12/11/2012 09:23 am ET Updated Feb 10, 2013

Why Every High School Student Should Have a Twitter Account

I must admit, I was skeptical and originally questioned the validity of Twitter. I initially viewed Twitter as just a tedious free service that lets you send a 140-character message, or "tweet to your followers," with lackluster and hum-drum information. I was not really interested in reading about the location of someone checking in on Four Square or what he or she was eating for dinner. Yet, I was totally surprised of all the benefits that Twitter provides to high school and college youth. Every student should open a Twitter account.

There are loads scholarships, essay contests, STEM competitions and grant opportunities for middle school, high school and college students posted daily on Twitter. Having a Twitter account allows you to access the links and information posted. Students who are interested in writing careers or journalism can easily promote their blogs and find out about writing contests, opportunities and internships. But is not only the journalism student that benefits from Twitter. Students in every major and discipline can connect to professionals in their field of interest and learn of grants, connect and network with other students and educators in their field and get quick updates of developments at their high school or on their college campus.

Twitter was launched in July 2006. I avoided that urge to tweet for three full years. However, when my brother and I created a local website in July 2009, promoting volunteer opportunities for youth and families, I understood and appreciated the power and impact of Twitter. Social media allows us to promote our volunteer work and connect to a much wider audience. It has even improved traffic and interest in our website.

Students who are interested in starting their own businesses or want to focus on specific non-profit causes tend to have extremely limited financial resources, meaning zero dollars for marketing and promoting. Twitter provides the opportunity to promote your business, cause or writing nationally, and even internationally. We use it for simple things, like posting the need for volunteer opportunities for youth such as helping out at a trivia night or volunteering at a local non-profit 5K. Networking on Twitter provides a free, quick way to promote events like our annual Youth and Family Volunteer fair. Twitter provides a wealth of information for youth. Encourage your friends to open a Twitter account.