A “Tweet Up” is an opportunity for those who follow one another on Twitter to “meet up” and hang out in a real place and time, to actually share space together, not just virtual space. A Tweet Up is an interesting dynamic and something worth reflecting on considering connection, communion, and the social network framework that we find ourselves in.
Think with me, for a moment, how a Tweet Up can relate to Ecclesiology (the study of Church). Twitter is a place where people can connect wirelessly, viturally, etc. You can get to know a person through simple “following” and “tweeting” back and forth on Twitter.
But do you really know the person who we are following and whom is following us?
In the same way, just because you share worship space with people for 1.5 hours on Sundays, do you really know them?
Marshall McLuhan once said (prophetically) that technology is amputating humanity and substituting it for a device, i.e. a phone is a replacement for mouth and ear.
What if the 1.5 hours per week gathering is amputating community? Ever wander why the most sermons about community are shared from pulpits of churches that struggle to cultivate it. Maybe the next church you and I find that has “community” in its core values should be the next one we avoid, for it is still trying to convince itself that it needs community. We have a way of allowing our implicit and explicit values to contradict one another.
The Reformation, for better or for worse, communicated that a group of people are not a church unless the Word is rightfully preached and where Sacraments and Church Discipline are rightly administered. After a while, it gave us the message that “all of God’s business is done in the building.” Perhaps this definition of church, though initially intended to give clarity in a chaotic situation, has amputated the ekklesia.
A Tweet Up, on the other hand, has an honest confession. It says, “I can’t really experience the fullness of Twitter without sharing literal space/time with others. Twitter is just the beginning, a container for interaction. Relationship emerges when we share space/time.”
Perhaps a healthy church should be measured by other means besides attendance. We wouldn’t say a person is really connected via Twitter because they have a lot of followers. We know this, but we still measure it the same old way. Imagine if a church initiated a “Tweet Up”-like gathering with their followers. Imagine how many would be there. Regardless of the number, one thing is for sure, the ekklesia would all be there.