Is Twitter too risky for General Convention?
Last summer, I served as a Deputy to General Convention. We were told that we Deputies could not tweet or access the Internet in any way during legislative sessions because we might be distracted. (Never mind that people distract themselves in countless ways.) The sense seems to be that there is some kind of risk in allowing Deputies to tweet.
Here are a couple of case studies. Astronauts are allowed to tweet on the job (even when in orbit). Now I’ve learned that brain surgeons can tweet on the job! Surely Deputies can manage the hazards of tweeting whilst following legislative debate.
There is, of course, a real risk that has gone unnoticed in the current policy. We are a church that is sliding into precipitous decline. The whole business of General Convention is widely perceived, by many Episcopalians, as hopelessly irrelevant to the actual mission and evangelism work of the church.
Perhaps, by encouraging — not just allowing, but encouraging — tweets, the Episcopal Church might find a way to make real connections to people who otherwise wouldn’t follow what was happening at church gatherings. I can tell you that since General Convention, I’ve listened to Lutherans and Anglicans meeting in synod, and in both cases I wouldn’t have been able to follow what was happening without Twitter. I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that neither synod was ruined by the presence of some participants using Twitter. In fact, it’s possible the proceedings were enhanced.
Can we please change the rules before the next General Convention — maybe even the next meeting of Executive Council? Let’s face it, our current rules are a failure, unless the goal is to become wholly irrelevant.