Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Issue tracking via Twittter

Got a call and e-mail last week from a reporter at one of the local dailies who was working on a story about the very public debate over building a rail transit system in Honolulu. (Just Google "rail transit system Honolulu" if you're wondering.) She was particularly interested in how pro- and anti-rail groups are using online media.

This sets us up well for a discussion of our title topic for our summer class, COM 459, Special Topics: Public Relations Tactics. The idea is to learn about traditional public relations tactics as well as their online offshoots.

Anyhow here's class activity #1:
Issue Tracking via Twitter

Primary Objectives
  • Practice using social media technology (in this case, twitter)
  • Identify traditional public relations tactics used in a locally contested issue
  • Identify online public relations tactics in a locally contested issue
  • Use social media to track issues in real time from disperse locations
  • Discuss ethics and effects of tactics identified
  • Discuss use of social media for issue tracking
  1. Discuss social media in class (perhaps with trade publication reading for intro; i.e., To Tweet or not to tweet)
  2. Demonstrate twitter online with on-screen example
  3. Students sign up for twitter accounts as necessary
  4. Students find and follow each other's tweets online (see Karen Russell's 48 hours of Twitter assignment for one method of doing this)
  5. Students tweet at least once every 12 hours before next class when they find an example of a public relations tactic related to the issue.
  6. Follow up with in-class discussion of:
    1. Public relations tactics related to issue
      • range of tactics
      • efficacy of tactics
      • ethics of tactics
    2. Class social media use
      • reactions to twitter in general
      • assessment of technology for issue tracking
      • benefits/downsides of working as a dispersed group
    3. Implications for public relations practice
  • Success in setting up accounts/following others?
  • Met "tweeting" criteria?
  • Identified appropriate examples?
  • Quality of follow-up discussion
Mahalo to Kaye Sweetser and Karen Miller Russell for sharing their ideas on how to use twitter in PR classes. See Kaye's teaching tweets and Karen's Teaching PR: "48 Hours of Twitter" class assignment for more.


Karen Russell said...

Tom, hope you'll keep us updated as to how it goes. I guarantee a few of your students will get addicted... as long as Twitter cooperates while the experiment is on.

The Preppy Princess said...

Tom, oddly enough I found you via Guy Kawasaki on Twitter. You've outlined an excellent study plan. Twitter, and other social networking, is part of our business plan as we grow out http://www.PreppyPrincess.com Good luck to you and your students.