of interest to others, share a link and give credit to the person that wrote it (by using their Twitter handle).  You may not see this as a way to boost your influence, but trust me…sharing links gives encouragement to others, and helps to give you credibility among those who follow you.

9. Be careful what you post. A tweet is forever.  What you post today will be visible for years to come.  Influencers have the future in mind with the things that they say and do.

Isn’t it the same in all of life?  Gaining influence is much more difficult than merely having a platform for your opinions.  You can go to the local mall and scream out your thoughts…but likely nobody will listen.

Working to gain the respect and trust of people is a much harder, and longer, process.

But in the end, I think it’s worth it.


Arguments against Twitter

I really like Twitter.  Maybe you knew that…maybe you didn’t (all of my posts related to Twitter are HERE).  I’ve heard this about twitter so many times lately:

I don’t care that you walked the dog…or are heading into work…or are eating lunch now…or are sad. I don’t care, and nobody else does! That stuff just doesn’t matter to me.  And it’s just a waste of time for me and for those reading it.

Have you heard this, or something like it?  Frankly, I’m tired of hearing this from folks.  It’s not a great argument.  So few people (well…at least the ones that I follow) update about narcissistic and/or self-loathing goings-on that, to say you don‘t buy into Twitter because of those silly updates is like saying:

I can’t stand baseball. All they do is bunt, and that’s so boring.

I don’t like to read because there are so many big words.

I don’t like the Bible because the book of Revelation is so hard to understand!

The problem with this line of arguing is that people are taking a specific instance (that may or may not be true) and making a generalization about the whole.  I don’t even see many (if any) twitter updates from actual people (not twitter bots) that say, ‘I’m sad.’ Here are examples of typical Twitter updates (aka, “tweets”)…this is a screenshot from my computer that I took just now:

Screen shot 2009-10-01 at 10.38.09 AM

This is a form of a weak argument called “hasty generalization.”  We notice a few examples and quickly jump to broad-stroke conclusions. (HT: John Mark).  It’s not an invalid argument…just a weak one.  Hasty conclusions are much easier to jump to than justified ones.  Not enough of these type of frivolous updates have been observed to warrant throwing Twitter out with the proverbial bathwater.

Baseball isn’t all about the bunt. Very few people, if any, understand every word of Revelation.  And not every word in every book is a difficult word.

If you’re opposed to Twitter, fine.  But come up with some better excuses for not jumping on board.


Sunday Morning

I’m blessed to serve at Grace Community Church.  Seriously, I’m blessed like crazy.  They took a chance on a young guy like me, even before I was done with seminary.  Hopefully, it’s not one they are regretting now!  I’m given freedom to try new things and experiment with different ideas in ministry, all with the hope that more of Clarksville might fall in love with Jesus.  I’m also given direction and shepherding as a young leader, which I desperately want and need.  Seminary was great, don’t get me wrong…but it didn’t prepare me for all that I would encounter in ministry.  The team that I serve with here is so supportive, and I love serving with them.

If you’re not a part of Grace, let me introduce you to Chad Rowland (aka @chadrowland, if you’re on twitter).  The guy’s a phenom.  I’m wowed every time he preaches.  He’s a masterful storyteller (before you brand me as a heretic for praising him as a storyteller and not as a “preacher” or “pastor,” don’t forget that Scripture is the story of God’s redeeming his people…that’s right, isn’t it?), having me on the edge of my seat one minute as he shares a story, laughing the next, and floored by the Truth the very next.  Yesterday was no exception.  He was able to cast the vision for who we are as a church, our three-fold strategy for making growing followers of Christ, and talk about money, the easiest, most comfortable topic to address ever…it was a ton to cover in a short amount of time, but as always, Chad did it with much precision and wisdom.  God’s using him in amazing ways at Grace.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.3217610&w=425&h=350&fv=channelID%3D100000273]

more about “TruthCasting“, posted with vodpod

The Language of Twitter

New to Twitter, and wondering what all of this different terminology means?  Been using it a while and still unsure?  Haven’t even bought in to Twitter yet, but wondering why people’s Facebook updates have crazy letters and symbols attached to them?  I get asked a lot of questions about Twitter, so here’s a crash course that may help you out.

Ever seen something like this on a person’s Facebook update?

Picture 2What’s the deal with the RT?  Why start somebody’s name with the @ symbol?

There’s a whole language that’s developing with Twitter that, if you don’t know it, will leave you behind.  Some of the language is built into the software, and some is developing organically, but all of it is foreign to you if you haven’t used it before.

A Guide to the Language of Twitter

1. Tweet – a tweet is your status update.  Every time you post something to your twitter account, it’s considered a “tweet.”  Sounds cheesy, I know.  Their language, not mine.  The goal is to answer the question, “What are you doing right now?”

2. Follow – if you want to receive people’s “tweets” when they update, you “follow” them.  Sounds kind of creepy, but really it’s not.  You have the option, when you follow them, of receiving their updates either via your mobile phone (Twitter utilizes SMS) or solely on your computer.  If you choose to receive them on your mobile phone, then every time they “tweet,” you will receive a text message.

3. @reply – When you sign up for Twitter, you create a username.  Mine happens to be @benreed.  Your username is, of course, attached to your account, and anybody who knows your username can find your Twitter account.  It’s as simple as going to http://www.twitter.com/________.  The @ reply comes in when I want to mention somebody in my update.  If I say something like this…

Picture 4…then you know exactly who I was talking about.  In fact, when I “mention” somebody by starting their username with @, their name shows up as a hyperlink that others can click on, seeing who really messed up some mac & cheese (see @steph_underwood’s update above)!

4. RT – This is shorthand for “ReTweet.”  A “tweet” is an update that you post, either via your mobile phone (Twitter utilizes SMS) or your computer.  If you read somebody’s update, and like it, and want to share it with those who follow you on Twitter, thus creating a “viral” message, you can “ReTweet” it.  Think of it as a mass FWD that you want to share with others…except this one is much shorter than those you receive in your email inbox.  Here’s what I mean:

Picture 5So, as you can see, I “ReTweeted” the post of Cary Branscum.  You can quickly know it’s the famed Cary Branscum, from http://caryperks.wordpress.com, by clikcing on the hyperlink created when I started his username with @.  Still follow?

5. # (hashtags) – Though some people espouse that Twitter is a mass of one-way conversations with nobody, I don’t find that to be true.  Hashtags are a great example of how Twitter opens up dialog and creates networking conversations.  Here’s what I’m talking about:


Hashtags help you to categorize ideas and topics.  So, although reading lots of different church signs may not be the highlight of your day, when I preceded the word “churchsign” with a “#,” it unites me with everybody else who is posting about church signs, making it a searchable topic.

6. DM – this is shorthand for “direct message.”  This is a message sent privately to only one person, in contrast to an @ reply (also known as a “mention”), which is broadcast as public information.  To send a direct message to a person, simply start your update with the letter ‘d,’ followed by the person’s username.  The message is then sent to that person and only that person.

The language of Twitter will continue to develop and grow.  This is a list of the basics as they stand right now.  Are there any I left out?

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