God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Characters Matter

Twitter has quickly become the most common way I communicate with my friends these days (yes, even more popular than Facebook). There’s just something about the simple purity of a stream of status updates that are free from quiz invites and your latest acquisitions in Farmville. Although Facebook is the golden child at the moment, our church’s Twitter account has been gaining popularity over the past few months as well (thanks to a better updating strategy) and more of our staff is interacting with the church on Twitter every day.

Due to this rise in popularity, I’m considering drafting a style guide for us to use for ministry-related tweets from our official accounts. Although it’s great to have a lot of different voices sending out official tweets, there are a few bad habits you may want to reign in before things get out of control. Here are the ones that bother me the most…

The Novelist

Im hvg 2 cram this n2 140 ltrs bcause I dont understand the point of Twitter; this gross 4matting m8ks it hrd 2 rd & it snds unprofessional.

Twitter has a 140 character limit for a reason; it was built to communicate a message that you could tell somebody in about one breath. It’s not a blogging replacement or an alternative to an email newsletter. If you can’t say it without massive shortening and abbreviation, you shouldn’t be saying it through Twitter.

The Email Forward’s Long Lost Cousin

RT @my_friend RT @his_friend RT @some_guy_ive_heard_of RT @no_idea_who_this_is RT @seriously_who_is_this_and_why_do_i_care Hurry read this..

What’s worse than receiving an email forward? Receiving an email forward where you scroll through 50 pages of people you’ve never heard of to read the cute two-sentence joke at the bottom. Posting a 3 word tweet with 40 words of credits is just as bad. Only retweet the person’s feed you saw it on.

The Foreign Language

RT @my_friend #super_geeky #l33t_speek_club Yeah I think the same thing, DM me pls, kthx! // (via @some_other_guy_i_know)

Nothing scares “normal” people away from Twitter like a tweet that could practically be written in binary. If you want to be geeky with your tech-savvy friends, go for it. For a wide audience, try to keep official tweets readable by the average human :-)

The Mystic

@yourtwitterfeed: Great morning!
@yourtwitterfeed: Wow.
@yourtwitterfeed: Please pray.
@yourtwitterfeed: http://ow.ly/10JsK

The Mystic is the total opposite of The Novelist. They tweet only a few words, are extremely vague, and post links with no explanation. It aggravates your audience and gives them no obvious reason to follow you. Make sure your official tweets convey a message!

We don’t have an excuse to be sloppy just because we’re using a new communications medium. Keep the various Twitter personalities on your staff in check with a simple, shared style guide (here’s a great one from Social Media Today). Your audience will appreciate it.

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