Lydia Kiros, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2015 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: "After 10 years of living in the rainforest with no Internet connection, your childhood best friend moves to Los Angeles to attend college. As expected, she realizes she has a lot to learn about modern day city life and asks you to help her get acclimated. You agree and start with the basics: driving a car, getting a job, and—of course—using social media. What social media platform is essential for her to get plugged into and which platform do you encourage her to steer clear from?”
Social media platforms have changed and developed drastically since their inception. Facebook has been one of the original platforms that changed the game of online interactions. While Facebook is still a social media giant, other sites have climbs to the top and claimed many users. If I were to recommend a social media platform that would be essential to get plugged into, I would have to select Twitter over Facebook.
In order to get caught up with what’s going on around us and in the world today, Twitter is the best social media platform to find any kind of information. Worldwide trends help you see what everyone is talking about and what major events or news stories are taking place. Twitter is also the best place to get connected with celebrities, politicians, businesses, news sources and friends. You get messages directly from these accounts without a middleman. Furthermore, the 140-character limit keeps messages on Twitter concise and to the point. One can quickly absorb information and get the main ideas. I find most of my news from headlines on Twitter that lead me directly to the source. Not only that, but I can also find content that is newsworthy but not covered on traditional news outlets. Stories, thoughts, and opinions are all exchanged on Twitter and one can join in on a global conversation of a variety of issues. Many movements have started on Twitter with the use of a hashtag, and so have campaigns. Twitter is one click into global connection.
While many people still retain Facebook account, including myself, I think I would recommend staying away from this platform. Facebook has turned into a time consuming black hole for me. The only reason I maintain it is to keep up with my current friends. This really is a “social” site. I don't find out about outside current events on Facebook to the extent that I do on Twitter. While Facebook did adopt the use of the hashtag and trending topics from Twitter, I find it to be more limiting. Furthermore, this social media site is very focused on targeted marketing and following your interests as a consumer to advertise brands that you may like. Thus everything you post is monitored and used for companies to market their products to you.
Overall, I find Twitter to be more beneficial and useful in catching up with the trends and conversations of the modern world. You can find important information on global events and even share your opinions on them with others. It's a great place to engage with the people you want to follow and choose to converse with. Learning the trends, from slang and popular dance movies to social movements, is done best on Twitter.
Lydia is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Public Relations.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.