Online Journalism: Spring 2011

the class blog

Twitter Assignment: 21 days!

with 15 comments

Twitter is a lot of things. One of them is that it’s very hard to explain. There’s one thing that is true though: It’s a new paradigm for communication and community, and it’s reaching critical mass.

Because of that, we’re going to do a deep dive into Twitter. The thing about Twitter is that it takes a little time to “get it” (and, even more importantly, what that “it” is will be different for each person). As a result, we’re going to follow the “21 days” concept: It takes 21 days of doing something regularly for it to become a habit.

So let’s form Twitter habits:

  • Starting by March 23rd, you’ll need to sign up for an account on Twitter.
  • Follow me. My Twitter page is here. I will follow you back–though drop me an @ reply on twitter (that’s @dansinker) so I know you’re there, otherwise you may get lost in the new follower shuffle.
  • Also, post your twitter user name in the comments of this thread so that your classmates can find you.
  • You need to post to twitter at least 3 times a day. In addition, you need to @ reply to someone at least twice a day. That’s a MINIMUM of five tweets a day.
  • Follow new people every day. Here’s a list of tons of journalists on Twitter to get you started. Use Twitter Search to find other interesting people to follow (type in keywords of things that you find interesting, for example). I also find Google a great tool for finding people simply typing in their name followed by “twitter” tends to surface their Twitter account.
  • Every 3 days, in 140 characters, sum up what you’ve learned and include the hashtag #onlinej11 in your tweet. For example: retweeting can really spread a message quickly #onlinej11
  • Follow your classmates’ revelations by doing a twitter search for that hashtag
  • We’ll have a pretty good list of things we’ve learned on Twitter at the end of this experiment. Plus, you’ll have developed a pretty healthy Twitter habit by then.
  • At the end of our 21 days, write a 500 word summary of your time on Twitter, what you think it’s useful for, and how you see Journalism intersecting with it. That report will be due Friday April 15.

Another great thing about Twitter is that there are any number of ways to access it outside of the homepage. There are some great applications for accessing your tweets, like:

Twitter itself (and other people) makes excellent Apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry phones–check the respective app stores for those!

Finally, one thing about having only 140 characters is that it makes it hard to paste in a real link. You’re going to need a URL shortener to do so. Personally, I like, but people also use tinyurl and others.

For those just getting started on Twitter, there is an excellent guidebook published by Mashable. It’s online here.

See you on Twitter!


Written by sinker

March 18, 2011 at 11:35 am

Posted in Assignments

15 Responses

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  1. Hi all! My twitter handle is @beckspress!


    March 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm

  2. Hi y’all. Here’s my twitter!

    April Barkley:

    Or @aprilmarian

    April Barkley

    March 19, 2011 at 9:36 am

  3. Hi this is Yari Osborne. My twitter is @Yahrie or

    Yari Osborne

    March 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm

  4. Hey made a small change to my twitter handle. It is

    Thanks guys,


    Yari Osborne

    March 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm

  5. My twitter: MoodyBlueX

    Lori Moody

    March 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm

  6. aplomin

    Alicia Plomin

    March 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm

  7. my twitter = @MariahGeneeXXXO

    Mariah Craddick

    April 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

  8. my twitter: BrianStephens15

    Brian Stephens

    April 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

  9. Samantha Battle
    March 31, 2011
    Online Journalism
    Twitter Assignment

    This Twitter assignment seemed fairly easy to me at first because I I am always on Twitter just looking on my timeline of people I follow updates. It’s something about it that is sort of addictive. You get sucked in in wanting to update your status just like everyone else.
    However, I never really noticed how much I tweet until this assignment when I had to remember to tweet for class and that was fairly hard for me. I usually just get on Twitter just to see the updates of people I follow. I could go on Twitter about 10 times in a day and never tweet anything and some days I don’t go on Twitter at all due to a busy work schedule. So it was kind of tough to remember to tweet rather than before when I could just tweet when I wanted.
    Other than tweeting, Twitter is a very useful news source. In being a budding journalist, I follow the Chicago newspapers and other news resources that update the news in real time, which is very useful and easy. Everyone is glued to their phones all the time so it’s like they have this mobile newspaper on their phone that is constantly updating. I know for me, I found Twitter to be very useful when I had to take current events quizzes. I never had time to just watch the news and keep up with everything going on but with Twitter, I was able to have it all in one place on my Twitter timeline.
    Journalists have been using Twitter more and more now and I think it has become a source to use. When I was at my internship at WFLD FOX, they had us update the FOX Chicago twitter page with breaking news and also to do polls on the topic of the day to see how the viewers felt. I feel like this is a really good source because instead of going out and asking people, this cuts down a step in getting something done and I think it’s amazing; especially when some reporters don’t have the time to go out again and get reactions. They can just go on Twitter.
    I didn’t really use Twitter when I first joined it. It took me almost a year until I started using it again and that was only because one of my favorite singers had joined it and I wanted to keep up with what was going on and tour dates. I didn’t really understand the status updates. I rarely updated my status on facebook so a social network that was just about updating a status seemed irrelevant to me. However, overtime it got really addicting and I started to use it more and more due to the fact that other people started using it also.
    I feel like the Internet is starting to play a big role in the journalism field. There are many things you can do with it and twitter is a part of that. It’s a way to put information out there and almost a news source because the papers and tv stations we read and watch have Twitter pages and if you don’t have time to grab the newspaper or watch the news, you can go straight to Twitter and see the headlines of the day on their Twitter page. It’s a genius idea actually especially with the fact that you can access Twitter from your phone and you always have your phone with you.
    Overall, I think Twitter is a good source to get information from and that in the future it’s going to evolve into something bigger.

    Samantha Battle

    April 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

  10. i thought the report was due today.

    Samantha Battle

    April 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  11. My Twitter is @Renrie

    Lauren Bryant

    April 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm

  12. Mr. Sinker,

    Do you want the twitter report in paper form or posted on here? Or emailed to you?



    Becky Lerner

    April 14, 2011 at 11:45 am

    • Please turn the twitter report in on paper, in class.


      April 14, 2011 at 11:47 am

      • Got it. Thanks.

        Becky Lerner

        April 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm

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