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The following is a reproduction of a column that appeared in the April 16 edition of Inside Beat.
By Tom Wright-Piersanti / TV Editor
I am an adult in the eyes of the law, and this year on St. Patrick’s Day, I drank alcohol, as my Irish ancestors have for millennia. To take that classic tradition into the 21st century, I decided to post updates to my Twitter. That way, any friends stuck at work could live vicariously through my exploits, and I’d have a record to refer to the next day.
The problem with Twitter, as old people constantly remind us, is that it’s out there on the Internet and anyone can see it. What they don’t understand is that we early-20-somethings are on the older cusp of a generation that lives increasingly public lives. For many, Web privacy is a thing of the past.
My mom followed my St. Patty’s tweets from home and told me the next day how nervous they made her. And as much as I care about my mother’s mental health, I didn’t feel any guilt. Web sites like Twitter and Facebook are personal spaces where we can post whatever we’re comfortable with. If people — moms included — aren’t prepared to actually know what’s going on in my life, then they don’t have to look.
I don’t take Twitter seriously, and I don’t try to utilize it as a marketing tool to push my own personal brand like so many annoying iPhone app developers and search engine optimizers. It’s just a fun place to write a silly line I thought of, or to post a link to a bizarre photo or video I found.
When I tweet, I try to represent myself as honestly as possible. For the most part, that means I don’t censor swear words or slightly adult subject matters. I’m never too crude or eyeball-meltingly offensive, but I do season my tweets with the same colorful words that I enjoy using in real life.
People fear that possible employers will judge them by their Twitter page, and therefore keep them painfully boring. We get it, you’re a journalism student, but no one cares that you link to 10 industry news items a day. If you aren’t using Twitter to be yourself and have fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Anyone who hires me (please hire me!) can see exactly what I’m like by visiting my page. In my dream work environment, I’d feel comfortable enough to behave like myself, which would entail the occasional usage of curse words. If a future employer says, “He used the ‘s’ word, he’s a loose cannon! We can’t hire him,” then maybe that’s a place I don’t want to work.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging everyone to begin listing all illegal activity where anyone can see it, and I wouldn’t recommend making your Twitter an outlet for your 140-character erotic fiction tales (though I’m sure there’s a market). Just don’t be afraid to be represent yourself truthfully on the Internet. Pretty soon, all those old people who think it’s a bad idea will be gone, and we’ll control the workforce. And we’ll all tweet dirty words back and forth to our hearts’ content.
Tom welcomes feedback in the form of @ messages to his Twitter account, tomwp. He also encourages everyone to follow him and promises he’ll follow back.