This is part two of my series about Twitter, a micro-blogging/social networking service. In my first post, I explained ten ways in which Twitter can help college students excel in school. For instance, the 140 character per update limit can help you learn to write concisely. Today’s post, however, takes the opposite approach by listing some ways in which Twitter is a waste of time… or worse!
The Problems With Twitter
- Can Become Addictive – Like most other social networking sites, Twitter can become addictive. Checking your friends updates, visiting website your friends link to, replying to other “tweeters”, “retweeting”, and writing updates can consume hours of your life. In fact, some people spend as much as 5 hours a day on Twitter! Obviously, spending that much time on Twitter is unusual, but many people do spend an hour a day “tweeting” and reading “tweets”. Think of all the time saved if you spent that hour studying, building your blog, or simply catching up on sleep instead of browsing Twitter!
- Break Your Concentration – Like email, some people leave Twitter on all day, so they can constantly check the latest news. This is a very dangerous habit because it will make it very difficult for you to study well. How can you expect to get anything done if you are checking your Twitter stream every few minutes! Not only does it waste a substantial amount of time, but it also breaks your flow of thought and forces you to spend important time figuring out where you were.
- Can Encourage Stalkers – Depending how you use Twitter, it can be an encouragement for stalkers. Writing about what you had for breakfast, where you are going today, and why you don’t like a certain food (Trust me, people really do write about this) will not interest anyone except maybe your best friend… and any and all stalkers. Unless you protect your updates (Which is a bad idea for other reasons…) anyone can read your tweets without you knowing anything about it. You never know who is watching you…
- Can Damage Your Reputation – Once again, this is only a problem if you “tweet” unwisely. Increasingly, potential employers research your history online… including your history on sites like Twitter. If they find you explaining how much you dislike your boss, how boring your job is, or laughing about how you avoided some particular task, the potential employer will probably not hire you. In addition, all your past tweets can always be recovered… even if you delete them. Using a service called Tweleted, all your deleted tweets can be recovered. Remember, anything you post online is there permanently even if you “delete” it.
After reviewing the pros and cons of Twitter, I have come to the conclusion that Twitter is useful as long as it is used properly. If you have come to the same conclusion as me, you can sign up here to start building your reputation and improving your writing. Just remember to manage your time properly, avoid writing personal “tweets”, and keep from writing things that you do not want potential employers to see.
One Last Note
If you do join Twitter, remember to follow me (@NateDesmond) to get special, Twitter-only college tips. 🙂
What do you think about Twitter?