Tweets from the bomber

7 May
Startling photo of the Boston Marathon bombers

Startling photo of the Boston Marathon bombers (Photo credit: Ninian Reid)

After the horrific Boston Marathon bombing that occurred on April 15, 2013, the world assumed the attacks were carried out by a high-powered terrorist group.  In reality, the bombing suspects were 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarvaev and his older brother Tamerlan.

As I watched all of the footage during the suspenseful days that followed, one thing stood out in particular.  As the suspects were on the run, CNN repeatedly displayed Dzhokhar’s tweets on the TV screen.  These chilling tweets occurred the day of the actual attack and there were even twelve tweets after the attack.  The night of the bombing, Dzhokar tweeted ” Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people”.  It is such a scary thought to know that he is telling Boston to stay safe even though he killed three individuals earlier that same day.

The most shocking tweet came two days later when he posted, “I’m a stress free kind of guy”.  As the entire United States military is looking for this man, he is stress free.  Whether these tweets were just for show or they really captured how he felt, they tell a lot about his character.  That he could have just participated in one of the most horrific incidents this country has ever seen and still be fine enough to take to social media is shocking.

While these and more tweets are sickening, they offer a neat perspective on breaking news that we haven’t seen much of before.  This was perhaps one of the first breaking news stories that the reporters could display a suspects social media activity and track what they were thinking.  Because social media is such a public activity, it could become an important tool for understanding the minds of criminals.


The Twitter effect

25 Apr
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

A tweet came out this past Tuesday from the AP‘s Twitter account.  This tweet, which was released shortly after 1 p.m., stated that two bombs had gone off in the White House, injuring President Barack Obama.  The financial world reacted in a major way, causing the Dow Jones industrial average to drop by 130 points.

Within ten minutes, the AP tweeted that the previous tweet had been a hack and later in the day the Dow Jones returned to its previous number, but this incident proves an important lesson.  The average news consumer is getting much of their information from social media.  This is a great thing because news is able to spread quickly and efficiently to a huge audience.  It does, however, have its drawbacks as is evident in this situation.  People will believe anything as long as it is in writing.  Not only will they believe it but they will react.  One single false tweet causing enough damage to impact the financial measurement of the country is not good.  Hackers will continue to send out false information, but if the country takes this news on face value situations could become hysteria.

Citizens need to learn the importance of questioning everything.  One tweet does not explain the entire story.  Once social media users understand the importance of accuracy and of double-checking all information, we will have an informed public and social media will be successful.

Going to the cats and dogs

14 Apr
One of the friends we made during our visit

One of the friends we made during our visit

This past week I visited the Nebraska Humane Society for a class field trip.  I am always thankful for field trips in college because honestly what could be more fun than reliving your childhood and taking fun excursions with your class.  I was, however, especially excited for this particular field trip because who could ever not want to hang out with cute dogs and cats when you are supposed to be in class.

Once we got to the building we ran around the shelter picking out our favorite animals and looking at the scary looking tarantula.  Once we had our pet fix for the day we all sat down to hear the presentation on social media.  The lady in charge of the Human Society’s social media was a recent Creighton graduate and had increased the social media presence of the organization by an incredible amount.  She gave a ton of good advice but one of the most important things that stuck with me was don’t give up.  Once she arrived at the Humane Society, the social media was relatively small.  She said it took a while to get people interested in following them on Facebook or to interact with the posts.  She kept at the social media and knew if she stuck it out for a while it might just pay off one day.  She has done this and is now up to over 30,000 likes on Facebook.

Something else I learned was that if you want people to do something you need to ask for their help.  She has seen a huge difference between just posting a picture of animals and telling people to share the picture.  The number of interactions has gone up immensely which helps in the overall presence that the Society has on social media.  This is definitely something that I could include in my plan for my social media class and with any organization that I am involved with in the future.

One of the most important lessons I took from this visit was to do something you love.  The reason she has turned the Humane Society’s social media into such a success is that she loves doing it.  If you love your work and are passionate about what you do, there is no way you can’t succeed.  I can’t wait to find a job in the future that I will absolutely love and enjoy going to everyday.

State of the Media 2013

25 Mar
Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

Write a blog post reflecting on what the report’s findings mean to you as a professional and as a consumer. Do the findings reflect what you have observed and experienced in your own life? What does it mean for how you will do your jobs now and in the future?

The latest assignment for my journalism class was to read the State of the Media and discuss my thoughts on it.  After doing so, the only thing I could think about was how lucky I am to be growing up at such an important, pivotal point in journalism.  The “Outliers“, one of my all time favorite books, discusses how the time period people grow up in is what destines them for greatness. For instance, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates grew up at the perfect time for computer innovation.  Now is the perfect time for social media discoveries.

All of the newest social media tools that the “State of the Media” addresses, such as Vine, Pinterest, and the innovations within Facebook, are just the beginning of what is to come.  I grew up with social media. In my early years, I remember dial-up internet and having to wait at least ten minutes just to get on the computer.  Now everything we could ever want  is just a click of a button away.

Right now, journalists using social media are at an important crossroad.  Many of the tools are so new that users don’t really know how to use them.  For instance, in the report it noted that sometimes in an effort to get the news out the fastest, news organizations will release untrue facts.  This was the case with the Sandy Hook shootings when many of the details about the shooter were incorrect.  With the constant introduction of new media innovations, reporting on the web will become more efficient and faster than ever before.

One of the most important things I took from the study was how imperative it is that every journalists know how to use social media.  Even those wanting to be traditional news journalists will need to be well-versed in the latest online medias.  For instance, “The Wall Street Journal’s digital network, told Pew Research that social media drive between 7 and 10 percent of the traffic to on any given day”.  If newspapers want to stay relevant they will need to take advantage of the social media out there.

The one thing it is important to know as a journalist and a consumer is that social media is here to stay.  Staying updated on the latest social media news and sites will help users stay informed, up-to-date, and ahead of the competition.

“Never Know What is Going to Happen in Social Media”

19 Feb
Current "blue crescent" logo (July 1...

Current “blue crescent” logo (July 1, 1999–present) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As @ryancworkman tweeted earlier this day, you “never know what is going to happen in social media”.  I feel like every other day I am hearing a story about how an employee got fired for something offensive they said on facebook or twitter.  Today was the mother of all messes…the Burger King hack.  While technically this hack wasn’t something a Burger King employee did, it just proves how big of a deal simple tweets and facebook posts can be.

Earlier this day hackers got onto Burger King’s twitter site and changed the background photo to the competitior’s famous golden arches.  Attentionally they tweeted that Burger King had been sold to McDonalds and tweeted racially sensitive and tweets and gross things about food on the Burger King menu.  While their twitter followers climbed significantly, the hack is bound to leave a bad taste (excuse the terrible pun) in many of their followers mouths.

Today proved exactly how important one simple tweet can be.  People are fired every day for misusing twitter or confusing their work accounts for private accounts.  As our world becomes even more globally connected we must try to remember that nothing is safe out their in the cyber world and the second something is posted, it can never be unwritten.

The Coca-Cola Company Social Media Policy

13 Feb

The Coca-Cola Company has a well-thought out and inclusive Social Media Principles Policy.  The Policyimages includes an Introduction which is a summary of their core principles and stating how these principles fit into their company.


“These Online Social Media Principles have been developed to help empower our associates to participate in this new frontier of marketing and communications, represent our Company, and share the optimistic and positive spirits of our brands.”

Coca-Cola encourages the principles of leadership, collaboration, integrity, accountability, passion, diversity, and quality.  These qualities are listed with short examples of how their employees could put these principles into practice.  

The company encourages their employees to use social media up until the point that they are comfortable.  Their disclaimers include “have fun, but be smart, use sound judgement and common sense”.  Coca-Cola also understands the importance of being in social media world and “are committed to ensuring that they participate in online social media the right way.”

The company hardly ever mentions what is NOT allowed anywhere in the policy.  There is a tone that makes employers want to use social media instead of scaring them away through rigid rules.  The best advice they can offer to social media users in the company is that they are mindful that they always represent the company, to use caution when posting, and to know that once something is posted, it is permanent.

The only downside to this Social Media Policy statement is the vague listing of consequences if this policy is violated.  The statement says that “any deviation from these commitments may be subject to disciplinary review or other appropriate action”.

This policy is written in a way that any employ or associate of Coca-Cola could easily read it and understand it.  The statements are short and concise.  The policy also refers readers to the companies Code of Business Conduct and other company policies if readers are interested in learning more.

Overall there isn’t much I would change about the policy.  There are a few instances in which various principles are repeated so the principles could be streamlined but other than that Coca-Cola is a great example of a Social Media policy that is encouraging to its employees.

Just a Few Years Later

13 Feb
English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So while I have claimed in past blogs that I am basically social media inept, I guess this past month of updating this blog and using my twitter consistently has taught me one huge lesson…social media is everywhere.

I woke up two mornings ago to go to class at 8:30 (which in my opinion is WAY to early for a college student) when I checked my twitter and facebook per my usual routine.  The first thing I saw on twitter was that Pope Benedict XVI was stepping down from the papacy.  For non-Catholics this may not seem like anything major, but as a lifelong Catholic, this was shocking news.  The announcement had taken over my twitter and I knew it was time to check a news source to get the full details of the story.

What really strikes me as unique about this situation is the way in which I received the news.  In a matter of moments after the story had been released ever major news source had the story which resulted in every twitter, facebook, blog, and other media site being full of the news as well.  It doesn’t seem that look ago that I was sitting in my 8th grade class room with my eyes glued to the TV as my home room class watched coverage of Pope John Paul II‘s death was announced.  There was no other forum for us as grade schoolers to receive the shocking news except in our class and from our parents.

The fact that in just a few short years we are able to receive information so easily and quickly is something I will never get used to and leads me to wonder what technologies and medias these next few years will bring.