The world is a-twitter about http://www.twitter.com/. And as with any hype, this is all we are hearing about. Twitter has eclipsed facebook as the tool of the moment. But we know that in 6 months there will be another tool that is getting all the attention.
But this week there is a convergence that represents a new innovation that has great potential for ministry. As many of you have been following along with the turmoil in Iran, you have undoubtedly heard about the opposition's use of twitter, facebook and other tools. In a wired world, this is one of the most dramatic examples to date of a people using social media to take their cause to the world.
I followed along captivated to www.twitter.com/persiankiwi (one of the more reliable feeds) as they shared about speeches, beatings, moving to new hideouts and finding new cracks in the blanket Iranian police were trying to put over the Internet. I also watched as they went from 8000 followers on Tuesday to almost 30,000 on Saturday.
As @persiankiwi along with many others began sharing what was going on people started to put #iranelections at the end or beginning of their twitter or facebook posts. This tag allowed all the feeds that included it to be searched and streamed together. You can go to: http://search.twitter.com/search?lang=en&q=iranelections to see the constantly growing list of messages with this phrase.
What this did was unite thousands of people - some in Iran getting out messages and others in various parts of the world sharing those messages or responding with their encouragment.
This feature has become a key part of mobilizing people around events and ideas. So I gave it a try early this week. On Tuesday morning I started using #iranprayers and encouraging others to do the same. You can now go to http://search.twitter.com/search?q=iranprayers and see over 6 pages of messages with that tag.
One of the innovations in technologies like twitter is the ability to have countless people anywhere in the world engage in one discussion. This is a powerful tool for ministry. Where before we tried to beam messages about missions to people we had to push them out and hope that someone listened. Now we can launch a message and then watch as the world jumps in. For instance, you can connect with countless people talking about missions by searching http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23missions.
Now think about your cause - whatever it is. How could you harness the power of these tools to begin a global conversation about your cause and to raise awareness just as people are doing about the protests in Iran? How could you build your tribe of people with a passion for your cause using tools like this?
Give it a try and let us know how it goes.