By Megan Jones
College students have multiple accounts with different social media outlets, like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and Twitter. Twitter, though, offers something that is vital for college students: the ability to log on from anywhere and make instant, continuous updates and receive feedback from their posts or questions around the clock. For tips on how to make the most of Twitter, check out this list of 25 new ideas.
Twitter is generally considered a social media network, but it provides several academic advantages as well.
- Chat with professors and students whenever, wherever: If your professor has Twitter, you can send him or her questions whenever you want, even if office hours aren’t in session. You can also participate in a conversation with your classmates so everyone is involved and constantly contributing to a class discussion, outside of class.
- RetweetMe: Set up alerts and reminders so that you don’t forget to study, attend class, or take a final.
- Track a professional: If you’re interested in pursuing a particular career and want to learn more about a certain leader in that field, you can "follow" a professional’s tweets.
- Collaborate on a project: Whether it’s a formal collaboration or you just want some extra feedback on a project, get your classmates and friends involved to help you out and start a shared conversation on Twitter.
- Start a second discussion in class: A very understanding professor may encourage students to Twitter each other about the lecture or "out loud" class discussion to fuel more ideas and start a second discussion.
- Quick reference: Do a keyword search for virtually any topics, and you can fit in a quick review for a test or presentation, or get a head start on your research project even if you’re away from the library or computer.
- Start a dialogue with students around the world: You don’t have to limit your project collaboration or class discussion to the students who are in class on your campus. Open up the dialogue to students from around the world, and you can instantly get a new perspective.
- Get the inside scoop on other teachers and classes: Before you sign up for a class, post a question about that class to learn about the teacher, homework load, grading style and more.
Applications and Twitter Tools
To speed up your Twitter time and combine Twitter with everyday chores or tasks, use these applications and fun Twitter tools.
- TrackThis: This Twitter tool lets you track your FedEx, UPS, USPS and DHL packages so that you know when your books or dorm decorations are arriving.
- Email Twitter: If you’re uneasy about logging on to Twitter from your laptop in class or the library, use this app to access your account through your e-mail.
- The Twitter Blacklist: Avoid spammers and annoying Twitter users by checking and updating this list.
- Twi84: Use this tool to more quickly post on your blog and translate text shorthand to English.
- Tweet what you eat: Sometimes it’s hard for college students to stick to a healthy diet. This tool helps you keep track of meals, snacks, beer, and exercise. You can even search the database for calorie content.
Keep these tips in mind when posting and sharing on Twitter. You’ll make more friends and meaningful contacts, and will be able to make Twitter work with the rest of your life, not against it.
- Network: Twitter is a social media tool, so use it to network. Just posting random status updates won’t give you the same kind of exposure to new friends, study partners, and even job or internship opportunities that joining a conversation will.
- Share Links: Give your friends and readers something to respond to by sharing links instead of only logging on to let your study mates know you’re already at the library.
- Use a desktop client: Make your Twitter time more efficient by using a desktop client like twhirl. twhirl works in English, German, Italian, and Spanish, and it gives notifications on new tweets, has a timeline filtering feature and more.
From searching for new friends to quickly adding pictures to your site to using Twitter for RSVP tracking, using these Twitter tools is perfect for busy but social college students.
- Twitter Troll: Use Twitter Troll to quickly search for Twitter posts and find new friends. Twitter Troll works in real time.
- Moby Picture: College kids are addicted to their cell phones and their Twitter accounts, and this beta lets you post photos from you cell phone directly to your blog.
- MobiFeedLive: Instantly find out what people are saying about you on campus or about a certain topic by setting up a keyword alert system.
- TwitterSnooze!: If you’re too busy to keep up with all of your Twitter friends, you can hit the Snooze button on them to avoid procrastinating.
- @eventtrack: Before you sign up to attend a club meeting, study group session or party, check @eventtrack through Twitter to see who else is planning to go.
- TwitterCard: Give your readers an easy way to learn a little more about you by putting a short bio and photo on a TwitterCard. It’s great for networking and can act as a virtual business card.
- Update all of your friends and family at once: Instead of sending a mass e-mail full of irrelevant information, you can quickly update your parents back home, your brothers and sisters, and friends at other colleges through your Twitter account.
- foodry: Quickly and easily update your friends about a favorite (or not so favorite) restaurant via your Twitter blog with this application.
- Don’t just use your Twitter for fluff: In April a graduate student from UC Berkeley sent an update to his Twitter friends that he had been arrested in Egypt during an anti-government protest. Thanks to his loyal following of readers, the student, James Karl Buck, was released from being detained after his Twitter friends notified the school, which then hired him a lawyer.
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