Celebrities, students connect through Twitter

From following the day-to-day activities of Britney Spears to learning about upcoming university events, Twitter empowers students with information and the ability to communicate with others.

Launched in 2006, the site has grown exponentially, with users continually providing updates, or “tweets,” in 140 characters or less. Those who “follow” users receive these updates in real time on their Twitter homepage. The possibilities of Twitter are endless, and students and University of Miami organizations alike have taken notice.

Category 5, the university’s spirit programming committee, plans to create an account to publicize information about sporting events. The Cinematic Arts Commission just made one to promote their movie screenings at the Cosford Cinema.

Similarly, students have decided to create Twitter pages to for personal use, to broadcast their feelings and ideas.

Walyce Almeida opened an account while studying abroad at Salzburg University.

“We were having great discussions and I felt those conversations needed to be opened up to people around the world. So, I started using Twitter as a way to begin and continue a dialogue,” said Almeida, a UM multimedia journalism graduate student. “What I mean by dialogue is an exchange of ideas, opinions and personal stories.”

Almeida greatly enjoys the ability to express her opinion and receive the input of others. She prefers to “follow” journalists, producers, editors, and those well known in their field.

While the option to receive the updates of professionals is readily available on Twitter, the same can be said for those in the entertainment industry. Many celebrities and famous figures have Twitter accounts, providing fans a unique way to connect with their favorite stars. The “tweets” of Spears, Martha Stewart, Ashton Kutcher, MC Hammer and countless others, are readily available on the Internet.

Freshman Adam Berger does not have a personal Twitter account but follows the updates of his favorite bands, Blink 182 and Nine Inch Nails.

“It is interesting to hear what they are up to, news about tours, and their music,” he said. “And it’s nice to hear it straight from their mouth and not their publicists’.”

While it is helpful to remain in touch with friends and to read about the activities of favorite celebrities, sometimes Twitter can provide too much information. However, sophomore Andy Zweibel does not feel that this detracts from the site and its full potential.

“Those who don’t know much about [Twitter] think it’s just a glorified Web site for posting Facebook status-esque updates. This is what I thought from the beginning too,” he said.

“I have realized that it’s so much more about meeting people and sharing ideas, than letting everyone know when you’re eating a bowl of cereal,” Zweibel said. “I would encourage anyone to at least try Twitter for a few months before passing judgment.”

To create an account or to learn more about the site, visit www.twitter.com.