For my last practicum blog post, I wanted to take a look back to where I began with this project and look at all the advancements I made. Coming in to this, I didn’t know what all I would learn by using Twitter. I knew the basics – Tweets, Followers, etc., but I didn’t know all the ways that Twitter would be able to connect me to the world, my friends, and other sites that I was interested in.
Followers. I started off with only a few followers – 3 to be exact. My followers included my roommate and two people I didn’t know due to the fact that I left my Twitter account public rather than setting privacy settings. I did this in order to obtain as many followers as possible.
Today, I am up to 77 followers! I consider this quite an accomplishment considering I only set up my account at the end of September. When I calculated this out, I’ve been on Twitter for approximately 70-75 days, which ends up being about one new follower each day I’ve been on Twitter. I was not expecting to gain so many followers, so when I calculated this out, I was slightly astonished at how quickly I got to where I am – now to continue gaining followers…
Creativity and Usage. As I began using Twitter, I was uninformed on how to change the background, change the text colors, and use #hashtags and @mentions. As I familiarized myself with the profiles of my followers, I learned how to use these tools and create a profile that expressed my personality.
When I began, my background was the blue one that Twitter provides you when you first create an account.
I didn’t want my page to be unoriginal, so I tried out a couple other backgrounds that Twitter provided, trying to figure out how so many people put their own images as their backgrounds. When I finally figured out how to do this, I ended up with this…
I also became more of an “expert” at Tweeting by adjusting what I included in them in order to seem more apart of the Twitter culture and community. At first, I began with very generic Tweets about my day but then eventually learned the “art” of #hashtags and @mentions, allowing my Tweets to take a different shape than before.
In this Tweet from December 5th, I use two @mentions, a #hashtag, and upload a “twitpic” from my phone. I have definitely come a long ways in my Tweeting expertise!
Connecting. When I first began this project, I was barely connected to anyone. Now, I use Twitter to look up news stories, star current with what my friends are up to, and have become connected in some way or another to multiple other sources on the internet. I can even connect my Twitter account to other sites that I use, like Pinterest, to show my followers what I am doing on other sites. Twitter has truly become my go-to for just about anything, and I’ve found that I use Twitter more than Facebook now because of how connected I am to anything and everything with Twitter.
Overall, I have learned a great deal about how microblogging functions and creates an online space for individual participation and networking. Before using Twitter, I did not know just how connected I would become to just about everything – news, friends, celebrities, etc. I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to explore such a popular and well-known site like Twitter and hope that what I learned helped someone else learn something new about microblogging and Twitter, as well. I plan to continue using Twitter and hope to continue learning more about it.
As I began looking into editing Wikipedia, I noticed that the Twitter Wikipedia page was set to “semi-private,” meaning that if I wanted to edit the page, I would have limited options in the editing process. There were several ways to edit on this page, however, they were not direct like on non-protected Wikipedia pages. If I wanted to, I could have requested an edit change, which may or may not be approved, or I could create a Wikipedia account, have it for at least 4 days, and make 10 edits on other pages. I chose not to edit through either of these options for several reasons. First, I wanted to make an instant edit and with the uncertainty of an edit requested being granted and added to the site, I opted out of this option. Also, I was not comfortable with make 10 edits to other Wikipedia pages. While I’m sure there are plenty of pages I could add insight to, this was not something that interested me. I felt it would be best to make an instant edit rather than waiting for something to be approved. Since editing the Twitter page seemed to no longer be an option, I also decided to edit the Microblogging Wikipedia page.
On the Microblogging page, I chose to make three edits – two under “Usage” and one under “Issues with micro blogging.” Under “Usage,” I chose to discuss Twitter’s relation to fast-paced societies and Twitter’s ability to be linked to other social media sites. This was done in two edits. The first says, “This type of social media site is representative of the growing, fast pace societies in the world that depend on instant information in order to stay current and up-to-date.” Then I added, “The uses of microblogging websites have become seemingly endless. There are many different ways to use them and the ways continue to grow in number and complexity. It is now possible to link websites, such as Pinterest, to Twitter, allowing you to Tweet the image you have just “pinned.” This new way to microblog, allows one to use microblogging as a communicative tool as well as a way to bring all aspects of social media into one, convenient location, making it easier and faster to search for and find information in this fast pace society.”
Under “Issues with micro blogging,” I added, “While privacy concerns remain an issue surrounding microblogging websites, Twitter has created a direct and easy way to initiate privacy settings on one’s account. With just one click you can set your account to private, meaning that only people that you approve of to follow your Twitter may see you Tweets. Everyone else will only see a page that says your Twitter account is set to private and in order to see your Tweets, the person must request to follow you. This way of creating privacy settings has seemingly made privacy settings a less complex and more direct action. Contrasted with Facebook where there are several different settings to choose from and the settings are customizable, Twitter allows you one of two options – public or private. Uneasiness may arise if a person’s Twitter is set to public, because any one may see your Tweets and anyone may follow you, without sending a request. While there is always the option of setting your Twitter account to private or private, it still remains important to be cautious about what you Tweet.”
With this edit, I wanted to give commentary to the fact that, while privacy issues remain a concern with social media sites, Twitter in particular has made it easy to privatize your account. It only takes one click of a mouse to set your entire page to private, unlike other sites.
With these two edits, I was able to incorporate my own insight into Twitter onto a broad, microblogging Wikipedia page. Whether or not my edits remain on the page and for how long is a different story. Hopefully the information I provided will give at least a few people more insight into the Twitter world and will accompany them while they learn and master the site.
I’ve decided to compare and contrast Facebook with Twitter for this blog post because of the prevalence of both of these sites in my life and others’ lives.
Tweets vs. Statuses. Looking at Facebook and Twitter, there are some obvious differences. The length of statuses or Tweets you can publish are substantially different. With Twitter you may only enter up to 140 characters, but with Facebook, there seems to be no limit anymore. If you want to say more in a Tweet, there are ways to do so (which I haven’t figured out, but I’ve seen others do it), or you can always attach a link to another website if you want to show your followers what you are talking about.
Followers vs. Friends. This is pretty self-explanatory. On Facebook, you have “Friends.” On Twitter, you have “Followers.” They’re essentially the same thing with different names.
Profiles. Facebook is based around a personal profile. You upload videos and photos and include information about your school, job, interests, hobbies, etc. on the “Info” page. You write on your friends’ walls and comment on their photos, videos, posts, etc. On Facebook, there are so many ways to connect with friends and share information about your personal life (besides just posting statuses). On Twitter, your profile is less informative. You may include a 160-character description of yourself, if you choose, and this will appear below your name on your Twitter page (see image below). Mine says “Kappa Alpha Theta. ON WISCONSIN!” This includes very little information about my personal life, unlike my Facebook that states my school, favorite movies, where I work, and many other things. It is much more difficult to find out personal information on a person’s Twitter unless they Tweet that information, but even then, it’s not plastered on a separate page, like it is on Facebook.
Privacy. Compared to Facebook, Twitter privacy settings are incredibly easy to use and understand. With just one click, you can set your Twitter to private (see image below). When it is set to private, you must approve of who may follow you. I have decided to keep my account public in order to gain more followers (I’m up to 76!). On the other hand, Facebook privacy settings are incredibly detailed and often times difficult to understand. You can customize your privacy settings, keep some things public and others private, etc. There are so many ways to adjust your Facebook page that, to me, it seems overwhelming.
Overall appearance. I’ve found that there is more room for creativity on Twitter than there is Facebook. I’ve had a fun time changing the background and text colors of my Twitter to show off more of my personality. I figured out how to upload my own background image and edit the text colors to match. Twitter also supplies several basic background layouts for people who may not want to deal with editing the look of their page. I think in this sense, since Twitter doesn’t reveal as much of your personal identity as Facebook does, this is a way to show who you are and what you are interested in without explicitly stating it like on Facebook.
Overall, there are many differences between Facebook and Twitter. I like each for various reasons – Facebook allows you to share and look through thousands of photos on friends’ pages and Twitter keeps everything short and sweet. However, when it boils down to it, they are both social networking sites that have attracted millions of people and allow us to connect with friends, family, celebrities, and others.
As I’ve become more of an expert with Twitter, I’ve begun to use it as a way to communicate and link to other things that I am doing. One way I have been doing this is by linking my Pinterest account with my Twitter account. Pinterest is a type of social networking site in which you follow other users and “pin” pictures onto design and inspiration boards. I’ve recently become addicted to this site and have been using Twitter to show it!
Here are some examples of how I have been linking Twitter and Pinterest:
Which links to…
This is a photo that I found and re-pinned onto my “Places to See” inspiration board. I used Twitter to show all of my followers what I had been doing on Pinterest and to spread the word about a new website I had found and become so obsessed with.
Here’s another Tweet linked to Pinterest:
Twitter has really become a way for me to connect all the different aspects of my life. I keep in touch with friends, relay messages about what I am doing (in under 140 characters, of course), stay current with local and national news, catch up on celebrity gossip, and show what I am up to or thinking about by linking my Twitter to other websites, such as Pinterest. This is certainly something that other websites, such as Facebook, have been doing for a while. However, it’s fun to just give a short snippet of information regarding what you are linking your Twitter to and leaving it up to your followers to find out what you are up to. It’s a great way to connect every aspect of my life and bring it all into one, easy and convenient location.
Like I’ve said before, although Twitter only allows you to communicate small and brief amounts of information at a time, it is extremely useful for staying current in all aspects of my life without having to take the time to search for everything elsewhere. And now that I’m able to add more of myself into my Tweets by showing exactly what I am interested in by linking my Twitter to other pages (or adding a link I have found into a Tweet), I can really keep my followers up to date on everything going on in my life, keeping them informed on just what I am interested in. As I’ve been using Twitter more and more frequently, I’ve really come to love the fact that everything I need and want is all in one place!
Last night, I kept track of all of the computerized and technological devices I used. Surprisingly, I didn’t use too many different things. However, I found that I use the same devices for many different reasons. The devices I used were my phone and laptop.
Computer. I used my laptop for many things last night. Most importantly, I was writing a paper that required me to research many different scholarly articles. I used the Wisconsin homepage to access journal databases and Google to search other random facts and articles. Of course, in between all of this, I procrastinated by using Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Pinterest. I also subscribed to a free month of Netflix! Also for the paper I was writing, I had to watch a movie and take notes on it and used Microsoft Word to do so. I used my laptop for one reason or another for about 5 hours. When it comes to completing class assignments that require me to use a laptop, this is a pretty typical amount of time for me to spend on my computer in a night.
Phone. I used my phone for several reasons last night. Obviously, I was texting throughout the night up until I went to bed, but I also used it to Tweet a few times, including a Tweet with a picture that I took with my phone last night. I don’t always use my phone to take pictures, so that was a little out of the ordinary, at least for a weeknight. I don’t generally care for the quality of pictures my Blackberry takes.
Overall, last night was a pretty typical night in regards to what devices I used, for what reasons, and for how long. The only out of the ordinary part was taking a picture and tweeting it. While keeping track of all of this, I realized just how dependent I am on technology. There’s never a day that goes by that I’m not somehow connected to either my laptop or phone. I actually wouldn’t mind having one day without these devices that I rely on so heavily – it could be a nice break (maybe…).
As I’ve been using Twitter more frequently, I’ve begun to use it for a variety of reasons. Not only do I use it to keep up with my friends, I use it to Follow news sources such as Fox News, CNN, and the New York Times, celebrities such as the Kardashians and Lady Gaga, and some other entertaining accounts such as Totalsratmove and UWGirlProblems. Twitter has come to serve many functions for me based on who I Follow. It has become my quick and easy news source, a way to keep up with Hollywood celebrities, and has become an addicting distraction.
News Source. News sources, such as Fox News and CNN, post short clips of recent news that may be found on their website or television show. They often place the link to the full news story in their Tweet so that you are able to get all of the details and find similar stories. I have found this extremely beneficial for my busy lifestyle. Myself, and I’m sure many others, do not have time to sit down in front of the TV everyday to watch the local and national news. With Twitter, I can get all the news I need using my Blackberry Twitter application. It’s all at the palm of my hand or on my laptop. I don’t need to schedule my day around when the news will be on, since that is not always possible being a college student. Twitter has definitely become an easy way to access information about what is going on locally, nationally, and worldwide. By using Twitter to keep up to date on the news, I actually feel more informed than I did without Twitter because I don’t need to go searching to find information – it’s all right there in one spot.
Just for Fun. Celebrities, sports teams, and other entertainment sources are all over Twitter. A few that I Follow are ItsWillyFerrel, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Packers, UW Football, and UW-Madison. UW Football and the Packers give play-by-play updates of football games, Kim Kardashian talks about herself (a lot), ItsWillyFerrel’s Tweets are absolutely hilarious (see picture below), and Lady Gaga gives updates about concerts and albums. There are a variety of ways to stay in touch with “just for fun” things that I otherwise would not have time to look up. Twitter has become a source of entertainment on top of being a social networking site. It’s not just a way to keep up with friends, like Facebook generally is. I’ve actually found myself taking study breaks on Twitter more than I do on Facebook!
Twitter has become an increasingly popular social networking site in recent years and I can only assume that it is because of its convenience. You can catch up on what your favorite celebrities are doing, learn about what’s going on around the world and in your hometown, or just get distracted and find yourself consumed by all of the entertaining and hilarious Twitter accounts that are out there. There are so many ways to use Twitter and each user can customize just who they want to Follow and who can Follow them. It’s a way to stay current on everything, not just to keep up with your friends. I have found Twitter to be extremely helpful and convenient because of its short, straight to the point format. I get the information I want at a time that works best for me. It doesn’t get much easier than that to stay up to date!
When I first started using Twitter, I was confused at all the functions and ways to use it. I of course knew it was a social media site, but it seemed strange and unfamiliar to me, since I had only been used to Facebook. As I started to play around with it more and more, I realized many unique features that have become of great use. There were many terms I had to get used to as well, and that has definitely been an adjustment from the typical terms we use with Facebook or just in general.
Followers. While Facebook calls people “Friends,” Twitter calls people “Followers.” You can Follow others with a Twitter account, as well as have Followers of your own – people who follow your Twitter account. There are a couple of ways to Follow others and gain Followers. If a person has their account set to public, which celebrities, news sources, and even some of my friends do, anyone can Follow them. If a person has their account set to private, one must request to Follow that user and until that person accepts your Follow request, you cannot see their Tweets. Currently, I have my account set to public so that I can gain Followers at a more rapid pace. However, I have found that several people I do not know are Following me. I recently discovered that you are able to block users so they can no longer Follow you. I actually have blocked one person because their Tweets were strange and slightly inappropriate, someone I did not want associated with my Twitter.
RT. RT stands for Retweet. When another user that you follow Tweet something that you like or (dis)agree with, you can hover below their Tweet and click on “Retweet.” Once you have done so, it will appear in your profile as your latest Tweet. In front of the Tweet, “RT” will appear, showing that what you have Tweeted was not originally yours, but that you have “Retweeted” something from someone else (see NBCNews). On my profile, RTs show up as the original user, but underneath their Tweet it says “Retweeted by @itssssjessica (see totalsratmove). I’ve really come to enjoy this feature because it has allowed me to repeat things that others have said that I find amusing or that I agree with.
Mention and Reply. On Facebook, we would call this “tagging,” but on Twitter, when you are talking to a particular person, it is called “mentioning.” To do this, you can either press “reply,” which appears below their Tweet (see the nytimes and NBCNews Tweets), or simply type their Twitter handle (or user name (@itssssjessica)) in the “Compose Tweet” box. This Tweet will appear as your latest Tweet and the person you have mentioned will also be able to see it on their homepage under the @Mentions tab. It’s a really great tool to keep in touch with others, reply to celebrities, etc. I actually replied to @UWMadison one day and got a reply back (see below)!
Followers, RT, Mention, and Reply – these are just a few of the basic features of Twitter that I have learned to use and now use on a regular basis. They make keeping in touch with others easy and create a unique way of social networking with your Followers.