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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

I’m about to start teaching my two seminars in social media and public relations again for Marylhurst University, and although I’m always really excited about these classes, they also take the most amount of research and preparation for just about any class that I teach.  The social media world changes so quickly that I’m generally in a small panic just before the first day of class, hoping that what I present is both timely and relevant.  Then I remember that in these particular seminars, we’ll all be teaching each other; my job is simply to present the road map for how to get where we’re going.

Nevertheless, here I am on New Year’s Day researching again, and grateful to fall back on some of the best social media minds out there.  For example, just before Christmas Deidre Breakenridge posted some tips on engaging with Twitter and Facebook: http://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com/2010/12/how-to-engage-on-facebook-and-twitter/.

And Brian Solis, who is not just brilliant but a lot of fun in his presentations, has written a post titled “Once More, with Feeling: Making Sense of Social Media:

http://www.briansolis.com/2010/07/once-more-with-feeling-making-sense-of-social-media/

I start to relax a little when I realize how many sources are out there, and how many more sources my students will no doubt contribute to the class.  Online learning becomes a team effort, and we all move forward together: that’s one of the best things about it.  Rather than serve as some kind of authoritarian instructor, which puts almost unbearable pressure on me, I can simply open a few doors for my students and encourage them to walk through; they get it almost immediately.  Empowered, they go beyond what I realized what possible in any given class.

I’m also re-doing a client’s web site, have plans to re-do my own web sites – one for my private consulting, one for my particular service to our troops and veterans – and I swear, this year, I’ll be more consistent about blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo.  I do find, as some of my colleagues do, that after and eight- or 10-hour stint on the computer each day, I’m not always amenable to chat time or computer games.

Meantime, I’m preparing to teach another Marylhurst seminar on the law and ethics of public relations and a class in public relations writing for the University of Montana.  My students range from traditional college-aged students (up to their early 30s or so) in Montana to mostly older working adults at Marylhurst, with a few younger exceptions.  Without fail, these students really want to learn – but they also have vastly different learning styles across the generations.   One of my over-arching goals is to help equip all of my students with some of the skills they’ll need to compete in today’s difficult economic climate.  That’s not an easy task, for any of us; I research and write, they read and write, we talk and discuss and collaborate and dig in.   But by the end of each term, there are those students whom you know are going to zoom for the stars.

And that keeps people like me chugging right along… so here’s to 2011 and the adventures that I know lie ahead!

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Bill of Rights — Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This is almost all I can think about this evening, watching the Iran news pour in via Twitter and CNN.  It’s mesmerizing. It makes me even more grateful for our own First Amendment – the Amendment by which I’ve been granted the right to make a living all these years, in helping others to tell their story and to communicate the messages important to them and their audiences.

But some people who are Twittering tonight are sending some disturbing – and, IMHO (in my humble opinion), quite ignorant messages.  There is a category of people who don’t know why we should care about what’s happening in Iran.  There is another category of people who are harshly criticizing President Obama for not speaking out earlier, and with stronger statements.  And then there are those who are making fun of the whole thing, rediculing it with satire and off-color jokes.

I don’t want to think Americans in general are so ignorant of history – including the history of U.S. involvement in Iran –  or current events, but perhaps that is something these people share in common.  I am more than gratified to see yet another category of people Twittering tonight – those who are grateful for their rights and freedoms, and who understand the contrast between what is happening in Iran and the lives we enjoy here.  One person wrote in to remind the rest of us that it was just 40 years ago that our own civil rights protesters were putting their lives on the line, and were greeted with dogs, whips and water hoses. 

As my military friends say, freedom is never free.  And as I’ve said for many years, there are a few things that I feel are worth putting my own life on the line for:  first, my children and grandchildren; second, the First Amendment.

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The AP story appeared in our local Oregonian this morning, April 9, and it caught my eye immediately. The headline on page A5 reads, “Moldovans Twitter, foil news blackout.”  Moldova is a Communist country, sandwiched between Romania and the Ukraine, and apparently about 10,000 people turned out to protest what they said were rigged elections.  The country had already banned some foreign journalists, and now it instituted a press blackout on the ensuing riots which left more than 90 injured. 

“So,” the story goes on, “the pro-Euopean protesters turned to Twitter and the Internet to keep in touch. ‘We sent messages on Twitter but didn’t expect 15,00o people to join in. At the most we expected 1,000,’ said Oleg Breg, who heads the nongovernmental pro-democracy group Hyde Park.   . . .The Communists appear to have realized the news blackout did not stop information traveling freely.  On Wednesday, state television sporadically broadcast images from a protest of 3,000.”

Three cheers, Moldova; three cheers, everyone who joined in the Twitter communications.   As much as I deplore losing our daily newspapers; as much as one of my greatest comfort zones in life is sitting in an easy chair on many a Sunday morning with a cup of tea, browsing through the Sunday paper; as much as I will forever say that good journalists are as critical to democracy as the vote is — still, if the social media in which we now engage means greater freedom of information and freedom of the press, then I stand up and cheer.

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Oh man, oh man.  This link was sent to me by a former professor at Syracuse, and it certainly puts in stark relief the conflicts going on today between traditional media and social media.  My take on it is that some traditional reporters are not used to this “brave new world” yet, in which reporters are not always calling the shots.  Either that, or the guy was just having a very bad day.  In any event, this is how not to use Twitter – a caution about strong language:  http://www.mediastyle.ca/2009/02/national-post-reporter-has-total-twitter-melt-down/

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