Ashley Baxstrom: There are trending topics, and then there are trending topics. Like the kind that will last 86 years rather than a week. Bonus staying power if they’re holy!
Beliefnet reported a project called “#TweetTheBible,” started by some guy named Anthony J. Thompson and his friends, who basically joked that St. Paul would totally have used Twitter to get out the Good News (all the News that’s fit to tweet, which, well we can do that!) In fact Thompson, a 30-year-old web developer, says he “has always felt called to use technology to edify the global Christian community.”
The result of his calling is @TweetTheBible86 (with a Facebook counterpart), which launched at 11:11 am on November 11 (11/11/11, 11:11) with the first verse of Genesis (so that’s 1-1:1?): “Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God create [sic] the heavens and the earth…”
The team states in a press release that it would take about 86 years to tweet the over 31,000 verses of the entire bible, from beginning to end, at a rate of one verse a day. To date, we’re at Genesis 1:20.
It’s like they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the Bible can’t be tweeted in less than 86 years – especially when your goal, according to your background image, involves “Transforming social media, one verse at a time.” Because – aha! – it’s not just about sharing the Bible or offering their followers “the ability to follow the entire Bible – one consecutive verse per day.” This isn’t just for like-minded Christians – it’s about affecting a change of social media itself.
How, exactly, that will play out remains to be seen. But from the beginning they’ve gone beyond their primary scope of just tweeting verses. Each verse is accompanied by a bit.ly link to an audio recording of a man (who sounds very white, wise and handsome-in-a-middle-aged-way) reading the verse – which is actually kind of necessary since they cheat on the tweeting. Whole verses are often longer than the limited 140 characters, so they let the ellipses lead you to the link for the full sentence and audio track. And he has this deep voice, which I assume is supposed to elicit some kind of affective reaction about how truthful and meaningful and good that verse is. Like Garrison Keillor. Only Biblical.
And sometimes they tweet something that’s NOT a verse. Slight turns off-track include a “Happy Thanksgiving #thankful” or “It’s retweet Wednesday, please retweet one of the previously posted verses #TweetTheBible #community.” Sometimes they share information like “Scripturaction (noun): Is an interactive way of using audio/video to artistically present a verse of scripture” with an accompanying image. So they’re… involved… in America and different medias….
And sometimes they weigh in on current issues. Kind of. “Social predicament: A socially difficult, unpleasant, or embarrassing situation. This month: Occupy. Chime in #OccupyWallStreet #justice.”
I might be interested to see how this project moves forwards and expands its scope over the next year. Honestly, not interested enough to track it for 86 (as if we won’t all be way beyond Twitter within, like, five years anyway). And especially not when their launch tweet had a typo (God create the heavens and the earth? Really?).
And just so Thompson & co. knows, they’re not entirely original in their ideas. There was, from April 29 to July 8 of 2009, an @tweetthebible, which in a tweet a day gave a “pithy” chapter summary. They made it through Genesis 48.
Game on, Thompson.