Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

College Students and Twitter
January 26, 2010, 11:00 am
Filed under: college, Networking/Social Media, Twitter

My primary focus with the AT&T Talent Attraction team at this point in time is working with our Campus Recruiting team to find new and innovative ways of reaching students and new grads to make them aware of the opportunities we have at AT&T. I found this video this morning – an interview with several college students regarding their thoughts on Twitter:

“It’s a lame way for celebrities to share information about stuff that nobody should really know.”
“I feel like a lot of people just … talk about random stuff.”
“I don’t think people really want to hear about my personal life.”

Hearing these statements is disheartening and tells me that those of us who are proponents of the professional use of Twitter are not doing a good job of sharing with this particular demographic how it can be used.

This is a call-out to all of you who read this blog and are current students. If you’re a college student, please leave a comment with your thoughts on Twitter. Share with us why you do or don’t use Twitter. I’m most interested in what your perception of its purpose is and why you do or don’t see the value in participating in the Twitterverse.


9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I disagree with those aforementioned statements greatly. Sure it can be random, but it depends on who you follow. I found Twitter to be a great networking tool by finding those with similar interests. Connections help, and even more so now with the current economic climate. It’s a useful too that every college student should use.

Comment by Charles Roop

I don’t know how typical those students’ opinions are. I do have to admit that journalism majors seem to be more tapped into social media than other majors are, but that video still didn’t seem like an accurate cross-section.

I recently graduated, and a lot of my friends use Twitter, and a some of them don’t. Those who do use it normally tweet to share links to interesting articles/Web sites or to tap into the community to ask a question. I use Twitter a lot to get people’s opinions on products and issues — to me, that’s its most valuable asset. I often find out about breaking news on Twitter before I see it anywhere else, and because I follow who I want, that breaking news often more personally relevant than the news I get from mass media.

Twitter is what you make it, though, which is the great thing about it, but I think a lot of people don’t understand that.

Comment by Susannah

I started using twitter very recently. I never joined because of the reasons those students stated before when twitter first came out all I heard was all the stuff with Ashton kutcher vs CNN and who could get more followers and I thought it was just plain stupid. I have started using it for professional development recently and I love it now

Comment by Sean fahey

Twitter has replaced my newspaper. I now go solely to Twitter to stay updated with news and the latest happenings. It’s a really convenient way for me to find out information since I choose to follow informative people/organizations. I think the reason many students don’t actively use Twitter is because they think it’s just a boring version of Facebook. Yes, there aren’t as many pictures, movies, and distractions on Twitter but it can be an incredible resource to tap into for information and surprisingly entertaining snippets of life. That’s why I’m starting to use it MORE than facebook. However, I’m having a hard time convincing my college friends to follow. I think when they start seeing social networking sites as more than just a “writing on walls, tagging pictures” deals and viewing it as a way of connecting/networking from a “professional” lens, they’ll start to gravitate towards Twitter. For now, they’re aren’t seeing the benefits. But I do believe eventually students will start to use it as a career networking tool. I hope they do.

Comment by Lynne

As a career counselor at a Big Ten institution, I’m a huge advocate of twitter. Most of my students tell me they “don’t get it” or “think it’s stupid”. Some actually use it but mainly for a means of chit-chatting with friends – not as a way to network with people. Here is my advice:

Students – you are totally missing out. Twitter provides an OPEN network of people who want to share and have tons of experience and knowledge. I didn’t “get” twitter at first either. Take some time with it and you might actually “get” the value of twitter.

Comment by ClaudineRenee

Social media is all about how you participate. Most college students (or to sum it up, most everyone) think that Twitter is “what you’re doing”. For most, this is posting what you ate for breakfast, how much you partied last night and more similar examples that we’ve all heard.

What I think they’re missing is the true value of the platform. It’s SO much more than what a person is doing. In fact, Twitter recently changed their status to reflect “what’s happening now” vs. “what are you doing”. It can be useful to receive breaking news (often is posted before any other source), support causes (LIVESTRONG, etc.) and yes, even keep up with your favorite celebrity.

Personally, I’ve found a wealth of knowledge through Twitter by following experts in Human Resources such as Recruiters, who not only share jobs (yes, you can get a job on Twitter), but also great information to help those who are needing an extra boost. The extra boost consists of career advice, resume tips, interviewing techniques, what not to do, and more. There’s even a great deal of inspiration being shared through motivational quotes and personal stories. It’s these things that make Twitter the powerhouse that it has become. At the end of the day, it’s social, so BE social. You’ll get just as much out of it as you put into it.

I hope this helps. If you’d like to know some of my recommendations for helpful folks to follow, follow me (@kbaumann). PS. @researchgoddess is on the list of those to follow! 🙂

Comment by Kirk

I’m not a college student, but I’ve been thinking a lot today about who uses twitter and why, and why people criticize it. Personally I feel like criticisms of twitter are yet another sign of laziness and lack of curiosity that so many people, students or not, exhibit today.

You can’t have an opinion without knowledge, and yet so many people think they know all about twitter without ever having used it. I will grant that at first glance twitter does seem kindof silly, and I don’t necessarily blame people for forming an impression. I had those impressions too before I started using twitter. But honestly… it’s not actually that complicated. Five minutes and a search for “how to use twitter” can explain all the mysteries like what all the @’s and RT’s and #’s mean.

I think a lot of the confusion and negative sentiment is a result of people signing up for twitter expecting it to be like facebook, taking 20 seconds to decide it’s boring, never going back, and yet claiming they “tried twitter” and know what it’s all about.

I wish more people would give twitter a chance before writing it off. And it is up to us, who know how versatile and valuable twitter is, to be ambassadors! And to keep patiently explaining what twitter is really all about. 🙂

Comment by Naomi

I was laughing when I watched the video. The people featured need to be a bit more experimental and dive in.

So much still to learn, thankfully they have plenty of time to do it or fall by the wayside in a sort of digital Darwinian selection

Comment by Ged Carroll

It is a common misconception that Twitter is widely used by Gen Y. It isn’t. Far more Gen X’ers and even Boomers use Twitter, but a look at the trends makes it apparent the Gen Y usage is rapidly growing. As is the case with any other tool, it isn’t just how many used it or how they used it last year that counts. It is how many will use and how they will use it.

Comment by Steven Rothberg

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