Being an effective, plugged-in, 21st-century media professional requires active participation in the news ecosystem. To serve the needs of digital audiences — and to make yourself stand out in the eyes of potential employers — you need to get in the habit of tweeting in a way that shows you are savvy about using social media for professional purposes.
If you already have a Twitter account and protect your tweets, I would encourage you to 1) unprotect your account or 2) create a separate account for your professional identity. Savvy Twitter users (and certainly most media pros who use Twitter) understand that those who protect their tweets are missing the point of what Twitter is all about – a public, transparent, on-the-record forum to exchange information and ideas. You want to get noticed on Twitter. It’s part of building your personal online brand.
(A crucial component of your personal brand, of course, is always sharing CREDIBLE information … never let yourself fall for fake news! If a story or image seems fishy, visit this Newseum flow chart and/or WNYC fake news checklist and check for the common red flags.)
Assignment: Make your first Power Tweet
You have 20 required Power Tweets* this semester. You will post the permalinks on your personal page here on the course blog. Not only will we respect Mark Briggs’ 80/20 Rule, we’ll take it even further — 100 percent of your tweets will be acts of participation. (Of course, I also encourage you to make a habit of promoting your own work … but self-promotion is not the same thing as a Power Tweet.)
*Power Snaps or IGs also are acceptable for up to 10 of your required Power Tweets.
THIS IS NOT BUSY WORK. Power Tweets help you get noticed and can even help you land a job, as past students in this class have discovered. But for that to happen, you must tweet with purpose.
ACTS OF JOURNALISM
Each week, you must commit at least one act of journalism on Twitter for this class. Defined broadly, an act of journalism shows your curiosity by documenting something interesting, newsworthy, or artistic through original text, images, sound, or video. Your Power Tweet should be of interest to the general public and/or SMU community — not just to you or your friends. Perhaps you stumbled upon the evacuation of a major campus building or virtual reality demonstration or Quidditch match. Maybe you attended a sporting event or stumbled upon some singers in a bookstore. Or maybe you noticed some other sort of noteworthy slice of life on campus or in the big city, something that somehow provides a sense of place.
ACTS OF ENGAGEMENT
Each week, you also must commit at least one act of engagement on Twitter by either:
- Introducing your followers to interesting articles from the worlds of media and/or technology; or
- Engaging another digital journalist through an RT, MT, or @-reply (WITH A PERIOD AT THE BEGINNING!) in response to something s/he posted.
All posts to links must have a savvy introduction IN YOUR OWN WORDS that provides context by describing the link and enticing the reader to click, while refraining from overselling. Don’t just post a URL by itself. When posting a link, copy the full permalink URL from the address bar.
How to find interesting links? You can choose content from digital journalism blogs like Nieman Journalism Lab, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review, Mashable, Lost Remote, Tech Crunch; or from individual digital journalists like Brian Stelter, Hannah Wise, Amanda Zamora, Wesley Lowery, Elise Hu, Jennifer Brandel, Monica Guzman, the list goes on …
How to receive credit for your push posts: Copy the Twitter permalink from your Power Tweet by clicking “expand” or “view summary” on the tweet and then clicking “details” next to the time stamp. Log on to the course blog and call up your individual page. Insert a hyperlink onto whatever Power Tweet you are submitting. Click Update. Then click “View Page” to make sure your link works.
There are three possible scores for each Power Tweet:
• Turned in on time
• Meets the criteria described above for act of journalism/act of engagement
3 points (half credit)
• Turned in on time, but fails to meet the criteria described above
• Missed Power Tweet (no makeup posts allowed without advance instructor approval)
Both Power Tweets are due by 11:59 p.m. every Friday. I will notify you on Canvas with feedback as to whether you received full, half or no credit for your most recent Power Tweets.