7 Twitter Tips For College Students

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When it comes to social media sites, Facebook rules. Founded in 2004 by a Harvard University student, the mega media site now boasts more than 300 million users worldwide, exceeding the population of the United States and on track to consume the entire world within, oh, the next seven years.

Just kidding. Sort of.

TwitterWhile Facebook remains the top choice for most college students, Twitter is beginning to catch on with the academic crowd, a proven way to send out short, quick updates while following the latest trends. Someday, Twitter could be incorporated with Facebook as it is now with LinkedIn, but until then you will need to maintain separate accounts to make both sites work for you.

As a college student, you may be asking yourself – how can you make Twitter work for you? That’s easy, especially if you consider incorporating the following seven tips as you set out to explore and expand your Twitter presence.

1. Customize Profile – Let people know who you are by filling out your complete Twitter profile. For this section, you get 160 characters to express yourself, 20 more than the tweet limit. Upload your photo, offer a link to your web presence (ie – blog, web page, MySpace page, or whatever) and add a background picture that reflects what you’re about.

2. Shorten URLs – Web addresses are too long for Twitter, taking up a significant portion of your 140 character allotment. Bit.ly, Su.pr, and other web address trimmers allow you to shorten your URL significantly, saving you space and allowing you to say more with each tweet.

3. Find Friends – Do you want to find friends on Twitter? That’s easy by typing what you’re looking for on the Twitter toolbar. That means if you are a Yale student, you can type that word in and find students, faculty, and alumni whose names will appear in the results. Follow everyone or check out their profiles and choose only those who interest you.

4. Share Photos – Though you can’t share photos directly through your Twitter interface, you can do likewise with TwitPic and link to your photo from Twitter. What a great way to extend Twitter, by tweeting your favorite campus shot to your followers.

5. Desktop Client – Not everyone tweets from the Twitter interface as Twitter allows “desktop clients” to do the work for them if they prefer. TweetDeck, for example makes sharing photos, trimming URLs, and composing updates easier. Besides, it is also integrated with Facebook and MySpace, putting all of your favorite social media sites together on one platform. Twhirl, Tweetie, Twitterrefic and, yes, TwitPic are among the other Twitter clients available.

6. Make Money – If you have a fairly extensive Twitter following and you use Twitter regularly, then you can make money off of Twitter by allowing companies to tweet an occasional advertisement here or there. You control the ads that will get tweeted by Ad.ly, SponsoredTweets.com, and TwittAd.com among others. And you thought that you had to flip pizza to make some spare money when not in class!

7. Mass Updates – Of course, the best reason for using Twitter is to stay in touch with people. You can mass update all of your followers by sharing important news about yourself including your arrival home for holiday break.

Twitter’s place in the social media universe isn’t assured, but it is compressing how people communicate. Like any social media tool, what you put into it will impact the way that others perceive you, so use it cautiously to build a rich reputation and strong following.

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