Saturday, May 23, 2009

Social Media and the Church- Twitter Tools

I have spoken to church leaders about using social media in the church a couple of times and the one thing that seems to come up more often than not is the issue of time. With everything else that is going on throughout the week, taking the time to update Twitter, Facebook or to write a blog seems like a challenging task. The question should not be do I have time to use social media, the question SHOULD be how do I make time use social media to reach people with the love of Jesus.

I work a full time I.T job, have 4 kids under 7, a wife who works 2 nights a week as a nurse and a part time staff gig at my church that takes up about 15 hours or so out of my week. Now I may not be the busiest person in the world, but my life does not stop most days until I go to bed. I have to balance spending time with my kids and wife with both jobs and house work. I told you all that so you would know that this is not being written by some one who sits in a office all day and has all the time in the world. My life needs short cuts. I need short cuts to use social media, not only for the church but for my personal accounts as well. Here are a few I use for twitter:

TwitterFox: This is a Firefox add on that puts little Twitter Icon at the bottom of your browser. When you click on it all of your friends recent updates are put in a nice neat little box in the corner of your browser. You can even update you status, see your @replies and Direct Messages (DMs)

Seesmic Desktop: A lot of people will tell you tweet deck is the best desktop Twitter Application. I disagree but only by a little bit. You can view and update multiple twitter accounts at one time as well as your Facebook page. So if you have a personal twitter and manage the twitter for your church you can update them both with out logging out and logging back in.

TwitPic: The Seesmic desktop allows you to put links to pictures hosted by TwitPic if you don't want to use Seesmic than you can simply go to the Twitpic Site enter your user name, upload pics, write a comment of two and they load the pics to Twitter for you.

Twitter Feed: This allows you to ad an RSS feed (such as your blog or Google reader shared items) to Twitter and every time you update it post a link and a short comment to your twitter feed.

Facebook Twitter App
: Allow you to update you Twitter account from Facebook and Facebook account from Twitter. It's really Cool.

Twiggit: A tool that post a tweet every time you Digg a Article on Digg Nation.

Tiny URL: Not a short cut but a URL shortener so you can use less of your 140 characters when you want to post a link

Last but not least this is not really a shortcut but for Stat nuts like me I love to something I can use to track my twitter account so I use Twitter Analyzer. It provides tons of tools to see everything you have been doing on twitter.

Another Tool we will talk about in a later post is the Flock Browser. Without getting too technical its basically the Firefox browser built for Social Networking. Check it out if you get a minute.

I hope these help you use twitter faster and more efficiently. Do you have twitter short cuts that you use in your ministry? What are they? How are you using them? Let me know!
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