It’s time! Every year, our class takes to the streets for a Twitter scavenger hunt. Thus far, many of you have probably only used Twitter for personal posting, but it’s a powerful tool for reporting and newsgathering, and the best way to learn about this is to do it. For the remainder of class today (Thursday, February 7), you’re heading out into the world in teams of two (at least one of you needs a phone with the Twitter app) to find 10 things. You’ll need to complete the bulk of this assignment by the end of class.
IMPORTANT: To count, each tweet MUST include:
- A photo or video
- The context of what you’re reporting – your audience doesn’t know what you asked, so be clear (e.g., Freshman Jim Jackson predicted a WVU loss to Oklahoma: “They’re just lousy this season.”)
- The full name(s) of whoever you’re talking to
- The number you are doing (e.g., 1. Joe Smith: “I love WVU”) – Without these, I can’t guess which entry you’re checking off (which means no credit)!
- The hashtag: #WVUblogJ
So a sample tweet might look like this:
“3. Asked about the impact of social media on society, Prof. Biggins (Econ) said “It’s made protesting easier, but also more identifiable”. #WVUblogJ
Restrictions: No College of Media students, and please don’t all mob the same professor (I’m off-limits). They can’t all come from the same building, so don’t just hang around Evansdale Crossing or the Rec Center – try heading downtown!
Also: Be ethical – make sure the people you talk to know you’ll be posting their responses!
Let’s Get Started!
Each member of your team must post an introductory tweet with a photo of your team (so two per team) so readers and I know what to expect. Don’t forget the course hashtag for this as well!
And now … the list!
- School spirit: Photo and quote from someone (not you or your partner) revealing school or civic spirit (what that means is up to you).
- Eating Up: Photo and quote from someone (not you or your partner) at a restaurant, coffee shop or bar anywhere in Morgantown. Why do they eat here?
- Professors weigh in. Photo and quote from a professor on campus. Ask them how last week’s snow cancellations affected them. Be sure you include the professor’s title and department.
- Student on the street. Photo and quote from a student (not you or your partner). Ask them what they think about how police responded to students celebrating during last week’s snow days. Be sure you include their year in school and major.
- Academic excellence. Photo and quote that reveals (you are going to have to be creative) how our university contributes to cutting edge research and/or learning.
- Scenic spot. Photo of a distinctive scenic spot on or near campus.
- 2016 rule: No photos of Woodburn Hall. We get it! It’s in all the brochures!
- 2017 rule: No photos from the top of Evansdale Crossing. It’s very pretty, but I’ve seen enough of it.
- 2019 rule: No photos from the PRT overlook. It’s … not pretty.
- Little-known fact. Photo and detail of something you think many people might not know about your school or campus or city.
- Fanatic fans – Photo/quote from somebody asking for their take on WVU’s basketball season. Why do they feel the way they do?
- Extracurricular extravaganza: Photo and quote/detail that exemplify some of the huge variety of clubs, organizations, etc. available to students at our university. What do people have to say about them?
- It’s the Arts: Find an example of the arts at work in Morgantown – paintings, sculptures, exhibits, or something more out there. Ideally you’ll still have someone to talk to about this, but if not, make sure to provide specifics about what it is we’re seeing (and where it is)
Extra Credit? Sure, why not? Add something beyond the standard requirements above, and I’ll consider an extra point or so. It should be clearly above and beyond the norm, and determining what constitutes “extra” is solely at my discretion.
DUE: You need to make most of your 10 tweets during our regular class time of 2-3:15 p.m. (one or two stragglers are acceptable), and your team must be done by 4p today. You’re expected to use class time to work on this, so if there’s a long delay to your start, it will affect your grade.
A Few Tips:
- Think like a reporter. Have an eagle eye for the interesting, the important, the relevant, the unique, and the immediate. Double check your facts.
- Think like a public relations professional. Show other people what’s cool about WVU.
- Think like a storyteller. You may only have 280 characters in each tweet (actually less, once you subtract numbers, links and hashtags), but you can say a lot in a few words or using an image.
- You may use more than one Tweet for each of the items below. Don’t overdo it, though, and don’t forget the #WVUblogJ hashtag for each!
- 280 characters isn’t much. Try using other apps and tactics to allow you to say more.
This is going to seem a little strange to some of you, but the goal is to reveal to you the journalistic applications of Twitter. You need to be an observer, a reporter, and you can’t be afraid to accost people on the street for their opinions. You’ll provide perspective and voice, and you’ll tell a larger audience something about your subject (WVU, in this case) – make sure you’re thinking of them!