Sweet Tweets? I think not.

September 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm (Uncategorized)

When I began my journey into the journalism major last semester, I came with a few stereotypical ideas of what I would be doing within my classes. I wandered into the first day of class with ideas about tiny notebooks, hard-hitting questions, and famous reporters buzzing around my head. So it’s not surprising that I was in shock when we were told that one of the biggest assets to a journalist right now was not the tiny notebook I had envisioned, but a 140-word blurb called a tweet.

Making my own account I logged on, and quickly became annoyed at the mess of information that appeared on my screen. I didn’t care about what the rest of my classmates were tweeting. I felt like if I wanted to know what they were thinking, I’d ask. However, clearly if 20.1 million Americans were logging on and using it, I was missing something.

The first project came about within a few weeks into my twitter-aversion. We were required to split up and communicate solely by using twitter. So, I got on the twitter-train and checked, tweeted, and eventually came up with a story. Now, I most definitely was not hooked into the twitter buzz at this point, but I was beginning to understand how to use it.

What I’ve found is that in regards to true journalists, it can be a great tool. Twitter can help a journalist “look for information, publicize articles and interact with readers, and the more users it has, the more important it could be” according to an article from Web 2.0. In a world where new information is available every minute, twitter makes it easy to check said information and upload ones own ideas and reports equally as fast.

A number of celebrities and even the President keeps a twitter account updated constantly as a way to connect with their fans and supporters. However, the majority of these people (excluding the President) are using twitter much like every other non-journalist is using it – to express mundane ideas about everyday life. The over-sharing trend that has come about with twitter has California’s Chico State University creating a list of the Do’s and Don’ts of Twittering. The love affair between celebrities’ egos and twitter has gotten so bad that even Conan O’Brien has an entire segment of his show devoted to “twitter tracking”.

The insignificance of “everyday tweeting” by celebrities and non-journalists puts a damper on the advantages of twitter within journalism. Using twitter to announce that your dinner has arrived may not be using it to its fullest potential. However, announcing bits and pieces from a political speech may make it a worthwhile tool. For now, I stand by my opinion that twitter for the most part is a waste of time. I find no need to spend time condensing information down to 140-words, or trying to translate people’s twitter-shorthand. Then again, I said Facebook was a waste of time originally, and look how far that has come.


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