Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why You Need To Be On Twitter - And How To Get There

Archbishop Chaput noted the following at one of his talks he gave during World Youth Day:

"Being uninformed about the world and its problems and issues is a sin against our vocation as disciple... We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC for reliable news about religion. These news media simply don’t provide trustworthy information about religious faith -- and sometimes they can’t provide it, either because of limited resources or because of their own editorial prejudices... These are secular operations focused on making a profit... They have very little sympathy for the Catholic faith, and quite a lot of aggressive skepticism toward any religious community that claims to preach and teach God’s truth... and with relatively few exceptions... the mass media tend to cover these disputed issues with a combination of ignorance, laziness, and bias against traditional Christian belief."

So how does one get news from reliable sources quickly and easily??? My suggestion is Twitter.

Twitter takes 8.3 seconds to sign up for. Go to twitter.com, create a name, create a password, and your rolling.

Here's how to take advantage of Twitter - follow about 50-150 people/organizations that you feel will give you solid and trustworthy updates on news and culture. Every time a person you follow sends out a "tweet" it appears in your timeline, giving you a nice "table of contents" on what is truly newsworthy - without the bias of the secular media filtering the news stories for you.

Here's how to find who to follow: When you go on Twitter, find my profile. Click on my name, and then you'll get some stats about me. One of the stats says "Following: 111" which means I'm following 111 people. Click on that, and then you'll see who I'm following. You can then choose to follow any of the same people by clicking on "+ follow" You can also go to other people you like/trust, and see who they follow as well, and then you can repeat that process until you are happy with the sources that you have.

Some people say you have to follow anyone who follows you - I say that's hogwash! Some people on Twitter will "tweet" things that are completely useless, and, even worse, some will "tweet" way too frequently, which can keep you from easily seeing the tweets of the other people whom you follow. I used to follow this Catholic blogger names the Anchoress, but it seemed like she tweeted 25 times a day, so I stopped following her to keep my timeline of tweets cleaner.

I would suggest a couple of other things
a) follow people who have opposing views so you can see what is coming from that side of the debate. For example, I follow Planned Parenthood to see what "information" they are putting out there
b) don't follow more than 50-150 people/organizations or it will become difficult to sort through all of the tweets in your timeline
c) You don't ever have to send out a tweet yourself in order to take advantage of Twitter.

Twitter is great if you can set it up to work for you. It gathers all of the blogs and news that you are interested in into one convenient place for you to get quick summaries so that you can see which stories and posts you want to read about further. It keeps you from having to run all over the internet trying to gather the news; when I'm on Twitter in the morning, I'm usually only on for about 5-10 minutes. Afterwards, I feel like I have a good idea of what is going on in the world and don't need to go elsewhere for info.

The best way to put Twitter to work for you is to simply try it. I promise, after 15 minutes you'll figure it out and it will be up and running and ready to do a lot of work for you! Do not be afraid of Twitter!!!

Let me know if you have any other questions/suggestions about using Twitter.