I first joined Twitter on May 24th, 2007. According to Twopcharts, that puts me at ahead of 98.85% of all other users. However, I didn't really expect or plan on using it. Nope, I had thought the future of "micro-blogging" was Pownce. Which didn't even make it past December 2008.
So, a few years later, while having a meal with my wife and Leonard Sweet, we talked about Twitter being the modern village green. That, back the day, human lives would intersect while going about their daily business. That in the market square, doing life things, we would bump into each other and conversation - and life - would happen. And here, in 2012, chapter 5 of Len's new book, Viral, I get to see how one conversation helped change Len's outlook on Twitter, social media, and how it can be used to further the Kingdom.
The only problem I've had with the book so far is share awe and wonder; Len is literally writing a perfect book on how the spiritual, social, and ditial are colliding in our culture. And that, in doing so, we are better served to share the Gospel, follow Christ, and live as the Church.
So yeah, I'm loving this book. Some day we'll look back and think... really? We need a book for that? To tell us all these very basic things - that using social media to foster community actually needed to be thought about? But until that day, this book is desperately needed by the church.
Part 2 of the book is specifically about Twitter, the "T" in Len's TGIF. A few quotes from this section that resonated with me:
- Twitter's categorical imperative is one of follwership, not the fast track to leadership, which is so inherent in our culture. In Twitterdom, you are who you follow.
- For the last fifty years the church has made a fetish of a word that is hard to find even once in the New Testament ("leader") and has ignored a word that is found hundreds of times (mathetes or "follower," "disciple"). Leadership is, at best, a function. Follwership is an identity.
- Twitter is a daily reminder that events big and small don't rise and fall on leadership, but on follwership.
- If you can't say it in less than 140 characters, you can't say it in a way that can connect with a Google world. The first task of a missionary is to learn the language. No missionary has a future in missions who is clueless of the culture they're in.
- Retweeting Jesus is spreading the virus of the gospel.
- Twitter is made for hermits. It enables me to shut myself off without shutting anything or anybody out. It enables me to simulaneously give myself away and never stop hiding.
- In the future, the ultimate status will not be those who are famous, but those mysterious type who manage to maintain some anonymity and mystery.
- Twitter is my semiotics petri dish, my labratory for ministry, the place where I sink probes into the culture to find out what God is up to.
- This is the new scorecard for a TGIF world: not the power of your statistics, but the resonance of your story. Resonance is voice authenticated by lifestyle.
- Poet Samuel Butler (1612-1680) touted the ability to name a cat the tue test of the human imagination.
One of the amazing things about Len is how is writing style is perfectly suited for having a printed book in a Google world. As someone who works in the publishing world, there is a great mystery ahead as to what kinds of content people will or will not pay for, when there is so much good content available for free. The key is making long format text communicate not only meaningful and relevant ideas, but to do so in a way that both book readers and txters can engage with. I don't think I've ready any books in recent years that have more quoteable - or tweetable - phrases in them than this book.
Well done, Len.