Students live-twitter class

It’s long overdue, but here is my post about the PRinciples class session that was live-twittered.

I started class with these instructions for students:

  • Unprotect updates (settings)
  • Use Web interface & reload page often
  • Use #principles hashtag – twemes
  • Tweet: Important ideas, Links, Comments

Then I set them free and started lecturing about social media: What it is, and how it has changed power dynamics in society. I remember telling students that social media lets people inside the Golden Wall – telling them that as I was speaking, they could twitter what I said, and that was scary: What if I said something stupid? I also told them that social media makes it possible for individuals to have voices as loud as those of rich organizations.

Then Laura Fitton (@pistachio) joined us on Skype, and the live-twittering continued.

During that one hour, the conversation coming from our class was at the top of twitter conversation tracking boards twitscoop and

The most powerful take-aways for me were:

  1. We LIVED the concepts I had just talked about at the beginning of class. We saw our voice climb up among twitter conversations. Tweets from a small group of mostly young women were at the top of the charts. We experienced the shifted power dynamics brought about by social media.
  2. For me as the teacher, the experience was terrifying and liberating. It was like living the nightmare that you’re naked in public. My students might not tweet negative things about me, but if I do say something stupid, as I often do, it doesn’t stay within the classroom -it’s out there for the whole world to see. So, CAUTION: This exercise is not for everybody. It certainly wasn’t for this NYU professor.
  3. Learning happened – quickly and powerfully as an avalanche. It was important to give students time to reflect on what they learned. Here are some of their reflections: Alyssa, Cara, Michael, Sallie.
  4. The downside: This experiment made apparent several opportunities for twitter spam, which I won’t explain because I don’t want to teach people how to spam.

You can read everything that was twittered during class, or just my favorites. Students still twitter during class, and I see and comment on their tweets afterwards – it’s allowed and encouraged, but not required – they should be free to take notes in whatever medium serves them best. I would like to experiment in the future with collective note taking (I’m looking into NoteMesh) and with CoverItLive.

Edelman Digital Bootcamp

I’m live-blogging EDB, look for several updates throughout the day.

Other EDB updates: twitter, EDB website & blog

Session 1 – Social Media 101

Erin Caldwell kicks off the day with her personal story. As an Auburn student, she became familiar with the PR blogosphere (see this blog’s blog roll for a start), she started the Forward Blog and built her reputation online. Edelman contacted her and by the time she interviewed, they pretty much knew they wanted to hire her. Being able to use social media & building your professional reputation online can help you get a job in public relations, whether you want to practice online or offline PR.

Team Edelman introductions and personal stories about social media a-ha moments. Different stories, different people, with technology backgrounds varying from tech guru to “barely able to turn on a computer” – but all share passion, curiosity, and love for their work [9:05 am].

Who’s here from Edelman: Chris Broomall, Erin Caldwell, Steven Field, Phil Gomes, Jena Kozel, Monte Lutz, Stephanie Wasilik. Bios here.

Educators’ track

Session 2: How PR practice uses social media

PR educators introduce themselves and talk about: helping students establish connections between social and professional uses of social media; motivating students to learn social media; disparity between expectations (students know all about social media) and reality (students are not familiar and even intimidated by new communication technologies – RSS what?!) [9:50].

Phil Gomes provides the big picture of current social media use in PR.

Phil saw blogging as the ultimate media relations tool – you can demonstrate journalists that you’ve read them, and have reacted to their work.

Don’t think of it as a technology problem; the technology in social media is easy to learn.

Phil describes his approach to teaching social media in the Chicago T4 lab. They spend one day immersed in online conversation analysis. Phil doesn’t believe in teaching products, so he teaches his students to use free tools to analyze existing conversations about a client. Tools you can use: bloglines, technorati, alexa, blogpulse, etc.

Job description for an entry PR job (assistant account executive):

  • administration
  • coverage + conversation tracking
  • list building + community & member-list generation
  • editorial/speaking calendar building + identifying client conversation-entry opportunities
  • list & opportunity qualifications + deep-dive analysis
  • team knowledge mgmt
  • AP + web style
  • etc. [10:20]

Phil loves the advanced search in technorati that identifies all links to a specific URL. For example see who links to this blog.

What Phil looks for in a job candidate:

  • intellectual curiosity
  • up-managing skills (free of CLM -career limiting moves-)
  • an examined, omnivorous media consumption life (facebook or myspace? why? WSJ or NYT? why?)
  • basic knowledge of social media tools

== Tired : Pitching :: Wired : Engagement ==

Don’t write self-referential posts (what I did/wore today) – be useful.


The ideal job candidate would have:


  • perspective; understanding of online communities – Phil loves this Wired article
  • good online writing skills: concise; interlinked
  • online law & public policy (DMCA)
  • communication, technology & society
  • critical consumption of media
  • an understanding of rules/culture of online engagement [10:40]

Session 3: Social Media Tools in the Classroom

Session 4: Social Media Assignments

Educators shared assignment ideas that make use of social media in various PR and communication courses. [4:15 pm]

Session 5: Wrap-Up – Best Practices

Students sum-up some of the lessons that stood out:

  • transparency
  • there are many free social media tools out there!
  • update your site/blog often
  • blogger relations require a different mindset

Edelman practitioners were impressed to see students taking time out of their weekend to learn these skills – there’s hope they’ll have new colleagues with the right skills set.

Phil Gomes wrapped-up the day.

Congratulations UGA students for organizing a great event! You’ve worked very hard and it definitely paid off, it was a very successful day!

[5:30 pm, signing off]