Unlike the majority of my peers, I never considered myself a “Twitter addict” in high school. I rarely tweeted on my own and I didn’t understand how people had the time to constantly check their feed. Everytime I logged on, I saw so many pointless tweets and I felt like I was wasting my time reading vindictive sub-tweets or pointless back-and-forth drama. I rarely updated my own account because I never felt like I had anything substantial to say. I viewed this form of social media as pointless because so many people my age use it as their own personal diary that I didn’t have the time or desire to read.
Over the summer I had an internship with Talbot Digital, a digital media firm that works with advertising political campaigns through social media. My role in this firm was to come up with tweets and facebook posts for the Twitter accounts @RecycleCartons and @RecycleTetraPak. (I also created posts for the Facebook account Recycle Cartons.) This opportunity taught me how to craft a tweet that can grab attention and be informative in 140 characters or less, which, as Mallory Jean Tenore said in 6 ways Twitter has made me a better writer, has taught me to write more succinctly. Working for these accounts got me a little more interested in the Twitter world because I saw how organizations can create a voice for themselves to get important messages out and spread awareness on various topics, but I still seldom used my account on my own personal time.
It was this class that completely changed my opinion about Twitter. I created a new account for this class which followed only news accounts, people and organizations I was actually interested in hearing from. This class inspired me to add Twitter to my media diet and I now see how informative it can really be. Although it shouldn’t be someone’s main source of information, it helps get news out quickly and efficiently. I also now see how important it is for journalists to have a voice and an image for themselves, and I completely agree with Steve Buttry’s detailed list of 10 ways Twitter is valuable to journalists.
This class also taught me how useful hashtags can be. Since I was used to reading pointless high school tweets, I always saw hashtags for silly, long-winded, uninformative phrases. But, as Buttry said, hashtags can be really beneficial in researching a certain topic or finding valuable sources on a topic.