The blog formerly known as The Dobbs Method

5 Reasons Why You Should Get Twitter

Posted in Culture, Internet by Taylor Dobbs on 04/13/2009

The student newspaper at my college recently published a very funny and cynical piece on the pointlessness of Twitter as a social network. If that’s not enough, friends are constantly heckling me about it and asking what the point is. While Twitter does highlight some of modern society’s flaws (like the infinite ability we have to be impersonal), it also creates many benefits for its users.

1. Know more, faster. While CNN, BBC, and other news sources can take hours to put together a news story and send it out, the twitter community can find out instantly. Tweets are, by definition, very short. So when those 3 Navy SEALs took as many perfectly placed headshots, I heard it on Twitter first. Who knows how the person I heard from knew, but I found out before it was on CNN’s homepage or anywhere else. Sure, rumors can get started this way too, but it’s good to know what I should be looking for on the “credible” news.

2. Broaden your influence. Sure, you’re not going to find a new best friend on Twitter (unless you both have severe ADD), but what you can do is reach out to people, share your ideas with people who have similar ones, and get a message out there. Need help with that research paper? I bet you’d get results with the tweet, “Anyone know where I can find a credible analysis of the Zapruder film?” Maybe the person who answers doesn’t know you from the kid down the hall, but either way you’ve got yourself a source.

3. The interesting part of the internet, tailored and delivered to your desktop. Before Twitter, you had to scavenge the internet for hours to find a news story worth reading. That story about how AIG’s stock has gone down further than Bush’s ratings did may be interesting to your great uncle in South Dakota, but you want to hear about your stuff. Now it’s easy: jump on twitter and follow people who are into in the same things. Interesting links will pop up all over your feed, and the internet will suddenly become much more worthwhile.

4. It’s low-maintenance! Unlike wall posts or status updates on Facebook, tweets have to be short. You don’t have to decide how many lines of your depressing song quote to put in, because you only have 140 characters. It’s easy to update, and if you decide not to, nobody will wonder why you’re still “on the way to the dining hall” at 1 A.M. because it won’t be up in their feed anymore.

5. Its capabilities are vast and largely unknown (but being discovered rapidly). To answer my friends’ mocking questions, I still don’t know what the point is, but it’s developing fast. Maybe you don’t want one now, but what will you do when your professor uses it in class and you still don’t know how to tweet well (it’s not as simple as texting)? Whether you join it or not, Twitter is not going away any time soon, and it’s only getting bigger. So hop on, follow me, and see what it’s all about.

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7 Responses

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  1. Alex said, on 04/14/2009 at 1:58 am

    Great Post Dobbs –
    I also get the same flack for Twitter, but if you really think about it Twitter has many uses. I too actually thought it was completely pointless. A site that just has a series of facebook stati? Pointless! I didn’t realize what a powerful tool it is. Hopefully soon the rest of the world will see it as well, and our fellow friends -and newspapers- will be sauntering back asking twitter questions to us!

  2. lookatmytwitts said, on 04/15/2009 at 12:14 pm

    twitter is becoming more popular because you can actually follow your favourite stars like britney or miley. it makes you feel like you can participate in their every day actions. twitter brought us to a whole new level of blogging. its fast, interesting and short! so people can learn how to make it simple!
    it also keeps you in touch with your friends in more interesting way than facebook. lets face it, facebook is becoming more and more harder to maintain and use.

  3. Joshua Smith said, on 04/15/2009 at 12:40 pm

    what I need to know is how to utilize the potential of it as a tool. Clearly, I’m not following the right peeps yet, because I still get answers to questions posted solely from facebook followers…

  4. Mr. Dobbs said, on 04/15/2009 at 12:50 pm

    Joshua,

    I’ve had similar troubles as well. I’ve found some very helpful tweets by following @mashable – he definitely knows what’s up with Twitter. Good luck!

    -Mr. Dobbs

  5. [...] About ← 5 Reasons Why You Should Get Twitter [...]

  6. Maddie said, on 04/19/2010 at 4:03 pm

    Help!?!?! Hi my name is Maddie and I have a question. I want twitter how do i get my parents to let me get it

    • Taylor Dobbs said, on 04/19/2010 at 4:31 pm

      Well, you could show them this post and let them know that your account could be “Protected” – this means that only people that you approve may read your tweets. Twitter is an increasingly important part of our culture and has, at least for me personally, greatly expanded and deepened my knowledge of current events, breaking news, and areas of interest.

      As long as you are careful about what information you disclose, twitter can is a fun and constructive part of your life. Here, the FBI provides a guide on internet safety that you could show your parents so that they’re informed about internet safety. Good luck, and be safe.


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