Amazing Grace: How Tweet the Sound?

It was with much interest Sunday that I read an article from Time Magazine regarding the rise in the use of Twitter during church services.  In many instances, it’s even being pioneered by the pastors themselves.

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I immediately sent a link of the Time article to my pastor (@petetackett) via Facebook to get his thoughts:

I think Twitter and Facebook plus other social networking tools will be useful to the church.  I think you have to balance both the newness of it with the traditionalists in the church as well as the need for contemplative silence with the temptation to always be twittering.  For us, the next step is figuring out how to make this possible without being distracting.

For years now, students have used their phones and pdas to communicate during church.  Why not let them use them to communicate with the church instead of telling them to put them away?  Hmm.

Pete

I think he’s dead-on.  In essence, it’s coming whether the “church” likes it or not.  The key will be to get in front of it and excercise some control over how it’s rolled out rather than waiting until it’s too late.  Pastor Jon Swanson is a great example of this in action.

For churches that aren’t doing it already, I see many adding new positions in the coming months and years centered around nurturing relationships and growing their congregations via social media-related ministry.  Present staff not trained and not already immersed in all aspects of social media will be ill-equipped to handle it otherwise.

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Geek Breakfast!

In March 2009, I attended my first Podcamp Nashville.  While there I got to meet, or hear speak, a couple of people I’d been following (and admiring) on Twitter for a little while.

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One of those folks was Dave Delaney (@davedelaney on Twitter).  Soon after, I discovered Dave had organized what he referred to as a Geek Breakfast group on Facebook.  He describes the group as, “A casual monthly meet-up over coffee and breakfast to discuss new media, podcasting, blogging, programming, open source, social networks and more.”  I quickly joined.  Later, I discovered a group had also been created for Hendersonville (a community north of Nashville) by Bill Seaver (@billseaver on Twitter).

I soon realized though that, while joining these Facebook groups would no doubt bring into my life many new and exciting friendships, the proximately of my home and work to both of these areas would make it difficult to make one of the monthly gatherings any time soon.

I proceded to check the Geek Breakfast headquarters and saw that, while there was a Murfreesboro group in addition to Nashville and Hendersonville, there wasn’t a south of Nashville, Franklin/Spring Hill group of any kind.  If you know the Franklin and Spring Hill, Tennessee areas at all, you know that over the last 10 years Spring Hill and the Franklin area of Cool Springs have grown significantly.

It just didn’t seem right for there not to be a Franklin – Spring Hill Geek Breakfast Group.  So, I did what anyone else would’ve done in my situation.  I formed my own.  Honestly, I did it without giving much thought to preparation and planning, the investment of time, recruiting people, any of that.  I just did it.

So, now, here I sit eagerly anticipating the development of this new group.  As soon as I can secure a location and date, I’ll pass the info along both on Facebook and here on my blog under the Geek Breakfast tab.

I hope if you live or work near this sprawling area of middle Tennessee you’ll consider joining us.  And, if you have any suggestions on how to make it better, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thanks!

Alltop: A Magazine Rack for the Internet

Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki on Twitter), best-selling author of The Art of the Start and Reality Check, is changing the world .  And while I can’t say I always agree with his politics, I sure do love his creativity and what he brings to the world wide web.

Last year he launched Alltop (inspired by popurls), a site described as an online magazine rack .  Simply put, it’s a site that aggregates, in a very clean and simple way, the web’s cream of the crop from virtually every topic imaginable.  There’s plenty of useful information to be found on Alltop, not the least of which is great blog post ideas.

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You’ll find links to blogs and news sites on topics ranging from Acne to Zoology and virtually everything in between.  Don’t find what you’re looking for?  Suggest to the Alltop crew they add it by sending them an e-mail to info@alltop.com.  You can even submit your own site or blog for inclusion among the topics.  My blog shows up in the radio category.

Sure, there’s Google Search.  And if you’re anything like me, you make use of Google Reader or another feed reader that brings your blog subscriptions right to your doorstep.  So what’s so special about Alltop?  Who uses it?  Why?  Well,  Chris Brogan puts it this way:

Alltop isn’t for you or me. It’s for friends and family and coworkers who aren’t yet surfing at the speed of light with Google Reader, or adding meta commentary via FriendFeed. It’s for our neighbor who still logs into AOL, or people who want to read a sampling of information without a lot of customization.

Now, I consider myself a seasoned surfer, but I find myself often making use of Alltop anyway.  Rather than doing a Google search when I’m researching a particular topic, I go to Alltop first to see if it’s covered there.  If so, I instantly have a dozen or more of the top blogs on that subject at my fingertips.

Are you a Mom interested in what others in your space are writing about?  Then moms.alltop.com is a good place to start.  Want to learn how to make a Caramel Machiatto just like Starbucks?  Try coffee.alltop.com. Looking to hone your writing skills?  Check out writing.alltop.com.

Whether you’re an internet newbie or a seasoned pro, I think you’ll find plenty of benefits at Alltop.

What about you?  Can you think of other ways to use Alltop?

Why Are You Thumbing Your Nose At Twitter?

As you’ve no doubt heard, earlier today a US Airways flight, in a losing fight with a flock of geese, ended up in the Hudson River.  Miraculously, not one of the 155 passengers or crew was seriously hurt.

You may have noticed, if you watched the news or read about it online, that one particular photo continued to turn up just about everywhere.

Passengers stand on the wing waiting for their turn.

Passengers stand on the wing waiting for their turn.

The image was taken by Janis Krums on his cell phone which he then uploaded to TwitPic, a Twitter client that makes it easy to broadcast, or “tweet,” your photos.  You send a picture mail to TwitPic and it automatically syncs it with your Twitter account, broadcasting a message (or tweet) based on what you put in the subject line of your picture mail, along with a shortened link directly to the image itself.  Twitter, by the way, gives you a maximum of 140 characters to state your message.

In Janis’ case, he tweeted this message:

http://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.

This afternoon before I left to come home from work, over 40,000 people had clicked that link – just an hour or two after it was taken.  At the time I’m writing this (almost midnight) that number has more than doubled.

I’m not sure how many followers Janis began the day with (he’s at just over 2100 now), but suffice it to say, some of them “Re-Tweeted” (RT) or forwarded the above tweet, sharing it with their followers as well.

In fact, before today, I’d never heard of Janis, but one of my followers mentioned the image and the link and before I knew it, I was “tweeting” about Janis and his snapshot to all of my other followers as well.

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It is utterly amazing to me how fast this kind of thing can move on a platform such as Twitter.  I even heard Janis being interviewed on CNN, made popular, no doubt, by his now widely-seen photograph.  According to his twitter page, he’s on MSNBC next.

Interestingly, Janis himself commented on Twitter in a post on his own blog just three days ago.  In it he says:

What can you say in 140 characters or less?  Can you be effective with less words?  There is no room for wordiness.  You need to be on point with your message as quickly as possible.

I don’t know about you, but I think he followed his own advice pretty well.

And wouldn’t you know it, just last week, I argued via Twitter with an industry colleague of mine on it’s effectiveness and future.  In a direct message (DM) to me he stated:

I wonder how many people are twittering?  I guess this will have jumped the shark when I see a sitcom episode around it.

Needless to say, we didn’t see eye to-eye – or should I say tweet-to-tweet – on the usefulness of Twitter.  However, I believe if you’re not participating in the conversation and attempting to engage your customers and those you care about in this environment, people may soon be saying it’s your company that has “jumped the shark.”

For a great example of one company’s use of Twitter, check out @comcastcares.  Their approach may not apply to your industry in every way, but I’ll bet you still find plenty of take aways.