Book Review Draft: The Tao of Twitter

Book review of The Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer

Structure & Content of book:

  • Easy-read, in the style of a “how-to” manual
  •  The Tao: the ‘way’ or path/principle
  • 3 Taos:
    • Targeted Connections: who you reach out to, with whom you connect with
    • Meaningful Content: quality of tweet > quantity of tweet
    • Authentic Helpfulness: authenticity & generosity can help form better and more effective connections
      • achieving the 3 Taos will help you succeed in networking and more importantly, in business
  • P2P Connections: Person to Person connections; be human

Key Concepts as related from the course to the book:

  • Technological Determinism : the way technology is “using us” (Baym)
    •  greater expansion in business, new connections, and social benefits may not be achieved if one doesn’t use Twitter.
    • Without Twitter –> mundane tweets would not have been created (“Go Steelers!”) –> random follower would not have replied to Schaefer’s tweet –> no establishment of new friendship –> no establishment of positive business relationship.
  • Social Capital: resources accumulated from interactions and social relationships (Elllison, Steinfield, Lampe)
    • Bridging–> using Twitter and following strangers can result in helpful resources (tweeting links, blogs, or videos)
    • Bonding–> tweeting @ at follower or replying a tweet, Direct Messaging, answering questions can help establish new connections
  • Media Mutiplexity: using multiple forms of social media to maintain connections (Haythornthwaite)
    • Latent Ties–> you can activate possible new relationships with anyone you’re following or is following you by retweeting one’s tweet, mentioning them, DM. i.e., replying to the “Go Steelers!” tweet
    • Weak Ties–> sharing useful information to your followers or taking advantage of others’ shared resources; infrequent communication
    • Strong Ties–> Schaefer emphasizes maintaing connections through multiple forms of social media: following each other on blogs, commenting, calling by phone, emailing, meeting in person
      • turning latent ties to weak or strong ties
      • take online connections to offline = stronger relationships!
  • Taste Performances: (Liu)
    • Authenticity–> Schaefer emphasizes in being authentic and “real”, being human
      • don’t be all about business & marketing, include mundane and everyday tweets so others can relate to you
      • being human also means helping others out regularly, answering tweets and replying to mentions ASAP; sharing interesting and helpful links
      • don’t invest in accounts with pre-made followers; gain REAL followers even if it takes more time
      • make sure your account/profile reflects YOU
    • Prestige–> importance of keeping your followers and profile cleanly sculpted and neat
      • clean out your follower’s list: delete or block any spammers following you as they may  negatively affect your outlook
      • follow others who appear similar to you or have similar interests
      • follow those who fit the description of your ideal targeted consumer


  • People new to Twitter
    • lists guidelines
    • in the style of  a”how-to” manual
    • breaks down “technological” terms (hashtag, RT, etc) in easy-to-understand language
    • uses personal anecdotes
  • People looking for networking purposes
    • how to establish new connections
    • how to gain followers
    • how to maintain connections

Ethical Implications:

  • Don’t be overly forceful when marketing
    • don’t constantly tweet about your product
    • include more mundane topics so people can see you’re authentic
  • Be generous to others
    • be helpful in answering questions and providing help/feedback to others

Personal Critiques:

  • book doesn’t mention the downsides of using Twitter
  • doesn’t talk about potential risks of how others may interpret user’s tweets
    • Nightmare Readers
    • Negatives of Context Collapse
  • places responsibility solely on the user and not on the social platforms
  • only mentions following, seeking out, and establishing connections with those  who are SIMILAR to users
  • only promotes the advantages of Twitter usage
  • briefly mentions how Twitter is not for everyone, but doesn’t provide strong reasoning behind it
    • more like a, “use Twitter at your own risk” kind of precaution

Draft Book Review


1. Social Shaping

  • With its real-time human-driven results, Twitter has become the networking, information, and search engine of choice for many business professionals. (2)
  • There is a Tao to Twitter. There is a majestic random synergy that holds the potential to impact your life daily…if you know what you’re doing. (5)
2. Taste Performance
3. Identity Through Connections
4. Real People/ authenticity
  • There is a high value for authenticity and being human on Twitter…(13)
  • The Tao of Twitter formula= targeted connections+meaningful content+authentic happiness
  • the priority is on human interaction that leads to connections….trust is the ultimate catalyst to business benefits (15)
  • People are sick of being sold to, marketed to, and tricked into clicking on links…(14)
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust
  • Add some personality (27)
5. Social capital
  • Content is the currency of the social web…(12)
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust (18)
  • Once somebody understands how the networking operates and the range of business benefits that exist beyond just money, it’s easy to make the decision to give it a chance.
6. Community
  • I was witnessing a real-time, global brain storming session! (4)
  • Twitter tribe (7)
  • questions to the world (21)
7. Strong, Weak and Latent Ties
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust. (18)
  • The more followers the more potential interactions, the more opportunities to create business benefits.
8. Network vs. Networking
  • I made my first meaningful business connection. (4)
  • A torrent of links, humor, and insights came rushing to me every day as I learned to surround myself with thought leaders, teachers, and innovators. (5)
  • Like any smart networker, she had taken care to surround herself with people she could learn from. (6)
  • …the conditions were ripe for this connection because all three of us had systematically surrounded ourselves with people likely to want to know us, learn from us and help us. (12)
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust. (18)
8. Friends vs friends
  • I had recently moved our online relationship into an offline relationship when I met him for lunch in his home state…(8)
  • the more atoms you have in the tube, the better your chances that a reaction will occur! (12)
    • The more followers the more potential interactions, the more opportunities to create business benefits.
    • add users who are interested in the same topic as you. (29)
9. Performing identity
  • I wanted to “reach” my “target audience” with well-defined “messaging”. (13)





Outline/Draft: Tao of Twitter

Mark Schaefer’s The Tao of Twitter


Tries to get rid of thought that twitter is a waste of time and can’t be used for business

Personal AND business benefits to using twitter

3 Taos:

  • Targeted connections

-Ensure you follow a group of people that are providing good content,

  • Meaningful content

-Share good content to your followers

            – Authentic helpfulness

Commit to being genuinely helpful to the community




Through real-life examples and easy-to-follow steps Mark teaches you:

  • Secrets to building influence on Twitter
  • The formula behind every Twitter business success
  • 14 ways to build an audience that wants to connect to you
  • Content strategies
  • Time-savers
  • Dozens of practical, actionable tips to make Twitter work

16 ways to use Twitter as a competitive advantage


In an always-on, real-time, global world of business communications, the priority is on human interaction that leads to connections. Connections lead to awareness. Awareness leads to trust. Trust is the ultimate catalyst to business benefits.

^SOCIAL CAPITAL (bridging social capital)



àexplains twitter in first 10 pages; targeting small business owners, older students who want to network. NOT for “our generation” we understand technology better.  Showing older generations that when used properly twitter is not a waste of time; not global; more anecdotal/less statistics, shows he’s trying to learn himself and utilize what twitter has to offer.



favors outgoing people AND introverts because introverts can connect on their own terms (pseudo…)


some see 140 characters as too little


“as much of an art as a science”


Marwick: Presentation of self based on audience: who is in our audience actually doesn’t matter but rather who we have constructed in our head as our audience.  Self-presentation is a response to who we think is following us

Like many SNS’s, twitter flattens multiple audiences into one (context collapse)

Responses to context collapse:

Tweet what would be the most acceptable for even the “nightmare reader” or “lowest common denominator”

Keep audiences separate as much as possible

People will present information and have people sort it out themselves



Interactivity: enabled by the affordances of the technology (whatever the technology encourages you to do/allows you to do), but is also a product of how the users decide to use it.  Bounded both by technological capabilities and user habits

 (Synchronous- happens in real time, smaller group: Niche markets, local businesses etc.)

Reach, mobility,

Social Shaping: The way you interact with twitter determines how it is used



Ethics: is stealing another company’s “list” actually stealing?  No, because it’s public?  Twitter does have the best online customers, like stealing leads

Ethics behind being authentic… spam? 

***Authenticity**** Twitter is about content for humans, not search engines.

Performance: Weber & Mitchell- Drawing on Giddens:  Power in society motivates us to create these narratives, to engage in this project; we all have the freedom to make ourselves.  Don’t have the freedom to NOT answer the question of who we are; Goffman: , thinks we are always on display; metaphor of theater/stage to think of how we live in everyday life.  Certain situations we’re on the stage, others we’re backstage.  Very careful about the impressions we give to people; Weber & Mitchell: .  These are where we are trying to figure out who we are and tell other people who we are.  “Identities-in-action” Constantly open to changing/to constructing our identities in a different way, so our identities never stay fixed.  Because we leave a digital trail, our identities are never completely current. 

^^Connect to business identities/ “personalities”

My thoughts:  agree that if used in the right ways, twitter can definitely benefit business/marketing; most people that don’t use/refuse to use twitter/think twitter is a waste of time probably don’t understand it very well & the benefits it can have.  Definitely one of the more useful platforms for bridging social capital

on the way it was written: Schaefer makes it very easy to follow/ relatable using a lot of anecdotal evidence instead of just stats.  Also, as we have seen most statistics gathered based on SNS’s can be unreliable due to the way they were gathered (surveys etc.) 

Tao of Twitter Rough Draft

                As the technological boom continues to blow the minds of generation X, the development of various social networking sites has caused a stir of adaptation amongst online users.  From the masses of students on Facebook to the droves of corporate workers on LinkedIn, social networks have officially made communication quicker, amusing, and more efficient.  Nonetheless, even with millions of users, SNSs have created a phenomenon where public connections seem to be more of an art, instead of just a scientific advancement.  In only about 100 pages, Mark Schaefer successfully outlines the platform of Twitter in his short book The Tao of Twitter.   
                Schaefer primarily targets a broad audience of Twitter users, in spite of age, race or gender (which are the usual independent variables in recent social networking discourse and studies).  In this way, we automatically see that his intention is to educate both current and future users of the advantages of Twitter with basic daily usage.  In just the first 10 pages, the reader is able to understand the purpose of Twitter without a full-fledged glossary of “Twit-terms” and their definitions.   Schaefer also provides us with anecdotes of his past and current usage of the site, where he describes that Twitter actually isn’t for everyone.  He eventually narrows down to describe the advantages to businesses and small business owners.   Nevertheless, though the book initially seems geared toward an overarching audience of all users, we see here that Schaefer targets businesses and their respective professionals.  Looking at the book as an overall discourse of social media, we can see the recent spectrum of media scholarship regarding SNSs.  danah boyd and Nicole Ellison discuss this briefly in their elaborative definition of SNSs, “Scholars from disparate fields have examined SNSs in order to understand the practices, implications, culture, and meaning of the sites, as well as users’ engagement with them.  He breaks down the characteristics of an individual who would be an ideal user for business purposes.  In general, this person would be a small business-owner who is knowledgeable of the global market, and looking to sell differentiated services using a small marketing budget on a web-based communication tool.  This was the first thing that struck me as surprising.  Now, indeed Schaefer is
                There has often been negative discourse regarding Twitter and its purpose as an SNS, but I think it’s important to consider the difference between a social network and social networking.  Schaefer shows readers the personal and business benefits of Twitter by doing three simple things, or Tao’s as he calls them, to ensure that you’re developing a strong community.  Notice here that this community isn’t defined by users with whom you’ve already developed strong ties, although using Twitter can make them stronger.  Rather, Twitter allows you to interact with complete strangers and people who are already a part of your extended social network where latent ties were established in the past.  boyd and Ellison define an SNS as a web based service where individuals can create a profile in a bounded system, interact with other users with whom they share a connection, and view these connections within the system.  Even so, they specifically state, ‘‘Networking’’ emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers. While networking is possible on these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them” (boyd 211).  Schaefer exploits this idea by highlighting the valuable connections that can be made from Twitter, which is indeed a networking site.   



Rough Draft: The Tao of Twitter

With his novel The Tao of Twitter: Changing your life and business 140 characters at a time, Mark Schaefer provides an easy-to-read manual on how to successfully use Twitter. He acknowledges that many first time users become fed up with the platform after a week and quit because they simply do not understand it. This is partly because there are no instructions given that go beyond the first step of creating an account making the site seem puzzling and daunting. Schaefer’s purpose for the book is to demystify the foreign language and etiquette of the medium such as trending topics and retweeting in a casual manner and to persuade readers that Twitter can be for virtually anyone despite first glance. Although the literature is geared towards those seeking to learn how Twitter can be utilized as a business tool, the guidelines he offers are generalized enough to be helpful for any new tweeter. Even as a relatively avid consumer of this type of social media, I discovered some of Twitter’s capabilities that I was unfamiliar with before reading this book.

The Tao of Twitter establishes and is structured as the path or Tao one needs to follow to understand the fundamental aspects of Twitter. It is primarily divided into three Tao, targeted connections, meaningful content, and authentic helpfulness, which Schaefer believes are the basic elements through which all business advantages are created. His relevant and practical examples allow readers to see how the three work together to generate a successful marketing strategy on Twitter. For beginners, he even prescribes a feasible regimen that is designed to seamlessly integrate the once awkward and alien tool into their daily lives to the point of domestication. Although he concedes that the platform may not be for everybody or business, Schaefer ensures that with persistence and commitment one can reap many benefits from Twitter usage even if it does not directly manifest into a sales lead.

Under the title of “Targeted Connections”, Tao One proposes the importance of social capital. Twitter is primarily a source of bridging social capital or the resources you gain from weak ties with others, such as following celebrities or former classmates. This type of connection allows for one to encounter new knowledge that one would not have accessed otherwise. Thus, the more individuals one follows and followers one has, the more information one will be exposed to. Schaefer describes, “Think about Twitter followers like atoms flying around inside of a chemist’s test tube, bumping into each other randomly. Obviously the more atoms you have in the tube, the better your chances that a reaction will occur.” However, he also emphasizes that the quality of your followers is just as important as the quantity. If the information sent by a tweeter is reaching many people, but it is not relevant to the majority of them, then the effort is not productive. Users should aim to surround themselves with others who can help and learn from them. Also, there is a trade off between the number of people one follows and the amount of valuable, personal interactions one can have with them. It is impossible for a person to have a strong relationship with each of his or her thousand followers. Depending on one’s business strategy, the key is to build a manageable, targeted community of like-minded individuals, which may require time and effort to accomplish.

Skipping the self-explained Tao Two of the need to provide meaningful content to grab people’s attention, Tao Three focuses on the high value of authenticity on Twitter, which Schaefer posits as the most ignored factor by tweeters. In order for one’s business to be effective on the platform, one must be aware that Twitter is structured around what the author labels as P2P or person-to-person connections. This is the critical distinction between traditional marketing and new media. Until recently, a message would come from a single source and be broadcasted to multiple points of contact through outlets such as radio and television. Twitter is a space where people “hang out” and have conversations about almost anything. They do not expect to be advertised to. Consumers in this commercial culture are tired of being sold to and increasingly deem advertisements as unreliable sources of information. Therefore, companies need to tailor their tactics to adhere to this fundamental difference in communication. Schaefer asserts that since Twitter is a forum for personal human interaction, one must treat relationship building on it the same as one would offline. This requires a sense of helpfulness without an expectation to receive anything in return. For example, when one offers assistance regardless of personal gain, others perceive it as a genuine gesture and are more likely to trust one in the future leading to the possibility of further interaction. “In an always-on, real-time, global world of communications, the priority is on human interaction that leads to connections. Connections lead to awareness. Awareness leads to trust. Trust is the ultimate catalyst to business benefits.” Twitter users have the capacity to differentiate exploitive advertising from authentic helpfulness and will react accordingly.

Although The Tao of Twitter delivers a strong introduction to the platform for beginners, it fails to mention some concepts that I find pertinent to be an effective user. Schaefer alludes to the fact that communication on Twitter is a two-way highway as opposed to the unidirectional stream of traditional marketing with his notion of P2P, but he does not delve into the topic enough in my opinion. Consumer feedback is a major feature of having a company’s appearance on Twitter because of the brand’s increased accessibility to the public. A business is almost expected to respond or at least read all the tweets the account receives. Prior to Twitter, customers would send emails or call service representatives with complaints, with the negative comments staying between a small group of people. However, nowadays, one can tweet about one’s qualms with a company that can be easily be read by their entire network. This is significant considering it has become more common for individuals to rely on their friends’ opinions than on advertisements when making a purchase. Thus, a negative tweet has the possibility to cost a business a number of customers. Marketers should realize that they have less control over the image of their company on new media in comparison to conventional outlets because people use Twitter to voice their opinions however they want, which can be in a way they did not intend. As a result, I believe Schaefer should have included more on what to expect with consumer feedback and how to deal with it.

Draft for Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer

Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer

I. Concepts:

  • Technological Determinism: Schaefer writes positively of the effects of Twitter and emphasizes the potential connections possible. He does not fully address the negatives of the site. He writes that every tweet is important no matter what the content is about, it is an opportunity.
  • Social capital: Schaefer would absolutely agree that users have potential ties waiting to happen. He writes that users need to take the initiative to follow or tweet at someone. Usually, they will receive a response. Throughout the book he gives examples of weak ties, strong ties, and latent ties; all of this leads to media multiplexity.

II. Audience, structure, content: Schaefer’s book is suitable for Twitter beginners because he breaks down and details the structure of Twitter. He firmly believes that it is beneficial to businesses and that they should try it for new opportunities. He categorizes and gives strategies for how to use it effectively.

III. Ethics: Schaefer does not specifically address any issues with how Twiiter functions. He focuses on the individual making the decisions not how the site itself affects the user. It can be inferred from his book that the power is in the user’s hands and not Twitter, because the user determines what he or she will do. The user determines how much effort to give and the outcomes.

Book Review Notes: The Tao of Twitter

A rough outline for my final book review on The Tao of Twitter.

I. Structure and Content/How it is related to our course concepts

  • Mark Schaefer shows his reader how Twitter can improve their life and  business through the formula or tao that he has identified on Twitter.
  • The author takes a technological determinist approach while discussing Twitter. I suggest that he employes this discourse since the author suggests that once you use this technology you will see certain effects on your business and life.
  • He claims that if people don’t know what they are doing on Twitter they aren’t grasping the “Tao” of Twitter. He places the blame of failure on the user not the technology.
  • His insistence on meeting his online friends in the physical world invokes the ideas about forming relationships and community on social media that we discussed. (Baym) (Donath &Boyd)
  • His emphasis on authentic helpfulness relates to the ideas of authenticity and honesty in online interactions. (Marwick) (Marwick & boyd)
  • The author’s ideas about content being the key to connections online echoes the ideas discussed in class surrounding taste and identity performances. (Liu)
  • Clearly, this author would disagree with Clemons’ ideas about the difficulty of monetizing social networks since the author promotes the importance of social networking for his business success.
  • His argument for creating a targeted following seems to reinforce Boyd’s idea about social networking sites serving as echo chambers for most people. (Can Social Network Sites Enable Political Action?)

II. Audience

  • The book is targeted toward those who are trying to learn how to use Twitter. His definitions of key terms and practices on Twitter are extremely helpful.
  • It is also targeted toward those who wish to use Twitter for business purposes/marketing.
  • By targeting this audience, the author fails to address the other ways people use Twitter.
  • Also, his discussion of Twitter practices are fairly basic since it is meant to be a guide for beginners.
  • The book feels like more of a manuel rather than an analysis of the technology.

III. Ethical Implications

  • This book does not address any ethical implications of social media and marketing.
  • I believe the author actually overhypes the positive outcome of marketing your business on Twitter since he fails to discuss the concepts of context collapse and nightmare audiences.


The Tao of Twitter: Changing your life and business 140 characters at a time

A Very Rough Draft

Summary: The Tao of Twitter is essentially a “how-to” manual on the social media site popularly known as Twitter. Throughout the book, Mark Schaefer explains the uses of Twitter, defines Twitter-lingo and teaches readers how to tweet.

Social Discourse:

  • Takes a technological deterministic approach
    • Technological determinism: the idea that technology is a external agent. The assumption that we will see effects and we won’t see them if we don’t use them
    • Through his personal experiences, Schaefer talks about how Twitter is what you make of it
      • He talks about how Twitter provides a plethora of networking opportunities, however in other to reap the benefits of twitter one must find the “Tao of Twitter”
      • How he made beneficial connections, which started because of a simple “Go Steelers” tweet and how he wouldn’t have made those connections without Twitter

Course concepts the book addresses:

  • Forming relationships and community through social media
    • Explains how to make a latent tie into a weak/strong tie
      • How to break the ice with a follower or a person you are following
  • How to target connections
  • Forming identity through social media
    • Incorporates taste preferences
      • He advises people to follow those who are similar to them instead of people who are different (which is something we discussed in class)
      • Echo tunnel
  • Advises people to be authentic
    • Having meaningful content
    • Learning about and reaching consumers
      • Ways to leverage platform for new business benefits


  • People who have never used twitter before
    • Provides general guidelines
    • Essentially a “Twitter for Dummies” book
  • People who want to network using twitter
    • How to even the most mundane tweets can result in a beneficial connection
      • How it can make a latent tie into a strong or weak tie

Ethical implications of social media and marketing

  • While Schaefer constantly emphasizes the importance of being authentic on twitter, he doesn’t really critique twitter and it’s ethical implications in terms of the power relationship between the people who use social media and the people who own it

Personal Critiques

  • Focuses only on the advantages that Twitter can give you
    • Briefly talks about spamming
    • Doesn’t mention the fact that while people have control over their tweets, there is no control over how people interpret tweets
      • Context collapse
      • Reputability
      • Nightmare audience
    • Puts all the responsibilities on the user
      • Doesn’t blame the platform
        • Doesn’t take into account that while a user may tweet something, the audience interprets it in their own way
        • Doesn’t take into account the nightmare audience
        • Talks about the benefits of increased publicity, but doesn’t mention the possibility of bad publicity
  • Assumes that if the user does get bad publicity, it’s because the user is using the social media wrong
  • Twitter is not for everyone
    • While he acknowledges that some people don’t use twitter, he doesn’t discourage it
    • Really pushes the advantages and the benefits of twitter
    • Seemingly biased

Tao of Twitter Notes

The Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer

  • A book whose sole purpose is to smash the negative stereotypes that talk of Twitter as a ‘waste of time’, and show readers that the personal and business benefits you can achieve on Twitter are real and are far-reaching.
  • The reader is able to understand the whole point of Twitter in the first 10 pages, and see what it’s capable of, instead of getting immediately bogged down with dry definitions and acronyms.
  • Is Twitter for Everybody?
    • Twitter is not for everyone.
    • An ideal user of twitter would have the following characteristics:
      •     Small business-owner
      •     Enormous, global market potential (needs a lot of awareness)
      •     Small marketing budget
      •     Selling differentiated personal services
      •     No time to blog, develop extensive content, etc.
      •     Tech-savvy
      •    A charming, bright person with engaging personality.
    • Twitter Quitter
      • Someone who refuses to use twitter
        • Refusal reasons include:
          • Lack of understanding
          • 140 characters isn’t sufficient enough to express ideas
          • Seems like idle chatter
      • Some say it favors out-going people, yet introverts are quick to say that they love the platform as way to connect on their own terms and build quality relationships slowly. Maybe it has something to do with patience.  Perhaps it is being creeped out by the crowds or by having strangers “follow you.”
      • Honestly, I haven’t figured it out, but I do acknowledge the fact that some very intelligent and wonderful people just don’t like Twitter even when they can see the benefits.
    • What about organizations?
      • When it comes to business communications strategy, it really gets down to this: What are your business objectives?  What do you need to say?  Where do your customers get their information?
      • People are piling on to the social web in record numbers and are also spending an enormous amount of time there. In an always-connected world, the role of social media in the business and personal world is blurring.
      • Become a valued subject matter expert.
      • Create new business opportunities for your company.
      • However, there are MANY other business benefits to Twitter beyond simply getting sales leads.  Even if your customers aren’t there in force, it is still an incredibly powerful way to learn, connect with thought leaders, and identify new business opportunities.
  • 3 Tao’s to ensure that you are developing are strong community:
    • Attracting targeted followers: How to surround yourself with people who might be interested in you and what you have to say.
    • Provide meaningful content: This goes from some interesting news information you heard to your opinion on something to tweet about what interests you. 
    • Offering authentic helpfulness: Do you have the mindset to help others? Friendships on the social web are built on trust and that must be earned.
  • Using these you will be able to understand the full benefits of twitter.
  • Twitter can give businesses good competitive advantage.
  • Needs to be used actively, but not in a way that it begins to consumer you’re entire day.
  • Outlines the problems businesses face when first adopting to Social Media
  • Twitter is as much as an art as it is a science.
  • You should put your own account in you lists because as people subscribe to your list they’ll be able to see your tweets as well.

Register at Your Own Risk

Before the Internet became the Information Superhighway or the ultimate playground for predator’s or Pandora’s Box and the root of all evil, parents were worried with a little gadget called the telegraph. That’s dinosaur technology for us now but guardians were worried about the creeper at the other end of the wire just as much as they are now with the person behind the profile. Sure there have been many cases of children who have been prey for sick-minded adults but to say that the Internet is a place where children are unsafe and vulnerable is an exaggeration. What’s more, sexting can’t fit under the same umbrella if it’s between people who are romantically involved. Of course we wish that teenagers had better judgment and weren’t so naïve about who they show their nude bodies to; but the danger of being exposed though social media can’t be put in the same danger zone as meeting nefarious strangers. In many cases sexting can be irresponsible but putting you at risk for pregnancy… and rape? That’s a slippery slope.

As shown in Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting: A National Study, the number of youth involved in the exchange, both consensual and not, of sexual content through social media, is not as alarming as we might have thought. In fact, only 1% of the youth surveyed had been involved in an exchange that potentially violated child pornography laws within the past year (Mitchell et al, 6).

Aside from parents and educators worried about their exhibitionist children, religious leaders are addressing the trend and making it part of their indoctrination – good church going kids don’t sext. In two article posted about the topic: Sexting: Youth Pastors Deal with New Challenges; and Growing Sexting Trend and How to Respond posted on Effective Youth Ministry’s website, only extreme cases are showcased. In the first article the story of a young man who was convicted on charges of child pornography is told – he was eventually placed on the list of sexual offenders. What isn’t emphasized, though, is that the woman who he shared photos of was his girlfriend,17 at the time of the incident. In the second article, faulty data is used to convince readers that sexting is at epidemic levels – it includes people ages 13-26 in its survey sample. A person over eighteen no longer falls under child pornography restrictions – parents have no business monitoring a 26 year old’s sexual behavior.

It’s important to make the distinction of age and relationships because they are important players behind sexting. More importantly, these players are overlooked when measuring the number of teenagers engaging in sexting and the consequences displayed don’t necessarily always follow. They’re poisoning the well – posing a false dilemma, “register at your own risk”.

Church going or non-church going, teenagers are at their hormonal peek, fitting into their new and developing bodies. Who knows if before sexting, email, and Facebook, these kids weren’t exposing themselves in person-to-person contact, or weren’t sending each other sexually explicit messages elsewhere. These mediums have simply made it easier to store and replicate the messages.

Furthermore, the dangers in sexting aren’t in encountering strangers and sexual predators. None of the survey results or examples in the article demonstrate that a child has been molested or sexually assaulted as a result of sexting. That’s not to say that it isn’t dangerous – it’s just a different kind of dangerous. It can harm social relationships, your reputation and future but it won’t put a female at a higher risk of getting pregnant, much less by a stranger. Of course, it’s important to mention that most cases of rape occur between people that know each other. Still, there is no evidence to back the conclusion that sexting leads children to unwanted sexual contact with strangers.

As with most that is mysterious and unknown, sexting is a new practice, and older generations who are not familiar with it are, to no surprise, overly-concerned. It’s an issue but it’s not going to destroy the lives of our youth. It may well be a tool for sexual expression, and a vent safer than frequent sexual encounters. Such content when produced my females may well work as a liberator from gender norms and can be in some ways considered a feminist movement, as discussed by Amy Adele Hasinoff. Not to say that it should be considered media production, though – that’s a leap that implies mass production, which I’m not willing to take.