3-2010 Pass-It-Along Value

One person who used to tweet frequently finally quit because he found himself thinking more superficially, “with little to no depth.”7 That’s how I used to feel about Twitter, too, until one day I realized that even King Solomon and Jesus tweeted.

Pass-It-Along Value

by Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti

The word twitter used to mean “to utter successive chirping noises”1 or “to talk in a chattering fashion.”2  In fact, it still does. Since 2006, however, twitter is spelled with a capital “T” and refers mainly to a “social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send messages known as tweets.”3 Tweets are messages that can consist of up to 140 characters. They are displayed “on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers.”4

An August, 2009, study analyzed 2,000 tweets over a two-week period and found that tweets fell into six categories: (1) news, (2) spam, (3) self-promotion, (4) pointless babble, (5) conversational, and (6) pass-along value. Most tweets fell into the “pointless babble” category as in “I am eating a sandwich now.”5

Yet in some cases, Twitter has proven to be quite useful and informative. Following are three examples: (1) In June, 2009, protestors in Iran used Twitter to communicate with the outside world after the government blocked other methods of communication.
(2) When American opponents of health insurance reform proposals spoke against the British National Health Service (NHS) in August, 2009, thousands of Brits tweeted their support of the NHS. (3) And in May, 2009, astronaut Mike Massimino tweeted updates of the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission.6

On the flip side, one person who used to tweet frequently finally quit because he found himself thinking more superficially, “with little to no depth.”7 That’s how I used to feel about Twitter, too, until one day I realized that even King Solomon and Jesus tweeted. Take the following, for example:

Solomon:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, / but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Prov. 1:7, NIV; 94 characters, including spaces).

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; / consider its ways and be wise!” (Prov. 6:6, NIV; 59 characters, including spaces).

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, / but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1, NIV; 67 characters, including spaces).

Jesus:

“ ‘Blessed are the merciful, / for they will be shown mercy’ ” (Matt. 5:7, NIV; 56 characters, including spaces).

“ ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, / for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9, NRSV; 66 characters, including spaces).

“ ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, / for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ ” (Matt. 5:10, NIV; 84 characters, including spaces).

In fact, a great deal of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount consists of short, to the point sayings that instruct Christians how to have a relationship with Christ. Even those who wrote the New Testament epistles did so using many short, to-the-point, pass-along value statements.

And as Christians, that’s what we are to do with our faith. Pass it along. Does your faith have pass-along value?
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1. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 1993.
2. Ibid.
3. Wikipedia. “Twitter.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter (accessed February 22, 2010), p. 1.
4. Ibid.
5. Ryan Kelly, editor. (2008-2009) “Twitter Study—August 2009. Pear Analytics. http://www.pearanalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Twitter-Study-August-2009.pdf (accessed February 22, 2010).
6. Wikipedia. “Twitter.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter (accessed February 22, 2010), pp. 10, 12.
7. Darcy Norman. On the Danger of Twitter. http://www.darcynorman.net/2008/07/21 /on-the-danger-of-twitter (accessed February 22, 2010), p. 1.