How I Use Social Media

Social media platforms come and go and as their popularity waxes and wanes I normally follow the crowd. Jesus went to where the people were and today, they are on social media platforms a good portion of the time.

Below are a list of social media platforms I use and what I use them for. I don’t use every popular platform because some I can’t figure out (looking at you Snapchat), and others revolve around a culture I could never fit into.

That being said here is the list:


Facebook is the public square. For much of the world facebook is still the king of social media. What’s interesting is that my teenage children have no interest in it.

I use facebook for things I would say in a public place.

  • Where the family is vacationing
  • Where the wife and I are having a date
  • Theological thoughts I would say from the platform
  • Encouraging messages
  • Links to things I write

Crazy how pastors get hyper critical with other pastors and hyper grace with their favorite political party.

Posted by Carl Thomas on Thursday, August 18, 2016


I just looked, I have almost 1,700 friends and 257 followers on facebook (it says I have 97 friend requests right now). Very, very few show up in my feed. I limit my feed to either friends who are living for God (don’t post crazy stuff) or people I admire and don’t constantly post links to their “ministry resources.” I am probably the most active there because it has the widest broadcast. Everything I post here also goes to Twitter.

Most likely to follow: People I live life / worship with, ministries and organizations I regularly interact with.
Most likely to unfollow: Angry people. Slanderous people. Anyone posting unclean pics. People I don’t ever see in real life.
Number I follow / Number of friends:  40? / 1,695 + 257

My profile:
Revival Life Church page:


Twitter is like a newspaper and I have gone through seasons with the site before finally making my peace with it. Right now I see very little conversation and more broadcasting. That means you better follow folks you don’t mind reading and have no expectation of feedback.

I post and follow more sports stuff here than on facebook (CyclingHub, Ray Maker, Ira Winderman). I also follow reporters, politicians, ministers, and some folks I know in real life. I unfollow some folks in facebook but follow them here. It keeps my fb feed fresh. The limitation of tweets keeps the posts compact there.

Additionally I purposefully follow some folks. I follow Religion News because that is the line of work I am in. I follow because it keeps the persecuted church before my eyes and it reminds me that there are people with real problems out there.

Everything that gets posted to facebook gets posted to Twitter but not everything posted to Twitter goes to facebook.

Most likely to follow: 2 categories 1) People I know in real life posting interesting info not posted to facebook. 2) People who post about things I am interested in.
Most likely to unfollow: folks I don’t find interesting. (it’s not you, it’s me)
Following / Followers : 70 / 474

My profile:


Facebook is the public square. Twitter is the newspaper. Instagram is a friendly chat around the water cooler.

This is where I post the most. I post gardening stuff, pics from workouts, family snapshots here. Unlike the other sites, Insta makes me happy.

Thursday Starbucks tradition with the girl.

A photo posted by Carl Thomas (@_carlthomas) on

Everything that gets posted to Instagram goes to Twitter. I only crosspost some things to facebook.

Most likely to follow: People in my immediate circle, or an athletic folks that inspire to move my body.
Most likely to unfollow: Folks I don’t know, stop coming around, or if their pics get “colorful.”
Following / Followers: 85 / 371

My profile:


Strava is a social media platform built around cycling but now includes running and swimming. All my workouts go here. I only follow people I know in real life (shout out to circuit riders), do group rides with (shout out to ZMotion Camp Cove) or one or two professional athletes.

I have been pretty inactive here for the last month as I fought some illness but I am back at it!

Most likely to follow: Folks I ride with and exercise regularly
Most likely to unfollow: People who stop working out / move away / post pics of something other than workouts.
Following / Followers: 36 / 42

My profile:

Other Sites

YouTube: The profile I post to has all the videos hidden because they are for a specific audience. I have old channels but I don’t even think I use them. I still follow folks on YouTube but there is nothing social about it. However the church uses it extensively.
RLC Youtube:

Snapchat: I have it, have a really hard time remembering how to use it. I only check my daughter’s snaps cause she is so funny. Would not even know how to give you a link.

Pinterest: I use this as a shopping list at times. I haven’t used it in a very long time.
My profile:

LinkedIn: Don’t use it. Please don’t send me requests.

flicker: All my Instagram pics automatically get copied here. I never go there.

Vine: Nope

VK: I don’t go to Europe much but you never know.
My profile:

I use various forums for hobbies and interests. Way to many to list.

Did I miss anything?

Bike Wash Station

I got a question about my bike wash station so here is how I made it. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on it and it did not need to be fancy so that means I had to get creative.

This messy spot next to my garage door is the only reasonable spot. I needed to clean it up from some previous projects anyway.

All cleaned up.

I had to replace a rotted fence a few months ago. I decided to save the rotted one. I cut off about a foot to make it the perfect length.

If this were a fence, I would use two bags of cement. But this is against the house and will only hold my bike for short periods so I decided to use one to ease removal if I so decide later.

Finished shot in all its glory.

I bought a standard garage hanger thing from Home Depot for a little under $6. That plus the $4 bag of concrete made this a really inexpensive project. I don’t know how you wash your bike without something like this unless you take off the wheels first thing but still that must be a pain.

Let me know if you have questions!

Bonus shot of me washing it the other day.

Gotta wash her down before I put her back in the stable

A photo posted by Carl Thomas (@_carlthomas) on

Update on Church Community Builder



I get a ton of hits to my site for people searching for info about Church Community Builder. I did a post about it a few years ago and have added a few addendums.

I haven’t written anything new because nothing has really changed.

Still the greatest asset that CCB adds to the church is tracking giving. We don’t have to generate and mail reports at the end of the year and people can get their own giving report at any point.

The other asset we use is first time visitor follow up and serving groups.

I don’t use it as much as I used to because other people have taken on much of the tasks.

Email formatting is still pretty bad, though I as offered to connect it to MailChimp for like a grand. We said thanks but no thanks. Right now we export email address updates through a report and cut and paste them into MailChimp . . . for free.

The only change I have seen is that the cost went up 20% this year.  We still use it and have not really put any resources into looking for another solution.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Subscribe To CarlThomas.Net


Most of the people who come here come from my Facebook but I don’t want to load up my wall with links to blog posts. So I thought I would do a post outlining other ways to get notified of new posts.

There are several ways to follow the updates here on my blog.

Subscribe by email.

You will get a nifty email around 10:30 in the morning with the days post. Perfect timing for your morning coffee.


Follow me at @carlthomas all my posts get auto posted there.


My posts show up there. Here is the link


I use for my RSS feeds.

  1. Create an account using your Google account.
  2. Copy this address
  3. Jam the +Add Content tab and paste that in.
  4. Every day go there and any new content will show up.


I link to many of my posts on Facebook.

God Works Many Ways – I Hate Insomnia

michelle perry

I have had insomnia most of my life. As long as I can remember I have had periods of really bad sleep. For me, the way it would work is that I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep. It often would happen around 4:30 a.m.

A couple years ago I talked to my doctor about it and he prescribed me a medication that made me go back to sleep when that happened.

It changed my life.

But I really don’t like to take medication and I would not take it nearly as often as I needed it.

Recently it got really bad. Instead of waking up at 4:30 I began to wake up around 3 a.m. Since I often did not fall asleep till after midnight that made for a really bad day. When you have insomnia, it’s not like your body does not need sleep. You still need it, and you feel the effects of not getting it. You just can’t do anything about it.

So you march through life like a zombie. As foolish as it sounds though, I never had it on my prayer list. Until recently.

God works in mysterious ways.

I recently read a blog post by Michelle Perry on her blog From The Unpaved Road and she talked about sleep issues. She was told to work out and eat better (that seems to be what doctors blame everything on) and to stop using electronic devices late at night. Her doctor said,

His response.  “Your circadian rhythms are off.”  My circus-what?  Huh?  Dim memories from 10th grade bio made the phrase vaguely familiar.  But I couldn’t quite pull them forward clearly enough to see the definition.

He explained and told me, no more high def TV {I don’t have any TV, so check on that one}, no iPad and no computer 2 hours before bed.  Seriously? I’ve been glued to my screens waiting to feel sleepy until 2 minutes before bed.  And apparently that has been part of the problem.

High def screens emit a full-light spectrum {my Kindle Paper White is fine thankfully} and trick your brain into thinking it is still daylight outside, which translates into wakeful chemicals being produced by a really confused brain and sleep remaining elusive.

I read my tablet every night till I fall asleep. Like I read it until I drop it on myself as I drift off to sleep.

The day I read that I had woken up at 3 a.m. every night for three days. Thats 9 hours sleep over three days.

That night I didn’t use my phone or tablet to read at all. I read an actual book and was super sleepy at 11. I turned off the light and slept until morning. That was weird.

I thought it might have been from the exhaustion but it happened the next night, and the next, and every night since.

I don’t know if all my problems are gone but I have gotten more sleep over the last two weeks then I have gotten over any two week span that I can remember.

To that I say thank you Jesus . . .and Michelle.

I Want To Be With People Who Love Jesus

We were at a friend’s house on New Year’s Eve. Most of the people there were Christ followers.

When I am with a group of believers outside of church I feel like I stumbled through the streets of Moscow and into a clandestine gathering of expatriates. And the main thing expats do is talk about their home land in their native tongue.

So we found ourselves gathered in a living room sharing friendship and love and it just seemed logical to begin to worship Jesus, the one in whose name we gathered.

These are the kind of people I want to spend time with.

I want to live my life with people who live to encounter Jesus. Not church goers, not folks who are trying to work Jesus into their lives, not folks who doing enough religious stuff to appease their conscience, I want to live life with people who are connected to Jesus and each other.

I have heard all the justifications for not allowing yourself to be vulnerable and have seen how people lash out when they feel that their bubble of self preservation has been broached.

Yet I still believe that God’s greatest tool on the earth is the Church, the bride of Christ. And I love to spend time with her.

Sports Vs Life

I have not commented on the issues at Florida State because it is way bigger than a sports rivalry. The old free shoes U thing is kind of joke to me. This is not. I don’t want FSU to be national champs, but not this way. The Bulls were a rival to the Heat. I like the Bulls to lose, but not at the expense of Derrick Rose’s career.

Things have to be viewed in context and people need to remember that sports is just entertainment, what is happening in both of these contexts will affect people the rest of their lives.

That’s my $.02.

How to Expand Your Library with Free Christian Kindle Books

Update Dec 2013: Amazon removed the RSS feeds for free ebooks and as of yet I have not found another solution.


As someone who reads books every day I have found a great way to get great Christian books for free from the Kindle store. The problem is that the great Christian books that are offered free on the Kindle store are normally only free for a few days.

I have set up a system to get notified any time a book is added to the top 100 free Kindle books in Just for good measure, I will give you two different ways to do it.

Get Notified in Your RSS Reader

If you use an RSS reader like Google Reader or Feedly, simply subscribe to this feed.

Then, any time a new book is added, it will show up in your reader.

Get An Email NotificationIFTTT-logo-200x74

For those who are not RSS savvy, you can get an email sent to you with a link to any book that is added to the 100 top free Christian Kindle books. This uses a free service IFTTT (If This Then That).
1.  Go to IFTTT and click the Join IFTTT button. (link)

There is a pretty bright button, pretty hard to miss.

2.  Go into your channels tab and insert your email address on the email channel. (link)
Now you have done all the technical wonking necessary.  IFTTT works off of what it calls recipes. Put simply, If This happens, Then do That. In this case we are going to tell it that when a book is added to the top 100 free Christian Kindle book list, then send me an email link to it with a description.

Fortunately you don’t have to make this stuff up on your own. You can share recipes as well as use any recipe others share. I have shared the recipe below.

FireShot Screen Capture #005 - 'IFTTT _ When a new book is added to Kindle Top 100 Free Christian eBooks, send me an email by carlthomas' - ifttt_com_recipes_94495


Click the pretty Use Recipe button. (link)
Now you will get an email when a new book is added with a picture of the cover, the title, description, and a link to buy it for the amazing price of free.

Expand Your Library, Stock Up On Books You Will Never Read
It’s really that simple.

Just today I got “Praying the New Testament: Praying the Scriptures with Elmer Towns” (link) Will I ever read it? Who knows. But when I do, it will be free!

Let me know if you signed up and what books you scored.

Why You Want a Bluetooth Keyboard – Tuesday Tech

I often go to my local Panera Bread, pull out my Bible or whatever book I am reading, put my phone on this little stand and take notes using the Bluetooth keyboard.

I even write blog posts using the WordPress app, then publish them as a draft for final edit with pictures and formatting later.

I use the model pictured to the right with my Galaxy SIII and my Galaxy Tab 10.1. (link here)

If you have never written this way, find a friend who has one, borrow theirs, you will see what I mean.