Twitter is something that I have a serious issue with. I am all about Facebook and Instagram, because I love photos and I love being able to check up on my friends and family, but for some reason I find it difficult to keep an eye on my Twitter feed. But one thing that I realized while reading for this week is that Twitter is not for my personal pleasure, Twitter is much more of a professional tool that will enable me to keep in touch with contacts that will be useful for my career. So reading Only the Literary Elite can Afford Not to Tweet hit pretty close to home. I do understand what Twitter can do and how it is used, however I do not take advantage of it. So this is a challenge to myself: become a Twitter lover and throw off the blanket of oppressive indifference towards this social medium. Anne Trubek said that, “Being good at social media has become an asset similar to having a good radio voice or being telegenic.” I will take this to heart and begin expanding my reach. Trubek highlights the importance of social media in the world today because of people’s ever-expanding social circles that are spanning all across the globe. You can connect with a journalist in Thailand and a blogger in Alaska in the same day.
Never before has it been so easy to spread your reach, but many do not understand the positive implications of this. My mother, for example, basically swears off social media because she feels it is leading to the detriment of society by reducing personal conversation- and hey, maybe she’s right. However, she doesn’t to experience the same kind of relationships that I do on a day-to-day basis. I talk to a myriad of connections through Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest all the time, I am almost never not talking to someone or involved in a discussion.
Live tweeting has become popular for people that want to know particulars about an event such as a trial or a football game. Steve Buttry goes on to discuss the ettiquette of live tweeting and what the best practices are. His pointers are definitely useful to someone who is newer to Twitter and needs some insight into what people want to read.
When researching sources to validate data, Malachy Browne says that the team at Storyful, “operate by the mantra that ‘there is always someone closer to the source’.” Which is some great advice to take whether you are reporting on a story or just sharing interesting information with your followers. I’ve noticed that some of the people I follow will retweet or repost something that was not from the direct source. If you are going to share something, you might as well find the original, that makes it easiert for people to validate or discredit what you have given them much easier. The Process that Storyful goes through is simple but very intelligent, from simply checking that the language they speak is synonymous with who the source claims to be, to looking at the posters history to see if they have posted content like it before.
Too often the internet allows annonymous users to dupe their audience, if only because they don’t ascertain the validity of what they read or see. Journalists especially need to double and triple check sources from the internet in order to remain credible to their own viewers.
And finally we get into analytics! I LOVE analytics, no I’m not joking. They are so simple to come by now that to not take a look at them is almost lazy. Last semester I created a dashboard about the social media influence of #savetheday, which was a social campaign advertised by the BBC for the release of the Doctor Who 50 year anniversary. It was amazing the amount of info I could find, and most importantly… it was free! There are so many options that are available to the average person now, including the new Twitter analytics that Jason Keath details.
The world is becoming so connected that people need to understand how those connections works and where they go. You can find out the demographics of your followers, the amount of tweets or retweets of a certain hashtag or the amount of times your story has been linked.
There is a wealth of information out there for even the average user. The important thing is to compile this in a way that is useful to your useage. Our connectivity can be a negative or positive thing, depending on your outlook, but I enjoy being linked to a large community of people that I otherwise wouldn’t know or keep up with. Social media might be confusing and difficult at the onset, but once you understand the true array of uses it is invaluable.
I read an academic article on Twitter usage in the classroom… because it applies pretty well to how we are behaving in our social media class. Is Social Media Too Social for Class? They provided some interesting statistcs about Twitter, that a majority are young, urban, minorities and only 36% check their Twitter daily. Not even one percent of universities in the Unites States uses Twitter in the classroom, although social media has become such an integral part of our lives. If students aren’t learning how to professionaly use social media in the classroom, they will not be as prepared to separate private and professional lives online- or even know what is appropriate in each sector. In a study of several universities, each student in the social media classes had to create a Twitter account and, “the instructor tweeted heav-ily throughout the semester to the classes using the hashtags with class-related news, in-formation, and announcements.” The study showed that although a large portion of the classes had been interested in it, barely half had completed all of the assignments. The students reported issues with confusion about the way Twitter worked, the sheer amount of content they were having to go through, a lack of interest in the content, and lack of privacy. The study found that the students were more interested in Twitter as a means of sharing information but not to become involved in their classmates personal lives. This is a very real issue, with many people creating several different accounts of various social media in order to remain private.