Twitter has recently celebrated its fifth birthday and the internet is full of stories discussing how useful it is or is not. For those of you who don’t know it, Twitter is a social networking service a bit like Facebook which allows you to follow people as they write messages, known as tweets, of a maximum of 140 characters.
What’s the fuss?
Twitter has really become famous for two reasons. Firstly, it has become a regular part of celebrity culture with millions of people following their favourite stars who tweet as they go about their daily lives. When Charlie Sheen, the controversial Hollywood actor, recently set up his account on Twitter he got over half a million followers in less than 12 hours. The second reason is that it allows for direct and instantaneous communication between large numbers of people. From companies receiving complaints on new products to people reporting on tsunamis to demonstrators organising protests, Twitter is the quickest way to get a big picture. A less famous but more useful reason to use Twitter is to be in contact with people who share your interests or profession and learn from one another.
Seven Ways to Learn English on Twitter
As with so many social networking sites, they are a great way to help you with your English. Here are seven possible ways to do this.
- It is a great way to find people who have the same interests as you and exchange ideas. Doing this in English can be really fun and is probably one of the best ways of improving your English.
- It is a good way to read English regularly but for very short periods.
- It is an interesting way to learn about abbreviations and slang and how English can be shortened.
- Writing tweets is a great way to improve your ability to write simply but clearly in English.
- If you follow other language learners you can exchange tips and ideas on how to improve.
- Lots of tweets have links to external blogs and web pages which, depending on who you follow, could have useful tips and information.
- Twitter also has a discussion forum element, known as hashtag discussions (e.g #learnenglish), where you can follow and participate in open debates about anything that interests you.
So, why not try it out? It’s free, fast and fun. To get started, there is this student friendly website, which gives a clear guide to setting up a twitter account. This page gives you a list of useful ‘Tweeters who’ll help you learn English’. And of course you can start by following SGI @SgiLanguages. See you on twitter! Enjoy!