Top GIFT from AEJMC-PRD 2018
Editorial Record: Submitted to AEJMC-PRD GIFT Competition by Feb. 5, 2018. A blind copy was peer reviewed by the PRD Teaching Committee, led by Chair Katie Place, and selected as a Top GIFT. First published online on August 17, 2018.
Amanda J. Weed, Ohio
Karen Freberg, Louisville
Emily S. Kinsky, West Texas A&M University
Amber L. Hutchins, Kennesaw State University
Building a Social Learning Flock: Using Twitter Chats to Enhance Experiential Learning Across Universities
A monthly Twitter chat focused on social media was created to engage students and professionals across the country, and assignments were created to use the chat content with various classes across PR programs. The chat created an online learning community in the same vein of industry chats such as #HootChat, #TwitterSmarter and #AdobeChat. The purpose was to supplement students’ classroom learning by offering themed conversations about relevant topics in social media. By featuring industry guest panelists, students were able to gain professional perspectives and ask questions to further their understanding. In addition, students were able to share the knowledge they gained through classroom learning with an outside audience, which may increase self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997) and development of professional networks to increase internship and job prospects.
STUDENT LEARNING GOALS
Chat participation offered an alternative to the traditional online discussion board, which is only available to members of a single class. Each monthly chat was dedicated to a different social media topic, which meant multiple learning goals could be achieved. As students shared class-based knowledge during the chat, faculty could assess student learning goals against a diverse landscape of courses across universities to address strengths and areas for improvement. In addition, students experienced professional development benefits that can come from engaging with influencers, industry practitioners, and brands. By engaging in proactive conversations, giving praise and acknowledgements, and integrating their own points of view, students learned the real-world benefits of social media networking and had the potential to serve as a strong advocate and social connector with their own community.
CONNECTION TO PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE
Twitter chats are commonly used in the public relations industry to facilitate knowledge-sharing and networking among practitioners. By building an audience that included classes at multiple universities, the chats allowed students to form positive habits that will foster continuing education to support their advancement in the public relations industry. The chats also allowed students to extend their education beyond their own class or institution. By expanding the audience to include panelists who were experts in the chat topic, students had an opportunity to make online connections with them, which widened students’ networks and their knowledge of the field—not just for that day but for as long as they follow those professionals on into the future. Participating in the chats also gave students the chance to impress these professionals with thoughtful questions and insightful responses.
Using the Twitter chats as source material provided experience for students to create various forms of assignments that may be applied to learning outcomes of different classes (see attached assignment guides). Content creation and measurement are two important areas within public relations that are highly valued, and these chats gave students the chance to do both. Through participation and follow-up assignments, students better understood best practices and results of a particular social media initiative with set key performance indicators.
EVIDENCE OF LEARNING OUTCOMES
With 303 participants and 2,180 total tweets (7.19 tweets/contributor) across the four chats, participation and engagement were high. Evidence of learning was demonstrated through the various products created, including graphics of favorite quotes from the chat, tweets posted, and summary paragraphs designed to be blogged. In the context of Bloom’s taxonomy, assignments addressed multiple levels of learning. Chat participation assessed comprehension by allowing students to demonstrate their understanding of topics through response to question prompts. Post-chat assignments integrated higher levels of learning taxonomy (application, synthesis, evaluation) through analysis of chat content and content creation that facilitated creativity and critical thinking.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W H Freeman/Times Books/Henry Holt & Co.
Twitter chats are IRT (in real time) conversations that center around a unique topic. To participate in a Twitter chat, you will follow the conversation by following the chat hashtag. When viewing the chat, make sure you are using the “Latest” tab to view the tweets in real time.
Chat questions are typically labeled as Q1, Q2, and so on. To respond to a question, begin your tweet with A1, A2, and so on to match that particular question. You may also retweet the question and add your response as a comment. Always include the chat hashtag in your tweet to ensure your response will be viewed by Twitter chat participants.
To receive credit for your chat responses, you will need to include your class hashtag in your chat tweets.
Create a Twitter Moment
Twitter Moments allow users to curate content to share with their audience. For the assignment, you will create a “highlights reel” of the Twitter chat that features the most valuable insights that you gained from participant responses. Share your Moment on Twitter so your followers can also benefit from those insights. For an example of a Twitter Moment, see https://twitter.com/i/moments/958726169309958144
For guidance in creating a Twitter Moment, visit https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/how-to-create-a-twitter-moment.
Twitter Moment Requirements
- Cover Image
- Title (5-9 words)
- Description (30-50 words)
- Write a paragraph-style description that includes the following information:
- Date of Twitter chat
- Featured guests
- Chat topic
- Hashtag the audience may search to view full chat
- Write a paragraph-style description that includes the following information:
- Chat Highlights
- Add each chat question
- Tip: Search the chat hashtag + Q1 (or Q2, Q3, and so on)
- Add a minimum of three responses after each chat question that reflect the most valuable insights you gained
- Tip: Search the chat hashtag + A1 (or A2, A3, and so on)
- Add each chat question
- Publish your Moment
- Tweet your Moment
Social Media Listening
In this assignment, you will be asked to evaluate the Twitter chat by using a social media listening tool. The options are listed below:
Provide an overview of the listening tool you will be using. Describe the tool’s features. What are its main advantages and disadvantages? What is the timeline when you will be conducting this listening procedure?
Discuss the key performance indicators (KPIs) from the chat. Make sure to report and discuss the following metrics from the Twitter chat:
- Twitter Reach
- Twitter Reach – Mention Type
- Twitter Reach – Engagement Type
- Twitter Reach – Authority Type
- Most Retweeted
- Most Engaged Users
- Top trending keywords that are being used in addition to the hashtag
- Make sure to note the sentiment, mentions, users, and communities on Twitter for your analysis.
- Additional findings worth noting
Recommendations + Strategic Insights
- What are the main findings from the analysis of the Twitter chat?
- What insights can you use to determine from this Twitter chat? What are three takeaways?
- What are some recommendations for future Twitter chats?
- Provide three resources (ex. guides, professionals, articles, etc.) on Twitter chats for how to evaluate and measure future chats.
Chat Performance Executive Summary
Directions: You will monitor the hashtagged conversation from the Twitter chat, analyze the results, and produce an executive summary of the results for the chat sponsor.
Step 1: Collect data from Twitter.
- You can use the Twitter.com search function to find posts using the chat hashtag. You are welcome to use other applications like Hootsuite or Meltwater, but keep in mind that even some top organizations monitor “by hand.”
- Examine the posts. Take note of keywords and themes used by participants. Are there other hashtags being used along with the main hashtag (other class hashtags, etc.)?
- Count and categorize the data. Focus on one or two themes or topics.
Step 2: Create a visual representation of your findings.
- It’s up to you how you want to represent the data you found—pie chart, graph, etc., but make it easy for readers to understand the prominent topics, themes and sentiment from the chat. Use generators like Easel.ly, Excel to create pie graphs, or inserted photos of hand-drawn charts. It’s not necessary to be a graphics expert, just focus on providing a graphic of your results.
Step 3: Write a 3-paragraph executive summary to explain your results.
Write your summary using concise, direct language.
- Para 1: Report your results. Make sure to indicate the sample size (number of tweets you analyzed) in the key to the graphic.
- Para 2: Interpret and analyze the results. What do the results mean? Go beyond positive and negative mentions and report on topics/themes, keyword mentions, or other data that can be useful.
- Para 3: Make recommendations for future chats. What would you recommend to the chat sponsor in order to improve participation and engagement?
Create a Quote Illustration
Scan through the chat and find a “quotable quote” to illustrate using Canva or Spark. Be sure to cite the person who said the quote with both his/her full name and Twitter handle. Once it is illustrated, we will give peer feedback in class, make needed adjustments, and then each student will share his/her quote via Twitter, along with a sentence explaining why it was chosen. Tag the person who said it and use the chat hashtag to reach a wider audience.
Create an Infographic
Infographics are used to present data in a visually appealing way that makes a concept easier to understand at a glance. For this assignment, you will collect data and identify five unique statistics about the Twitter chat, such as the following statistics:
- # of participants
- # of likes, retweets
- Most responses to a single chat question
- Use of pictures/GIFs
- # of tags
- Top 5 tweets by likes
- Top 5 tweets by RT
- A brief description of the Twitter chat
- Visual design that reflects the Twitter chat topic
- 5 statistics: Include an “explainer” (description) for each statistic that provides additional detail
- Provide a source credit (including hyperlink) at the bottom of the infographic that directs readers to the full Twitter chat source
One way to increase your LinkedIn connections is to start publishing articles through your account that can be read by the LinkedIn community. For additional information about LinkedIn publishing, visit https://www.linkedin.com/learning/publishing-on-linkedin-for-college-students-and-young-professionals/publishing-best-practices
For this assignment, write a 200-300 word article about the three key insights you gained from the Twitter chat.
To create an effective LinkedIn article, you should include the following elements, in addition to your writing:
- Headline (5-9 words)
- One header image
- One embedded picture or video in the article
- At least three hyperlinks to outside articles related to your key insights
- Tip: Integrate hyperlinks into your article, not as add-ons at the end
- At least two hashtags that make your article searchable on LinkedIn
- Tip: Integrate hashtags into your article, not as add-ons at the end
- Optional: Tag relevant people in your article
- Tip: Tag guest panelists from the Twitter chat or people you have quoted in the article
- Include visual/multimedia elements (embed example tweets, relevant videos, etc.), in addition to the visual representation of the data.
- Embed your hyperlinks in the text; don’t simply paste a URL in the text. Test your links to make sure they work.
- Separate into sections and label each section (you can create your own titles for each section). Each section should be approximately one short paragraph (two max).
- Give your blog post a title. This is different from a headline or an essay title. Use the title to highlight important findings from your report. For example: “#SMStudentChat Shows Growing Interest in Blogs for Professional Development.”
- Make sure that the background does not obscure the text.
- Use a clean, professional theme/format.
- Be informative and professional, but use a conversational tone (natural human speech). Avoid slang.
- Use multimedia and line spaces to break up text.
Write a short promotional post for Twitter or LinkedIn with one teaser tip you learned from the Twitter chat. Direct your audience to read your article for more tips and insights. Include a hyperlink to the article, your class hashtag, and tag the chat sponsor.