Back when Twitter™ was still fairly new, I signed up for a personal account. The concept of sending posts that were restricted to only 140 characters was unusual. The idea that you could follow people, see their tweets appear in real time and share those tweets with people who follow you sounded amazing, in theory.
However, when I actually went to use it, I found myself absolutely lost. I followed some people. Their tweets just filled up my Twitter dashboard. I couldn’t figure out how to find the tweets that were relevant to me. I ended up forgetting about my Twitter account for several years simply because I hadn’t discovered the tools to make it work better for me.
Twitter is a social environment. It’s a platform not just for sharing information, but opening conversation with others, be they church staff, church members or people who want to learn more about your church.
But how can you sort through all the noise to see what’s relevant to your church?
When I hear someone who is frustrated and overwhelmed with Twitter, I always inquire if they’ve tried using TweetDeck. This is an official free Twitter tool that allows you to filter, track and search for information or Twitter users that are relevant to you. It comes in two flavors. A timeline you can view in your web browser or a program you can install on your computer.
Everything updates in real time. This means when someone you follow tweets, you know about it instantly. You can even set the app to create a pop-up message for specific columns so you are alerted the moment something new and important happens.
Once you’ve set up TweetDeck, you may find that you’ll rarely need to go to your Twitter dashboard again. Everything you need comes right to you.
Creating Twitter Lists
Twitter lists are the key to organizing the information flowing into TweetDeck. A list allows you to group Twitter accounts together, creating a sub-timeline for specific viewing. In order to create a list, you must log into your Twitter account on the Twitter website.
For example, you can create a Twitter list called “Staff” and only include accounts of people who are a part of your church staff. Viewing that list will filter out all other tweets and only show you what the church staff members are tweeting about, no matter how many other people you follow.
Maybe you enjoy following inspirational Christian Twitter accounts. You can create an “Inspiration” list for that, allowing you to only view the inspirational tweets, and making it easier to retweet things you feel will uplift your congregation.
You can create any kind of Twitter list that is useful to you. You can also add accounts to the list, remove accounts from the list, and delete the list completely at any time. You can choose to make your lists public or private depending on your preference. Here are some ideas for Twitter lists:
- Church staff
- Church congregation
- Community leaders
- Ministry contemporaries
- Ministry leaders
- Ministry organizations
- Christian inspiration
Using Lists in TweetDeck
Once you’ve created a Twitter list, you can then go to TweetDeck and create a new column that displays the tweets from that specific list. This means that no matter how many Twitter accounts you follow, you will only see tweets from “Staff” or “Inspiration” in those columns. Doing this narrows down the flow of information, helping you to filter out what’s unnecessary.
You can create multiple columns for multiple lists if you need to. Aside from using columns just for lists, TweetDeck allows you to create columns based on an individual user, a specific hashtag, trending topics, notifications and direct messages.
A notification column is very important. This tells you when another Twitter user replies or retweets one of your tweets. It also alerts you to when someone directly tweets to or about your church. TweetDeck instantly notifies you, and you can interact with the other user as needed.
The more responsive you are with Twitter, the more Twitter will become an extension of your church in the online world. This all begins with knowing how to use the right tools to make Twitter work better for your church.
Do you have any additional tips or ideas you’d like to share? You can do so in the comments section below!