Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Trending time together

The last six years have seen Twitter progress from being a fringe site that many considered to be a place to post short replicas of Facebook status updates to a social media juggernaut. Now, more than half a billion Twitter accounts exist, and from tracking internship opportunities to getting international news updates the moment they’re available, UA students are using Twitter for more than keeping up with Justin Bieber’s daily goings on.

Tina Sheikhzeinoddin, a junior majoring in civil engineering, has used her presence on Twitter to bring women engineers from all over the country together. Her account, @Lady_Engineers, has more than 1,300 followers of women engineers, university engineering organizations and internship programs.

“I was bored one night and made a fake account,” Sheikhzeinoddin said. “I was thinking about all of the things that are different with girl engineers and boy engineers. There are only seven or eight of us in my classes. We have shorter lines in the bathrooms, sometimes we can’t even find the bathrooms in a building.”

Sheikhzeinoddin has been on twitter as the @Lady_Engineer since February and has received tweets from university engineering organizations all over the country such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

“I just think it’s so cool that people actually think I’m funny or re-tweet me and stuff,” Sheikhzeinoddin said. “I think it just shows how Twitter can connect an idea or people.”

Sheikhzeinoddin believes that having such a large following of engineering companies and organizations may be helpful when searching for jobs in the future. She hopes to go to graduate school and pursue structural engineering.

“A lot of people that tweet at me are taking a semester off to intern and co-op or are working,” Sheikhzeinoddin said. “They tweet their work problems, so maybe I can continue this [@Lady_Engineers account] after school.”

Other students have begun to use Twitter as a way to research internship and job opportunities directly from the organization. Kelly Martin, a sophomore majoring in apparel design, found an application for her current internship with, a fashion blog for college students, from a link on a tweet.

“I use Twitter basically to stay updated,” Martin said. “ I would not have known about College Fashionista if they didn’t have a Twitter. I also follow fashion blogs and news pages so I can learn as much as I can about the industry in a short amount of time.”

Aside from fashion news, Martin also uses twitter as her primary news source and way of communicating with friends and celebrities.

“I think Twitter is so popular because it is immediate information,” Martin said. “Twitter is the first place I look to for news because it is faster than the newspaper and even TV. It’s also a place of conversation. You can see what your friends or even celebrities are saying about basically anything in short, concise messages. I also follow UA accounts to find out about school events.”

As the industries of journalism and public relations move to mostly digital means of communication, Universities are pushed to make their presence known in the Twitter world in order to keep up with student communication.

Carla Ellis, a sophomore majoring in restaurant management and hospitality, follows UA Twitter accounts as well as local bars to keep up with campus activities and Tuscaloosa happenings.

“I’m following @ _1831_ and @ImShmacked to keep up with events in Tuscaloosa,” Ellis said. “I also follow @HCAlabama (Her Campus Alabama), which is an online magazine for UA.”

Mark Palisoc, a junior majoring in psychology, uses Twitter and Facebook equally, but uses Twitter primarily to keep up with celebrities and express his own personal thoughts.

“I think Twitter is a way for people to express their feelings without actually expressing it in person, but having the same satisfaction of getting it out of their systems,” Palisoc said.

Although Palisoc has never had to use Twitter for school purposes like many communications students, he admits to tweeting during class.

“I think its changed students’ lives in a little more negative way than positive, because it is just another distraction,” Palisoc said. “It’s kind of like the modern take on passing notes”

From campus celebrities like @Lady_Engineer to the average student looking to stay on top of breaking news or Hollywood gossip, students at UA are using Twitter as an outlet for both personal expression and professional networking.

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