Twittering the Passion

Trinity Church, Wall Street tried an interesting experiment this past Good Friday; twittering the Passion narrative. Twitter, a rapidly growing social microblogging service allowed the story to be posted in small chunks throughout the traditional three hour observance.

Religion Dispatches has an excellent account of the reporter’s own reactions to the service:

“It all got going around 12:10 p.m. on Friday, ten minutes late, after some technical troubles. The first post: ‘via @ServingGirl: is so tired. Caiaphas and the priests have been up all night questioning a man who claims to be the Messiah. And I wait on them.’ Yes, the text itself was under 140 chars, but with the ‘via @ServingGirl:’ part it went a bit over. By 1:27, a few such posts prompted ‘@jgderuvo’ to shout out, for all watching twspassionplay’s Twitter page to see, ‘Guys, stay within the 140 character limit… it’s truncating, ruining the effect!’ It’s basically the equivalent of someone standing up in the theater and shouting that the script wasn’t in perfect iambic pentameter.

Every few minutes until a bit after 3 p.m., a new tweet arrived. At the start, just under 1,000 people were following. By the end, closer to 2,000. Attendees’ names included the likes of Church-in-the-Garden, Miller Funeral Home, bitterperl, plus lots of regular folks. There were six characters in the play, each speaking from a separate Twitter handle, acting out the story of Jesus’ torture and death.

Save a handful of exceptions (‘bad feeling about this’), they used complete sentences. There were few lapses into Twitterish, that dialect descended from instant messaging of old (‘lol,’ etc.), distinct from cell phone text messaging only by the inclusion of tinyurl hyperlinks.”

Read the full account here.

Reports are that there were over 1000 people following along at one point. And that’s probably 1000 people who weren’t able to attend a traditional parish observance, or who wanted to in the first place.

What do you think? A new tradition being born?

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