english practice twitterA blog post from the Wall Street Journal describes how many Japanese people use Twitter to practice and improve their English. Twitter is becoming a popular study tool, the post explains, because it is fun and not intimidating.

Twitter is a “micro-blogging” website that lets users post updates called tweets of up to 140 characters. You can follow tweets from your friends as well as celebrities–the three most popular Twitter users are Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Barack Obama. Many people use their cell phones to post and read tweets. Most Twitter users are in the U.S., but the service is becoming very popular in Japan as well as Brazil, France, and several other countries.

While Twitter alone won’t help you pass the TOEFL, it can be a fun extra tool for your English study. Here are a few tips to help you get the most benefit from Twitter:

  • Follow your favorite English-speaking celebrities, including actors, singers, and athletes.
  • Use the search function to find people tweeting about topics you are interested in.
  • Do not expect a lot of academic vocabulary on Twitter. You may see incorrect grammar, too. That’s why Twitter should definitely not be the only way you study English.
  • You can expect to learn slang and informal, conversational English. You will probably learn things on Twitter that you won’t find in any textbook.
  • Find other English students by looking for the hashtags #Twinglish, #EngTwit, and #Engpls.
Of course, if you decide to try using Twitter to practice English, be sure to follow IEI!