First off, I have to say how awesome it is to have a class in which we learn about Twitter and how to use it effectively. Did you know that there is a strategy and even traditions pertaining to the social networking site?
I’ll back up a little bit. Before mid-summer, I had no idea how Twitter worked. I thought I did. The explanation I had heard was a poignant one: “It’s like Facebook with only status updates.” This seemed less than thrilling. I already had a Facebook account. Why add something new? This part of my story seems to mirror Alana’s, who shares some well-thought-out ideas on Twitter herself. Did anyone else have the same thought?
However, when I was accepted into the Creative Communications program, I signed up for Twitter. I had to know what was up before school started. They even had “How many characters is allowed in a tweet?” as one of the questions for the entry exam! Twitter must be a bitter deal than I had realized.
So I signed up, sent a couple messages, hit the “follow” button for a bunch of people who looked interesting, and there I was. On Twitter. Tweeting, even.
But there is so much more.
In class, I am quickly discovering that Twitter is far from just being a collection of statuses. Rather, it is a medium for professionals of all kinds to concisely share all kinds of thoughts and advice and other valuable information.
Please be advised, though, that the ‘concise’ portion is crucial, because Twitter only allows 140 characters in per tweet. That’s not very much. Because of this limitation, users must condense their information and present it so it appeals to others without taking up much space. This creates a kind of ‘art’ in itself. Users must learn to pass on information, ask questions, provide information for people – and do it all in a very short space.
Got that down?
Once you figure that part out, there’s a whole new world of strategy. You can find contacts based on shared interests, and make some serious progress in your professional development. There’s a whole lot that can be done with this. For more details, check out Melanie’s blog post. She has some great things to say about Twitter in the professional sphere, as well as some more links if you really want to do your homework.
Before you start reading, though, I want to show you this chart. It’s an awesome visual I found online that shows off the many uses for Twitter. (Click to expand.)