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6 Reasons Why I Don't Respond to Every Tweet

Yes, I reply on Twitter.

It surprises people sometimes, but I think that is part of the point of Twitter. People who just “broadcast” are missing part of the point. Twitter is about interaction.

And, I am glad to reply to as many as I can. I reply to maybe half of the tweets directed my way. I do so in bursts along the way, hitting several in a row. And, people seem to appreciate it. I enjoy the interaction as well. That is what Twitter is for, I think.

However, there are many I miss which is why I say in my Twitter bio (in Twitter shorthand), “Sry I can’t reply to all msgs.” I guess that is my way of trying to explain my failure to reply to all those that I would like to engage.

However, there are some that I hardly ever reply to. You probably don’t care since that’s not you, but here is a list of six reasons (plus a bonus) about why I do not reply to some people.

1. Your question begins with the phrase, “What percent…” Regrettably, I just can’t respond to those all day, particularly since most of them can be answered with a simple Google search (see number 2). But, to be honest, even if they are not on Google, I just can’t help with most and still do my job.

2. It could be answered by a simple Google search. It is always, always better to Google something before emailing or sending tweets. (That’s why I love LMGTFY so much.)

3. It is just you trying to make a point that you did not like how something was phrased. For example, I recently sent this tweet out of a quote from George Hunter, author of The Celtic Way of Evangelism, “Shepherds don’t make new sheep, sheep make new sheep.” Several people tweeted back something like, “Well, don’t you think the Good Shepherd makes all the sheep?” Got it . . . and I’m pretty sure George Hunter knew it since he is a seminary professor and all.

Sometimes the temptation is to try and show how smart you are that there is another way to look at it (other than the intended way, which is that you need to teach regular people to do evangelism). I simply can’t respond.

4. You’re a troll— just trying to get me to reply. Some folks just love to complain or argue. I don’t. I am of the view that I don’t have to show up for every argument I am invited to. Sometimes I do show up, but most of the time I don’t . . . which, I know, drives Trolls crazy (and that makes me happy, I have to confess).

5. You are a contentious person. If your last five tweets are complaints to Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, John Piper, and whomever, don’t send me messages and expect a reply. Clearly, you have time to grumble to people you have never met, but I don’t have time to reply to you.

6. Twitter is the wrong medium to reply to your question. It is not a good idea to send complex questions over Twitter. It’s for 140 characters, that’s all. It’s for fun, quick replies, short bursts, but not a time for my view of cessationism (which, I think does not make sense, by the way).

And, as a bonus . . . 

7. No, I can’t give you Matt Chandler’s cell phone number or email. Or Rick Warren’s (who does not carry a cell much, or at least that is what they tell me!), or David Platt’s (who changed his and I don’t have it because I am not that big of a deal). Just because I met a guy, it does not mean we are best buds and even if we were, I am not the conduit to him. Call his office – or tweet him and ask for his cell number. 😉

It’s no secret that I enjoy Twitter. It’s a great way to interact and I interact way more than most people. But, there are also less then helpful ways to engage – and I’d thought I would share a few. (Rant over.)

Are these good or bad reasons? What are some reasons you don’t reply?

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is the Dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola Univeristy and Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor at Mariners Church. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. Dr. Stetzer is the host of "The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast," and his national radio show, "Ed Stetzer Live," airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates.