Journal #4 – The Twitter, the Tweet, & Me

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The Twitter, the Tweet, & Me

twitter-list

“Create some lists on Twitter related to your beat and other interests. Find some new people to follow related to your topic of focus and other interests. Start interacting with others in your area of focus. Describe what you did in your journal blog.”


So Twitter, we meet again.  Last week, after reading the Mashable Twitter GuideBook, I was feeling a bit more comfortable with the whole Tweetin’ thing.  It’s not that I don’t know how to tweet or dislike tweeting – it’s that i’m not the most comfortable with tweeting.  I often wonder – why tweet?

I mean, I get it – “live life in 140 characters or less.”  If you haven’t noticed – that’s not exactly MY motto.  In fact, I would feel rather hypocritical even pretending to use it seriously. However, I am a Political Public Relations person – I suppose I should become “twiterate” quickly.

In order to move forward in becoming “twiterate,” there is this thing called organization through list-making that I must attend to.  Great – organization – another term that typically escapes me – especially in the social media world.  I never got into “lists” on Facebook and finding bookmark on my browsers was like searching for a needle in a haystack until recently.  I’m good at organizing and work stuff is always well-organized but my personal life is always lacking in organization.  I have specific places for all my clothes and expensive hangers and drawers on which to put them, but somehow yesterday’s clothes (last week’s clothes) are usually found tossed over a chair and several pairs of shoes are lining the hallways and rooms of my house.  Maybe the word I am in need of here is none other than motivation…or time.  Yes…time.  That’s probably the one.

But…I  figured that not every person who sings the praises of Twitter Lists could be wrong and maybe, just maybe it would make Twitter more Robin-friendly – especially for my new TN Liberty blog.  This way I could easily keep track of each section of Tennessee.  Hopefully, this list-making would keep me from overlooking any current events and grievances, state legislation, and news specifically relevant to the state of Tennessee and the issues of the Liberty Movement.

So in keeping with my new found organizational spirit, I started making those pesky lists.


twitter_bird_follow_me twitter list


The next step was to finally download TweetDeck – a dashboard/app type device that supposedly makes Twitter more organizable and easier to use.  Done.  If you’re interested in using TweetDeck, Google Chrome browser has a nifty free app/extension that you can download, by clicking here.

Then, as I began to rifle through the 840 people that I’m currently following, I decided that one of my future steps would be to give the ol’ Twitter a good spring cleaning.  Not today – but someday soon.  Before reading the Mashable Twitter GuideBook I really didn’t understand that Twitter was “different’ than other social mediums in terms of the following/follower relationship.  I felt that because some random nutjob followed me that I owed it to him/her/it to follow back.  Does anyone want to take a guess as to what that left me with?  Yep – a whole lot of weirdos, nutjobs, and people I am tired of hearing from every 2 minutes.  But, for now, the  nutjobs would remain.

Once I had TweetDeck up and running and started to use the +Create lists button, I began to remember why I am not a social media organizer.  There are too many crossovers – too many possibilities – nothing is cut and dry!  What is an over-analyzing follow freak to do?

You guessed it!  I made a ton of Twitter Lists.  I’m not sure I’m any more organized now than I was before.  When I think about it, I kind of liked the haphazard Twitter feed.  I would see a tweet about politics or a Young Americans for Liberty meme, right before one about a new journalism startup or a restaurant opening in memphis, followed by a friend posting another story explaining the anti-feminist culture of television or a guy friend explaining how he “leveled up” (whatever it is called these days) on WoW or Skyrim, followed by an album release date by The Dirty Guv’nahs, Jason Isbell (a Tiger alumni by the way), and Lucero, or a neat fact from Pew Internet or UberFacts and the most recent Tiger Basketball score.  It kept me current and well-rounded.

At that moment is when I realized that I would use the Twitter Lists when I needed them to make sure I was getting all the pertinent news for my TN Liberty blog but I would keep my news feed formatted in the way that made me who I am today, for daily viewing.

As I started to put the people into groups, the cross-overs and the decisions about what stockfresh_id322778_shouting-bluebird_sizeXS-300x300type of group they should belong to, began to make me crazy.  I couldn’t decide where these people should go.  Were they a newspaper or a media news organization?  What if they were a friend but also a musician?  How about a member of the Liberty movement and a classmate?  What if they weren’t exactly a Liberty Organization but they weren’t a real person either?  All this classification was unnatural.  Aren’t we taught to not classify people?  I was finding this to be quite challenging.

So, I took a deep breath and did the best I could.  Some people and organizations overlap.  I guess that ‘s life though.  Nothing is ever neat and perfect.  You have gray areas and cross-overs, friends that belong in more than one group, and friends you don’t know what to do with.


Here is a list of my Twitter lists:


use twitter listsFor more about Twitter Lists, check out some of these helpful articles:

The Complete Guide To Using Twitter Lists Like a Pro by 

TWITTER LISTS – A VISUAL BEGINNER’S GUIDE by Dorien Morin van Dam

How to Get Started With New Twitter Lists by Amy-Mae Elliott at Mashable

8 tips for using Twitter Lists by  at Poynter

How to use Twitter lists to replace Google Reader by Allyson Kazmucha

Twitter Lists Explained: How to Create, Find and Get On Them by Amanda MacArthur

Twitter lifts the limits on Lists by Jack Schofield for Jack’s Blog

Twitter Enhances Lists: 4 Ways To Take Advantage by Steve Cooper at Forbes

Twitter Lists – The Complete Guide by Twitter Power Systems Blog

Make the Most of Twitter Lists: Essential Tips and Tricks by  at  GeekSugar

HOW TO MAKE TWITTER LISTS by   at Digital Trends

twitter groups



Journal # 3 – Topic Blog Influencers

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Topic Blog Influencers

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“Develop a list of at LEAST three other blogs or Web sites that meaningfully address your topic of interest.  For professionals, a blog is often a “hub” for other social media activity occurring around the web. Summarize and evaluate some of the key features of each blog or site using bullet points on your journal blog.

Answer all of the following questions: What kind of problem do these websites/blogs help solve for their audience and/or what needs do they fulfill? What do they do well? What could they improve? Can you identify any gaps in their content or features that a competitor could fill, and how is what you could offer different or better? Look at their social media presence and the comments or interaction they get: Are they cultivating an active community around their site?”


My Topic Blog, TN Liberty, is a forum in which to share information about news, events, politics, and laws concerning our state. All conservative and liberty-minded activists, students, campus and community leaders, and voters, are encouraged to contribute. TN Liberty, is also a location for resources concerning bills up for approval, TN Congressional representative’s contact information, statewide and county events, activism advice, mentorship, and grassroots training, among other issues as needed and requested. TN Liberty serves as an extension of the TN and MS Leadership page on Facebook and may ultimately be followed with a MS Liberty blog. There are contributing writers on topics concerning the Liberty Movement in Tennessee, liberty-minded issues, and various opinion columns.

For this assignment I started by searching for other bloggers who are advancing the liberty movement. I found that many of these sites were highly specialized and a little on the fringe. That is not the type of blog that I want TN Liberty to be. I feel that it should be specialized by pertaining to the state of Tennessee, but it should also contain information about why the Liberty Movement is so important, how our government is violating the Constitution, and what actions a citizen, can take to advocate for Liberty and Freedom.

Next, I found an interesting site that ranked the top libertarian leaning (or liberty-minded so as not to be confused with the Libertarian Party) websites according to Alexa and Compete.

Here I settled on several top ranking and well-known liberty-minded sites to which I could make some comparisons.

They are as follows:

Reason

The Liberty Paper

The Liberty Crier


Let’s start with Reason.

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  • Reason is the monthly print magazine of ‘free minds and free markets.'”
  • “It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.”
  • Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.”
  • Reason.com is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. It also contains the full text of past issues of the print edition of Reason.”
  • At first glance, reason.com looks a little messy in terms of visual appearance.  A little cluttered and although I understand that this is because the site’s home page is the first stop for ReasonTV, Reason24/7, the Hit & Run Blog, and stories from the printed magazine, as well as the location for Top News Stories (sortable by Featured and New) and a lot of advertisements.
  • Reason is financially backed by a national non-profit and thus, has the ability to aggregate thousands of news stories as well as employ a staff of over 50 for the website.  However, I believe they could significantly improve their website by maximizing the white space and uncluttering the articles.  It could look much cleaner.  Once you click on the headings for the different sites within the site, they pages get a bit cleaner and more visually appealing.
  • TN Liberty is a more more localized blog/site and will not need to run every single news story and headline that potentially has anything to do with liberty or liberty politics.
  • Reason does enjoy a fabulous social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and on their Twitter each day.  On Twitter, Reason has over 130K followers and on Facebook, over 125K likes.

Next, we examine The Liberty Paper:

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  • The Liberty Paper  is a web-based news site commentating and reporting on legislation and events, which affect the American peoples’ liberty domestic and abroad.”
  • The Liberty Paper was launched in the summer of 2012, by political commentator and legislative lobbyist, Michael Lotfi.”
  • “To date, TheLibertyPaper.org has enjoyed an ever-growing, loyal fan base, which has generated hundreds of thousands of readers in more than 140 countries around the world.”
  •  TheLibertyPaper.org is updated only semi-regularly with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the most recent article posted is from January 27th, 2014.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is also riddled with advertisements and donate here boxes.  I understand why Michael Lofti would choose to accept advertising and donations – hopefully, someday soon, the TN Liberty blog will also accept advertisements and donations.  However, I feel the visual esthetics of the site could be cleaner and the ad placements more controlled.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is run by a friend of mine.  He is a recent graduate of Belmont College in Nashville, TN and a well-known activist in the state.  However, I have mixed opinions of his work, his self-promotion, and his ability as a journalist.  Each story is riddled with grammatical errors to say the least.  He was also given a column at the Washington Post.  On his first article, there were complications and the post was ultimately removed due to his lack of due diligence and his reporting false information.
  • TN Liberty is will certainly provide a more grammatically correct site as well as one that is more visually appealing.  However, it will not focus as heavily on National stories and investigative muckracking.  I hope to provide a forum in which concerned residents of the state can ask for advice as well as receive news – especially that which is most pertinent to their area.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org does have a social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and but no Twitter as far as I can find.   On Facebook, it has just a little over 4K likes.

Finally, let’s take a look at The Liberty Crier:

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  •  The Liberty Crier is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the a rotating Top Story Box
  • The Liberty Crier is a very visually appealing blog sites with a lot of features.  The masthead is clean and displayed prominently.

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  • Some other interesting aspects that The Liberty Crier features are categories for:

1. Top Headlines

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2.  Member Blog Posts

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3.  Documentaries

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4.  Channels

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  •  The Liberty Crier seems a bit lacking in their social media presence with their Twitter receiving only 1200 followers.  Their Facebook page has only 8.9K likes.  This seems rather odd to me because it is not being a new website.
  •  I envision the TN Liberty blog looking closer to this blog/site than any of the others in this review/comparison.  I also plan to add a forum for discussions among Tennessee residents and allow for contributing writers as well.  The main difference will be that TN Liberty will be localized plus – it will have a much bigger social media presence.


Journal # 2 – The Topic Blog

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The Topic Blog

“Choose a topic of focus for this class, or what journalists might call a “beat.” It is VERY IMPORTANT to choose wisely, so put some serious thought into this. Choose a subject you are interested in and passionate about, personally or professionally. This could be anything from bowling to city/county school consolidation to local bakeries to the Memphis hip hop scene to the aviation industry to a particular company, industry or cause you are interested in promoting and/or understanding. Consider your post graduation goals, but be sure you genuinely care about the subject. It will be critical for you to narrow your topic as much as possible.

“Choose a topic of focus for this class, or what journalists might call a “beat.” It is VERY IMPORTANT to choose wisely, so put some serious thought into this. Choose a subject you are interested in and passionate about, personally or professionally. This could be anything from bowling to city/county school consolidation to local bakeries to the Memphis hip hop scene to the aviation industry to a particular company, industry or cause you are interested in promoting and/or understanding. Consider your post graduation goals, but be sure you genuinely care about the subject. It will be critical for you to narrow your topic as much as possible.

Anybody can “use Twitter” or “use Facebook” – it is technologically very easy to do. The trick is to use it productively when you have a specific professional goal. One of your goals will be to develop your ability to create interesting and informative content around a particular subject. But a bigger goal will be your ability to cultivate a community around this topic, to listen to what others have to say and engage your audience.

Write up a short description of this topic of focus or beat on your journal blog. Be as clear and specific as possible.”

 

My Topic Blog will be titled TN Libertyand will be a forum in which to share information about news, events, politics, and laws concerning the state of TN. All conservative and liberty-minded activists, students, campus and community leaders, and voters, will be encouraged to contribute.

TN Libertywill also be a location for resources concerning bills up for approval, TN Congressional representative’s contact information, statewide and county events, activism advice, mentorship, and grassroots training, among other issues as needed and requested.  TN Liberty will serve as an extension of the TN and MS Leadership page on Facebook and may ultimately be followed with a MS Liberty blog.

Journal Post 1 – Social Media Use

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Personal & Professional

Social Media Use

“In your first post, answer the following questions:  What social networks of you use most often?  How or why do you use them?  What do you find interesting or important about social media (e.g. why are you taking this class?)”

In terms of social networks, I used to say I used them all but then realized that there are thousands out there that I didn’t know existed and some that I still don’t know exist, i’m sure.  So, to give an exact answer to this question we must start with a list. I love lists, don’t you?

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Twitter
  3.     Tumblr
  4.     Facebook Pages (admin for 9 pages – 4 of them aren’t active)
  5.     WordPress (as you can see here)
  6.     Instagram
  7.     Foursquare
  8.     Klout
  9.     Storify
  10.   Snapchatsocial-media
  11.   Google+
  12.   YouTube
  13.   Hey Tell
  14.   Yelp
  15.   Urbanspoon
  16.   LinkedIn
  17.   Academia.edu
  18.   Buzznet
  19.   CaringBridge
  20.   Classmates.com
  21.   Couchsurfing.com
  22.   delicious
  23.   Flickr
  24.   Flixster
  25.   Myspace
  26.   Meetup
  27.   LiveJournal
  28.   MyLife
  29.   Pinterest
  30.   ReverbNation.com
  31.   SocialVibe
  32.   StumbleUpon
  33.   Xanga
  34.   Circle.com (I think it is now FullCircle.com)
  35.   Bump (no longer a site – sold to Google, I think)

So now that we have a list of all the social networking sites that I have used, still use, or have used at some point (at least enough to know what it is and have an account) we will break it down.  Let me start by saying that some of them I didn’t even consider to be a social networking site until I looked it up and found that they were indeed social networking sites and some, I didn’t remember I had used until i read a list of all social networking sites.  It was a pretty interesting list too – check it out by clicking here.

Okay – so the sites I use on a regular basis are:

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Facebook Pages
  3.     Twitter
  4.     Tumblr
  5.     WordPress
  6.     Snapchat
  7.     Instagram
  8.     Foursquare
  9.     Klout
  10.   LinkedIn
  11.   Pinterest
  12.   YouTube
  13.   Yelp
  14.   Urbanspoon
  15.   Meetup
  16.   CaringBridge (sucks to add to a “use often” list btw)
  17.   Flickr (will be using it a lot more now)
  18.   Academia.edu
  19.   delicious
  20.   HeyTell

Now we’ve learned that I use 20 social networking sites on a regular basis.  Wow – I think I’ve just learned something about myself and where all those extra hours of time i used to have available, have gone.  The missing time felt like the random 1 sock and its missing partner from the load of laundry in the dryer phenomenon until now.  So – no longer a mystery.

So, if we break those down again into the social networking sites I use on a daily basis we have:

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Facebook Pages
  3.     Twitter
  4.     Tumblr
  5.     WordPress
  6.     Snapchat
  7.     Instagram
  8.     Foursquare
  9.     Klout
  10.   LinkedIn
  11.   Pinterest
  12.   YouTube

Hmm… that’s  still a lot of sites, but significantly less when you consider that I’ve linked many of them together so 1 post is distributed among them.

I use them mostly for personal connections and networking.  I know that sounds simple and maybe it is to most but to me – i have to remember what different things to post to which sites because some are personally funny posts, some are professional posts, some are networking posts, some are Liberty and Freedom posts, some are conservative posts, some are liberal posts, some are TN specific, some are posts for the Computer Science department page at the University of Memphis, some are for the Young Americans for Liberty group/page at the University of Memphis, etc etc etc.

If I had to pick the one site that I use most often, it is Facebook to include Facebook pages and groups, followed by Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.  The others are more of additions and by-products of those.  Pinterest, I used a good amount this past summer because I became obsessed with the DIY information and began to refurnish all the furniture in my house and create those awesome pieces of art that normally cost a lot of money if purchased from Crate and Barrell, Pier 1, and other specialty stores – you know the ones of which I am speaking.  Anyway..now that I’m in grad school – i have several half-finished pieces of furniture to include my coffee table and a craft room full of spray paint, paint, glue, sand paper, and other miscellaneous arts and crafts items I long to use again one day.  Until then…it sits there, looking at me.  A window into the free time I once had.

I’m excited to take this Social Media Class because I hope to pick up a few tips and tricks that I wasn’t aware existed or that I haven’t mastered.  This class will also force me to update my blogs and pages more often and with more consistency, as well as create those blogs that i’ve been meaning to make, in order to enhance my online presence.  Although my online presence is not that bad – i’m ranked pretty high on Klout (obligatory popping of the collar had to be done).  Anyway, I hope to have a professional “portfolio” of sorts at the end of this semester.