Twitter. The social networking site that everyone either loves to hate, hates to love, hates to hate, or loves to love. The site that is frequently lauded for being lame for reasons as uncreative as it's just boring to I don't care what you're doing every minute of every day, both of which are tired reasoning and are only said anymore because someone else said it first. So where am I going with this? Right here: Twitter has made me a better graduate student. Grad school, no matter what field of study, is an intense process, and chances are you will be doing a lot of writing. I have noted before that writing this website has considerably improved my writing skills, especially in terms of essays, arguments, and even research papers. What, then, has Twitter done for me?
I'm studying Speech-Language Pathology, and one of the challenges of this field is learning to write reports. The field is incredibly dynamic, and can involve working with people of any age in settings from schools to therapy centers to hospitals. Report writing, unlike other forms of exposition, needs to be concise by nature. Narratives are great, but once you get out there and have a hefty caseload, your reading time is limited. This is where Twitter comes in.
Over the summer, I discovered that I had the ability to write a lot of information into very few sentences, thus making my reports clear, direct, and, according to my supervisor, something other hospital employees could definitely appreciate. Granted, it's taken me about a year to understand what clinical writing is all about, but Twitter has had a huge impact on how I write.
The key, naturally, is to avoid "text speak." One of my biggest pet peeves, be it when texting or when using Twitter, is when I see people type things like b4 u used 2 b cool but now u r dumb. It's like nails on a chalkboard for me, and instead of getting information across faster or more effectively, it serves only to make me judge you. The challenge of Twitter is to get across some form of information, story, idea, or what have you, in only 140 characters.
Twitter: useful in more ways than even I ever thought it would be. And just remember, if you're one of those people who's going to come up to me and tell me how silly you think Twitter is, I'll have only one thing to say to you: b4 u used 2 b cool but now u r dumb.