Is Twitter More Than Social Media?

By Kris Cantrell

When I was first introduced to twitter I was told it was “just facebook with only status updates”. I checked it out, made an account, and left it for about a year with a blue egg next to my name. A few months ago, I was reintroduced to twitter through a few classmates, professors, and friends for various reasons. My professors preached the ability to network with industry professionals. To me that sounded like social media homework. Some of my classmates told me they landed internships or job offers by networking with industry professionals. That sounded like social media butt-kissing. My friends just told me to follow LeBron James, Chad Ochocinco, and Justin Timberlake. That just sounded lame. I still wasn’t sold on twitter. I actually took every opportunity to bash it as hard as possible. Maybe I was just jealous that I wasn’t brave enough to tweet at Boches or something.

But then, one of my professors flipped twitter on its head and exposed it for what it isn’t: social media. Okay, maybe it is social media. But it definitely isn’t social media like facebook, friendster, or myspace. It’s different. It’s twitter. It has somehow carved out it’s own category. It’s a live news feed and a professional networking space. It gives you an opportunity to communicate with people you’d like to work for. If we’re being honest, that’s what we’re all here for. Every one of the people in the ad school is looking for one thing and one thing only: to land a sweet ad job. We want to be given an opportunity to build something we’re proud of. We want to feed our family and get paid big bucks for something that we really enjoy doing. And twitter gives us an opportunity to tell people who we are beyond a ten minute interview, resume, cover letter, and portfolio. Twitter gives us and our employers an opportunity to add personality to the employment process. And not that lame personality most of us put on before an interview. Twitter gives us an opportunity to be authentic in a professional environment, and that’s something I can feel good about investing free time into.

19 thoughts on “Is Twitter More Than Social Media?

  1. Your article follows an excellent format, Kris. Your narrative intro and transition are well done.

    I, too, felt the same concerning twitter. I have heard people extoll the virtues of the service, but it wasn’t until I took J350 — Public Relations Principles did I start to understand the importance of twitter.

    Twitter offers another avenue for, as Kelli reminds us, self-branding and it is a great way–if handled correctly–for organizations to be translucent and converse with their audience or public.

    However, twitter does have its dark side besides its inundation of inane “I just ate at McDonald’s and it the food was terrible” status updates. They may hold some potential for McDonald’s and its rivals, but it does little for people following you. I am not implying ever tweet should be brilliant poetry, but remember what you say reflects on you. No, twitters more cancerous uses involve the spreading of gossip, rumors, and fallacious material that may constitute internet bullying or information that is erroneous to the point of negatively influencing people or organizations.

    Twitter has wonderful potential for networking and forming contacts, but with every element of social media, be prudent, or as Kelli says, “If it causes you to pause, pause.”

  2. Alisha Roemeling

    At first I thought that Twitter was really boring, and only got one because I was told I could get a lot of information about the journalism school through Twitter. As I have become more interested in the world around me, and as news about the world seems to be shared first on Twitter, I’ve found a new love. (Ha ha) Twitter has become the way in which I get my news. No one has time to sit down and actually watch the news every day, but everyone has five minutes to scroll through the headlines on twitter. I think that twitter is somewhat of a social media as well, because so many of my friends are on it as well, but at the same time I think that it’s much less of a social media site than Facebook. You don’t waste time on Twitter looking through other peoples pictures, and you get the most important information because of the word limit on Twitter. I’m starting to use and enjoy Twitter more and more as I get older.

  3. I really like your post Kris. I just recently reconnected on Twitter and I’m started to enjoy it. After hearing about others landing internships and job opportunities through social media made me want to start tweeting more. Many employers seek more information about individuals on their twitter feed. It also lets you follow agencies to see if there hiring.

  4. Kristopher Anderson

    Once again, I saw how useful twitter is for news. I found out today about the death of Harmon Killebrew through twitter. It’s very interesting to see how twitter is a running news feed. I was a skeptic for a long time, but once I started using it regularly, I saw how useful it is.

  5. Chloe Longfellow

    Nice blog post. I actually have a friend who just got an internship due to her excessive tweeting. I think it’s a cool social media because you can choose what your news feed to tell you and who comes up unlike Facebook which can be annoying when random people come up. I think people that don’t have a Twitter yet and dislike it think it is just a stupid status update version of Facebook and want to stay away from it. Just got to keep in mind that Twitter is a way to express yourself, make connections and pick your own news.

  6. I experienced the same thing you’re talking about. I got a Twitter because the influencers around me told me it was cool, but after I created my account and made my first tweet, the proverbial blue egg remained next to my name for quite some time. The thing that I like so much about Twitter is that it’s constantly morphing. It started out as a simple “status update” similar to the one on Facebook, but I loved the way that people figured out how to connect with one another and create communities around a simple word with a hashtag placed before it. The power of 140 characters is phenomenal.

  7. Tucker Leverton

    Twitter still has yet to captivate my full attention. The idea seems interesting enough, but unless you are sitting in front of twitter all day, or relentlessly back tracking and checking out what’s going on, the stream of information seems so overwhelming. Following what friends are doing is much harder and less interesting in my opinion than being able to view happenings through Facebook. That being said, following things like newspapers or record companies is perfect for being able to pinpoint interesting stories, or concerts/ record releases without having to wonder and search the web. As I continue to use Twitter, I find myself as more of a consumer of information as opposed to a contributor. I find little throughout my day that I feel is relevant share to such a large audience, and I’m continuously annoyed by a wide variety of things people feel is necessary to share within the large internet community. I agree it is a great tool for some in social media, but the frustrations I have with the platform far outnumber the ones I find crucial to get through the day.

  8. Chelsea Coleman

    Your post is 100% accurate. I’ve seen and heard so many people bash twitter, think its stupid and make fun of those who do use it. I usually just let them think what they want because they don’t want to be open to all the possibilities and connections the platform can expose you to.
    Once you figure out all the opportunities twitter can provide, its hard to ever go back. I personally am over facebook and rarely go on and just use my twitter. There is always something going on and always new, smart, relative content. I loved twitter before but even being in this class has opened my eyes to what a powerful tool it is. I’m excited what new social channels the future holds.

  9. I felt the same way about Twitter for a long time. I made an account may be two years ago and had a total of about eight tweets before the beginning of this school year, when some friends who were really into it got me to start using it again. I started out with a private account, fewer than 20 followers, and mostly personal tweets directed at my friends who followed me. After taking this class I’ve taken a more professional route with my account, although it’s hard at times not to say things that I don’t want all sixty-something of my current followers to see. Sometimes I wish there were more of a divide between the personal and professional aspects of Twitter, but you make a good point explaining the networking possibilities it provides.

  10. Nicole S. Johnson

    I think your initial feelings toward twitter are something everyone who first starts an account feels, uncertain and confused. Like Iam mentioned, I didn’t realize just how important twitter was until I took Principles of PR. Twitter is crucial to any company for the purpose of damage control. It is such a fast, inexpensive way to address any issue before it blows up into a major issue. As long as it is not being used to advertise, people will listen to what companies will tweet.

  11. Melanie Conrad

    I heard the exact same thing about Twitter when it was first described to me, that it’s just like facebook status updates. I truly think that it started out that way, but has evolved into so much more. Like so many others, I started up my Twitter with a lot of reservation, because who really needs to know what a mildly interesting celebrity is doing at this exact moment? But the more time passes, the more people are needing to be INSTANTLY in the know. For better or for worse. No, I probably don’t need to know that Kim Kardashian has a photo shoot today. But I do appreciate the value of having news as soon as it goes live. So I’m trying to take my Twitter world away from the social and more towards the professional, but it’s not an easy transition.

  12. Julia Sullivan

    This post was awesome! It’s amazing how Journalism/Communication majors think/use Twitter compared to people in other professions. For us, Twitter will be a tool in our future jobs, and it is currently a great way to communicate. If you leave your Facebook public, you’re not being very smart. On the other hand, if you don’t make your Twitter public (exception to the rule if you have a personal and professional account), then that isn’t very wise. I guess I can understand why non- J school majors don’t understand Twitter’s appeal. A doctor or engineer won’t get hired via Twitter, but in our profession that is becoming more and more likely.

  13. I too created a twitter account and left it alone for about a year. Then I joined J412 and became a Twitter-addict. I don’t tweet obnoxious amounts, and try to only tweet things that are relevant to anyone who might be listening across the Twitter-verse. I have been excited to see that numerous companies have started following me including Oglivy Jobs. I see Facebook and Twitter as completely different atmospheres. Facebook is a place where I can keep up with friends and talk about menial things. Twitter is my “self-branding” space, where I try to remain professional and keep in mind the fact that anyone who wants has access to my tweets. I love that there is a distinction between Twitter and Facebook, and anyone who hasn’t jumped on the Twitter bandwagon yet just doesn’t know what they’re missing!

  14. Todd Greenbaum

    I personally am still in the egg next to my name phase of twitter. I have an account because it seems like I should, and I have to for this class, but I still am not totally sold on Twitter. I can see how a person could show off their personality with their twitter feed I guess… but is that really landing people jobs these days? I guess I am just slow to get to the party on this one. I am not a J major, and haven’t been exposed to the types of success stories and preaching about twitter that many of my friends and classmates have been, so maybe it is just a matter of time for me. If there is a way to utilize twitter better and get a job out of it like you suggest than I should probably get to work on that. Good post, thanks.

  15. Twitter is definitely a prime way to use social media for professional networking. In addition, I find it interesting the amount of people that I follow on Twitter who are beginning to market themselves and campaign for themselves as they begin to enter the job market. Many people are linking their twitter to the blogs (personal and professional) daily. Many people are linking their twitter to their online portfolio, and every time they tweak it, announce to twitter that is has new and improved information. Twitter is essentially a great way to market one’s self for free, to a world of people who could potentially have the right job or internship for you.

  16. To be honest I had the same exact feeling about twitter three years ago. Twitter had just gained fame because of the I-reporting from the Mumbai terrorist attacks in India. Our professor at the time was raving about twitter as a tool to view breaking news and cut through the b.s of a headline. Twitter was about getting knowledge to the follower in 140 letters. Like you, I was unimpressed with the whole process and didn’t want to have to manage another social media profile. Luckily twitter is easy to manage and there is no profile upkeep (unless you are famous and tweet something outlandish). I like your point about Twitter carving out its own category of social networking, because it is changing the social media landscape. Such a simple idea has transformed the way we think of our day to day lives.

  17. Johnny Verschueren

    I really liked this piece, very well done. I too was hesitant about Twitter when it first surfaced, but after time that thought has definitely changed. It is the perfect way to get all your main story lines that you yourself want in a quick and easy fashion. It’s like having a giant online newspaper with only stories that you are interested in. I definitely feel like Twitter has turned into a social media platform for college students and I will go as far as to say that more people will eventually be on Twitter than on Facebook. It provides just as much as Facebook but without pictures and people being able to learn a ton about your personal life, privacy is always a good thing in my book and I think Twitter gives that a lot better than Facebook. Twitter is also a much better way to market yourself and get more professional thoughts across.

  18. Interesting Post! I believe that this is the golden age of twitter where it is new enough that industry professionals are not bogged down with hundreds of people trying to network with them. We will all look back at the great advantage we had when we were young and looking for jobs. This inspires me to take advantage of twitter more and join in the conversation and strike while the iron is hot.

  19. Sandra Stovall

    I had the same feelings about Twitter in the beginning as well. The idea of Twitter being “like facebook, but only with status updates” seemed really lame. This made me think of Twitter as something even more self-centered than facebook. Honestly, I don’t care what a celebrity did 10 minutes ago or that he or she has a photo shoot tomorrow. I did, however, understand why a celebrity might get a facebook. Due to the large amount of interest in pop culture, it makes sense why a celebrity would use Twitter as a platform to communicate with fans. Personally, I could care less what Beiber ate for breakfast this morning.
    Once I got a Twitter (thanks to J412), I realized how useful of a tool it is. Not for keeping up with celebrities, but for keeping up with the news and topics I am interested in. I put out some content, but mostly I use Twitter as a listening tool and I have actually found a lot of great information through it. For example, when I’m traveling on vacation, I’ll see if the hotel I’m staying at has a Twitter or follow the local tourism board on Twitter for tips of what to do and special deals. Great post!

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