I'm going to take a moment to share with you the benefits of three things I enjoy: procrastinating, internetting, and paper writing. These three activities can complement each other in surprising ways. Here's the secret: use the time you procrastinate on the internet to think about writing. Change the way you think about research: it's just as entertaining and satisfying as scrolling through every page of texts from last night. For example, I am writing a research paper on language in (and outside of) the Internet, so right now I am constantly reading and writing about the Internet; if I try to procrastinate, I still get to think about my project. 

Here are some websites I have found most useful in both procrastination and getting a fascinating look into writing and language on the Internet.

Everyone, yes, even @agnesscott has a twitter.

A fun example of an average twitter account is @PeteASCDining.

Let's look at what (not) to do on twitter using @PeteASCDining as an example.  
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Pete's tweets are true to the Bio on the right panel: "All about food at Agnes Scott College"; however, he doesn't make good use of #reallysweethashtags. He also doesn't cite his source to the claim "Fried chicken is the most popular meal ordered in restaurants in the United States". He could have used tinyurl to shorten a link to let us know where he got his information from. Given that one has to be concise when using twitter, it's important to be as clear as possible. When Pete follows his former sentence with "The next in popular is the Evans Mozzarella Sandwich!", he is not being very clear. He could have said that "At ASC, the most popular is..." or at least "The next in popularity..." Pete does use an internet staple--an emoticon--in an earlier tweet to convey emotion and give the reader a sense of tone.
Twitter was created for producing a condensed amount of language, to say something of value with only 140 characters. While you can't embed pictures within the “tweets”, links to other webpages, images, audio files, etc. are commonly fit (usually with sites like tinyurl) into the 140 character limit. Another feature is “re-tweeting”, a safe way to quote someone without plagiarizing them. #Hashtags appear to have gained their own grammatical value within the structure of twitter; they're a way to “tag” or categorize a tweet (or other types of posts on the internet).

On the internet in general, "tags" are usually one-word descriptions used to make searching easier without pre-established categories.
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On twitter, #hashtags have also been used as a way to indicate one's inner thoughts, the subject of the tweet, an aside, or to illustrate some kind of irony or humor.

A positive aspect of this growing social networking/information sharing site is its insistence on brevity. It is difficult to get across as much meaning as possible within the strict limit of 140 characters. This may have something to do with the #proliferation of the hashtag as a shortened way of conveying emotion or other context to the tweet.

With tumblr., there is no character limit for your "tumblelog", yet remains (at least on wikipedia) under the category of “micro blogging” as is twitter. It also seems to serve as a social networking site as well. There is a huge variety in content on tumblr. From libraryland to the daily what to curate to a small and creepy blog, there's a seemingly endless supply of images, video, audio files, quotes, text and links to occupy your time (there's even rumors of an underground Agnes Scott blog somewhere on tumblr.). And the beauty of tumblr. is, if there isn't a blog of your favorite band, you can always make one yourself! While "tumbling", you may find yourself finding inspiration for assignments, reading a particularly poignant quote (as one may find on this student's tumblelog), or bouncing ideas off of your "followers" through the magic of comments and "reblogging". I have seen many a student post about their current project and get feedback from their friends on tumblr. 

Google buzz is a new (as of February 2010) social networking/messaging tool—what makes it different? If you have a Gmail account, Google buzz is automatically integrated into the side panel of your home page. While checking the 9,001th ASC email of the day (you do forward your emails to Gmail, right?) you can see what the "buzz" is about. Google buzz be used to share posts from your Google reader, links, images, videos; users can comment, and these comments are put into “conversations” in your inbox. 

Of course, you could just skip all of this and just write your paper, but if you find yourself gravitating toward these tempting websites, now you have an idea of how to use your fun time for your academic benefit. Happy surfing :-)

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Cory Struder is a junior English Literature major and a tutor in the Writing Center.
4/22/2010

A+++++ would read blog post again

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4/22/2010

great post! I want to learn more about twitter. who wants to do more tweeting for the WC??? (yay!!!)

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3/26/2012

Truth is beautiful. Without doubt, and so are lies
.

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The next in popular is the Evans Mozzarella Sandwich!", he is not being very clear.

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