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Why Aren’t More of my Friends on Twitter?

October 5, 2010

Many of my friends have asked me about Twitter. What is it, should I join, and will it help my job search? I have one simple answer, YES.

Social media is growing among older generations, but only 17% of social media users are of my generation. Why is that? Aren’t we suppose to be the technologically savvy age group who grew up with computers in the classroom, at home, and cell phones before we had our licenses?

I am the only one of my friends who actively uses twitter. There is a group of friends who tweet occasionally and are starting to leverage the social medium, and another who have created accounts but tweet about what they are doing, and I have to tell them, you are not Kim Kardashian , no one cares what you are doing.  It sounds harsh but twitter is not Facebook. Unless you are famous no one is going to want to know that you are going to watch a movie or fold laundry, it is about what you can offer others.

I think one of the reasons to blame for this is the fact that social media is very new. I recently graduated and used twitter sparingly in school, but I was always too busy to really sit down and just watch and try to understand. Without the chance to take a class in social media during college, it became a self-taught skill and hobby. This month PR Student Chat (#PRstudchat) is having a panel of educators to discuss social media in the classroom. A lot of chatter has come up recently about the issue of teaching social media. A few colleges are offering courses, but how do you even create a syllabus for something that is changing everyday?

I got a text message from my friend today saying, how did you link that restaurant in your tweet? I had to explain that I checked in on foursquare and it updated on my twitter. I did not want to confuse her and open a can of worms. She also wanted to know how to get followers and I told her she needs to determine what she wants to accomplish with her twitter and how to let her personality shine through.

I explained I tweet about social media, and being a gen-y transitioning from college to the workplace and I tend to tweet mostly about those topics along with a little pop culture. I encourage all of my friends to get on twitter, especially those on the hunt for a job. Twitter is constantly streaming with professional opportunities, and showcasing your resume through twitter is one more way to extend your search.

So if you friends get on twitter tell them a few things to get them started:

1)      Showcase your personality; decide what you want to get out of twitter. Do you want to be funny and make jokes and tweet about the latest reality shows? Or do you want to be professional and network with others in your field? Maybe a little of both.

2)      Start following tweeps based on what you want to get out of your tweeting. A few celebrities is always fun, along with social media gurus such as Chris Brogan and Brian Solis. But if you are networking towards a career in nursing, using twellowhood or searching for some nursing bloggers could help.

3)      Sit back and watch. Learn from others how to utilize twitter and what certain people tweet about. Building relationships on twitter starts from understanding how to connect with others.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2010 12:49 am

    Nice job on this post. People have to find their own value for being on Twitter. The fact that you got into it after your left shows two things. 1) We need to further educate students into understanding that it’s a valuable networking tool. 2) Teaching how to integrate social media now will help in the job setting.

    I didn’t start on Twitter until 2009 and caught up quickly. I’m glad I did!

    • October 5, 2010 2:53 pm

      Thanks for the reply Jason. I agree. I am thinking within the next few years social media will be integrated into many more classrooms…hopefully! You should join #PRStudchat on Oct.15th to discuss social media education, your insights would be great.

  2. October 18, 2010 3:10 pm

    I have run into the same experience with my friends lately as they are trying to switch careers or just find different jobs. They clearly understand the value in using social media but they aren’t quite sure exactly how to leverage the tools to their advantage. I have sat down with a couple friends to explain the value of Twitter as well as managing your privacy controls on Facebook which I think many people don’t realize can be a big issue when applying for new jobs (Companies WILL search for you on Facebook and you certainly don’t want to have certain photos being shared with the general public – In my personal opinion, if I wouldn’t be proud to have a photo up that a potential employer would see then I don’t post it at all but that’s just me).

    I created a Twitter guide back in May which is helpful to new Tweeps in navigating how to use it. Obviously a lot has changed with Twitter but most of the concepts are still the same such as how to use hashtags, do’s and don’ts of Twitter ethics, getting new followers, etc. Here is the link to the slideshare presentation: http://slidesha.re/cJl0X8

    Talk soon.

    • October 19, 2010 11:29 pm

      Thanks for commenting Natasha! We need to try and convince some more people to get on twitter. I know some of my younger friends still in college have wanted to tweet more since they went to the PRSSA National Conference and realized that many PRos are age are.

      Just looked at your slideshow as well. Very helpful, will have to pass it along!

  3. October 28, 2010 12:34 am

    I love this post. Very few of my friends are on Twitter, and none of them understand why I am (even the few who do have accounts). I find myself defending it by giving examples of all the networking possibilities and the wealth of information shared daily. They’re convinced it will be a stream of Facebook-like status updates.

    My journalism class requires us to create a twitter account…and then send one tweet out about our article (yeah…weak). I overheard two girls in class discussing how they didn’t understand Twitter (how to get followers, how to interact with people, what to tweet about, etc.) and therefore deemed it stupid. I think our generation is so comfortable with Facebook that many people just give up on any other SM site that doesn’t work in a similar way.

    SM platforms (and their advantages) aren’t really being taught in classes. A prof might lecture for one day on how SM has changed comm practices, specifically with timeliness issues, but not much beyond that. None of my professors are active on SM sites, which leads me to wonder if even they understand the potential for these mediums. If students want to use these sites they’re going to have to take it upon themselves to figure it out. Like you said, observing is huge!

    Great post! I’m going to have to share it with my non-believing friends 🙂

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