Archive for February 16th, 2011

My not-so-perfect attempt to Tweet live

On Monday, Caitlin and I attended one of Purdue’s WorkLife Program sessions with lecturer Karen Hosterman-Sabel. When we arrived, only the woman taking attendance and the guest speaker were there. When asked to sign in, we explained why we there and that our professor had notified the program that we would be attending as a class assignment. However, neither woman had heard anything about this and both were very confused as to what we were saying. So we took the time to explain ourselves and our assignment and asked if it was okay that we tweeted from the event. Reluctantly, they agreed.

During the event, Caitlin twittered away on her phone as I sat (obnoxiously) behind my computer because my phone is slowly going out-of-commission, and I didn’t want it to malfunction during the event. Only about 10 other people showed up to the event, all arriving after Caitlin and me. Watching us multitask, unaware of our assignment, they gave us very rude looks. One of those “Ugh, college students are so unappreciative.” I think this is one of the main problems with Twitter. I first noticed this at Com Day, Purdue’s career and development fair for communication majors. We were sitting in a development session, listening to Patrick Nycz from Indiana Design Consortium, and the girl next to me (in the front row I might add) was texting on her phone the entire time. I’m pretty sure she was tweeting a majority of the time, but it came across as though she was simply uninterested and was being extremely rude. I’m interested to see how this issue develops in the future. Personally, I think there is a time and place for it.

Back to issue at hand. Tweeting live from this event presented new difficulties as a reporter. For instance, I had to figure out “the big picture” during the presentation, not after. Also, sometimes it was difficult to fit everything I wanted to say into the 140 character limit, so I spent more time editing than listening to what the speaker was saying next. One of the main things I realized is that research beforehand is much more crucial when covering an event live. You don’t have time to sit there and research the speaker, double-check a fact or read more about something you didn’t understand. I also had trouble thinking in a “Twitter mindset” as opposed to a traditional reporter mindset. I’m so used to focusing on the main ideas, the facts and the relevant quotes, that I had trouble figuring out how to incorporate the little fun details that Twitter allows for. For example, the speaker made a couple of funny jokes, but I couldn’t find a way to portray them via 140 characters without them sounding lame or rude. I think humor is something that is very touchy over Twitter.

Personally, I would rather read a news story in the newspaper or online as opposed to Twitter. I have tried to follow events via Twitter, but the stories come across jumbled and tend to skip around a lot. However, I think as we learn and develop, this is a form of news that will improve greatly.

Twitter: Friend or Foe?

Reaction to NYTimes’ Article: “Spotlight Again Falls on Web Tools and Change”

           The world is changing. We are transitioning to online, immediate and personalized news. And not just in the United States. I think the harder people try to fight the popularity and strengths of social media, the harder it is going to backfire. The recent uprising in Egypt and eventual resignation of Mubarak is just one example of this.

            I agree with Evgeny Morozov’s opinion that new media, if used correctly or innovatively, can be a very powerful and successful tool. Just look at the latest presidential election. Pres. Obama was the underdog, but by utilizing new media to reach young, passionate citizens of Gen Y, he was able to raise an enormous following, raise millions of dollars in donations, and eventually win the presidency. Although we do not necessarily want the power of social media in the wrong hands, it’s hard to deny its power.

            On the other hand, it will be interesting to see where censoring comes into play among new media in the coming years. As the article states, Iran already utilized Twitter to arrest thousands of political activists who posted in opposition of the government. I wonder if this concept will come into play in the United States. To some extent, it already has with reporters and employees being fired for posting inappropriate or slandering statements.

           With the Internet and the prominence of social media comes a certain level of easiness in everyday life: an easy way to connect, an easy way to share ideas, an easy way to get news. But with this huge connection comes consequences. I constantly have to question every 140 character tweet before posting – could this offend someone? Will a future employer throw my resume in the trash if they see this? I love Twitter and new media, but it’s getting harder and harder to have a personal life. Every thing I do is public. Even this blog, which is just for in-class assignments, comes up when I Google my name. How much is too much?

Analyzing Professional Twitter Accounts

This week, I decided to follow the twitter account of Indiana University Health. IU Health recently changed their name from Clarian Health and consequently, has been upping their PR tactics to get the news out there and to make sure customers know IU Health will uphold the same, if not better, standards of Clarian. On average, the company tweets around five to seven times a day. IU Health’s tweets fall under three main categories: health help, PR and advertising, and job postings.

             The ‘health help’ tweets offer quick tips and links to healthy information. For example, how to prevent a heart attack or the dangers of energy drinks. The information they link to is often times associated with the company, such as a link to one of its videos on its YouTube channel. Other times, the tweet will link to an article from an outside source, such as the Journal and Courier. The main thing I like about this company’s twitter is that they don’t just post links to outside sources. There is always an introduction about the link or a teaser, if you will, to accompany the link. This is much more beneficial, because I’m a lot more likely to click on the link if I know what it’s about or if there is a witty saying that pulls me in as opposed to simply posting a link and having no idea what it is.

            The company also posts tweets that will make the company look good and lead followers to the website. Some examples are:

       – Don’t miss IU Health Bariatrics support groups this week… & other upcoming events!
      – @jocewally The changeover happened last month. All our hospitals are now “IU Health” – research showed ppl liked that name more.
      –  Are you on the fast-track to child birth preparation? @IU_Health Arnett can help:

And finally, the company posts current job openings with the company.

For the most part, the company’s twitter is a professional source for health information and information concerning the company itself. But even the “PR and advertising” tweets usually incorporate some sort of helpful information, which I really like. It doesn’t come off as advertising, which seems like a very professional way of employing these PR tactics.

Concerning followers, IU Health responds to questions and also retweets words of praise from patients. (e.g. “RT @pRHOfesinalDiva #shoutout 2 the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners at @IU_Health in the ER observation area at Methodist for takin such good care of me!”) Also, I directed a question to @IU_Health about applying to their company and they sent me a direct message within 30 minutes! With a thorough response, might I add! I was very impressed.

When compared to “4 ways Social Media is Changing Business,” I think IU Health is doing a great job!

  1. From “Trying to Sell” to “Making Connections” – IU Health posts information that is relevant to readers. Information that will interest them and benefit their health. Yes, they post links to their website, but it goes far beyond just “check out my site.”
  2. From “Large Campaigns” to “Small Acts” – IU Health responds to users, especially their concerns/interest/curiosity about the recent name change. And from my personal experience, I am willing to bet they also send direct messages to patients posting concern or complaints.
  3. From “Controlling Our Image” to “Being Ourselves” – The company retweets information relevant to the local community, which is unrelated to the company itself, but is still something followers may be interested in.
  4. From “Hard to Reach” to “Available Everywhere” – I think IU Health will greatly benefit from its use on Twitter. For example, because the company is so big, they simply cannot post all information on the website. Having a quick and easy way to contact the company really improves customer service, loyalty and trust!

Twitter Updates

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

February 2011