Thursday, 16 August 2012


So, I've had an idea.  It's one of those ideas that sort of swishes about in my head for ages.  Some days I think it's a real cracker of an idea, and other days I think it's just a bit rubbish.  So I thought I'd take a sounding from people who read this.  I'd really appreciate it if you 'commented' on this, even if it's just a 'good idea' or 'bad idea' comment.  Obviously, if you want to write in depth about why my idea is the worst thing you've heard *ever*, feel free to devote some time to tearing it to shreds, but I would just be interested to have a response one way or the other.

It's to do with Twitter and accountability.  I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you're familiar with Twitter.  As for accountability, it's just making sure that we have relationships with other people which encourage us to be all we can be and to maintain a high standard in our lives.  In fact, I'm being accountable to you lot who read this by posting this idea on my blog, and tweeting about it ad nauseum. 

The Bible makes it really clear that God, in His grace, gives us the chance to enjoy a restored relationship with Him, both now and, more fully, when we die.  It also makes it pretty clear that the standards we set for our speech and actions and the like should be pretty high.  It is often easier to maintain high standards when we are part of a community that is trying to do the same thing.
The basic idea is that Twitter could be used as an accountability tool.  I figure that I could tweet something along these lines on, for example, a Sunday evening.

Over the course of the next week, people would know that prayer is something I'm going to be working on that week.  I could be more specific if I wanted, along the lines of #dailyprayertime or something like that. This would then allow people to hold me accountable to that plan for the week, and perhaps to encourage me in it over the course of the next few days.  They could even tweet tips to help.  For example, I set an alarm on my phone that goes off every weekday during term time to remind me to set aside time to pray.

At the end of the week, I could tweet #standorfall #prayer #stand if I had done what I'd set out to.  Equally, I could tweet #standorfall #prayer #fall if I'd not (in this example, if I'd failed to set aside time one day to pray, for example)

That's basically the idea, in a nutshell.
Currently, the hashtag #standorfall has just been nicked by bhafc (Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club - a minority group if ever there was one (sorry Russ;))) but I'm guessing that's not too great an issue.

Some of the hashtags I would suggest might include:

Obviously, you might have something that might be particularly relevant that week.  If you had a meeting coming up where you know you'll struggle to accept the authority of others, you might hashtag #submission.  If you're struggling with the fact that everyone around you has nicer cars/shoes/clothes/food or whatever, you might hashtag #contentment.  You get the picture, I'm sure.

Here are some of the pros and cons I've come up with (feel free to add to these)

It might encourage me to put a bit more effort into living how I should (even if no-one tweets me about it, it's still 'out there' and they could at any time)
It would encourage me to be open and honest about my growth as a Christian.
It encourages a positive side to the Twitter community.  There's a lot of cynicism swilling about (I'm not flawless myself!) and this might help to redress the balance.

The amazing amazing amazing thing about my relationship with God is His grace.  Nothing I could ever #hashtag would ever change His love for me.  I wouldn't want people getting hung up on 'doing stuff right' and so forget that God's grace is enough.  I think I'd probably recommend not repeating the same hashtag target endlessly if you keep #falling.  That would just mess with your head.  Do something else and come back to it later.  Speak to people about what helps them in the area you're struggling with too.
I can imagine people taking it a bit far.  #standorfall #stophavingfantasiesaboutmyPEteacher, for example, is not something I'd ever really want to see...  I would probably stick with a one word or at least very brief #hashtag.  We don't need to know the details.
I can also imagine that some people might take the opportunity to criticise or belittle any who #fall, which really wouldn't be the point.  I guess it would be possible to have the whole concept without putting either #stand or #fall at the end of the week.

What do you think?

Please comment, even if it's just a word - I'd love to get an idea of what people think.

*I've just updated the blog to add a poll.  If you really don't want to write a comment, just click 'yes', or 'no' at the top of the blog :)

p.s. if you are a bhafc supporter, don't worry, I'm just teasing about you being a minority group - go seagulls!


  1. Thinking lots of things about this...
    Mainly - this is a really cool idea, for those of us who do the accountability thing.

    Don't know if the stand or fall hashtag is best one to use, partly because it's not immediately obvious what it means, partly because if you do a quiet time you've got to write 'stand' and if you don't you have to write 'fall' - and I believe I stand or fall on The Rock, not on my quiet time ability. As I know you also believe!

    I was wondering about a more straightforward #remindme type thing. E.g 'this week I really want to pray more #remindme'

    Hmm. That doesnt really work either. (I'm typing as I think, just so you know).

    But - this leads me onto an awesomey awsomey idea. How about #10for10? For ten weeks, you do ten disciplines - one discipline a week. You invite people to join you, write some quick blog post about the issue at the start of the week, then that week you concentrate on that discipline. Then everyone can tweet about how they are finding it using that hashtag, and in that way you will keep eachother accountable.

    And NOW I'm thinking 10 weeks is poss a bit too long for people to commit to, maybe 6 or 7. And NOW I'm thinking - wow, this would be perfect for Lent! Or advent! So many go off twitter for Lent - this could be a 'use social media as a help for spiritual discipline' thing. You could launch it as an online course - do an interview in digidisciplie or even trad magazines about this new online spiritual discipline course you're setting up. Quick! Patent the idea! Delete my comment before someone steals it! It's brilliant! It's yours!

    (going to stop now before I rocket off to the moon)

    1. *Loving* the stream of consciousness! Thanks for the ideas :) For the purposes of worldwide patent and domination, I am hereby claiming that idea :)

  2. Go for it. Have a go and see how it works out!