How to Cath-Tweet

[ 15 ] September 1, AD 2011 |

Friends, we have come to a crossroad. To tweet or not to tweet?

For those of you grumbling and threatening to move your cursor over to Stumbleupon or Catholic Answers, hang on a second. I have been on Twitter for two and a half years now and I’m convinced it is a valuable idea sharing tool.

Yes, it is also valuable for telling the world about the fly you found in your water glass and your bite-sized review of the Winnie the Pooh movie. Believe it or not, it can go deeper.

 

The Pope is on Twitter (and he uses an iPad to tweet), Twitter had a hand in getting the three original Bright Maidens together. It scrolls article after Catholic article in front of my face, daily.

In short, it is a giant Facebook newsfeed with each status limited to 140 characters.

If you’re on Twitter already and want some tips, I hope you can find some new ones below. If you’re considering joining the conversation on Twitter, read on, my friends, read on!

1. Love your neighbor. Even if they’re antagonizing you and picking a fight. Many anti-Catholics and/or anti-theists use certain hashtags to “bring to the light” their criticisms of that which involves the Church. Don’t bite. If they reach out to you directly, gauge your patience and either respond up to two times or none at all.

2. “You said hashtags. What are those?” Putting the # sign in front of a word changes it into a link that leads to a real-time list of every tweet that includes that same “hashtag.” Some people use them for humor: “The Girl Scout cookies keep disappearing #nomnom.” Their intention is to connect people through their common ideas and thoughts.

  • Some popular Catholic hashtags to follow are #Catholic (beware, this is where a lot of anti-Catholics and anti-theists hang out and provoke on Twitter street corners), #Cathmedia, #JMJ, #JP2, #B16, #Cathdate (more info here, from Ave Maria Singles), #Cathdudes and #Cathsorority.

3. Tweet! Be yourself, be a good defender of the faith, be funny, be informative, be helpful, just be tweeting! Before you follow anyone, tweet a few things that would make someone stop and decide to follow you.

4. Follow people! I have gathered a list of about 460 (and growing) Tweeps entitled, “Catholic Awesomeness.” You can follow the whole list so you can see when I update it, but you need to click the individual follow buttons next to the tweeples’ names in order to get their tweets. UPDATE: That list grew to be too full of Catholic awesomeness, so I had to create a new one. Enjoy both!

5. Retweet. This one is pretty easy, but shouldn’t be overused. To retweet, which rhymes with repeat (see the progression of logic that is Twitter?), is to share another person’s tweet with your followers. You can click the “retweet” button on the web-based Twitter, copy and paste the tweet into the field where you would type your tweet (making sure to give credit. Ex: “RT @EHillgrove: I just love @VirtuousPla_net! It is such a great resource!”), or you can use a desktop-based application to retweet (Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc).

  • Retweeting flatters the original tweeter, it allows you to comment on a tweet (Ex: “You are so right! Hey, me too! RT @EHillgrove: Being Catholic is awesome! I love Jesus!”), and it spreads more information around the interwebs.

6. Thank people for following you… individually. Some tweeters use an automated follow-back or direct messaging service to operate their Twitter feeds. There is really no reason anyone starting out on Twitter or someone with fewer than 3000 followers would need to use one of these services to thank their new followers.

7. In the same vein, the only way Twitter can be a valuable tool for e-vangelizing is if we foster relationships on it. Make friends, have inside jokes, and retweet your friends’ blog posts or interesting articles. When people ask for prayers on Twitter, grant them your time. Consider it a small investment in the joy of other people and work on the unique relationships that come out of a Twitter friendship.

8. Connect your Facebook to your Twitter. Some may frown on this, but if you’re having trouble getting into the Twitter groove, it will kickstart your time on Twitter. More info here.

9. Sign up for Dlvr.it and have your favorite blogs’ posts automatically tweeted. Now, listen carefully: if you don’t break it up with a few “Hey there, I’m a real person” tweets, this is not a helpful tip. Signing up for Dlvr.it allows you to input some RSS feeds of your blog and your favorite blogs (as well as a place to proceed the auto-generated link with something like “via @EHillgrove,” to alert the blogger that you tweeted out their blog post). Overusing it makes your followers feel like you’re not really there.

10. Create lists. Twitter allows you to follow people of all shapes and sizes and then organize them into separate lists. The lists can be private (only you can view them) or public. Some of mine include: Catholic Awesomeness, pro-life, travel, have met, DIY, decorating, art, and Richmond. Don’t be afraid to diversify, you can organize them into lists and then access those lists to find content related to your interests.

You might be thinking, “Hey, why should I listen to you?” And I would answer, “Hey, why did you wait so long to ask me that?”

I do this for a living. Yes, Twitter is part of my daily life. But I also think it’s a great tool for news, idea sharing, and friendship fostering, as I have said many times. Blogs like this aim to e-vangelize by pumping the interwebs with Catholic rhetoric that supports the Magisterium. Why not start with Twitter?

*Original photo of Pope Benedict XVI can be found here. I altered it with the Twitter bird perched on his hat, which would undoubtedly happen in real life.

For more… www.elizabethhillgrove.com. Thank you!

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Category: New Media

About the Author ()

Elizabeth Hillgrove is a young cradle Catholic who grew up in a tight-knit, if not absurdly close family in the tiny Catholic world of Virginia. After a few divots and detours into apathy, embarrassment, and a vested political interest, Jesus Christ jump-started her faith life. Elizabeth has researched her way into a passion for bringing the simple, fulfilling Truth to youth and young adults, especially females. A recovering tomboy, Elizabeth will challenge you on the field, in the pool, on a trek up a mountain, or in the art studio. Game on. She is one of the three Bright Maidens and her website is Startling the Day.
  • http://www.thinveil.net Brandon Vogt

    Great resource, Elizabeth! All Catholics use this as their basic guide to Twitter.

    (I just added it to the growing resources page at the Church and New Media site:

    http://www.churchandnewmedia.com/resources)

  • http://hereisthechurch.wordpress.com/ Allie Terrell

    Love the doctored photos. :) I’m particularly fond of the twitter bird on the Pope’s hat.

  • Mimi

    The link to the pope’s supposed Twitter account is actually just the Vatican news service. It is not the Pope tweeting!

    Aside from that, excellent article. I think the big key is to create community by interacting personally with people. I have followed — and unfollowed — MANY Catholic tweeters who just don’t interact. Having a Twitter account and just broadcasting without interacting smacks of self-promotion and I’m not interested.

  • http://www.gadel.info/ Godwin Delali Adadzie

    Funny, Nice, Interesting post dear @EHillgrove :) from you brother in the Lord Jesus.

    Delali @Apologetics on Twitter

  • http://www.elizabethhillgrove.com Elizabeth Hillgrove

    Thank you Allie! :)

    Thanks, Mimi! You’re right, that is the Vatican news feed, but the Pope has made some appearances! I agree! It’s all about community. It’s like we’re all in a gigantic, Internet-sized room. We want to talk to the ones who aren’t sitting in a corner by themselves.

    Thank you, Godwin! I do enjoy your tweets!

  • http://www.gadel.info/ Godwin Delali Adadzie

    You’re welcome Princess Elizabeth :)

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 RSV)

  • http://virtuouspla.net/ Stacy Trasancos

    Perfect. Now I know what I’ve been missing. I learned a lot from this. Thank you. I need to spend a little time there everyday practicing these tips. I didn’t know what #’s were, or what good ones where to use. Now I know!

  • http://fumblingtowardgrace.wordpress.com Sarah

    This post is great. I am a twitter new-bie and I need all the help I can get!

  • http://www.thinveil.net/ Brandon Vogt

    Great post, Elizabeth! These tips would be helpful for *any* online Catholic. I’ve added your article to the growing Resources page at the Church and New Media site:

    http://www.churchandnewmedia.com/resources

  • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

    Thanks, Elizabeth … now I have a better grasp of the hashtags!

  • http://www.thepracticingcatholic.com Lisa Schmidt

    When Joel and I were first getting into Catholic new media, he kept telling me about this young, on-fire Catholic woman and I really needed to read her blog. Well, now I read her blog all the time, and I’ve learned so much from you. This post is just more evidence for the jury to convict Elizabeth Hillgrove of “Catholic Awesomeness!” Great post, sister! Keep up the terrific work.

  • http://www.elizabethhillgrove.com Elizabeth Hillgrove

    Thanks, Stacy! I actually had you in mind when I wrote this because you asked for my help in the past! I might do a more advanced version of this later :)

    Thanks, Sarah! I hope it helped! Find me @EHillgrove if you want more help!

    Brandon, I’m honored! Thank you!

    Yay, Tony! Hashtags used to be much more helpful. Now they’re more often used for humor than anything else, but they’re still good for Catholics and spreading info!!

    Lisa, I am so humbled by your kind words. I think you, Joel, and The Practicing Catholic were the first ones on my Catholic Awesomeness list! Thank you for your witnessing on your wonderful blog!

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