Twitter is much more than just a real-time status update

On Wednesday, Central Michigan Life staff reporter Connor Sheridan’s Twitter story asks, “Is the future of communication 140 characters or less?”

It is, but only to a degree.

We must remember it is important that people know the “Do’s and Dont’s of Twitter.” There are certain things that should be kept in mind when microblogging.

With the world becoming smaller and more interconnected, microblogging services such as Twitter will be growing in importance. And this means that Twitterers should maintain an air of integrity with regard to their tweets.

Twitter is a great way to disseminate information of all kinds. Since its founding in 2006, Twitter has proven to be a valuable source for breaking news. Stories such as the hospitalization of Michael Jackson and the emergency landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River last year were broken via Twitter.

It is important to share valuable information on Twitter, no matter the topic. It doesn’t have to be serious information, but something that will add to the discourse.

As many of my followers can attest, many of my tweets are about the Red Wings. But I try to make sure I am not just posting trite, meaningless information, though I am sure it happens from time to time.

If you are using Twitter professionally, you must remember to have a mix of personal and professional material, especially if you are promoting something.

Pete Cashmore, founder of the social media/tech blog Mashable, is an excellent example of this. Cashmore’s Twitter name is @Mashable, but he uses his real name and picture on the account, giving a personal feel to the brand name.

Also, “retweeting” is a great way to share information with your followers. “Retweeting” is Twitter’s version of reposting another tweet. But when I “retweet,” I don’t just repost it — I usually add my own comment before or after the post.

Doing this gives my followers a glimpse of my opinion on whatever I am reposting, possibly leading to more dialogue about the link.

There are a few things that should not be done on Twitter, however.

First, Twitter should not be used just for status updates, unless you are doing something really cool or interesting, such as seeing Star Wars for the first time or at a political rally. No one wants to know what you had for breakfast or what time you are going to bed.

Also, please, do not spam. Everyone on Twitter can tell you, it’s easy to get bogged down and tweet excessively for a short period of time. I’ve done it. But I don’t like it, so I try to avoid it. It’s quality, not quantity.

Twitter can be a very useful tool, if used correctly.

Hope to see you there, @Mike_Hoffman.


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