Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tweets can be used to impress employers

I'm late to the Twitter party.
I messed up; I'm behind. I used to tweet occasionally, then Twitter smacked me in the face. It was everywhere, in virtually every aspect of my life, and here I was with ten tweets. Not anymore.

As a student journalist, college student, 19-year-old, smartphone owner and news junkie, Twitter is suddenly everywhere I look. Twitter helped start a revolution in Egypt and it's now supposed to be on my resume.

During last week's liberal arts career fair, Kyle Lacy, the man who wrote "Twitter Marketing for Dummies," came and spoke to students. He said that every student on Twitter should tweet six times a day - two retweets, two professional updates and two personal tweets. One's Twitter name can be put on one's resume next to one's GPA, e-mail address and reference list. I like to update my resume every couple of months, just in case, and now I'm supposed to add on my Twitter name? That concept baffles me.

LinkedIn made sense. The initial concept of LinkedIn was to put resumes online then be able to track your connections online. It's like a virtual career fair - your resume is out there for everyone to see and you can make connections and work contacts instantly. Twitter started with the connotation that it was a forum where you or I could post updates about our lives throughout the day and someone out there in cyberspace would be listening. It has done an excellent job of defining itself as something multi-faceted - it's a resume booster, a front page for different news sources and a place for Kanye West to exercise his caps lock key.

I'm not the only one late to the Twitter party or the only one who's suddenly discovered its potential - JP Morgan is in talks to buy a 10 percent stake of the company. It would value Twitter at $4.5 billion.

Student journalists have utilized Twitter in a creative way, too. A trend that has become increasingly more popular among student journalists is to tweet at sources for a story asking for interviews. The popular blog College Media Matters wrote a post about proper Twitter etiquette when tweeting a source. The post said to make sure the student includes a description of what his or her story is about and is sure to thank the potential source - all in 140 characters or less. The post also suggests that student journalists keep their Twitter feeds public, something I only recently changed. After being on Facebook for four years, I feel trained to protect as much of my personal information as possible. With Twitter, however, users are almost encouraged to put less about their personal information, like their birthday, hometown, etc., and more what they're doing in that moment.

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