Alysson Walling

America OnLine (AOL) is a little outdated. Okay, a lot outdated. But, remember chat rooms? There were all the different categories and rooms you could go to, and hope that enough people were in there to spark some conversation. And by conversation, I mean useless nonsense (at least in my case). I’m talking “Britney Spears is better than Christina Aguilera” discussions.

In the social media revolution, the new, more advanced version of this pastime are Twitter chats. Honestly, until I was assigned to participate in one, I had no idea that they existed. As in my last post, I really never understood the professional applications Twitter could be an outlet for.

There is a GoogleDoc available with a listing of an unlimited variety of Twitter chats to join. With time running out for the assignment, I was worried I wouldn’t find one that I was very interested in.

Thankfully, a classmate (check out her blog!) pointed one out that fit into my schedule perfectly. It is a rarity for anything to fit into my schedule with two jobs, five classes, and trying to balance a social life, so I was especially thankful.

The Twitter chat I joined in on was #ETCafe. It happens every Thursday morning at 11:00 AM EST. The chat is hosted by Exact Target, a worldwide social media marketing company based in Indianapolis, Indiana. (They have plenty of job postings on their website if you’re on the market for one!)

The topic of discussion that week was entrepreneurship and various ways social media can be incorporated and the importance of it when starting a business.

I went into the chat expecting to be an invisible Twitter user, since I have limited knowledge. However, I was surprised when the moderator and other attendees were recognizing and replying to my tweets. I felt like I made an actual contribution and was valued. It was a nice feeling to be acknowledged by professionals involved in the chat.

I even got an invite back the next week, but unfortunately could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.

A transcript of the chat is available here. Below are my tweets.

If you are interested in joining a Twitter chat, I recommend using the website Tweetchat. It refreshes at whatever interval of seconds you so choose with any post including the designated hashtag.

Some key takeaways from my Twitter chat experience:

  • Research the topic as much as possible beforehand.
  • Have handles and links ready to post with relevant information.
  • Respond to questions asked, along with asking your own.
  • Stay professional, while incorporating your take on the topic.

Happy Twitter chatting 🙂

When MySpace came along, I didn’t know anyone that didn’t have one. Then Facebook happened and I didn’t know anyone that wasn’t on there either.

Enter Twitter.

Learn the Basics

I couldn’t quite understand the point of it. I couldn’t name any of my friends that used it and could actually explain why anyone should have one. I created quite a few accounts, all which had maybe one or two tweets and then discontinued because I just didn’t get it.

Apparently the trend caught on though. Now there are over 140 million active users and 340 million tweets per day.

I find myself getting the latest news and information through my timeline. It is much easier and engaging to see a headline and be able to decide whether I want to click it for more information or not. I am not stuck scrolling or scanning through entire pages for relevant news.

Twitter is also a great way to find out about local events and deals. Many businesses post specials for Twitter followers and have contests for giveaways.

Twitter doesn’t only provide entertainment for your personal life. It can be professionally beneficial as well.

Being able to tweet effectively and professionally could even land you a job. Jobs in Social Media are fairly new and simply knowing how and what to do puts you ahead of other candidates.

Or simply using Twitter can help you find jobs. Many businesses will post openings on their Twitter. What better outlet to find someone than by followers who are already interested in your company?

There are some catches though.

It is important that your Twitter is professional in appearance.

Do:

  •     Post timely and engaging thoughts.
  •     Reach out to local businesses and organizations to make an online presence known by retweeting or mentions.

Don’t:

  •     Post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see.
  •     Upload inappropriate/revealing photos of yourself.
  •     Tweet just to tweet.

It is also important that if you do have a Twitter, that it is public. Many businesses frown upon private Twitter accounts, even though they are okay with private Facebook accounts. It makes it seem like you are trying to hide your thoughts which should be acceptable if you’re Tweeting right.

There’s always something new to be learned. Whether it’s related to taking on a totally new task or just something new in something you already understand.

Mignon Fogarty aka Grammar Girl offers a website full of interesting tips and tidbits related to the English language that most people (at least the ones I know) were clueless or highly confused about.

  • W” is a Vowel?

I don’t know about you, but I always went by the little saying “A E I O U and sometimes Y” in determining if a letter was considered a vowel or not. Even the hit TV show Wheel of Fortune uses the even more standard choices of “A E I O and U” for vowels.

So where does Grammar Girl come up with “w” being considered a vowel?

Apparently our history and grammar classes forgot to mention that up until the 19th century, W was sometimes included as a vowel.

Sounds Versus Letters As Vowels

“Various letters or combinations of letters are used to represent vowels or consonants, but in and of themselves, letters are neither vowels nor consonants.”

Basically, individual letters cannot be classified. At one point in time a “u” could be a vowel, or depending on what follows after it, it could be a consonant.

There is no absolute ruling on whether a letter is a vowel or a consonant based on phonetics.

As if that weren’t confusing enough, the placement of the letter W within syllables of a word also create different rules of whether to classify it as a vowel or not. Only when W is at the end of a syllable, the combination is usually considered a vowel.

  • Ending a Sentence With a Preposition

I was also taught that it was not acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition. However, Grammar Girl comes to the rescue to inform us that that is not the case, and also includes it in her Top Ten Grammar Myths.

What is a Preposition?

“A preposition is a word that creates a relationship between other words. ”

They usually relate to space or time, for example:

  • Above
  • By
  • Over
  • Before
  • After
  • Since

When is it Okay to End a Sentence With a Preposition?

When a preposition is necessary to make a grammatical sentence, prepositions can be the ending of a sentence.

“What did you step?” does not make sense. Add “on” (a preposition) and it makes sense.

“What did you step on?” is an example of when one can use a preposition to end a sentence.

When isn’t it?

“Where are you at?” makes perfect sense when you drop the at, making it “Where are you?”

  • Good Versus Well

Working in the retail and restaurant industry for so long, “How are you?” is an overly used phrase. The pause between answering “I’m good” or “I’m well” always extended longer than necessary I’m sure. I’ve been lectured on why you shouldn’t respond “I’m good”, but Grammar Girl saves the day again. I can now respond either way without feeling inferior to the “grammatical geniuses” criticizing my well-being.

The word “am” is a linking verb, and adjectives are perfectly acceptable followers of linking verbs. Therefore using good after “I am” is fine.

The trouble occurs when “good” is used after an action verb. That’s a no-no. It is not okay to say “he swam good”.

The lessons end here.

At least on my end. I recommend checking out the entire site to learn more useful information applicable to the real world.

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When I applied to attend school at The Ohio State University, I had no idea what I wanted to do.

At orientation, it seemed almost necessary for anyone who goes to school here to change their major multiple times. Looking over the list, I decided Communication was the most general thing I was interested in. I love talking to people. I had worked at a restaurant for two years during high school as a hostess and as a receptionist at a friend of the family’s gym for three years.

Worst comes to worst, I could change my major like everyone else. But once I got into my actual major coursework, I realized how fascinated I was with all my classes. For once I didn’t dread waking up in the morning and going to class, because I finally knew this is what I wanted to do.

I scored an internship with JAE Marketing my third year helping plan events and promoting them via social media. While I found the event planning and marketing aspect of Strategic Communication interesting, I realized the career I actually want to pursue is the research behind what goes on.

I want to know WHY certain groups of people are using the products/services they are using and HOW to make specific people interested in products/services they may not think they need.

I have been a Merchandise Supervisor at a major retail corporation for the last year, and I like to think I am helping influence what people buy by my selection and placement of what goes out and where it is displayed.

While it is not direct experience in the market research field, I believe it is building my insight and appreciation and I can’t wait to get started in the real world.