The New York Times published an article last week, in advance of Valentine’s Day, called “Love in the Time of Twitter” by Natasha Singer. The article references a "new research effort by two computer scientists who exempted how the soon-to-be-married used Twitter”.
That study purports to "examine Twitter as a platform for sharing updates about major life events, and in particular, we focus on the major life event of engagement. Engagement is interesting because it is an event that marks the beginning of a transitory period from courtship to marriage, and its occurrence is often evinced in social media through a prominent announcement.”
As a woman in tech who was and is a frequent Twitter user, I’m very interested in this research. I’ve often told those that I’ve coached & mentored that I was a heavy twitter user for both work and personal interests rather early in the Twitter movement. That said, the moment my now husband and I got engaged I quit Twitter cold turkey. “Why?” they, and likely you, would ask…
For me, Twitter is a valuable universe of connections for instant information. The nature of twitter is “in the moment” and what’s “trending”. It’s also a public forum. While my Facebook network is rather large (over 1000 people - which honestly shocks me every time), it is filled with people whom I have met in person, who I know, and who I feel I can confidently trust with my personal life. Twitter, on the other hand, is an open network. Anything I say there can be read by anyone else on twitter. I haven’t limited that network.
Because of this dichotomy, I realized that it was important to me to keep my personal life, personal. I knew that if I kept up with Twitter, I would inevitably tweet about personal elements of my wedding planning and relationships in the moment. As I repeat over and over to my clients, social media must be personalized. You must let your identity and personality shine - otherwise, no one is interested. It was easier to me to drop twitter to avoid those personal details being publicized.
Today, I’m happily married, back on Twitter and use it more frequently. Those who follow me know that I don’t just tweet about Bite Size Learning and Tech. I tweet about Theatre and movies and The Daily Show and coffee shops. I tweet funny or beautiful pictures of my surroundings. I tweet about NYC…and, I tweet about tech.
Based on my Twitter history, it sounds like I might not make it into the study… but I’d argue that for this study to be truly encompassing, it would behoove them to research those with mindsets similar to mine.
Join the conversation: How do you use Twitter? Do you keep it professional? Personal? Mix the two? Do you tweet about life events? Message us at @BiteSizeLearnin or @jessiepressman to air your opinion.