Why every student should be on Twitter

Why every student should be on Twitter

Summary: Twitter isn't just about friends, family and colleagues. Not only does Twitter almost guarantee a response from people, it could also land you a job.


A lot of students turn their nose up at Twitter still, and it baffles me.

As a user I am naturally more inclined to be positive about the service. Not necessarily. It's like Marmite. You either love it, or you don't. But those who have not tried it are more likely to respond negatively to it, especially when one might not realise the potential that Twitter offers.

Twitter is an odd 'social network'; if indeed it can be called as such. It is all about communication on mass -- talking to celebrities, friends, colleagues and prospective employers, along with keeping up to date with streams of information provided by others.

And the Generation Y do nothing better than communicating. The two should go together seemingly perfectly, one would think.

But so many of my student colleagues avoid Twitter because it's either "another thing to do", or "I don't see what I can get out of it".

What many forget is that Twitter does not revolve around celebrities and those with a million followers or more.

If you tweet me, I will reply. Always. Not because I feel I have to, but because I want to. You will find that so many will respond if you tweet something that engages with them -- similar to that of an ordinary face-to-face conversation.

For students looking for employment, there are a vast number of Twitter accounts to follow with not only advice, but job offers, and connections to those who are in the industry to sell yourselves to.

The search feature alone allows you to plug in content like "graduate job" already returns a stream of users looking for jobs themselves, accounts offering advice, links to jobs specifically dedicated to graduate students.

And by the time I finished writing that last sentence, another ten results turned up with most of the same thing.

Twitter is not solely about friends, family and colleagues. It is what you make of it. You can apply the same with Facebook -- it can be a sociable platform if you like, but it can also be used for business.

From communicating with clients to discussing products with your following, the social platform does not automatically mean "exclusive to your immediate acquaintances".

But if you are not satisfied with searching for jobs, you should not necessarily expect a job to land in your lap.

It does not mean you should not take the opportunity to broadcast your views and thoughts on a topic you are passionate about. People will notice, and those with similar passions will find you and follow you, and your name will spread further afield.

Eventually someone who wants you will notice, and you could land yourself a job in social media.

Topic: Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Message has been deleted.

  • because

    students have time to waste and the data plan is paid by the parents.
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

      @Linux Geek
      +1. I think first time I am agreeing with you on this.

      @Zack Whittaker
      It depends on whom they are following. If they are just following something that is not worth then they shouldn't use twitter.
      Ram U
    • RE: because

      @Linux Geek no man I have contacts who work like dogs and yet use twitter a lot. If one works with social media/design/journalism you can really network there, it's insane. But it's not like one(no matter the professions) can't live a perfectly life without ever joining.
      Bottom line: Twitter can be really useful whether you agree or not with Whittaker's reasons, there are yet other reasons. But it's not like anyone really <i>needs</i> twitter.
  • Well, I think it depends

    You can damage your own future just as easily as enhancing it by displaying undesirable traits on line. Many students do not have the writing skills nor the judgement to make sure their on line image is a positive one.
    • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

      @Economister Oddly, I agree with you. I know most of my employers tell me after I'm hired that the first thing they do when they find a suitable candidate is check out their social network sites and see how big of a fool they've made of themselves. Apparently others think so too, given that social networks are now used during background checks.
    • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

      @Economister You are right. One should always be careful of what they put online. I'll be covering this in the coming weeks!
      • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

        shouldnt you cover this first, rather then encouraging young people to jump into it with both feet?
  • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

    I am a frequent speaker on social media for students at area colleges. No one has to be involved in any aspect of social media - just like you don't have to cut your hair. But if one chooses to invest time in a rich digital networking experience, leaving twitter out of the equation is to leave a piece out of the puzzle. Unless you have a complete puzzle you may not know what it looks like. Naysayers are typically in that space where the missing piece is supposed to be.
    Karla Porter
    • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

      @Karla Porter I don't know... we MySpace naysayers now get to be smug and condescending, even more so than after we revealed we never had homemade websites with dancing hamster GIFs on Geocities. We Facebook naysayers are preparing to be even more self-congratulating, smug and condescending with the sudden rise of Google+. Once someone publishes the collected wisdom of the Bible, Shakespeare and Christopher Hitchens... all truncated at 140 characters, the Twitterverse will collapse in a case of worldview implosion at the shock of their folly and we naysayers' egos will expand like a star turning into a red giant. <br><br>Oh, and thanks to Android, we iPhone naysayers are already baking a cake. The only constant is change. "I conceive of nothing, in religion, science or philosophy, that is more than the proper thing to wear, for a while." - Charles Fort
  • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

    en masse not on mass
  • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

    Great post! I have been using Twitter for the past three years in the classroom with all of my students at a private university with upscale students and at a large public community college with multiple campuses successfully. The little resistance I get from a tiny minority has always been overcome when they get class participation points for using it as a clicker in class when I teach and to link to their blogs when they complete an assignment. It comes to my Evo and all is well.
    • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

      @cpodman You require students to use Twitter IN the classroom? And have BLOGS? What kind of class is this???? What kind of things did you make them do when the Harry Potter books came out? :-)
    • Is Twitter Listed As A Prerequisite For Your Class?

      @cpodman Well, is it? How many students have dropped - or never registered for - your class because of this tangential fascination you have with it?
  • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

    I also use Twitter to teach students how to post in correctly in the corporate and academic world so that when potential employers do background checks it will all link back to their serious blogs where they are discussing real issues and projects that one can see progression and completion of tasks. Several students have gotten jobs and internships because of this and have told me so in class.
  • Au Contraire... It is really easy to have that tweet completely missed

    I don't see how twitter guarantees a reply. My guess is many tweets just get lost in the myriad of tweets coming in from all the places and people that you're following. I find I can see the latest few tweets but what about the ones that came in an hour ago or last night? they are so far down the list of tweets that I'm never going to get there. That is the biggest problem I see, Oh yes, that and trying to figure out how to find/follow someone I am interested in.
    I don't find it's worth my time.
  • What???

    Actually no student should be on twitter or facebook. these are both socially destructive and mentally damaging services. These 2 are big reason why are kids have become a lot dumber and have all but forgot about real human interaction and social skills. these should not be allowed to be used by kids at all and if we wanted to better our world we would get rid of them all together.
    • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

      @Fletchguy Right, give all students mud bricks and sticks to write on or do you prefer stone/chisel/hammer? Both worked at one time.
  • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

    It depends. If the job you are going for is retail or outbound sales then a gregarious social networking history can be a good thing. If the job requires concentration and you are a twit with a history of serial posting, then not so much.
  • RE: Why every student should be on Twitter

    Twitter is for twits. A big time-waster with no real value. I would NOT hire a twit, in fact I would bve biased against anyone who thinks Twitter brings any value to anything other than time-wasting.