You might be wondering, “what the heck is this talk of Tweeting all about.” No doubt, you’ve heard the social networking tool, Twitter, mentioned on news programs, during sporting events, or by your friends and family. It has been called “micro-blogging”, because each post (or “Tweet”) is limited to just 140 characters.
You may be skeptical; “who cares what anyone has to say with 140 characters?” But, not so fast! Twitter has been credited for playing a role in many recent world events (Check out this article, “10 Historical Events Affected by Social Media” to get the highlights), not to mention innumerable pop-cultural events.
Many folks use Twitter to get up-to-the-minute news or to stay connected with their favorite band, celebrity, or athlete. Others might follow comedians to get some humor throughout the day, or follow a local restaurant so they’ll know what the night Happy Hour specials will be.
OK, so even if Twitter has something of interest to people, you might be wondering why the Xaverian Brothers are bothering to have a presence on the site. Well, we’ve found it to be yet another good tool for disseminating information across the web. All our postings to Facebook and Living the Charism also end up as Tweets. But we also have some content that is unique to Twitter. Take a look at a few examples below (we’ll also give you some recommendations on who to follow).
1. Death Anniversaries – Our Twitter feed is automatically set up to tweet Death Anniversaries throughout the day. It is a nice and spontaneous way to remember those Brothers who have left us. Here is Brother Anselm’s Tweet, from February 5th:
2. A (very) Short Anecdote – When we Tweet a Brother’s Death Anniversary, five minutes later, a short anecdote about that Brother is also Tweeted. This is what was posted about Brother Anselm and Brother Arthur (February 1st):
3. Hashtags – Finally, Twitter allows for what are called hashtags. A hashtag is begun by typing this (#) symbol before an unbroken set of letters and/or numbers. Hashtags are searchable. So if you click on a hashtag (they’re active hyperlinks) it will bring you to a list of the most recent Tweets that used that hashtag. Give it a try: click one of the two hashtags contained in the tweet below (#Brother or #iamxaverian).
These two hashtags are continually used in our @XaverianBros Tweets, but other people can use them too. And in that way the fabric of the social network is woven! The #Brother hashtag is interesting, because if you search that hashtag most people are using it to speak about their own biological brother. But the Xaverian Brothers pay witness to a broader, more inclusive understanding of what a brother is and does. That witness is now being realized in the world of social media.
The #iamxaverian hashtag is also an interesting one. We hope that our associates, collaborators, and XBSS students past and present use the hashtag to pay witness to their own sense of Xaverianism. What makes a Xaverian a Xaverian? It’s not the hashtag alone, but search the collection of #iamxaverian hashtags, and maybe one day we’ll begin to see the Charism of the Brothers’ showing through.
If you’d like to get involved on Twitter, just sign up at twitter.com. To find out more about how to use twitter, take a look at “Twitter 101.” If Twitter is still not your thing, but you’d like to check in on what the Xaverian Brothers are Tweeting from time to time, you can visit the @XaverianBros Twitter Timeline without signing up for a username.
OK, so if you’ve decided to take the plunge and get a Twitter account, below are some folks we recommend you follow. Happy Tweeting!
Pope Benedict XVI
Everything is a gift from God: it is only by recognizing this crucial dependence on the Creator that we will find freedom and peace.
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 6, 2013
African Faith & Justice Network
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
National Catholic Reporter
Will bipartisan love-in on #immigration reform last long enough for real progress or will GOP foes play “amnesty” card? commonwealmagazine.org/common-ground
— Commonweal Magazine (@commonwealmag) February 6, 2013
Brother Lawrence Harvey, C.F.X.