In July 2012, Ripon Cathedral discovered that it had a Twitter account which had been registered but which had never uttered a single Tweet. Despite this, it had 150 followers. A decision was taken to Tweet.
This month, in my role as the person who oversees Ripon Cathedral’s online ministry, I gave a seminar at the National Media Museum in Bradford about how and what the Cathedral tweets and how its audience has built from 150 to over 1700 over the past 11 months. Our main concern when we started using Twitter was to make this a genuine part of the Cathedral’s ministry, not merely an online diary and noticeboard service, but to provide opportunities for genuine engagement, conversations and to develop relationships with a variety of people and organisations using this medium. There was no strategy, as such, in July 2012 but this presentation tries to tell the story of how we started to use Twitter, what happened when we did, and how our audience grew. This is best viewed full screen and there are links to external web pages at the end with some further information.
In ministry terms, the thing that strikes me about being @riponcathedral is that it is a form of incarnational ministry online. A Cathedral represents different things to different people, but a simple practice such as nightly prayer tweets have proven especially powerful. I know of many Christians who do the same thing – Tweeting compline extracts was not an original idea – but the fact of a Cathedral with monastic roots in the 7th century doing it reinforces the sense of a faithful, prayerful communion of saints which the Church represents and which the physical edifice of a medieval Cathedral resonates with powerfully.
If you have any questions, do add them in the comments section and Nick will do his best to answer them.