Friday, March 30, 2012

Twitter allows me to escape from my isolated hometown bubble

Twitter comments by PHO245 student Aaron Gonya.
   The other day I was surfacing Twitter and discovered a new blog about journalism ethics called Ethics Matters (thanks for the link, Dave Cantor). I also learned that the investigation of a recent Maumee, Ohio fatal apartment fire continues, and looked at Wall Street Journal photos of the day.
   Sounds like a lot, but it's only a tiny fraction of links to national and local stories, websites and photos that are available at any given time on Twitter.
   When I tell students they will tweet as part of their course work, their reactions are all the same: they don't like it. Why? Because they don't understand it. The most common complaint is they don't want to hear what people had for breakfast, or any other insignificant banter. But that's not what Twitter is about. It's more for professionals, and that is what separates it from Facebook.
    Like it or not, tweeting is a part of journalism that's here to stay, at least for now. It's a quick and easy way to
  •  stay in touch with your community, including classmates, educators, colleagues, photographers, news sources, etc.
    •  receive and disseminate news tips, stories, photos, etc.
      •  learn about journalism-related information, like tools of trade, websites, training, etc.
        •  advertise your own or someone else's stories and photos that run in newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, etc.
          •  keep connected to whatever field you're interested in.
            A few of the journalism profs and orgs I follow.
               Those are just a few reasons why I like Twitter as a collaborative way to stay connected to people, organizations and news outlets.
                Twitter, launched in 2006, is an online social networking service that limits you to 140 characters. So there's yet another benefit: it forces you to be concise, which, as you know, is a key ingredient of journalism. 
               I wrote this post about Twitter because I am amazed at how much information is available at my fingertips. 
               I think of it this way: I am only one person, so it would be unfair to my students if I only offered them what I know about the business. Twitter allows me to expand their knowledge beyond the classroom.
                I no longer feel I am confined inside this tiny Toledo bubble. As a PJ instructor, I must ensure that my students don't live in their own tiny bubbles, either.

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