Ah, Catholic Twitter. A place where you can meet other Catholics and share everything from Church news to Catholic memes and your own personal updates. It’s also a place to argue with “rad trads”, “looney liberals”, and whatever other label you want to place on someone whose beliefs differ from yours.
It can get ugly—blood pressure-raising heated arguments with uncharitable comments that are later regretted and/or taken to the confessional. Those of us who’ve been around for years remember a time when things were not as, umm, passionate as they are now.
Are you amongst the lucky ones who can claim to be a part of “OG” or “Golden Era” Catholic Twitter (2008-2011)? Here are eight things you might remember if you’re an OG Catholic Twitter-er.
You were on the Tweet Catholic list
You weren’t a part of Catholic Twitter unless you made it onto the Tweet Catholic website created by Flocknote founder Matthew Warner. It was similar to the initial purpose of Facebook — a directory to find other Catholics on Twitter. It listed the person’s bio, picture, and follower count. While it no longer exists, the memory still remains.
You used memes from LOL Saints
Long before Catholic Memes (created by Brandon Ocampo) existed, there was the original Catholic meme website appropriately named LOL Saints. Crated by Jeff Geerling, this was the website to visit for our memes. Before Twitter allowed the ability to upload pictures or gifs, we sent out tweets to our favorite memes from this site, which is still up but hasn’t been updated in almost a decade.
You witnessed the “Great Flirt-a-thons” of 2009, 2010, and 2011
Back in the day, if you were active on Twitter, you really didn’t need Catholic Match or any other dating site. Why? Because once or twice a year there were “great flirt-a-thons”. I wish I could remember if they usually happened during cuffing season but there were definitely many conversations that became flirty. It seems like multiple of these conversations were going on at the same time. Even if you were not yourself a participant of one, you might remember watching these people meet and fall in love over Twitter. In fact, many of these flirting marathons resulted in marriages that are still going strong to this day!
Patrick Madrid was the “Rick roll” king
If you were on Catholic Twitter in the early days and you didn’t fall for one of his Rick rolls, were you ever really part of CT? You’d think we’d learn our lesson after so many Rick rolls but, oh no. Patrick, great apologist as he is, always found more clever ways to get us. I don’t remember how long this lasted but I can never hear that song or watch Beeker from The Muppets without remembering those good ol’ days.
+4 hour uninterrupted conversations were the norm
That was a blast! Sometimes a conversation would start between two people and next thing you know you have 4-5 people talking for +4 hours. These “tweet sessions” in which any and everything was discussed—from pop culture to theology—was how many OG CT folks met and fostered the friendships that still exist to this day. Also, we rarely disagreed in public and were always civil and courteous even to those who occasionally crossed the line. What a concept!
The “ThatCatholicGirl” scandal didn’t hit you as hard
While this big cat fishing scandal didn’t happen during the “Golden Era” (it happened in 2016), those of us who had been on the site for years had met many CT friends in person over the years so we didn’t get hit as hard as some of the newer users. We had the confidence that we knew that the people we were talking to were who they said they were. Still, many of us were nonetheless shocked that this happened and dutifully followed suit by posting pictures of ourselves holding a piece of paper with our usernames written on them.
Fr. Roderick, the “Godfather” of Catholic Twitter
If you were a follower of Fr. Roderick Vonhogen’s The Daily Breakfast podcast in its early days there’s a good chance you joined Twitter after he mentioned it in one of his episodes. In fact, I remember a great influx of new Catholics on the website shortly after it was posted. And who was one of (if not the) first people we followed! None other than the “Godfather” of OG Catholics Twitter. He one of the first priests to actively engage with other Catolícs on the site and paved the way for other religious to do the same.
Vocations boom… and eventual decline of OG CT
Towards the end of the Golden Era we saw a big vocations boom. So many of the friends we’d gotten to know through the social media site began entering seminaries, convents, and monasteries. I’m not even including all the marriages that I’d previously mentioned in this article. While the Church gained a lot of great men and women (the Carmelites especially), it began leaving CT a bit smaller. As Twitter expanded, the new influx of users brought a different dynamic. As arguments began popping up more frequently, many of the earlier users decided to leave. Some of us returned years later (myself—the Twitterer formerly known as “nerdwriter” over here—included) but it was never the same.
How’s that for a trip down memory lane for some of you? While it was certainly one of the best times to be a Catholic on Twitter, we mustn’t look back with melancholic nostalgia. While we’ll never have what we once did, we can still attempt to have conversations as we once did. Perhaps we’ll one day see more vocations blossom as a result of the conversations we will still have in the future.
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