Tweets or just twits?
Todd Miller Collegio Reporter
Daniele Cunningham, graduate student in English, uses Twitter to follow @samuelpepys, an account which posts tweets from the journals of a 17th-century diarist by the same name.
Because it’s an open ID source, which means she can post comments on sites like Slate.com using her Twitter account name, rather than her real name, Cunningham says she can participate on news sites and blogs without compromising her identity the way other social networking sites would.
“If potential employers Google my name, they wouldn’t find my Twitter account and see it full of web-arguments,” Cunningham said.
On May 4, 2009, Pittsburg State University began using Twitter.
Michael Fienen, director of Web Marketing, says he uses Twitter as a “student engagement tool.” Most often, it’s used to post on-campus news and job openings. Fieman says that he also enjoys using Twitter to communicate with both students and potential students. Using Twitter’s search engine, he is able to find tweets that mention PSU, or students can type messages “@pittstate” to directly contact the college’s Twitter account.
Using Twitter, Fienen can help answer questions students may have. For example; during the snowstorm last month, students had inquired whether classes had been canceled. Though, he also says that the PSU Twitter account isn’t meant to replace primary sources of emergency information like the school’s official website or text alerts. Fienen says he really enjoys talking to students through twitter. With over 700 followers and over 1,000 tweets, he’s using it well.
Fienen also mentions that other satellite offices at PSU use Twitter such as the athletics department, the Student Association, the Alumni Association, Career Services and the Police and Parking Services.
Michelle Hubbard, junior in graphics and commercial management, started using Twitter to keep up with her friends.
“It was a lot better than BBM (the BlackBerry Instant Messaging application),” Hubbard said.
Like other students at PSU, Hubbard uses Twitter to follow celebrities. For example, Amanda Cantrell, junior in fine arts, says she follows singer and actor Christian Kane’s tweets, and that she enjoys connecting with other people who follow him.
Andrew Hayse, senior in vocal performance, also uses Twitter to follow celebrity news, in addition to keeping up with his friends.
“Not many of my friends use it,” Hayse said. “But the ones who do use it a lot.”
Students like Mason McCurdy, junior in business management, use Twitter for completely different reasons.
“I like to use it to follow news updates from places like CNN or Fox News,” McCurdy said. “I also like to follow politicians.”
And many politicians like Nancy Pelosi (@nancypelosi) and President Barack Obama (@BARACKOBAMA) have and use Twitter accounts as well.
On the flip side, many students, such as Tony D’Amico, senior in international business; and Karen Steele, freshman in education, view Twitter as a useless tool.
“I don’t see the point,” D’Amico said. “I just use Facebook.”
Sara Beckenhauer, senior in psychology, says Facebook is easier to understand.
“Plus, Tweets are annoying,” Beckenhauer said.
Other students avoid twitter because they think it’s too complicated.
“I get on there, and I’m just not sure how it works,” said Katie Gronberg, junior in early childhood education. “I don’t understand what it’s for.”
Michele Jimenez, senior in psychology and Spanish, says she had initially made a Twitter account, but ended up not using it.
“I didn’t find it very useful,” she said. “So I just kept using Facebook.”