A year or more ago some of my former students from the Heights (a school in Washington, DC) "friended" me on Facebook. I rarely used it but from time to time I accepted requests or invited someone else to join. I even put up a few pictures. One day I decided to look to see if another former student of mine -whom I had been in contact with from time to time- from the late sixties was on Facebook. He was and I decided to send an email to him through Facebook. Lo and behold he answered. The answer came via Twitter. In his reply he mentioned that he and his brother whom I also knew) used Twitter for these kinds of messages. So I decided to sign up for Twitter to keep in touch with them. (TweetDeck tells me that this was in February) The first was @jamesoreilly and the second @timoreilly. The latter is well known in internet circles. I didn't really know much about Twitter or what it could be useful for.
When I signed up I listed Tim and James as people to follow and on the set up page I looked through the list of people to follow and decided to pick the founders of Twitter (@jack; @ev; @biz and a few other similar types. I still follow them and have learned a lot from their tweets, even if they don't even know I am following them.
My first followers were internet marketing types some of whom I still "follow" such as @charlesyeo and @mariaandros. Twitter is a cool tool for this kind of business enterprise and I wish them well. In the meantime I have picked up a few more of these "followers" with an odd assortment of others whom I am not sure why they bother to follow me. A significant portion of my small "followers" are "Catholic" related types. I hope they profit from my Tweets; some indicate that they do and a few RT me, which is appreciated.
When I began I had no idea what I wanted to accomplish or say in 140 character "tweets." It was Charles Yeo who suggested that I use my tweets to preach. In fact I set for myself the goal of sending out a daily tweet "homily" in 140 characters or less. (I try to base them on the daily mass readings from the Catholic liturgy or something related to this.) Shortly after I began, one of my followers spoke appreciatively of my homilitweets and I adopted that word as my hash tag. Thus far I don't think I have missed a day without a "homilitweet" (even without the #, since it eats up characters.) I am not sure who reads them, although occasionally a "follower" will RT or make a comment. They also go to my "friends" on Facebook. The daily homilitweets are the principle "voice crying in the wilderness" of this blog. I wish that they reached more of the vast audience of those who are wrapped up in the cares of this world for whom they might serve as a whisper of the spirit, but that is not up to me. I do not desire to become a "popular" spiritual figure on Twitter.
In addition to the daily homilitweet I occasionally put up opinions of a religious nature, trying to avoid any label other than "Catholic." Often I RT someone else's news or opinion piece. This strikes me as one of the best uses of this kind of service. I have also experimented with voice tweets and pics, as well as occasional links to homilies recorded at Mass. I am still learning.
My basic objective is still to make God present in the world of internet communication and to reveal his loving face in Jesus Christ with the prayer that some will be moved by the Spirit to be attentive to his inspirations.