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)


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.