Getting social with panelists

Today, The Pendulum’s own Jeff Stern and Sam Calvert co-hosted the session “Student Media Use of Social Tools: A Roundtable Discussion” along with a UNC-Chapel Hill editor of The Daily Tarheel. The session centered around the simple question of what student publications can do to maximize their usage of social media tools. Although I am pro-social media and look forward to its uses in the future for The Pendulum and other publications, I know I am not as in-tuned with social tools as my fellow editors. Therefore, it was great to attend a panel in which they and others in the room discussed issues facing social media and how publications can use these tools as expansively as possible.

Although I learned a lot from the session, there were a few statements that stood out to me. I particularly liked the comment that social media brings back the early days of newspapers, in which they acted as a place of open forum and discussion. In years before the world of social media, publications did not necessarily have a place in which a conversation could take place between the publication and readers, with the exception of features such as letters to the editor. But with social media being as popular as it now is, readers can now directly interact with publications, and express ideas, opinions and comments about something.

I also liked another part of the conversation that dealt with the humanity aspect of social media. Too often, especially in the digital age, people lose their human identity and instead become text on a glowing iPhone screen or a Facebook chat window. But, through social media and incorporation of things like personal pages, people are able to see the personality despite the digital wall that separates them from the publication, and the human element is once returned, with a modern twist.

Here are some other tips offered in the session that I found useful:

  • Your Twitter is your personality.
  • Make digital presence known through physical presence on campus.
  • Tease a story in social media to intrigue readers.
  • Tweet positive feedback and encouragement to staff members who have done something with the publication.
  • Integrate social media and the print publication.
  • Use analytics.
-Ashley Fahey
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