It was for my CURRINS 547 class that I first began to use Twitter, although at first I thought that there was really no point in trying to squeeze things into 140 characters or less. Could I not just do that on my Facebook profile? Probably. But in the end, Twitter was good for more than just practicing concise content. Here are some things that I loved about Twitter this semester:
- I had to get to my point and leave it at that. I’m a wordy girl, so my posts (if left unlimited) can grow and grow to be almost infinite. Not only did I spend less time writing (and rewriting) each tweet, it was like a nice little brain exercise to use only my necessary words to fill the space. I had to revise over and over that teensy tweet so that it fit properly into the character limit.
- Because of the nature of tweets, I was also able to quickly take in the tweets of the people I follow on Twitter. This has been an efficient way to find out about news events that seem to be spreading quickly over social media. It is also easy to get a taste of the kinds of things that each Twitter user has in creating his/her own tweets.
- I cultivated the #art that is #hashtags . #extrameaningftw – The hashtag is a little touch users can add to their statuses to enhance the subtext of the tweet and therefore make more use of the characters they include in the tweet.
- With the help of #hashtags, I was able to join in on conversations that I originally would not have been involved in at all. For example, #veryrealisticYA was just a fun hashtag that allowed people (anyone who wanted to tag it) to create stories of everyday impossibilities for YA literature which would be just as epic (though less fantastical) than the popular YA that involves dystopian societies and sparkling blood-suckers. It feels like a unity thing, a fulfillment of our desire to belong to something.
- One thing that I had to get used to was the random followers. Although I understand that people can search for others using #hashtags or @people, I was constantly surprised to find that a new person had followed me, I was sometimes even a bit dismayed: there seem to be a few that I didn’t really want to associate with. I had to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t Facebook, so I can’t choose who follows me or sees my content. It’s not that I have incriminating tweets to publish, but rather that I had expected a different networking experience, and just the thought that I don’t control my viewing base unsettled me at first. To counter this, I did my own research on the kinds of people I wanted to be followed by (fellow students, teachers, librarians, etc.) and followed them so that I was at least on their radar.
- BUT you still get to choose what you see in your own news feed.
If you’re on the fence about Twitter, though, don’t let that last comment stop you. Twitter is GREAT for networking and meeting people you want to meet. Plus, you’ll get to revel in the joy that is to be found in scrunching big ideas into little 140-character space allotments. You’ll also be ready to be in touch with other professionals who are on Twitter looking for fellow professionals to follow. If you’re still on the fence about hopping on the Twitter train, here’s a list of 10 Twitter Dos and Don’ts to help get you started. Happy tweeting!