It’s been a little over five months since I first started using Twitter and I must say that the pros have far out-weighed the cons. I’m in communication with a lot more people than I have been with Facebook and I see that number only going up. As I mentioned in my initial post on Twitter, this is one of the first benefits of using Twitter as opposed to Facebook. It’s good for us as humans to learn more about each other; where we’re from, what we do, how we feel about certain things, and what we believe about others. If my generation is deemed the “me” generation, then it’s good and healthy to learn about one another.
In addition to being connected with more people, I’ve seen improvement in how I communicate a message. Over the months, I’ve grown accustomed to adding hash-tags to the things I say and really thinking through my various tweets. With a limited number of characters (140), it’s critical to get your message out plain and simple and in the fewest words possible. This has helped out with my writing in general, but more specifically my blog posts and journal entries. Instead of opening the Word Document and letting the words pour out without restraint, I’ve focused much more on page-, paragraph-, and sentence-length. And when I sit down to write papers, I’ve been much more concise in my direction and argumentation.
Although I think Facebook could easily be used to help communicate a message, I think Twitter has a better set-up and structure for communication. As a fellow blogger/Tweeter/Facebook-user told me, Facebook is more personal while Twitter engages a more professional crowd. Both are obviously mediums to communicate messages, but they’re geared in different directions; one to the professional crowd and the other towards the personal. As a writer and hope-to-be author, utilizing both has had tremendous benefits.
One con to utilizing both, however, is the allotment of time. Being the frequent distracted and procrastinating college student that I am, it’s critical that I have a control over my time management with these mediums. And if you follow me or are my Facebook friend, you know that I haven’t been perfect – not even close.
This shouldn’t deter anyone from “joining the flock” in the Twitter world, but rather it’s just to point out the obvious: Time is short in our world and we need to make sure that stuff gets done beyond what we tweet or post on Facebook. That being said, I must conclude that I’m nearly six months in with Twitter and never coming out. It’s been fun, informative, and constantly connecting. Facebook is where I become “friends” with people I meet in person; Twitter is where I “follow” or am followed by people I might never meet in person. Communication is had by all.
A few things I might recommend, though, to those entering or considering Twitter: Follow real people. Just like Facebook’s false profiles and spam bots, Twitter has a few of their own. I’ve received plenty of Tweet tags and messages from accounts that aren’t even real people and only Tweet about one particular product or program. I find them to be annoying and a further waste of my time. Another tip might be to do one’s best to Tweet without emotion. If what you’re about to Tweet knocks someone down or is merely complaining, you probably shouldn’t Tweet it. In the act of saying that, I immediately remember many of my own emotionally-driven Tweets (especially ones regarding frustrating classes). You can’t be perfect, but you can be trying.
If you’ve never even considered Twitter, I’d recommend it – even if you aren’t involved with journalism classes in any way. It’s a great way to stay informed about other parts of the world or other parts of your immediate community. We can’t all get together for coffee to catch up in what’s going on, but we can keep in touch through Tweets.
Tweet away, Facebook friends 😉