One challenging element of the Scavenger Hunt assignment is that it demands having basic knowledge of MacEwan University and its surrounding areas prior to completion. For example, one tweet required me to post a photo or quote of how my school contributes to cutting edge research and/or learning. That particular tweet made me realize I don’t actually know too much about MacEwan’s contributions, though I assume there would be plenty considering it is a university. Another challenge of the assignment would be approaching awkward students who would rather be left alone studying, than answering a question that had suddenly been sprung on them. As a result, I elicited several answers from the unenthused, which I did not include in the final assignment.
Using Twitter to publicize an organization such as MacEwan is effective by the means of it’s reach. With more and more people subscribing to different social media accounts, organizations can promote themselves to their followers (which can easily expand past the local community considering the pervasive condition of the internet). Twitter appeals to those who want a quick update of their subscribed channels, and the 140-character limit allows for just this; followers gain a general understanding of the world around them, without having to read a full 800-word article about it. Also, certain techniques such as posting tweets at peak hours, such as lunchtime or dinnertime, can help expand the reach of the organization’s message.
Public organizations such as the City of Edmonton effectively post updates on local news around the clock–allowing followers to constantly be aware of what’s happening in the city. Not only does the City of Edmonton post promotional tweets regarding upcoming events, but they also update their followers on construction being done in particular areas. MacEwan mimics these posts by keeping students up to date on sporting events, special guest lectures and services provided within the school.
The greatest challenge Pia and I faced was creative inspiration. We wanted to have original and authentic tweets unlike any of our classmates. We realized this was crippling our ability to just dive in, and ended up starting fairly late. Another challenging element of this assignment was creating time to work on it. Being spur of the moment is surprisingly difficult when the media content is for academic purposes rather than personal. I can tweet 15 useless thoughts a day, but including the assignment’s parameters in clever and concise ways proved to be more thought provoking and challenging. I felt more like I was speaking for the entire BCSC 202 class rather than just my own self. It was an interesting exercise in “public” tweeting, as I felt I had greater responsibility and accountability to a community larger than myself and my followers.
Twitter is great in this way, as you can engage in an entire community with the use of a simple hashtag. As part of a communications team, you can take the more stiff academic aspects of our of our school’s online persona and create a more intimate community. Tweets that I noticed within our hashtag that received likes and retweets were ones that gave the sense of inclusion, also inside jokes. Tweets using Prof’s names, landmarks around campus and even tweeting about this assignment had more likes and retweets. By creating a smaller scale sense of community, it creates a more inclusive online conversation that MacEwan specific students can engage in.
Successful tweets from MacEwan this past week (ones with the most retweets and likes) were those based on MacEwan initiatives and calls to action. The pictures and captions play a part too, as the tweets calling on volunteers that also had visually appealing and simplistic images had more popularity than those with “busy” pictures or lengthy captions. This makes sense, as people want the content they retweet to “fit” with their online persona, and mesh nicely on their own pages. School pride tweets also had higher popularity. MacEwan doesn’t delete their tweets, and you can see what content is working and what isn’t. I would improve it by engaging with users more and creating more conversations rather than retweetable content.
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