Tag Archives: twitter

Using Social Networking Sites Like Facebook

It seems like everyone has a Facebook and a Twitter account these days. These are examples of Social Networking sites. Social Networking is basically a online way to connect with people you know and meet people who share the same interests you have.

For example, I have a Facebook account (http://facebook.com/nlcast). I have a lot of ‘friends’ that I am connected with. While many of these folks are people I know in real life (church, family, old high school friends) there are a lot more who are listeners to one of my podcasts or who I’ve met through kids camps, speaking engagements or other children’s ministry social networks.

So Social Networks are a great way to connect to people you know and folks you’d like to know better. Facebook is a free service. Signing up is simple. It’ll lead you through the entire process including helping you find (real) friends instantly by searching your address book (optional).

How can you use Social Networking for ministry? When used correctly I liken these services to hanging out with other ministers at lunch during a kid’s conference. The kind of lunch where you’re just hanging out, swapping stories and resources… having a laugh. Especially if you use a network specifically designed for children’s ministers.

CMConnect.org is one such network. It is my favorite because it costs absolutely nothing to use because it is ad supported and the staff seems to have a real heart for connecting cm leaders. It’s like a private MySpace where you have a profile that tells a little about you. You can connect with other ministers by becoming ‘friends’ with them. There are forums, groups to join based on interests… it’s an excellent resource. Check it out and friend me at http://www.cmconnect.org/profile/JamesKennison and join the CMMonthly Group at: http://www.cmconnect.org/group/cmmonthly

One trick I have is linking my Twitter account to my Facebook so that when I update Twitter, it posts as an update to Facebook too.  (here’s how) Notice I didn’t mention anything about using MySpace. MySpace is a huge mess… stay away!!! 😉

How To Use Twitter

What is Twitter? Let’s see what Wikipedia says:

“Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read each others’ updates, known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters, displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to other users – known as followers – who have subscribed to them. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access.”

If you didn’t get all that… Twitter allows you to let people know what’s going on in your world and allows you to ‘follow’ what other people are saying about theirs.

Why Twitter?

Twitter can be really useful for children’s ministers. For example… the other day I was hunting for something I needed for kids camp. I ‘tweeted’:

Does anyone know where I can find those water balloon launchers made from surgical tubing? #kidmin

That update went out to over 1000 people who follow me. Soon I was getting all kinds of answers… and eventually I got the answer I needed. Another children’s pastor in the area had a couple I could borrow. I went by and picked them up from him yesterday.

Notice that I added “#kidmin” to the end of my ‘tweet’. That’s called a hashtag. A hashtag is another name for a keyword. In Twitter you can use hashtags to label the topic of your tweets. There are people using Twitter that follow topics more than individual people so when I added the #kidmin even more people got my tweet than would have otherwise. You can also follow keywords too and see what people are saying about children’s ministry.

How To Twitter?

Go to http://twitter.com and sign-up. Make sure to bookmark the site so you can use it again later. You need to add a profile picture, add your name, website or blog… then you can start updating using the provided form. You’ll also want to find people to follow. Here are some great folks that I suggest who are involved in kids ministry.

I suggest you download a Desktop Client, which is a fancy term for being able to use twitter like you would Instant Messaging right on your computer.

Here are a few great Desktop Clients:

If you have any questions, email me or post them in the comments.