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The value of Twitter

I’ve had a Twitter account since my junior year of high school. As a proud early adopter, I spent a solid year tweeting mostly to myself, posting links to news articles and interesting online reads. I’m still doing that, but in good company — with nearly 360 followers. Those followers did not arrive overnight. Now, in my fourth year of tweeting, I’ve posted approximately 4,500 updates, and I follow 100 people.

Many people dismiss Twitter as a waste of time. Who, they say, wants to read banal updates about one’s life all the time? But Twitter is much more useful than the detractors imply. It’s worth exploring. With towering Facebook and many smaller social networks, like Tumblr and Foursquare, what is so great about Twitter?

Twitter certainly has opened doors for me.

As a prospective college student, my enthusiasm for Concordia was noted on Twitter, and an opportunity to blog with the college opened up. Every week, I write two blog posts for the COBBlog, which shares my experiences as a Cobber with prospective students. And, of course, I promote all of my posts via Twitter.

I saw a professor on Twitter my freshman year and after following him, decided to take one of his classes. Now I added a second major in that discipline.

As a book lover, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with my favorite writers. On more than one occasion, I’ve posted a tweet about enjoying a novel and, in addition to replying, the author has retweeted or followed me.

But I’m clearly not the only one who finds great value in Twitter. Journalists, politicians and corporations have created Twitter accounts to increase their visibility and accessibility. For example, President Obama held a Twitter town hall where he received millions of questions.

Unique hashtags can be created to make tweets searchable for topics or events. As Concordia students, if we post a tweet that has something to do with the college we are encouraged to use the hashtag “cordmn.” That way, anyone who searches for that hashtag can view tweets about Concordia.

It may never be as popular as Facebook, but Twitter certainly plays a role in the evolving ways we communicate with one another. Whether it is a professor or a boss, individuals are increasingly using the informal medium of Twitter, rather than e-mail, to make appointments or ask questions. Of course some are not comfortable with this, but one thing is for certain, social media — at least any time soon — is not going anywhere.

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