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Hallo again to all.

Bird BrainWe've been thinking about tweets. Most of you probably know that the term means 'brief messages', limited to 140 characters (including spaces), which are the product of 'tweeting'. There are numerous Anglican-related tweets out there, written by men and women who find the time, several times a day, to send these ejaculatory texts, many of which are remarkably coherent.

As tweets are stupefyingly short, our traditional 'front page letter' — that which you're reading right now — can be be downright loquacious. The words on this page average 600. And given that the typical word length is seven letters, that's a whole lotta tweets. But perhaps in this world of decreasing attention spans, our more meditative prose is increasingly archaic: 500 or 600 words? With no subheads? No embedded video? (The AO front-page letter may be becoming more like the 1662 Book of Common Prayer than we know.)

So in the midst of all this brooding about text length, we decided to take the last five years of front-page letters written about this time of year — that would be The Season of the Endless Sundays After Trinity* — and see if we could summarize each in a tweet.

Here beginneth the time machine of tweets:

9 November 2008
At Communion, shouldn't there be an atmosphere of radical equality among communicants, whether or not they are known by name to the priest?

18 November 2007
It's a bit like mixing gossip with Gospel; worry with worship; humility with hatred; avarice with Anglicanism. They don't mix well.

19 November 2006
Creating separate institutional structures reflects the strange ecclesiastical utopianism we call ‘Anglican Dream-Church Syndrome’ (ADCS).

20 November 2005
There is a saying that the two most important days of our lives are the day we were born and the day we know why. Our incarnation and our vocation.

14 November 2004
It's easy to seem curmudgeonly or precious when cautioning against the unthinking embrace of 'modern' language. We don't want to be either.

9 November 2003
We think it would be a shame if the struggles for sex and power caused more children to go hungry or more diseases to go untreated. Do you?

17 November 2002
If we leave our children a rigid, lifeless, imperial church, they will either ignore it or fashion their own church. 

Well, that exercise quite fails — which we rather suspected. But then, unlike these front-page letters from which we've tried to backwards-derive a tweet†, a true tweet is purpose-written and born anew multiple times each day. Twitter logotype

The Anglicans Online letter is indeed purpose-written, but parturiated a mere once-a-week. We think hard before we write (Ready, aim, fire!) rather than write before we, well, think. (Fire, ready, aim!) Whether that's a valuable effort to make in this blink! world we live in, is a question worth raising. The Anglicans Online website, minus this letter, serves as a vast repository of 30,000+ links to Everything Anglican. Many of our readers have told us how valuable those links are. Those links would still be there, of course, even if this home page were blank. Or a photo. Or a tweet.

What do you think? Do these mini-essays have a place in a world of micro-blogging? Or have they become vestigial, like printed newspapers? Tell us your thoughts, if you would. (You're not limited to 140 characters.)

We're listening. We're thinking. And, most likely, we'll keep writing.

See you next week.

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

Last updated: 15 November 2009

*Or Pentecost, depending on where you live in the Anglican Communion

†Another backward-derived tweet: 'I took a speed reading course and read "War and Peace" in twenty minutes. It involves Russia'. (Woody Allen)



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