Twitter as a Motivation for Meditation: an Experiment

Twitter_logo_blueI’ve had a sort of love-hate relationship with Twitter.  If you don’t happen to know what Twitter is, it’s a social media service that limits you to 140 character posts (called Tweets), to which you may attach photos, videos, or links.  As with most media, there’s a lot of stupid stuff on Twitter and plenty of places and ways to get in trouble or just waste time.

A few months back, I completely walked away from Twitter, but then came back when I decided it would be a good idea to blog weekly at capsministry.com.  I set up automatic posting from the blog to @capsministry on Twitter, and would occasionally post extra tweets, retweet other Twitter-ers (Tweeters?), or “favorite” Tweets I found helpful.

I just self-published a book, Keeping the Faith in a Christian College, and have been trying to get the word out, so I began utilizing this blog, as well as capsministry.com and its Twitter account.  It made more sense to promote my own book with my own account, so it was back to Twitter for @dougsmith1977 (my old handle was still available!).  It’s annoying for someone to merely use a media outlet to incessantly publicize a product (or at least I think so), so I thought it would be better to share Scripture, meditations on Scripture, and helpful links, in addition to occasionally engaging other users directly.

The long and short of it is, that I’ve found Twitter to have some value for reinforcing my own meditation on the Bible.  Here’s how:

1. The forced brevity of Twitter forces one to choose carefully what one posts.  Sure, you can divide a long quote into multiple tweets, but better to be short, sweet, and well-encapsulated.  Who knows, amidst all the awkward attempts, one might come up with something decently pithy and helpful.

2. The fleeting nature of Twitter suggests that one use it with some frequency.  It’s easy for a Tweet to get lost in a sea of other content; if you follow more than a handful of people and have about any responsibilities, there’s no way you can catch each tweet that the folks you follow post.  So I’m posting several times a day in hopes that someone will be edified, educated, or challenged in a helpful way by something I say.

3. Scheduling tweets is the way I maximize my use of Twitter.  I’ve been using Buffer and decided, as a general rule, I will post 5 times each day (scheduled Tweets).  I may or may not post additional Tweets or Retweets, depending on my schedule (unscheduled Tweets).  Scheduling helps me with not being tied to checking Twitter too much.  The combination of scheduling and frequency is what helps me with meditation.  I’m reading through the “Essential 100” reading plan at YouVersion (www.bible.com), and have been focusing on a chapter a day.  So far, I’ve been chewing on Genesis 1 and 2 and scheduling tweets based on them.

My general approach so far has been:

  • 6:15 a.m. Tweet:  post a verse from the passage I’m reading
  • 9:15 a.m. Tweet:  a meditation/insight from the passage or its context
  • 12:15 p.m. Tweet:  another meditation/insight
  • 3:15 p.m. Tweet:  another meditation/insight; perhaps a link to a topic related to the text
  • 9:15 p.m. Tweet:  a quote on the theme of the passage (or related theme) – so far these have been from hymns, but I might broaden out to include quotes from commentators, preachers, etc.

This approach has helped me to use Twitter in an intentional, focused way, thus far.  It has also resulted in more time thinking on the Word, and that’s definitely a good thing:

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2 (NKJV)

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