Twitter–A classroom requirement

In the iMedia program at Elon, we work to establish our online identities through the use of social media platforms such as blogging and micro-media outlets, but imagine having an entire class dedicated to one social media site.

Griffith University in Australia is doing just that.

Recognizing the growing importance for communications professionals to have a well-established online presence, the university recently updated their communications curriculum to include a class with a focus on Twitter.

Journalism students will now work to develop a focus to their Tweets that they may be able to use in the future as they grow as a professional online following graduation. So–no more “Just went to the gym” or “So tired today, sandwich for lunch now” Tweets. In just 140, how can one structure a statement of value–attracting viewers and hopefully holding their attention?

Griffith University journalism students will soon have the answers.

As reported in an article in Mashable.com, many students at the university were unaware of Twitter, or didn’t understand the purpose of the site.  The school is pushing ahead with the course despite mixed feelings.

While it would be a challenge to focus a semester on the logistics of writing for Twitter, the class will likely remain valuable to the journalism students at Griffith–whether or not they end up using Twitter in the future. More than learning how to get one’s message across in 140 characters (including any hyper-links), students are learning about clean, concise writing–writing that could ultimately earn them more readers and help them gain popularity on the Web.

While many newspapers and radio stations are moving content online, the audience there is different. Web surfers are faced with an endless supply of information. Upon searching for keywords or a specific news story, users expect to be able to quickly view content with minimal scrolling over a small time period. This cannot be achieved with wordiness. While a class on Twitter may seem like a challenge to some, or pointless to others, the real key is condensing language for the Web; creating content that is scannable and accessible to most users.

Also, with Twitter gaining popularity, journalism and communications professionals will need to learn to use these tools and stay up-to-date with the latest developments. Even today, it is almost imperative that one establish themselves via a blog, Twitter, or even both.

More information on Griffith University’s new course can be found here.

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Filed under COM530, Interactive Writing and Design

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