Is Your Church Embracing Porn 140 Characaters At A Time Without Knowing It?

Kenny Jahng —  2009/07/21 — 10 Comments

In ministry, I am always on guard to present myself (hopefully) in a manner that draws respect while honoring to the God that I am working for.

Today, an interesting question came up amongst some of the staff at Liquid Churchwhat do you do when porn stars follow you?

It is no surprise that the adult entertainment industry is up on Twitter since the industry has long been an early adopter and driver of new technology.

twitter-follow-meBoth on the church’s public Twitter account, as well with some of the church staff’s individual accounts, it has recently been noted that porn stars have been popping up as followers.

And today, the question that arises more specifically is: What do you do with porn stars that are following your twitter account?

Although most probably, the specific daily twitter interaction would be non-explicit, it does present some issues that can’t be ignored.

This brings up some immediate questions:

  • Do you block them on Twitter from following you?
  • Do you keep them as followers?
  • Would you engage them if they ever DM’ed (direct messaged) you?
  • Do you follow them back?
  • What if you have an auto-followback setting set-up as part of proper Twittetiquette and Twitter follwer strategy?  (BTW, this is probably how they showed up in the first place.  Since it is general courtesy to auto-follow back, some people try to gain followers themselves by indiscriminately following people, hoping to trigger auto-followbacks.) Is this scenario reason enough to stop auto-following people back?
  • How would other people perceive your ‘relationship’ with your followers?  Would this impact your relationship with them if they noticed that you had porn stars in your following?
  • Remember that if someone is following you, your tweets show up on their own Twitter login page.  How often do you have the chance to share your voice with this audience?

Personally, however, a larger question comes to mind whenever dealing with issues that involve the “public” in ministry.  Here, I would lean toward erring on the conservative side for the sake of safety of our immediate community.  The Bible even teaches us to attend to our fellow brothers and sisters first.

Is the risk of providing exposure of risky content to the others you are directly ministering to worth it?

Enough men have issues with pornography that making it click-easy via Twitter isn’t a wise decision.  And enough kids and young adults are joining the Twitter community that makes the decision super easy.  Thus, my solution is to block and unfollow anyone in this category that comes to my attention.

A more quizzicle question is:  do I stop the auto-follow Twittetiquette stragegy becuase of this?  How prevalent is this happening as I pass the 800 follower mark Twitter.   Are there any tools or protocols we can adopt to regularly filter out those that appear on our follow lists?

What are your opinions or suggestions about this topic?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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10 responses to Is Your Church Embracing Porn 140 Characaters At A Time Without Knowing It?

  1. Good discussion, Kenny – I love it.

    My experience with being followed by "porn stars" is that their aim is
    to get me to click through on their messages and links so that I will
    view what they have to offer. My initial impression is these are not
    actually people following me, but rather a fairly insidious technology
    used to make money off of me. My gut feel is no one on their end is reading my
    tweets because no one is there.

    It's been asked that if these people attened my church, would we "block" them like we do on Twitter? My response would be to simply love them with the grace and truth of Jesus. Therefore, to continue the analogy, if they then proceeded to attempt to get any of us to view or subscribe to porn, we would put a stop to that for their good and the good of the community.

    Just some thoughts…

  2. my man cool KJ…

    Good questions my friend. For me all this is quite simple… I would be privileged to have a conversation with the porn star the same way I would any other bloke, in person, because the reality is the exchange could easily be a genuine, authentic, convo re life, love, sex, faith, etc.

    The Facebook, MySpace (old school:) and Twitter virtual convo does, at least at this point, take on a different reality. In the absence of personal, and in this case, public interaction it's hard to provide the casual virtual passerby person .the basis of being able to understand any of the context of situation.

    Therefor I would totally reserve this conversation with our porn star friends to reside in the public arena. We can argue as much doctrine as we want, but the reality is that online porn is rampant and therefore requires a greater deal of sensitivity and awareness to being above reproach.

    Not quoting the bible here, just pulling a "Joseph" and avoiding some appearances of evil (that are lacking context:) in their virtual form… mikey

  3. Kenny,
    Interesting post. I am interested in this question. I suppose the thing I would push back on is the "auto-follow" thing. I only follow those that I find interesting. To my knowledge people don't rifle through my followers. Also, those who follow me only show up in my feed if I follow back.

    So, I am not sure about the real point of the post. It appears to me to be a moot point since if you don't follow a porn-star then there is no issue. They can't DM you if you aren't following them. I suppose they could @you but even then it would only show in your feed and not your followers feed.

    Could you give greater context for what the concern would be?

  4. @Dan – Thanks for the comments and questions.

    Actually, one of the best ways to start on Twitter is to find some of the top Tweeters in your areas of interest and then go through their followers as well as who they are following to find people/companies to add to your community.

    Auto-followback is a very common thing, with services like http://www.tweetlater.com – which is a common courtesy on Twitter.

    If you have hundreds or thousands of followers, this issue may become smaller. However, if your account doesn't have that many on each list (followers and following) — which is the case for 90% of Twitter users, then a roque Twitter account/icon becomes very apparent and visible.

    If you are a ministry leader, and your congregation has frequent interaction with your on Twitter, they then become easily exposed to X-rated icons, and click-through to potentially wieldy twitter content. I don't think you would want to risk this for any of the youth in your ministry, however infrequent it may be.

  5. @Dan – Thanks for the comments and questions.

    Actually, one of the best ways to start on Twitter is to find some of the top Tweeters in your areas of interest and then go through their followers as well as who they are following to find people/companies to add to your community.

    Auto-followback is a very common thing, with services like http://www.tweetlater.com – which is a common courtesy on Twitter.

    If you have hundreds or thousands of followers, this issue may become smaller. However, if your account doesn't have that many on each list (followers and following) — which is the case for 90% of Twitter users, then a roque Twitter account/icon becomes very apparent and visible.

    If you are a ministry leader, and your congregation has frequent interaction with your on Twitter, they then become easily exposed to X-rated icons, and click-through to potentially wieldy twitter content. I don't think you would want to risk this for any of the youth in your ministry, however infrequent it may be.

  6. I wonder if we could built a Twitter service that scans your follower lists and blocks anyone on a blacklist of known porn, racist and other undesired content users on Twitter – kind of like how antivirus works with virus definition updates.

    Yes, it may be a potentially small issue, but for the parent of the child that clicks through to porn because of YOUR Twitter page, it suddenly becomes huge. Same thing goes for those of your Twitter counterparts that are addicted to it.

    Hope that helps clarify things, Dan. Let me know what you think.

  7. Kenny,
    I see what you're saying. Thanks for the further context. Something for me to think more about.

  8. Great stuff, thanks!

  9. Kenny I use a service twitsweeper.com It captures all known spammers which the majority of these are. It doesn't target porn specifically but rather bots which eliminates all the naked avatars as far as I can tell. Have yet to have a legitimate @reply from a naked person.

  10. You are exactly correct with this writing…

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