The in-class Twitter chat for WRT304, “Writing for Your Profession,” was an amazing experience. I am fairly new to Twitter, having just begun to use it for my writing classes this semester. Before I began tweeting, I considered Twitter to be a platform for celebrities to keep their fans updated and everyone else to complain about their lives or share the few happy moments they have. There are times when I read my friends’ tweets about something that went wrong one day and think that the site is a way for them to get out the negative energy. (In fact, I contrast it with Facebook, where everyone attempts to post statuses and photos that make it seem as though they are living the perfect lives.) After our in-class Twitter chat about professional writing, however, I have started to appreciate the website for what it has to offer.
The chat was a great opportunity to converse with professionals from around the world who were interested in hearing what a class of college students had to say. I learned a lot about the growing importance of social media that opened my eyes. Growing up, I was not a fan of social media and was not willing to try to make my presence known through such an outlet. In this day and age, though, it is becoming almost necessary to be tech-savvy and I have realized that I need to adapt to the trends so that I do not become extinct.
Of course, one of the topics that I consider most important in regards to social media was mentioned in the chat: there is always a need to be careful about what is posted online. This idea was reinforced in Natasha Singer’s article “They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets” (you can read it here). Singer discusses how students’ online images can affect their college admissions decisions. The posts can influence another’s perception of an individual’s personality, and ethics can play a major part in the decision-making process for employment and admissions.
This semester I am taking two classes towards the completion of my writing minor. In both, I have had to blog and tweet. While it took me some time to adjust to the platforms and navigate them efficiently, I have accepted the change and am working towards perfecting my online presence. If others can use such tools to learn about their fields of interest and engage themselves and contribute their knowledge or understanding to society, then why can’t I?
Through the Twitter chat and my classes, I have learned how to use social media to my benefit. I can discuss my beliefs and explain why they mean so much to me. Social networking sites are a medium by which I can show my professional interests and communicate with others who share such interests. Rather than using Twitter or blogs to complain about something, as I have so often seen, I can look at, and even respond to, current events or updates that interest me. I have found that such networking sites are a way for me to increase my involvement in the scientific community. Now I can move beyond the textbook learning I have done so far and apply the material on a larger scale. I look forward to this experience for personal and professional growth.