A webinar, a UA shoutout and going to jail

Yesterday was a very exciting day. My Contemporary Issues in Journalism class met one hour earlier than usual so we could watch the State of the News Media 2012 webinar. The online conference was based off research done by the Pew Research Center, with some collaboration with Poynter’s News University.

The hosts reported tons of interesting findings, and it would probably take days to explain it all, but here are a few interesting points that my classmates and I discussed:

  • In 2011, revenue from print ad sales decreased by $2.1 billion, or 9.2 percent.
  • Only 3 percent of adults reported getting news from Twitter, and 7 percent get news from Facebook.
  • Community news and niche news are on the rise.
  • Magazines have benefited from tablet sales and use.
  • TV news viewership of the three major networks increased 4.5 percent in 2011.

While watching this webinar, the hosts and my professor, Dr. Chris Roberts, encouraged us to follow along, tweet and interact with the event. Six of us – that’s half the class – did just that, and we used the suggested hashtag, #nuwebinar.

Then the following happened…

Katie: Economics section of this news media webinar is depressing. Where’s the money? #addollars #sadtweet #nuwebinar

Katie: Are they pulling questions from Twitter? I hope they read one from our class.. We should have created our own hashtag #nuwebinar

Me: @kwood88 Did you tweet them a question? It’s hard to keep up with the video and tweeting at the same time. My brain is on overload.

Katie: @christi_cowan No question in particular… I just want to hear Tom give #uagradschool a live tweeting shoutout #nuwebinar!

…which led to the creation of #uagradschool. Towards the end of the webinar, Tom actually mentioned Katie’s tweet about the status of the money in journalism, then he gave us a shoutout and said that he had been to our campus and that it was lovely. We were so excited! It had been very strange to watch my classmates tweet and read their comments on the video while we were all in the same room watching it happen, but livetweeting was a success!

Sarah tweeted this picture,

Dr. Roberts is one cool dude. He let us watch the State of the News Media 2012 webinar. It was interesting stuff!

and we got a response!

Poynter’s News U: @kissmymuffintop and the rest of the class: Say hello to Prof. Roberts for us. Thanks for the picture #nuwebinar

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, right after that, Dr. Roberts took us to the quad to visit the kingdom of Roll Tidelberg, an event sponsored by UA’s chapter of SPJ, where we signed away our First Amendment rights for a free lunch. There was no freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or petition. It was a really cool experiment, and it made me pretty thankful that we have the First Amendment. In fact, we got in trouble for standing in a group and were sentenced to jail. Here’s a picture.

Erich, Katie, Kristy, Ana and me. I went to jail willingly. It was the cool place to be. It also happened to be the only shady spot in the kingdom of Roll Tidelberg.

You can read more about it in The Tuscaloosa News and The Crimson White.

It was such an eventful class! Thank you to Dr. Roberts for always keeping it interesting.

Tweet, tweet: Are you using Twitter effectively?

Last week in class we had some discussion about Twitter and using it to get more blog readers. Our homework for this week was to read two articles that focus on that same idea.

We read 20 Top Twitter Monitoring and Analytics Tools and Social Media Analytics Apps Are Topped By Twitter’s Own

Pam Dyer, who wrote the first article, compiled a list of applications that Twitter users can employ to see if their tweets are reaching the target audience or encouraging them to buy certain products. Some of the apps seemed like they might be a little bit more useful than others, specifically because they all have different aims. Here is a list of what I thought to be the most important features within those apps.

  • Link popularity (Twazzup): Measures the number of retweets of a certain link in the Twitter-verse
  • Following mentions of certain brands (TweetBuzzer): This app reveals which brands are the current most discussed on Twitter. Even if it is not your own, the real purpose in using this app is that you have the possibility of researching those brands and mimicking their Twitter campaigns to improve your own.
  • Revealing the effects of specific tweets (TweetEffect): According to Dyer, TweetEffect can show which tweets caused users to jump ship and which tweets brought in followers.
  • Using graphs to present the data (Twitter Analyzer): Users of Google Analytics will like this app, as they work in a similar manner. Twitter Analyzer shows how many of your followers are currently online, who retweets your messages, what people are writing about you, Twitter following stats and your own tweeting habits.
  • Following the most popular links (Twitturly): Similar to what Twazzup can do, Twitturly gives a vote to a URL every time that it is posted. The tweets with the most votes make it into their daily Top100.
  • Seeing interactions about your company (Spy): In a semi-lurking manner, Spy will show conversations that mention your product. That could allow for companies to see specific examples of praises and complaints concerning their products or services.
  • Keeping track of keywords (TwiBuzz): Like following links, TwiBuzz lets users see how certain words from a list are being used on Twitter.

And then there is Trendly, the Twitter-owned app. The chief feature that I was interested in was the ability to see the positive and negative effects of certain tweets, just like in TweetEffects. The dashboard has numbers, graphs and charts and seems to be useful for monitoring all kinds of activity.

There are a lot of apps out there for tweeters who want to keep an eye on the effects of their tweets, so make sure to check out Dyer’s list and do some research to find the app or combination that works best for you.

Check out my twitter: christi_cowan