I have become addicted to Twitter. And I have made several new friends this week as other "tweeters" followed General Convention along with me. I'm not new to electronic community. I am a member of a Christian Community in the Episcopal Church (Rivendell) that was born and nurtured through its first years through e-mail. 12 years ago when we began there was no "twitter" or "facebook," only e-mail and Instant Message. Through honest and frequent communication on-line we first members of Rivendell became more closely connected.
I did not imagine Twitter could accomplish the same thing before this week, because I didn't "get" how it could work, and couldn't imagine 140 characters being enough for real conversation. I was wrong. It is. And in fact, I think it may foster conversation because one person can't go on and on uninterrupted.
There are some downsides. This week it has required periods of constant attention, and I have found myself checking Tweets in meetings and at other time that I should have been doing other things. This is true of other communication, too, though, both telephonic and electronic.
There has been a group of obsessed Tweeters that have gathered over the past several days in cyberspace to follow the debating and voting of both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. Some members of the Twitter cadre were in Anaheim, in the galleries of the houses sending updates for those of us spread across the country. Some of us were able to watch the live stream of the debate online - and are exceedingly grateful for that service. Others could not. So everyone shared what they were seeing and hearing or wondering about. There has been lively debate from differing viewpoints. A few ugly intruders who would or could not maintain a civil atmosphere.
On Tuesday (I think) as we were watching the exciting vote in the House of Bishops on allowing all people access to the ordination process, someone Tweeted that it was great for us all to be together for that event! He was absolutely right. Community had formed and though we could not all be in Anaheim, we were together as members of the same church watching, praying, and celebrating the work of our governing bodies.
What a gift! Much of this was made possible because Sarah Bennett (@sarahgbennett) set up a "twubs" group for us. Thank you Sarah! And to all the other tweeters who I now consider friends!