I encountered the question “what is Twitter” once again this weekend. After explaining my new social media addiction to a family friend, I asked myself one question: how did I use Twitter in 2009?
From a few simple tweets about sitting in class to communicating with my friends that live across the country, my Twittering (ok, is that even an appropriate Gerund ?) has evolved with time.Also, the individuals I follow have changed over the past few months. First, it was friends. Then, professors and some co-workers. Before I knew it, I followed news organizations, celebrities, university officials, bloggers, sports teams, athletes and even MY OWN MOTHER.
To ring in the new year, I decided that I would list the top five ways that I have found value in twitter (not ranked in any specific order).
- TwitPic updates while sitting at an important event. When I was shooting video footage of Michael Pollan’s speech at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took a quick picture and sent it to twitter. A few people replied saying that they saw me on the floor of the Kohl’s Center.
- Staying on top of university news. UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin and academic deans like Lori Berquam update constantly update their Twitter feeds throughout the day. Their comments give a face and voice to the university’s administration. The New York Times even wrote an article about the connection Martin had with UW-Madison students via Twitter when the university was shut down due to severe weather.
- Learning about notable events in my friends’ lives. After a few months, most of my good friends from home use Twitter. When I couldn’t pick up the phone during a class, I read a tweet from one of my best friends explaining that she was selected for an important political internship.
- Connecting with teachers outside of the classroom. Yes, teachers actually have lives outside of school and do not sleep under their desks. I frequently sent tweets towards one professor about academic and non-academic messages. Although we didn’t get along in terms of football teams (she’s a Packer fan and I am from Minnesota- you do the math), I felt that Twitter helped me to strengthen relationships with my professors.
- Integrating my Twitter updates on other Web sites. Sites like Brazen Careerist allowed me to amplify my voice to different social circles. With a few hashtags here and there, I directed my messages to different outlets. For example, professional focused tweets used the #brazen function for Brazen Careerist while the #fb hashtag updated my Facebook status.
2010 will be an interesting year for social media and the Internet. With evolving dialogues and uses for different networks, I am excited to see what the new year will bring.
Now, I have one question for you: How did you use Twitter in 2009?