Twitter handle: @daedraevans
The Twitter Trials
I was recently given an assignment to brave the world of social media in all its glory by creating and actively participating in Twitter. Now, initially like most people I believed that Twitter was simply a place to “check in” to a location, or just announce to the Net what you were doing in that moment. Another misconception I had, was that Twitter was merely a place for celebrities to keep up with their fans without actually interacting with them. Naturally, I thought Twitter has very little to offer me personally, and the assignment would be tedious and possibly even futile.
Casting my negativity and small mindedness aside I plowed through the basics, and tried to get a handle on how to use Twitter before I even delved into the esoteric question of why use it. Once I had the basics I was Tweeting with the best of them which gave me more time to ponder the looming question of Twitter’s existence. When Dr. Johnson explained that Twitter was a live streaming conversation that could branch out to so many topics, I began to understand more about how and why Twitter worked. I soon became completely hooked!
I followed several people during my experiment with Twitter including celebrities like Simon Pegg, Steve Martin, Jim Gaffigan, Nick Frost, and Stephen Fry. I think the most entertaining celebrity I followed was Simon Pegg who tweeted often and many times with his acting cohort Nick Frost both of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame. The more tweets I read from both actor/comedians the more I realized some people are just born funny. It was also intriguing to see what types of shows and movies they watched or enjoyed.
“@JimGaffigan Spelling something wrong in a tweet is like finding out you have your zipper open in public. And not on purpose.”
Celebrities were not the only people I decided to follow. I followed politicians, news organizations, friends, family, and companies I would like to work for. The politicians were seemed to use Twitter to further their campaigns rather than anything personal or profound. It seems that most people on Twitter seem to wear their Twitter handle like a suit showing the public only that which pertains to their handle which in most cases coincides with their career.
A funny example that happened during my Tweeting trials was when a young woman named Angel began Tweeting me from my Facebook page after I announced that I had a Twitter account. For months Angel and I tweeted, and I thought she seemed kind and really interested in my life. I kept asking myself why she cared about me so much she barely knew me, so I began being very stand offish towards her. I realized just recently, that Angel cared so much, because she is my sister’s sister in law. I recently met her while in West Virginia and thought she was so much fun, but I didn’t recognize her persona on Facebook. I found this extremely satirical, and amazing how differently people portray themselves online.
Dr. Johnson illustrated how important Twitter has become in networking and career opportunities, but she also warned that companies and individuals alike will form an opinion of who they are hiring by such social media. Were I hiring someone, I too, would like to peer into their personality to see what type of human commodity I am investing in.
Networking and learning more about various companies I would like to work with was one of the main focal points of my Twitter experiment. I researched the companies I was interested in, and soon found ( via their websites) who within the company Tweeted. My network soon expanded from a few employees of various companies within the industry to several amazing artists.
In our readings in class, we discussed the “Potter Wars” an article over a social media instance regarding a young girl named Heather Lawver and several major media corporations. On a whim, I decided to try to follow Heather on Twitter, and sent her a Tweet about her impact on me and others who, she helped. To my surprise, Heather soon Tweeted me back, and even read my blog post regarding her experience. I was so amazed that a platform such as Twitter could enable someone to reach out and not only get a preview into the life of someone they admire, but to actual interact with that person.
One thing that I found I did not like about Twitter was the inability to bring up past conversations that went beyond a week. While I understand the need for this option to be removed, most to conserve server space, it is rather frustrating. It can be somewhat annoying if you want to look up an interesting topic or rehash a conversation between someone you follow. The only other mild complaint I might have about Twitter would be the initial interface, and how daunting it seems at first. I think the overwhelming nature of the interface and the way Twitter just plunges you into the conversations makes it difficult for many people to catch on or enjoy using it.
Overall, I really enjoy Twitter now that much of my trepidation has been resolved. I think it is an interesting and fun way to connect to other people about an array of so many topics. I now view like a large texting chat room in which anyone can jump in and join the fun. I will continue to use Twitter, and find that I Tweet more than I use Facebook.