Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So who and what is Twitter good for?

A tech-savvy guest coming to one of my classes assumed college juniors would know all about Twitter. Either my media studies crowd is being shy or Radford students are out of the loop.

I asked who used Twitter in one class of 24; I don't remember anyone raising a hand. Maybe there were a couple of nods, but definitely no enthusiasm. I'll ask my other classes today. (I did -- and found a half-dozen Twitter users in the crowd.)

Perhaps that (media history) class's advertising, broadcast production and journalism majors just aren't interested in something the campus PR folks and student entrepreneurs started using before them? I think they -- the journalism students, at least -- should be more curious.

Anyhow, I've been looking for a good, recent, novice-friendly introduction to Twitter, and Andrew Ratner at the Baltimore Sun has one here: Twists on Twitter, by the people who use it:
"About a year ago, the free micro-blogging service got about 100 mentions in all media in a given week. Maybe a dozen or so of those were in major newspapers and magazines. Last week, by comparison, Twitter was mentioned more than 1,000 times in all media, and more than 200 times in major publications.
Twitter users are overwhelmingly young, but unlike most of the other social networks, Twitter is not dominated by the youngest of young adults, according to a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project."

If the old (Dylan, wasn't it?) line about not trusting anyone over 30 holds for this campus generation, maybe that explains it. That Pew survey Ratner mentioned gives 31 as the median age for Twitter users, compared to 26 for Facebook.

I'll admit to using LinkedIn.com, median age: 40.7, but I'm trying to keep up with all the others, too. Hence this blog and my token twitting @bobstep.

Here's a slightly older post on Five ways smart people use twitter, including both news and marketing folks. And another, coincidentally picking the same number: five ways to use twitter for good. Or does twitter have some connection to the number five?

1 comment:

  1. It's true, Twitter tends to be a post-school youngster network. Most of the school crowd is still captivated by Facebook, at least in my experience.