Resources from Social Media 101

I have added new resources to the Social Media 101 handout:

Sree Sreenivasan’s Guide to Social Media:

Sree Sreenivasan’s Twitter Guide for Newbies & Skeptics:

10 Most Extraordinary Twitter Updates (Mashable):

Eight Social Media Resolutions for 2011 (Bloomberg Businessweek):

10 Social Media Trends for 2011:

How To: Make Your Small Business Geolocation-Ready (Mashable):

Facebook safety for parents and kids: “Find and Follow Top Business Execs on Twitter”


Reflections from CJS’s “What We Learned Teaching Social Media” webcast

I recently chanced upon a webcast hosted by the Columbia Journalism School (@columbiajourn) on “What We Learned Teaching Social Media.” The syllabus for the graduate-level class is available for reference. The speakers were some of the best in the business:

Having organized workshops for journalism students at the University of Washington on social media, I was interested to find out how other people are engaging student journalists and helping them discover the potential for social media in journalism.

During the conversation I asked via Twitter (hashtag: #cjsoc), “What’s the best way to teach social media to student journalists?” Jennifer Preston said she likes to have students work on a specific project or Tweet a specific event. Examples she used were election coverage and the aftermath of Haiti. I was reminded of the students in Prof. Roger Simpson’s class who live-Tweeted President Obama’s visit to boost Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign.

Preston said the class debriefs after the event by having volunteers share their feeds and discussing what worked and what didn’t.

Each class also develops a list of social-media guidelines.

The shared syllabus is a wealth of resources and I encourage everyone to take a look at it. It includes tools, links to articles about journalism and social media, and links to case studies. It also includes links to articles about etiquette and metrics.

A few notable examples in the syllabus:

1. Examples of journalists using Twitter (

2. @mashable’s Twitter guide:

3. See a collection of 80+ social-media policies, compiled by

4. 8 ways to use social media in the newsroom (by J.D. Lasica and Barbara Iverson)

5. The emergence of location.

6. Journalists in the social media ecosystem: Journalist as curator, as community manager

7. What is a personal brand and why it is important (Poynter – Lavrusik)

8. 10 Commandments of Twitter Etiquette

9. How much of your life is too much to share online? (Verne Kopytoff,
S.F Chronicle, April 27, 2009)

Slides from Social Media 101

Here are the slides from Social Media 101:

An updated version is available by clicking “View on Slideshare.” The embedded version hasn’t updated yet, though I hope it won’t take too long.

Twitter for Communication Research and Information

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Last year I wrote a post called Twitter 101 for Educators. Since then, Twitter use by educators has really taken off. Hashtags such as #highered, #educause, #edchat and #edtech are widely used.

But I think in the academic realm, Twitter is underutilized for research and collaboration. For this reason I put together a Prezi called “Twitter for Research and Information” as part of a presentation to University of Washington Department of Communication graduate students and included people that communication researchers might wish to follow.

For example, I started with the National Communication Association (@NatComm) Twitter feed and from there looked at the follower list (unfortunately @NatComm hasn’t created any of its own lists yet). I did find one other user when I clicked on the #nca2010 hashtag – during the event will be a great time to find more people to follow using this hashtag – and also found a list as I went through the followers, which was called teamrhetoric. It was then that I realized #teamrhetoric is also used as a hashtag and found quite a few more Twitter users that way.

This process does take some time, but it should give you a great start on finding followers with whom you can collaborate and share research ideas.

Are you using Twitter for research? Please share your experiences.

Twitter 101 for educators

I’ve been so excited lately about the potential I see for Twitter as a learning tool. But Twitter does have a bit of a learning curve when it comes to understanding potential uses. It’s easy to set up a Twitter account and start sending status updates. But what is more important than this, I think, is what you do after that: Follow other people.


When you go to your Twitter home page it will show you a chronological stream of content from all the people you follow. The quality of that content depends on the quality of the people you follow. I am interested in news, social media, and technology in education so I follow news organizations such as @cnnbrk (CNN Breaking News), @msnbc_us, and @nytimes (New York Times), and social media and education types such as @chrispirillo, @kegill, and @smcseattle (Social Media Club Seattle).

What, you might ask, is the @ symbol in front of all those Twitter names (also known as Twitter handles)? The @ can be used to reply to a post or it can be used to give credit to a source when retweeting.

What’s retweeting? A retweet looks something like this: RT @jdlasica: In case you were wondering, yes, @lancearmstronG is tweeting quite a bit during the Tour de France #uwtwtrbook.

The RT stands for retweet. It’s used when you like something someone has has tweeted and you want to repeat it – or retweet it. You will also notice in this example that the @ symbol has been used for Lance Armstrong so readers can easily find his Twitter feed by clicking on the link that is automatically created whenever you use the @ symbol.


Also in this example above, we see something called a hashtag. You can create a hashtag simply by placing the # symbol in front of a word or abbreviation.

The hashtag is extremely useful for categorizing information. For example, an instructor might have everyone in a class tweet their reflections on a class and give it a specific hashtag, for example, #com346. Then the instructor, and the students, can do a search from the main Twitter page for #com346 and all the tweets with this hashtag will show up in chronological order. This can help instructors monitor class progress and questions and can help students review class notes and read other students’ reflections.

If you have the technology in the classroom it can be helpful to have the Tweets show up in real time on a projected screen using an application like Tweetdeck, which you can set up to show different hashtags and groups of people you are following.

Hashtags are also commonly used for special events like lectures and conferences (it’s helpful if someone announces the hashtag at the beginning of the event so everyone can use and follow the same one). For example, a conference on environmental journalism might have the hashtag #greenj. Try to come up with something logical, short and memorable.

A group might also want to start using a specific hashtag (though no one can own a specific hashtag – check to make sure no one else is using the hashtag you want to use). For example, students in the University of Washington Master of Communication in Digital Media program regularly use the hashtag #uwmcdm to post content relevant to other MCDM students.

Finding people to follow

As I said before, the quality of your Twitter experience relies on the quality of who you follow. But how do you find people to follow? One way is just to search by keyword. There are also many sites that are devoted to helping you find people with similar interests. WeFollow is one such site. Twibes is another. LocalTweeps is a site that sends you Tweets if you are in a geographic location of a registered event.

You will notice as you start following people you will suddenly get a lot of followers. The decision of whether to follow them or not is up to you. I usually check out the timeline of someone who has followed me. If the information is relevant to me then I follow them. If it looks like spam I don’t.

There’s a lot more about Twitter that I could go into. But this should be enough to get you started. And don’t feel like you have to read everything the people you are following tweet. Scan through when you think of it. If you have time to click on a few links, great. If not, don’t worry about it. The nice thing about Twitter is that the people you are following will filter information for you. If it’s really important it will probably come up again from another friend. Think of it as fishing for information. There are always more fish in the pond, but you only need to catch a few to be happy.

If you would like to take a look at some of the applications that have been developed for use with Twitter, there is a fan wiki with a lot of information.

You can follow my tweets at @UWComm.

Hobnox Audiotool lets you create your own electronic music

If you’ve been looking for something a bit like Garage Band that you can use on a PC or a Mac, you might like Hobnox Beta’s Audiotool and Tone Matrix, which works directly from your browser.

The Audiotool looks and acts like a mixing board and you use your mouse to turn on the instruments and rhythms you want to use. It’s not exactly intuitive, but it’s hard to mess things up and you can get a rhythm going just by clicking a couple buttons and hitting the play button. The tool itself took a bit to load, but once it was open I didn’t experience any delays of the tool.  Though if you don’t have a broadband connection you  might have a hard time using this tool.

In addition to the instuments, there is something called the tone matrix. The user clicks on as many or as few dots as she wants and when the play button is pushed everything comes together to create, hopefully, something that sounds good. I wasn’t able to produce anything that sounded TOO terrible.

Recording is easy. You hit the record button in the upper left corner and you can record up to 5 minutes at a time. The recorded file is saved to “myFiles” where you have 2,048 MB of storage. If you want more storage than that, you will probably be able to buy a premium account soon.

The file is saved in OGG format so it’s easy to download the file and then put it into another audio editor like Audacity if you want.

I will have to continue playing with this tool more to see if I can really get something that would work as background music for a podcast or video. What I have been able to create so far sounds very generic and electronic.  Here are some examples of songs created using the Audiotool, but beware this page crashed my browser once.

The Audiotool isn’t the only thing Hobnox has. The welcome message says you can:

– WATCH: Videos on Hobnox-TV or images, videos and music uploaded by other users on the Stage
– CONNECT: find new friends and/or like-minded patricipants and start a music, film or art project in the Community
– CREATE: create a blog and check out the Noxtools to make music or to go on air with your own livestream

Let me know what you think about Hobnox and its Audiotool.

Digital journalism class examines changing news industry

Communication professor Kathy Gill’s digital journalism class explored the future of news and created multimedia stories during the spring. Check out their insightful blog, The Future of News.

Here are links to their individual projects:

Adam: UW Student Serves As Translator in Ecuador

Andrew: Duncan’s Glorious Summer

Jeff: Raiders Softball

Michelle: Interview With Potential Communication Student

Paul: – Crowdfunded Journalism

Reisha: Twitter As PR Tool

Ryan: Magical Heroine

Sarah: New Technologies in the 13th Coast Guard District

Scott: Where’s my paycheck? Thoughts on the future of journalism