September Favorites

Over at Elizabeth Esther’s blog, all of her readers are picking their favorite posts from last month.

She has had 80 plus participants for this iteration, so take a visit over and check out everyone’s picks.

I picked my first post of the month, Looking For a Window, which actually kicked off my busiest month of blogging ever.  I feel that this post was my most honest so far, and may be the best I’ve written so far.  If you haven’t read that post yet, hit the link and take a read.

What Difference Do it Make? – By Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent.

“What Difference Do It Make” is the followup to the New York Times Bestseller “Same Kind of Different As Me”.  The sequel expands on the story of the first, delving deeper into the backgrounds of Ron and Denver, how the first book came to be written, and the lasting effects of the message from the first book.

Ron’s stories dig into the tenuous relationship with his father and dealing with the loss of his wife, Deborah, to cancer.  Denver’s stories cover more of the darkness of his past, including a stint in prison, but also show how his relationship with Ron and Deborah and the success of the first book have affected his life.  Sandwiched between these chapters are smaller pieces focusing on those who read “Same Kind of Different as Me” and have adopted its message to use their lives to help combat the problem of homelessness.

The message of “What Difference Do It Make” is one of restoration through relationships – how showing love, respect and friendship to others, can bring about hope and healing.  The individual stories encourage compassion for the homeless, lonely and hurting, calling on those who can and who have to help those in less fortunate circumstances.

Reading this book leaves you with a strong sense of the ability of individuals to make an impact in the lives of others, especially for the homeless. One of my favorite statements of this message comes from Denver:

“If all the Christians – I mean all of ‘em – got outta the pews on Sundays and into the streets, we’d shut the city down.
We’d shut down hunger.
We’d shut down  loneliness.
We’d shut down the notion that there is any such of a thing as a person that don’t deserve a kind word and a second chance.”

There are not any deep theological statements to be found in this story, but it is full of simple examples of people living out the sacrificial love that followers of Christ should exhibit. The book is well written and the arrangement makes for an easy read. The authors do a great job of engaging the reader and keeping you turning the pages. The stories are emotionally touching, and sometimes humorous. This is definitely a book that I would pick up and read again.

If you have not read “Same Kind of Different As Me, you can read “What Difference Do It Make” without feeling lost, as this book brings in pieces of the original story where necessary.

My overall rating – Four out of Five.

Top Twitter Links: Friday, September 25, 2009

Here are my favorite links tweeted by my twitter friends today:

Protecting My Teen Daughter: One Dad’s Story

A Secret Your Husband Needs You To Know (But Won’t Tell You)

Popular Logos With Hidden Symbolisms

Five Keys to Building Forever Followers

Seven Ways to Catch Your Breath

Arkansas Football Player Ends Game with Noble Gesture

Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale

Landlord Goes Back to Work to Let Unemployed Tenants Stay Rent-Free

Top Twitter Links: Thursday, September 24, 2009

Here is today’s collection of my favorite links tweeted by the folks I follow on twitter:

Joel Rosenburg’s Response to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to the United Nations

Am I Honest Enough to Be Authentic?

Tylenol Recalls Some Children’s and Infant Products

I Am Not Your Personal Tech Support Monkey

Aids Vaccine Shows Some Success in Trials

Tainted Love: A Sneak Peak at HalogenTV’s newest program

Unbelievable Posters Created for the Support of Organizations Fighting Human Trafficking

How To: Get Me NOT to Listen on Twitter

I have a very particular view on what Twitter should be.  I mean, it is a social network, so the main use of said network should be to connect socially.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of behavior in the twitterverse that, to me, is anti-social.  There are no ‘rules’ when it comes to Twitter, but if you want ME to listen, you may want to take notice.

I’d like to address some of these twitter habits that I see are in bad form.  These are prime examples of ways to make me totally ignore you and/or possibly un-follow you on Twitter.

1. Every tweet is a link. Don’t get me wrong, I like when someone tweets an interesting link.  I’ve even adopted a twitter client on my iPhone to help me manage those links better, and I have been posting the best ones on my blog lately. But, seriously, you’ve tweeted at least 50 times today, and every tweet is a link.  You can get away with this if you’re Mashable, Digg, or another news delivery service, and I would expect that following them. But if you are an individual using twitter personally, this does not lend well to social interaction.

2. Every tweet is a quote from a famous person, you post several of these per day, and most of them are widely known. I enjoy a good quote as much as the next guy, but I’m very well read.  I’ve seen, heard and read most of those many times before.  And I find it a bit disingenuous to be on a ‘social network’ spouting cliches.  A few of these quotes are okay, but keep it to a limit, dig a little deeper for something a little less well-known, and join the real conversation once and awhile.

3. Every tweet is a re-tweet of a ‘celebrity’ on twitter. Re-tweeting is fine, especially if a tweet is especially informative or funny.  But some of you and your re-tweeting is looking a lot like celebrity brown-nosing.  Re-tweeting their tweets are not going to make them notice you and/or bring meaning to your existence by them acknowledging you.

4. You tweet the same thing, everyday, several times a day. I’ll give you a pass if your life is boring and repetitive, it’s not you I’m talking to.  I am talking to the people who appear to be trying to show up in certain twitter searches, and the repeating tweets are their ploy to show up near the top.

5. All of your tweets run long and you don’t bother to shorten them or continue them. Most of these I see are notification auto posts from forums or blogs, but there are still those who haven’t caught on to the 140 character limit.  If you are going to have your new blog posts announced on twitter, at least do a twitter friendly excerpt. If your tweets are too long, there are clients that will split them for you, or you can sign up at a service that will link your followers to the rest of your update.

6. You regularly send out a volley of back-to-back-to-back updates. The excessive link sharers are the worst about this, but there are others who do this too.  And when I say back-to-back, I mean within a second, which tells me that they really aren’t doing these updates themselves, they are using some other automated tool to make those updates. If you have important information to get out on Twitter, don’t dump a bunch of back-to-back tweets pointing to the same link/idea with a different spin.  At least put some space between them.  Your followers will see that lump of updates, and roll right by them.

7. Your tweets are full of unintelligible characters. I like to be able to read your tweets, not try to decipher them, like some sort of hieroglyphics.

Now a lot of these behaviors will come from people who are trying to shamelessly self-promote.  To some degree, a little of that is allowed, as long as the personal interaction and conversation is there.  Your network on twitter is full of ‘friends’.  Don’t treat them like consumers.

What twitter habits do you find annoying?