140 Characters Or Less

I joined Twitter hesitantly at the beginning of last year. To be honest, the only reason I joined was because my friends said it would be fun and that I could really benefit from it being a journalist. I really didn’t buy it, but set up the account and started following friends, athletes and celebrities. I thought it was pretty cool at first, but didn’t use it as my primary source of social media.That all changed once I started getting more involved in my field.

Twitter has been an incredible help for me in getting news and sports updates as soon as they broke. When you have two sports talk shows during the week, you want the latest and greatest news to come out. With Twitter, I’m really able to do just that. Twitter has gone a lot deeper that just getting sports updates, however.

Twitter has enabled me to become a better writer as a whole. When Mallery Tenore says it helped her shorten her wordy writing, she really hit the nail right on the head. I used to be a big fan of using long winded sentences and big adjectives to try and spice up my writing. Twitter has really reigned me in since I joined. Obviously, only having 140 characters limits you on what you are going to say. It also works on the clarity of your writing, as it forces you to write concisely in order to get your point across, all while it is still written well.

The one problem I have seen a good amount of times when it comes to Twitter is my lack of followers of meaning. Not that I don’t love my friends and other followers, but sometimes you just need that one follower who you are able to network with. One follower turns into two, two into four, and so on. When you get that one noteworthy follower, your options are almost limitless.

Seriously, how dumb could some people be?

Seriously, how dumb could some people be?

I do have to say, and Tenore may disagree with me, that I don’t like it when people use Twitter simply for fun. It’s not to say that I don’t enjoy reading a funny or amusing tweet, because I do. I just cannot stand when people aren’t able to write properly or do anything serious. When every tweet is about your boyfriend, beer or some bad music, I can’t really remain your follower. It’s just too tough to do.

There are some instances when Twitter is tough to use or downright annoying, it is simply to valuable of a tool not to have. I have tweeted about 2,000 times in a year when I thought using Twitter would be just a passing fad. I’m glad I’ve gotten into Twitter as much as I have.

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2 thoughts on “140 Characters Or Less

  1. Hey Tyler!

    I really enjoyed reading your post, you had some pretty comical points. In all seriousness, I completely agree with the 140 character limit on Twitter. I talked about this in my post as well. The character restraint makes you question if each word that you’re about to tweet is really that important to the meaning of your tweet as a whole. It also leads into how important each word really is that you put into a sentence in your stories as a journalist. In response to the part about boyfriend, beer and bad music tweets, I think if you’re going to tweet about personal matters, you should have a separate Twitter account. If employers/colleagues see tweets regarding these topics, chances are that you’re going to lose a lot of respect. I know I have a private Twitter account and a professional Twitter account. Journalists really need to be able to differ between the two. Oh, and by the way, the Ben Roethlisberger tweet hurt my heart a little, haha!

    Sarah

  2. I’m curious about what you thought when the panelists we heard Tuesday night talked about how the next big thing is “engaging with readers.” (Or viewers. Or whomever.) Can you do this simply by tweeting links and being strictly professional? Or are there ways to inject some of your personality into a newsy tweet?

    These are questions that no one’s got an answer to, BTW. So everyone is thinking through them, trying to find balances that work for them.

    Tyler, your point about convenience is an important one, and I think goes well with what the panelists said Tuesday night. And you need to keep this in mind, too — the technology will change, so it probably won’t be that you’ll use Twitter for your whole career. The key is this: You understand what about Twitter makes it useful and engaging for journalists, and then when the next big thing comes along, you’ll be able to evaluate it in the same way.

    Lori

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