Why Students Should Use Twitter

twitter studentsI must admit I was skeptical and originally questioned the validity of Twitter. I initially viewed Twitter as just a tedious free service that lets you send a 140-character message, or “tweet to your followers” of lackluster and hum-drum information. I was not really interested in reading about the location of someone checking in on Four Square or what he or she was eating for dinner.

See Also: It’s Official: Using Twitter Makes Students More Engaged

Yet, I was totally surprised at all the benefits that Twitter provides to high school and college students.

Every student should use Twitter. Here’s why:

The Importance Of Access

There are loads of scholarships, essay contests, STEM competitions and grant opportunities for middle school, high school and college students posted daily on Twitter. Having a Twitter account allows you to access all that and more. Students that are interested in a writing career or journalism can easily promote their blogs and find out about writing contests, opportunities and internships.

But it’s not for only journalism students of course. Students in every major and discipline can connect to professionals in their field and hear about grants, connect with other students and educators, and get quick updates of developments at their high school or on their college campus.

Connect To A Wider Audience

Twitter was launched in July 2006. I avoided the urge to tweet for three full years. However, when my brother and I created a local website in July 2009, promoting volunteer opportunities for youth and families, I understood and appreciated the power and impact of Twitter. Social media allows us to promote our volunteer work and connect to a much wider audience. It has even improved traffic and interest in our website.

Students Can Tweet For Good

Students who are interested in starting their own businesses or want to focus on specific non-profit cause tend to have extremely limited financial resources, meaning zero dollars for marketing and promoting. Twitter provides the opportunity to promote your business, cause or writing nationally, and even internationally. We use it for simple postings (like to post the need for volunteer opportunities for youth like helping out at a trivia night or volunteering at a local non-profit races’ 5K). Networking on Twitter provides a free and quick way to promote events like our annual Youth and Family Volunteer fair. Twitter provides a wealth of information for youth and everyone else.

Encourage your students to open a Twitter account.

7 Comments

  1. Brad Ovenell-Carter

    December 10, 2012 at 4:22 am

    My students and I are using Twitter as a note-taking tool and as a way to create a virtual classroom. See their work at #tokafe11 and #tokafe12 and on my blog, http://www.ovenell-carter.com/update-a-students-take-on-note-taking-with-twitter/

  2. Joe

    December 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Twitter has got to be one of the dumbest ideas ever created. People who aren’t concerned about what others are doing (normal human beings) don’t have one. Technology is great and we need to use it but kids need not be on ot 24/7. I will never nor have I even looked at a twitter account. No wonder why people can’t function when they get out of hs or college

    • Jessica Piper

      December 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

      I couldn’t disagree with you more…I am concerned about new teaching techniques, methods, and ideas and I find a wealth of all on Twitter. I’m not concerned in the least with what others are doing in their personal lives-that is completely off topic.

    • Jenn Scheffer

      December 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Educators on Twitter aren’t sharing personal information they share useful resources to help improve teaching and student learning. Since you have never looked at the Twitter accounts of educators who use it as a means of professional development I don’t see how you could make a judgement on its effectiveness. Try following some leading educators and administrators and you might think differently. My students use Twitter professionally to build a positive digital footprint and some of the top business colleges and universities in the country have been extremely impressed with their use of social media. Twitter has allowed my students to connect with CEOs, authors, entrepreneurs, etc. and has inspired them to write blogs. Their literacy skills have improved tremendously but more importantly they have become passionate about learning and will continue for the rest of their lives. This is all thanks to Twitter.

      • tammy lambrou

        December 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

        Well said Jenn Scheffer. I completely agree with you. I use twitter to update my students on upcoming events (school and/or educational related) as well as assignments/tests that are due in my classes.

  3. Brian Foreman

    December 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I’ve found two great uses for Twitter with students.

    As a tool for research and connections to thought leaders, I consistently gain access to people through Twitter that I cannot through email, LinkedIn or Facebook. I’ve also been able to use it to locate articles, resources and lines of thought that differ from mine with just a few simple searches.

    Additionally, I have used Twitter with students during presentations, videos, etc to gain instant feedback and questions. By monitoring the feed during these learning times, I can see what is connecting with learners, what is being missed and occasionally pick up on a thread of thought that emerges.

    Thanks for this article. Posted it on my site’s Facebook page to see what feedback other readers might have.

  4. Darius Ajama

    December 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Yea, I agree with you on the subject matter but students tend to abuse virtually anything social media related. Although the gains of using twitter positively could help them fast pace their development level as well as enlightenment level broadening their view of thing.