My very first Tweet was (allegedly) a sinful one

Twitter is celebrating its 8th birthday, and in connection with that has set up a website where you can find your very first Tweet ever.

Allegedly, this is mine:

first Tweet

First, I remember that Tweet. Weirdly, I was thinking about it during Mass this past Sunday. I was thinking about how it takes willpower to refrain from Tweeting during Mass, and I suddenly remembered a time when I gave in to the temptation. I sort of remembered where I was sitting. I also remembered that I had been to Starbucks that morning, and was still feeling a very nice first-cup buzz at the time. And I remembered that I mentioned that I was in Mass in the Tweet. (And the timestamp, 12:37 p.m., places it smack in the middle of the Mass I attend most weeks. And I checked — May 24 was a Sunday.)

Second, it seems highly unlikely that that was my first Tweet. I seem to recall rather clearly first trying out Twitter during the week, while sitting in my office in the Byrnes Building at USC. This was when I was on that 90-day consulting contract with Harris Pastides, right after I was laid off at The State. I had been talked into trying Twitter after a meeting in which some other consultants had given the university president and members of his communications team a presentation on social media. Tim Kelly talked me into it. I was reluctant to try Twitter, but he persuaded me that it would be a great tool for promoting my blog.

I remember trying it, sitting there in that office, and almost immediately becoming hooked on it. Which surprised me. I thought I would hate it.

It seems highly unlikely that I would have waited until Sunday, while I was in Mass, to try my first Tweet. For one thing, if I hadn’t Tweeted before, how would I know that it was something I enjoyed doing, and therefore be tempted into doing it at such an inappropriate moment?

Still, it was interesting to suddenly have that indiscretion thrown at me today. It’s both a pleasant blast from the past, and a cause for a wave of guilt. But then, as Yossarian said to Chaplain Tappman, “I wouldn’t want to live without strong misgivings. Right, Chaplain?”

7 thoughts on “My very first Tweet was (allegedly) a sinful one

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, um… that MAY have been my first Tweet after all.

    Here’s my first blog post in which I mention having signed up for Twitter. It was on that Sunday, and it says I had created my account on Saturday, so my memory was wrong there — I didn’t do it from my desk at USC.

    Then the next day, I mentioned some of my first Tweets, and some of them are from Starbucks AFTER Mass, when I went back for a second cup because I’d felt so good from the first one. I remember that. I remember sitting, looking out at the rain, and typing those Tweets on my Blackberry.

    So… why that would have been my first Tweet, I don’t know. But it apparently was…

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        What, y’all don’t want to spread the message? It’s not like you was testifyin’ or anything…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          In my experience, it’s just culturally not a thing we do. Theologically, we’re supposed to share the good news, and bear witness through our words and actions.

          But Catholics in my experience sort of tacitly accept that some people are Catholic and some are not, and they don’t seem compelled to convert those who are not. If you want to join, we’ll accommodate you — if you’re willing to go through that months-long process. But it’s not like we’re out on the street buttonholing people.

          If someone comes up to you and says, “Do you have a church home here in town?,” that’s a Protestant.

          And I think Catholics in the South have experienced that enough that they really, really don’t want to be accused of doing that to someone else.

          Not that people who do that mean any harm. Quite the contrary, they’re trying to do something FOR you. But it can make Catholics uncomfortable, because they know that if they explain they are Catholic (and we don’t DO this sort of thing), it can be awkward with some evangelicals. The more likely someone is to ask you something like that, the higher the probability that that person doesn’t have the best impression of Catholicism — or so it can seem to Catholics.

          My father-in-law didn’t worry about the awkwardness. When strangers asked him about his affiliation, he would say, “I’m ROMAN Catholic,” just sort of daring ’em to come on, as Huck Finn would say.


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