Twitter Superstar

Those who know me know that I enjoy Twitter. I’ve been both lauded and ridiculed for how much time I spend on the social network. My reach (how many people I can “talk” to) is much wider than it would’ve been without Twitter. And I’m just a small fish.

There are big fish, though. And not just Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber either, according to this recent article in the Times. Apparently, the real Twitter superstars are a number of evangelical Christian leaders whose messages (by percentage usually and sometimes gross number) are retweeted and spread more than any of those folks that regularly show up in the tabloids.

Consider this post in April from Bishop T. D. Jakes: “Your words will tell others what you think. Your actions will tell them what you believe.”

His message was forwarded 2,490 times — just shy of the 2,491 retweets that the pop singer Katy Perry generated the same month with this message to her fans: “Sometimes jet lag makes me feel like a cross eyed crack head #muststayawake.”

Both messages performed remarkably well. But there was a key difference: Bishop Jakes has 450,000 followers, while Ms. Perry has 20 million.

What does this mean for emergency public information? Well, there’s a big push to reach folks that do not consume traditional media, and place their trust in other, ahem, higher authorities. Doesn’t it behoove us, even if we can’t use social media, to engage with these connected pastors? And these are just the national folks, would you be surprised if there was a religious leader in your community who could act as a bullhorn (or force-multiplier, or trusted agent distributor) for your message, including on social media?