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About my Twitter anniversary

I have been rather quiet on social media recently due to a week away from home. My Twitter anniversary came as something of a surprise, when it was flagged up to me – not least because I have now been tweeting, twittering or otherwise being a twit for five years. (Photo from Twitter)

Figure five decorated with coloured scrolls and paisley shapes on a pink background

My reasons for joining Twitter may be found in an earlier post.

Why have I continued with Twitter for 5 years? The short answer is that I enjoy Twitter. Although it is known as a place where feelings run high and people are nasty to each other, that has not been my experience.

I follow accounts for news, writers, books, countryside, photography, heritage, nature (especially wildflowers and birds), people I have met offline, church, music, A to Z bloggers, over 40s bloggers and a few random accounts of bloggers. I also ‘follow back’ people, who seem to have something in common with me. Twitter analytics tells me that most of my followers are interested in dogs.

From Twitter I learn lots of things. I do not watch television at home. However the information I find on Twitter for news and weather keeps me up-to-date. My knowledge of the names of wildflowers and some of their characteristics has been helped by #wildflowerhour.

While I was away recently I watched several quiz shows on my hostess’s television. I was amazed how many answers I could guess correctly. I haven’t learned from TV. Twitter and books are my teachers!

When people tweet about TV programmes, I am not particularly interested, but I do become aware of the programmes, which are being shown. At one time I’d have had this information from the Radio Times. Nowadays it is available online.

I keep away from political debate. If something seems to be happening locally, which might be newsworthy, I do not Tweet about the emergency vehicles I have seen. The emergency services need to be able to work without undue attention. Afterwards I might write about something, such as a recent fire. I sometimes retweet other people’s tweets. There has to be a balance about how much one retweets and original posts. Many of my posts alert my followers to blog posts – either mine or those on the More than Writers’ blog to which I am a contributor. I sometimes interact with others, but not many people reply to most of my tweets.

Since I joined, Twitter has changed from 140 to 280 characters. I could usually say what I wanted in the original number of characters. I have just about become used to the longer Tweets. I also find the Add a Tweet facility quite useful as one can produce a thread of tweets all at once. I have begun to add descriptions to my photos for those with impaired or limited vision. Tweetdeck is very useful for Twitter chats, such as #wildflowerhour.

As I have followed more people on Twitter the number of posts I have liked compared to the number of my tweets (including retweets) has increased.

I perhaps spend too much time scrolling through Twitter. However I do not watch TV, so I regard Twitter as my entertainment.

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Why it is good to meet up with other writers

Last weekend I attended a writers’ conference. The main theme was short story writing.

The weather was perfect – dry but not too hot. There was plenty of good food, beautiful scenery, birds to watch and more besides.

The speakers and most of those attending the sessions are members of the Association of Christian Writers (ACW), which has a new website. There is a link to its daily blog to which I contribute seven times a year.

The first time I attended one of these weekends I wrote a post about how over-stimulated I was afterwards. Now that I have met many of the people before, it is not so overwhelming. They are the sort of people with whom one resumes a friendship as if we met more frequently. The phrase, picking up where we left off, springs to mind. Quite a few of us keep in touch on Facebook.

I had been feeling short of writing inspiration and enthusiasm for blogging before I went. The writing exercises and conversations with other people helped me write a short story and two poems on the Saturday. I also decided what to write about for my next More than Writers blog post.

Because I was still bruised from a fall in our garden over a week earlier, I didn’t venture on a long walk on the Saturday afternoon, but stayed in, putting a few pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. It had only been started by our group and had 1000 pieces. The usual comment from passers-by was, “Have you finished it yet?”

I also borrowed a children’s book from the library at Scargill House and read it from cover to cover during the weekend. My next post here should be about books. I have been reading more than writing this month.

The weekend ended with a service of Holy Communion in the beautiful chapel and Sunday lunch. The leaders gave the talk in the service, encouraging us in life as well as in writing.

 

#PsalmTweets: the last 16 tweets

This is my final post in the #PsalmTweets project, which began with Psalm 1 on Sunday 27 August and ended with Psalm 150 on Tuesday 23 January. (I say ended, but @PsalterMark is continuing hopefully with a new group of #PsalmTweeters.)

Rather than have two weeks of Tweets here and a final post with only two tweets and perhaps some thoughts about the challenge as a whole, I am doing the final round-up here. Scroll to the bottom of this post for my reflections on the project, if you are not interested in the Tweets!

Ps. 135: A psalm of praise to God for who He is, what He does and has done. A call to those, who are in awe of God to praise Him. #PsalmTweets

Ps. 136: A psalm of thanks to God for what He is, what He does and his love, Refrain: His love endures forever.

Ps. 137: An unhappy, homesick psalm from exile in Babylon – unable to sing and wishing for vengeance.

Ps. 138: David promises to praise God whole-heartedly. He desires that all the kings of the earth would do likewise. He reflects on God’s omniscience and love.

Ps. 139: A favourite psalm. David speaks of God’s knowledge of him/us, his presence, foreknowledge, protection, creation. David is honest and open before God

Ps. 140. David prays for deliverance from evil men. He asks God to avenge. He ends with a declaration of faith in a just God. The righteous will praise God and live in his presence.

Ps. 141: David prays about his relationship with God, that God would keep him from sinning by word or deed. He prays against evildoers, fixes his eyes on the sovereign Lord and asks for protection.

Ps. 142: David’s prayer when pusued by King Saul. He was hiding in a cave. Men were against him, but God was his refuge.

Ps. 143: An urgent prayer of David, pursued by an enemy, wishing to know God’s guidance and will, asking for rescue from trouble and for his enemies to be silenced.

Ps. 144: David praises God, who trains him for war. This is a difficult psalm in the context of “Love your enemies”. David sees deliverance by God as the key to prosperity and peace in the land.

Ps. 145: Headed “A psalm of praise. Of David” this one does what it says! 4 sections begin with statements about God’s character.

Ps. 146: A psalm of praise to God. Comparison between trusting in mortals and in the sovereign Lord of creation, salvation, healing, love and protection, who rules for ever.

Ps. 147: A psalm of praise to the God of Israel (thought to be exclusive) for his works in the life of the nation, creation, sustaining the earth. Poetry about the weather. Sing praises to God!

Israel is another name for Jacob. Christians believe that they are included as sons/daughters of the patriarchs as well as being children of God.

Ps. 148: “Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore him” is a hymn inspired by this psalm. Let all creation praise the creator.

Ps. 149: A song of praise to God, who is creator and King. Prayer about vengeance against other nations is difficult in the light of other scriptures.

Ps. 150: A wonderful psalm of praise to end with. Praise God in his sanctuary, for his acts of power. Use every sort of musical instrument, dance! All living things, praise the Lord!

Having the goal of Tweeting about each Psalm has helped me focus and analyse the construction. I have noticed details in some of the psalms, which I had glossed over previously. The differences between the outlook of the Psalmists and that of Jesus Christ struck me quite forcibly, especially in some of these later psalms included in this post.

I am taking a break from reading a Psalm a day and reading some of the New Testament on a regular basis, alongside the study materials I use. (Mentioned in my What I read in December post.)

The Psalms have much to teach us, but they have to be read in the context of the Bible as a whole. For example, Israel is another name for Jacob. Christians believe that they are included as sons/daughters of the patriarchs as well as being children of God. Psalm 147 uses Israel as the name of a nation.

I am thankful for the other Psalm Tweeters, who have encouraged me by likes or retweets and to my readers here.

Having accidentally discovered how to set up a poll on Twitter, I asked my followers there to vote on the subject of my future Tweets. A small majority of a small number of voters were in favour of tweets about the Gospel of Matthew. I am not qualified to exam-level in theology, but I ran the idea past the vicar, who encouraged me to go ahead with it. I am not setting myself daily targets as with the Psalm Tweets, which was a community project.