Today, as thousands gather in Minneapolis and many others follow online technology is being used to share news, ideas and connect UUs in real time. We are quickly becoming a networked faith. Compared to last year there are many more congregations, UUA departments and staff, and individuals tweeting away using iPhones, iPads, Blackberry’s, smartphones, netbook computers and other tech.
Since we are all relatively new to social media and especially Twitter, I thought I’d offer a brief guide to Twitter and General Assembly.
Twitter in Brief
Twitter is a website (www.twitter.com) that lets users broadcast 140 character messages.
- Why 140 characters? Because that’s what text messages on older cell phones can handle.
- Who gets the messages? Anyone who chooses to “Follow” that user by going to their Twitter profile page (here’s mine) and clicking the “Follow” button.
- What do messages say? Anything and everything from what people are doing in the moment to breaking news and sharing links.
- You can see what people are saying about GA on Twitter right now.
What’s Happening Now at General Assembly
Twitters ability to broadcast “What’s happening now” has emerged as a great way for people to report on live events in a grass roots fashion. I don’t know how many UUs at this year’s General Assembly are using Twitter, but there are already a good number.
In order to make it possible to follow a specific event, those “tweeting” about an event add what they call a hashtag to their messages. A hashtag is simply the # symbol followed by a string of characters. The tag for GA is #uuga.
Following GA without a Twitter account
You don’t have to be signed up for Twitter to see what people are saying. You can go to search.twitter.com and enter a search for #uuga. This will show you all the GA tweets live. If you use a blog reader, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed for #uuga and follow the tweets along with the blogs you are reading. I have also embedded a display of #uuga tweets on the front page of uuplanet.tv.
General Assembly Hashtags
As mentioned earlier, hashtags such as #uuga help people find tweets on a specific topic. If you are using tweeting about the UUA General Assembly please make sure to tag every tweet with #uuga. That will allow UUs on-site and those of us participating remotely to find your tweet.
Using the primary #uuga is goal number one. But if you are going to be tweeting extensively on other subjects you might consider adding addition tags for specific issues. A number of us on Twitter — me, @revnaomi, @tapestryuu, @AndieArthur — have been discussing additional tags. Here is a list of tags by subject. I’ll update this list as tags are added or shift over time. Thanks to @revnaomi for developing our initial list.
(updated 6/23 3:40pm GA Standard Time)
- #5thP – Governance
- #ARAOMC – Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Multicultural
- #Accessibility – Accessibility issues
- #cyf – Church of the Younger Fellowship
- #Giving – Stewardship and Fundraising
- #Green – Green Sanctuary, Environmental Justice, Climate Climate Change
- #Justice – Social Justice, Social Action
- #MMF – Multicultural Multiracial Future
- #PW – Public Witness
- #SocMed – Social Media
- #Youth – Youth
- #YA – Young Adults
- #Service – Local Service
- #UUUni – UU University
- # LLTour – UU Living Legacy Tour
- #Theology – Theological Issues
- #UU2020 – Discussions of UU Faith Formation in response to the Faith Formation 2020 Report
- #SmSz – Small Congregations
- #MidSz – Midsize Congregations
- #LgSz -Large Congregations
Follow me on Twitter @uuplanet to receive notices of updates to this list.
UUs on Twitter
If you are on twitter and would like to start following other UU’s, the UUA maintains lists of Unitarian Universalists. Twitter has a “lists” feature which allows a user to compile groups of people they are following. Others may go to that list and choose to follow that list. This means that if you choose to follow the list of uua-programs-and-offices you will be followed that list as it is now and all additional users added over time. This is a great way to get started!