Twitter through a fresh set of eyes

eyesI’ve been very fortunate in that my book The Tao of Twitter is being used as a text in at least 40 universities and I recently had an interesting experience when I got to sit in on a class that had read and was discussing the book.

It was fun seeing Twitter again through the fresh eyes of these students. Here are excerpts from some of the student papers as they experienced Twitter for the first time. I also wanted to help them out by giving them some link love to their own student blogs so check ’em out!

Ren Yi — “Mark Schaefer uses conversational tones and easy reading format to write the book, which makes it very easy to read, especially for someone whose first language is not English, just like me.  In fact, I am very inspired by the book since I was not a big fan of social media before I took this social media class.  I am definitely amazed by how business can be done and how professional relationships can be formed over Twitter and I hope I will accomplish those later. But now, the most important thing for me is to have a good start on the Twitter journey.

“The reason I wasn’t a big fan of social media is because I think the information on there is too personal and all about some random stuff. It never came to my attention that we should intentionally manage our accounts toward the professional direction. Now everything seems clear to me and that I should really post on a variety of topics which interest me and engage with people by reading and responding to other people’s posts.”

Morgan Neal — “I am mostly a self-taught Twitter user and the only part I have not used at all is the list feature of Twitter. I am still finding it daunting to even begin the list process. However, Tao of Twitter’s step-by-step guide and helpful hints on how to effectively use lists to boost followers and credibility as a “tweeter.” I am challenging myself to learn how to utilize this feature to provide more meaningful content to my followers.

“The part I enjoyed most was how Mark shows how his connections formed through social media and then how those connections built more connections that led to a job in Paris. Who knew?

“Although I still probably include too many personal tidbits, with The Tao of Twitter to go back to and reference I will be able to more effectively use it to network for my future career.”

Maggie Wallace — “I have been a regular user of Twitter for over three years now. However, it wasn’t until I read The Tao of Twitter that I realized the power and influence a person or a brand can gain by using Twitter.

“There were two particular phrases that stuck out to me: “Authentic Helpfulness and Meaningful Content.” While yes, a brand can use Twitter to gain followers, they will not see any return on their influence unless they use that account to connect with others on a personal level. Even simply “retweeting” a follower makes them feel more special and more connected to you.

“The anecdotes of authentic helpfulness Mark uses throughout the book are truly inspiring. Making one genuine connection through Twitter can cause a snowball effect and create strong personal and professional connections.”

Lauren Mackey — “The Tao of Twitter opened my eyes to something I had thought about, but was never able to put into words — The real purpose of Twitter.  This helped me discover the reason why Twitter has become such a big part of my day — it is unlike any other platform in that users share constant, easy to read content with each other and connect with people all over the world.”

Meg Foster — “I will admit it: I have had trouble keeping up with my Twitter account. I always seem to be on Facebook, and Twitter is just something for me to pass the time while in line or some other event that requires waiting. I read the witty things other people have to say and I enjoy checking up on the news. But as far as my personal tweets go, I believe I have less than 50. And that includes the responses I have made to other people.  I have trouble composing a tweet. Let me rephrase, I have trouble composing a tweet that other people care about.

“Although I may not be very good at it now, I believe that reading The Tao of Twitter was a huge step forward into the Twitter world. I feel that now that I have Schaefer’s insights, I will be more likely to use them in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully, these tips will help me feel more comfortable so that I am able to get my message out among all the clutter.”

Ashley Harris — “The Tao of Twitter changed my mentality and thought process. Now when I am on Twitter, I think about every message before I tweet it because I know that there could be a brand or company viewing me as a possible consumer or candidate. Therefore, watching what I tweet and tweeting valuable information can possibly benefit me and a potential company in my future.

“This has completely transformed my view about social media and how to use it to benefit myself as a potential employee to organizations in the future.”

Matthew Busby — “It took me a while to get into the Twitter scene because, like most people, I did not see the benefits of it. I was completely wrong. The main thing that I can take away from this book is that how different my mind set is about Twitter for my future career. I need to stop thinking like a college student and I need to begin to understand that what I follow and who follows me actually does matter.

“Since reading this book, I began to follow people who I deem important in the social media and advertising world.  The main thing I have noticed is that those major companies and influencers will actually follow me back. I am able to see them and they are able to see me.  These followers have also told me that my blog could be beneficial to my career if I keep it up. They are actually reading my content and the best part about it is that I am getting feedback from people who never knew I existed.”

Shannon Drew — “While reading The Tao of Twitter, I experienced a lot of “a-ha” moments.  I had created a Twitter account about a year before I read the book and I never understood the appeal. When I sat down to read the book, I finally got it. Twitter is an excellent medium to connect with others from around the world. As short as 140 characters seems, Mark taught me that a tweet can convey so much meaning.

“Reading The Tao of Twitter is the reason I have immersed myself in this medium. I now understand the benefits I can receive from Twitter, and know that I have to put in some work in order to receive them!”

(Many thanks to Dr. Courtney Childers of The University of Tennessee for the assist with this article!)

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