Sunday, April 28, 2013

Connecting with Irvine Pres Using Twitter

Whether you've come to this page in response to a personal invitation or you stumbled upon it, thank you and welcome! This post will help identify ways in which you can become a part of the social media team and community that is now emerging organically at Irvine Pres.

First, I briefly explain why our church is using social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Second, I quote a couple of paragraphs from the comprehensive Social Media Guidelines of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB, 2013). These describe how sharing for God's glory using social media is possible and their definition of social media is from an expert in the area, Jon Lebkowsky. Third, I outline how you can participate in the very first Twitter chat forum #worshipchatipc that has just been started recently; it is my hope that participating in #worshipchatipc will give us a small glimpse into how we can connect and interact as an Irvine Pres. community on one specific social media network, Twitter. I will be covering other social media tools and networks, including Facebook later. If you're curious about my own motivations for being on social media, it's simple. Digital information is an interest and you can read more on my About page.

Irvine Pres is on Twitter and Facebook because we want to share the life of our church and reach out to others beyond those who come to our campus (outreach). We want to deepen relationships, share our faith, and build community. Below are quotes from the USCCB about the potential of social media for churches.

The Church can use social media to encourage respect, dialogue, and honest relationships—in other words, “true friendship” (43rd World Communications Day message. . . [2009]). To do so requires us to approach social media as powerful means of evangelization and to consider the Church’s role in providing a Christian perspective on digital literacy.
Social Media is a fundamental transformation in the way(s) people find and use information and content, from hard news to light entertainment. It’s an evolution from broadcast delivery of content—content created by a few and distributed to many—to network delivery, where content can be created by anyone and published to everyone, in a context that is “many to many.” Said another way, publication and delivery by professionals to mass audiences has changed—now publication and delivery can be by anyone, professional or not, to niche audiences through networks of many channels. This is because the means of production are broadly accessible and inexpensive. As a result of all this, attention and mindshare are fragmented, there’s emphasis on relationship, new forms of media are conversational, and transaction costs for communication approach zero.


How You Can Connect With IrvinePres on Twitter and Participate on #worshipchatipc:

Irvine Pres. web presence on Twitter is at this URL:

To connect with us on Twitter, you must have a twitter account. If you don't have one, please go here. Set up an a/c. Here are links to some irvinepres folks on Twitter: @chariscol ; @dbarkleys6 ; @radiodeloy. You can use them as examples for your profile and you can also follow them besides @irvinepres.

One way to describe Twitter, in case you don't know much about it, is that its a global and open micro-blogging service and online chat forum. Its a place where you can discover other people who share similar passions and interests; sharing information, you can interact, participate, collaborate, as much or as little as you want. Every tweet (post - what you want to share) can only be 140 characters. I quickly learned to be brief to get a point across. Also, I get most of my breaking and daily news through Twitter.

Once you have a Twitter account, log in. Enter #worshipchatipc (exactly as is shown) into the search box located on the top of your HOME page of your account. You will see the list of tweets; tweets, i.e. posts by others on Twitter using this hashtag. Below is a screenshot of what you should be seeing. If you only see one or two tweets, please refresh your screen. Click on View all Tweets (it will be at the bottom of your list). There's approx. 20 or 22 tweets.

Ok, now you can see the #worshipchatipc tweets. How do you participate?

There are two ways you can do so. #worshipchatipc is an online twitter chat forum that is scheduled to coincide with the live class (9 AM - 10 AM, Sundays April 21 - May 19) and streaming 24/7. What do I mean by this? I'll explain the scheduled part first as that's easy; it was also the starting point for #worshipchatipc.

What is Worship? a 5-week class led by John Fischer started April 21st and will end May 19th. It meets weekly, Sundays 9 to 10 AM in the Jack Davis room.  During this time we tweet what John is teaching with the #worshipchatipc at the end of our tweets. Next week, you can join us ir real-time or online at the scheduled time to ask questions or post comments or just be a virtual and silent member of the class by reading the tweets. Remember, each tweet can only be 140 characters and this includes the #worshipchatipc hashtag so I (and others) can find your tweet and respond.

Streaming #worshipchatipc 24/7 happens when people start tweeting anytime from anywhere with the hashtag #worshipchatipc. First, you follow @irvinepres @chariscol @oncharis @dbarkleys6 and @radiodeloy @fischback (to follow just enter their twitter handles as given and then when their Twitter profile comes up click follow). Second, you compose, 140 characters or less, and tweet remembering to add the #worshipchatipc at the very end. When you hit send, the tweet goes to your followers and is also discoverable by anybody searching for #worshipchatipc. For example, if you attended John's class, you already know that one of John's teaching point is that worship happens anywhere, anytime. You could share your everywhere/anytime moments of worship experiences during the week by tweeting with the #worshipchatipc. Even if you didn't attend the lessons, you could browse through the #worshipchatipc tweets and then post a question or comment. Try it! John Fischer is already on Twitter and is eager to engage in conversation with us. We're all learning as we go along here, and none of us is really the expert. Let's join, hold hands and tweet #worshipchatipc.

One last note: There are lots of apps (TweetDeck, Hootsuite, SocialOomph, etc.) that facilitate and enhance Twitter interactions. Right now, I am only focusing on the basic Twitter app; this is what you see if you log into Twitter using your web browser or use your smartphone's free Twitter client app, both coded and released from Twitter. On your a/c Home page in this basic Twitter client, there's a couple of other links, besides the Search and Compose features, that you might want to get acquainted with: Me (shows your tweets), Discover, and Connect. I won't spoil the surprise of Connect and Discover. Enjoy!

If you find this article useful you can subscribe by email to my blog (link is at top of the page) and you will get future posts in your email. I do plan to do a few more  simple course lessons like this on Social Media (although I might move it into a PowerPoint format for download and printing). A browse through the Labels links below or the Writings and Archives links on the sidebar will give you an idea of prior writings; some of my Bible Study teaching materials are showcased under My Other Blogs in the sidebar and my personal favorite is Choosing Christ in the World (this one has slideshows you can see too). Thanks to Pr. Scott, I just started a long-intended series on Grace, titled Infinite Grace.

Addendum: After I had posted my article, Robert Austell, a Presbyterian Pastor, tweeted me about his series of blog posts on Twitter. You can find his excellent introduction about Twitter and its use for Presbyterian General Assembly business by following this link: