To Tweet or Not to Tweet? That is the question. (And the answer is “To tweet.”)

By Lin Yuan

Chances are you check Facebook at least once a day, but refuse to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. Or maybe you’ve signed up for a Twitter, but don’t use it very much at all. Surveys show that while Twitter may be exploding for many demographics, it hasn’t taken off for college students, young adults, or teens. In fact, according to one study, the majority of Twitter users (or “Tweeps” in Twitter lingo) are over 35.  

Why exactly are we, the generation of so-called “Digital Natives,” so reluctant to embrace Twitter? It makes more sense that we’re the ones who make a site like Twitter popular, then our parents and grandparents join, not the other way around. There even seems to be a stigma attached to Twitter among people our age. The following conversation is pretty common among my friends when someone is outed as a Twitter user.

Person A: (accusingly) “You have a Twitter?!”

Person B: (sheepishly) “Yes…” (quickly) “But I barely use it!”

In any case, people seem to have a hard time figuring out why 18 to 20-somethings aren’t on Twitter as much as one would think. Maybe that’s because there’s no good reason for it in the first place. In my opinion, misconceptions of twitter are the reasons we aren’t on it. Here are the top reasons I’ve heard for not being on Twitter. (And seeing how this is a career blog, I promise, Twitter is relevant to your career aspirations. Skip ahead to Misconception #3 if you don’t believe me.)

Misconception 1: Twitter is for narcissistic losers I have heard so many of my friends say that Twitter is for obnoxious people who think everyone wants to know where they are and what they’re doing at all times. Before I signed up for Twitter, I thought so too. Checking Facebook, if I saw someone had posted a bunch of mundane status updates, I would quip that he/she needed to get a Twitter. After getting more acquainted with Twitter though, I’ve seen that sure there are plenty of bad Twitter users out there, but even more good Twitter users. The upside to a more mature user base is that people have more mature things to say. The twitterverse as a whole is very concerned with what differentiates bad tweeting from good tweeting. People see crafting 140 character tweets as a skill, even an art and they try their best to make their tweets as interesting, informative, funny, and non-narcissistic loser-y as possible. Tweeters want to be worth following, so they are conscientious about writing good tweets.

Misconception 2: Twitter is ruled by Justin Beliebers Yes, there are tweeters out there that love them some JBiebs, but believe it or not, Justin Bieber is not the only thing people talk about on Twitter. Celebrities on Twitter do attract a huge follower base (Lady Gaga has more than 5 million followers!) but they’re not the only users with a significant Twitter presence. National newspapers, large corporations, and other organizations are all on Twitter because it’s a great way to share information. Influential people like politicians and esteemed professors are on Twitter for the same reason. For example, the President has a twitter account for sharing the latest policy developments…though he does have half a million fewer followers than Gaga. Still, bottom line: legitimately important people are on Twitter tweeting about legitimately important topics.

Misconception 3: Twitter is just one more site to waste time on This is probably the biggest misconception of all and the most unfortunate. Twitter is worth spending time on because it really isn’t just an alternative to Facebook or just another way to stay in touch with your friends. Twitter is useful for this purpose but it is even more useful for another purpose: furthering your career. Twitter can be an incredibly powerful career tool if used correctly. You can follow companies you’re interested in working for to stay up-to-date on the latest news in the industry. You can conduct a job search using Twitter since many recruiters and organizations tweet information about job openings. You can even make Twitter itself your career as social media marketing becomes more popular and in demand.  Most importantly though, you can use Twitter to show employers exactly how thoughtful, passionate, and well-spoken you can be. Your tweets can be a way to share your ideas and put your best foot forward.

Even though I was a skeptic at first too, this is one millennial who is definitely a Twitter convert.

For more articles about Gen Y and Twitter, click on the links below. Also, go to our twitter resource page for tips on how to start tweeting.

Why is Generation Y Not Into Twitter?

To the Gen Y Twitter Haters

Advice from a Penn alum on finding an internship in UK (guest blog)

By Mark Pasha, 2008 Wharton alum who concentrated in Finance and Real Estate, now at Real Estate UK Asset Recovery, RBS

My Recruiting Experience for an Internship in London

Recruiting for a position overseas can be a very fiddly process especially as an undergrad in the US. Most overseas companies focus their resources on the markets closest to home, and so opportunities can seem sparse. Moreover, there are usually fewer positions outside the US advertised through PennLink, which means that one must take a slightly more proactive role when conducting a job search.

My principal recruiting experience was for an internship in the finance / consulting world in London for the summer of 2007 and I was fortunate enough to be able to accept a position at RBS.

From my recruiting experience, a few lessons stand out.

1. Using PennLink
Firstly, although positions for jobs in London (or abroad in general) are not as widely listed on PennLink, one can still use the system as a reference for what types of positions to look for overseas. Especially for internships and entry level positions, many companies listing positions at Penn for US locations will most likely have similar positions / programmes in their overseas offices. I found it very useful to be able to use PennLink as an index for potential jobs and then visit each company’s websites to learn more about the specific opportunities they offer abroad. If there was a position overseas, then I was usually able to apply for it directly through the company’s website.

2. Following up online applications
However, doing just a web application did not always cut it, as sometimes applicants from the US get lost amongst the masses of domestic applications. As there is limited scope for face to face meetings at career fairs and presentations etc, I found that the next best thing was trying to follow up an application by emailing someone at the firm, be it an HR contact, or someone else via another avenue (perhaps a Penn alumnus). I found this to be a massively important step in getting the application on the firms radar and ultimately getting an interview. The mode of contact did not have to be anything formal, simply a few questions about applying from overseas in an email, however starting a dialogue with someone always proved most helpful indeed.

3. Interviews
I did the majority of my interviews over the phone and was never asked to fly to London (although I know of a couple of people who were asked to). I did have one interview via video conference, which, whilst a bit odd at first, was probably a better experience than the phone interviews. It is easy to arrange through Career Services and I think most firms are happy to do it if you present the option to them.

The nature of interviews, depends more on the firm than the location. However, from my London experience, I found there to be a slightly more qualitative element than I had expected. There was definitely a little less emphasis on technical finance and accounting etc. based questions. I remember getting some brainteasers / logic problems, some simple maths problems, questions about the state of the market, as well as the typical resume based questions. Overall, I think the interview practice at Penn is perfect preparation as the processes (at least in the UK and the US) are not too dissimilar.

4. Timing
This is more of a London specific point, but a lot of people will say that the London recruiting timetable starts later than the US because universities go back later and so one can start recruiting later. Whilst it is true that universities start later in the year, I would not recommend putting off starting ones job search because of this. The range of application deadlines is very broad, with some deadlines the same as in the US. To avoid the pressures of meeting unknown or last minute deadlines, it is best to prepare early (even if that just means casually scoping out potential opportunities and deadlines over the summer or at the beginning of the school year). As a rule of thumb though, if one follows a similar timescale to US on campus recruiting, one should avoid any problems.

Editor’s note:  Special thanks to Mark Pasha for providing his perspective and advice! For resources and tips for working abroad, visit Careers Services’ International Opportunities page.

CareerCast: Succeeding in an International Setting

by Jaclyn Chen (W ‘12) & Angie Luo (C ‘11)

This week we are featuring four students who have interned abroad. They’ve worked private and public, Asia to Africa. If you’re thinking about potentially going overseas, these students have great insight in dealing with the language barrier and adapting to the local culture and work environment.

If you have particular interest areas that you would like us to cover, shoot us an email at Enjoy!

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CareerCast: Finding an International Internship

by Jaclyn Chen (W ‘12) & Angie Luo (C ‘11)

One of the questions that gets asked the most in Career Services is “How do I get an internship abroad?”.   The process can be different (and lengthier) than a domestic internship search, but as these Penn students explain, with a little tenacity, you can secure a very rewarding international experience.  Enjoy.

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