Posts Tagged ‘social media’

The importance of grammar: Mistakes harm your reputation

November 18, 2014 3 comments
The number one social media outlet might be the reason candidates aren't getting jobs.

The number one social media outlet might be the reason candidates aren’t getting jobs.

Grammar is dying. Rather, society is killing grammar by not using it correctly.

Some people say they don’t care about grammar, but they should.

Social media has become a primary way for people to express views and beliefs. According to Statistic Brain, a website that gathers statistics on a variety of topics, Facebook is the largest online social media outlet, with 1.3 billon monthly active users.

It doesn’t take long to find an endless amount of errors while scrolling through the many comments and statuses on Facebook.  On this platform, it appears users don’t feel an obligation to abide by the rules of grammar.

But many posts on Facebook are published for the world to see. Even something so miniscule as grammar can determine how someone is perceived. By using incorrect grammar, a message might be misinterpreted. This can lead to saying something that might offend another peer or convey a message entirely different than the writer intended.

Nowadays, there are millions of books, applications and websites that people can use as resources to learn proper grammar. This information is accessible within a click of a button. Even by searching the word “grammar” into Apple’s App Store, 158 results are generated. Grammar mistakes are embarrassing and avoidable. All it takes is to learn the rules of grammar.

Grammar is used to convey a clear and accurate message. For a speaker to be understood and a reader to understand, there must be rules. These rules offer make writing consistent. Without abiding by correct grammar rules, readers get confused. They wonder why the writing is not consistent and question if the information is even correct.

In almost every profession, grammar is required. Every person in the professional workforce must be able to convey a clear and accurate message. Recently, Forbes posted an article about a current poll that was conducted about how social media affects recruiters’ views of the candidates applying for a job. In the poll, 66 percent of the recruited were turned off by candidates if they used “poor spelling and grammar” throughout social media. Recruiters want candidates to have and use a basic understanding of correct grammar.

KRTV, a television-broadcasting channel based in Great Falls, Montana, posted an article that discussed the hiring procedures of the Great Falls Police Department. In the article, Jack Allen, the lieutenant of the Great Falls Police Department, said the department requires applicants to pass two tests: a physical test and a written test. The written test includes basic skills including “reading comprehension, math, grammar and writing.” This example shows how even if a job is not directly related to language, such as an editor or English teacher, employers still want candidates who have basic skills.

__By Alexa West











Social media complicates ethics guidelines for journalists

October 6, 2014 1 comment
Social media can be a dangerous thing.

Social media can be a dangerous thing.

Five years ago, I had to beg my parents to get the paper delivered or I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the news with my mother. Neither of those things worked well for me.

Now, I have unlimited access to some of the top newspapers in the country through their social media networks All I have to do is log into Twitter or Facebook. Everything I need to know about the day or week’s events is right there on my phone’s screen in 140 characters or less.

Many people in media believe social media has changed the journalism industry for good, and virtually every journalism student has been beaten over the head with this information. We know that printed newspapers are becoming less relevant.  By the time the daily paper is delivered in printed form, the news is old. We know that tweeting can be the easiest way to gain sources and information. But what about another key part of journalism? How have the ethical codes of journalism changed?

What happens when someone tweets something personal to his or her handful of followers that could make a good news story? Are we still required, as ethical journalists, to ask permission to retweet or do we just do it because the tweet was public?

Earlier this year, that same question provoked controversy. Christine Fox, inspired by another Twitter user saying women who dress provocatively invite rape, started a Twitter conversation with other sexual assault victims asking what they were wearing when they got attacked. The conversation was quickly picked up by Buzzfeed. The Buzzfeed writer asked the permission of the tweeters responding to Fox, but did not ask Fox for permission to publish her Twitter handle and picture – even after Fox identified herself as a sexual assault victim.

News outlets exploded with opinions about whether  the writer was violating a common journalistic ethical code of not releasing sexual assault victims’ names without consent. Some said the story was exploitive and others argued that Buzzfeed was in the right. writer Amanda Hess told her readers “our rights [as journalists] are expanding radically, while our responsibilities to our sources are becoming more and more optional.”

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics states that journalists should “recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention.”  One could argue that Twitter users are seeking “attention” by posting publicly, but then where does the line dividing public and private lie now that 271 million Twitter users are sharing everything from what they ate for breakfast to what time they go to bed?

Because social media has become a legitimate news source, shouldn’t the code of ethics carry over? NPR’s rules for social media agree and urge reporters to be respectful of cultures, whether online or offline, and to remember that “our ethics don’t change in different circumstances, but our decisions might.”

The Online News Association posted five key ethical challenges of social media. The Center for Journalism Ethics has a section on digital media ethics. NPR has its set of rules for social media. The Society of Professional Journalists updated its ethics code in September. Many other news sources have put out suggestions or thoughts provoking industry-wide discussion, but is there a solid answer?

One thing that I think all journalists can agree on is the stepping stone toward a perfect answer: Use your best judgment and respect others.

_By Erika Kime

Brands should consider tone when tweeting on 9/11

In 2013 it was AT&T.

This year, we saw it from Build-a-Bear Workshop, yoga studios, adult toy shops and toilet paper companies.

AT&T's 9/11 tweet from 2013

AT&T’s 9/11 tweet from 2013

These brands tweeted on Sept. 11, and it caused quite the collective eye roll on Twitter. Twitter users didn’t want to hear about 9/11 from companies. And they especially didn’t want a business to use Patriot Day to promote itself or its product.

Last year, AT&T received backlash for its 9/11 tweet. People responded with anger about a company using such a sad day to sell them something.

As @ryanpbroderick said, “.@ATT your cool Photoshop makes the memories of watching my parents cry in front of the television a lot easier to deal with today.”

Cooper Tires wasn't the only brand to put its logo on the photo.

Cooper Tires wasn’t the only brand to put its logo on the photo.

Other users called for a boycott of a company that used a national tragedy as a marketing ploy. And this year, brands still hadn’t learned from AT&T’s mistake.

Companies posted memorial photos with their logos on them. They offered “Patriot Day” sales. They tried to sell you their product by “showing respect” for those who had died or lost loved ones on this day 13 years ago.

Some brands just tweeted a photo with “Never forget” or “We remember.” But even these simple tweets failed to impress the public.

“Perception means everything,” said Scott Kleinberg, social media editor at The Chicago Tribune. “Even if there’s technically nothing wrong with it, it’s how the public views it. I really think the public has spoken. And I really like to make sure that I honor that.”

Verizon's tweet on September 10, 2014.

Verizon’s tweet on September 10, 2014.

Verizon was one of the few brands that may have heard the public. This year, they didn’t tweet on 9/11, out of respect. And the public’s reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The majority of users appreciated the silence.

As John Oliver pointed out on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” silence from companies isn’t controversial.

Many said Build-a-Bear was promoting its own product with this tweet.

Many said Build-a-Bear was promoting its own product with this tweet.

“No one will ever go, ‘I can’t believe it. Skittles didn’t tweet about 9-11 yesterday, they must support terrorism. I’m never eating them again,’” Oliver said. According to him, brands should pass on the opportunity to “join the conversation.”

And from responses on Twitter and the rest of the Internet, most people agree with Oliver.

So, to all the brands out there considering a tweet on 9/11 or any day of national tragedy, consider the tone of your message. If you have any hesitation, just don’t tweet it. Silence is probably better anyway.

_Whitney Carlson

Social media’s role in a #GovernmentShutdown

October 29, 2013 1 comment

When the government shut down for 21 days in 1995, social media didn’t exist.  That shutdown, according to a Gallup poll, didn’t affect public opinion in the long run.

But during the 16-day shutdown that ended Oct. 17, social media was used widely. When thousands of  Americans  temporarily lost their jobs and popular government programs closed, people could easily voice their opinions and share information on social media. Whether this shutdown — captured vividly on social media — will have a long-term impact on public opinion remains to be seen.

A group at New York University gathered 1,200 tweets from members of congress over a 24 hour span, Democrats in blue, Republicans in red. The bigger the word, the more often it was tweeted.

A group at New York University gathered 1,200 tweets from members of Congress over a 24-hour span, Democrats in blue, Republicans in red. The bigger the word, the more often it was tweeted.

During the shutdown, Twitter was ablaze with trending topics surrounding the shutdown. Some of the more popular hashtags were:  #GovernmentShutdown, #ShutdownPickupLines, #NoBudgetNoPants and #DearCongress.

Social media was used in several different ways. Some people used it to make fun of the shutdown. Others used it to express anger toward the government or perhaps bring change. However it was used, it iTwitter and other forms of social media gave the masses a voice.

Social media has become an easy way for Americans to communicate with politicians. Through the “Today” show’s #DearCongress hashtag, voters can tweet 140 characters of complaint or approval directly to all 532 members of Congress at once.

An article in The Oregonian said tens of thousands of fed-up Americans used social media to vent at Congress. It said during the last government shutdown, in 1995, angry Americans would have had to look up their representative’s address and write him or her a letter or possibly an email. Today, social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow Americans to instantly be heard by politicians and millions of other Americans.

It was not just the American people who turned to social media during the shutdown. Lawmakers used social media as a way to keep in touch with voters and reiterate their stances on issues such as Obamacare.

House Speaker John Boehner’s Oct. 2  Facebook post urging Senate Democrats to keep the government open earned more than 14,000 “likes” and more than 16,000 comments. Some hailed Boehner as a hero; others called him anything from a “crybaby” to a “terrorist.” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s Oct. 9 post blamed Boehner and House Republicans for the government shutdown and its ill effects on the nation. The post received more than 5,000 “likes” and nearly 2,000 comments on Facebook. Although it is impossible to calculate the impact politicians’ social media interactions had on the government shutdown, it is undeniable that it pushed the discussion further and allowed for more people to interact with politicians.

The American people were not only using social media to reach out to politicians. Reporters and news broadcasters were able to interact with the American people about the government shutdown through social media.

NBC News correspondent Kelly O’Donnell said in an article published in The Columbus Dispatch that social media proved especially helpful in her coverage of the shutdown. She said she used questions in her reporting that she got through Twitter and email from people across the nation.

In the same article, CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash said social media made her reporting easier. In the past, Bash said, she would have to plead with producers for time off of the air to report. However, during her coverage of the recent shutdown, sources texted, tweeted or emailed her information to her while she was on the air, creating instant and accurate reporting.

What have we learned about social media’s role?

  •  Social media is a great way for millions of Americans to voice their opinions, reach out to politicians and spread information.
  • Social media is a good platform for politicians to reach out to voters, especially during a time when they aren’t looked upon favorably, like a government shutdown.
  • Social media also is a good way for reporters to stay in contact with sources and get accurate information fast.

Does social media influence politics? It may not bring the immediate change, but it definitely brings more voices to the table during a political discussion. Maybe a better question is, does social media influence the way the American people deal with politics? I would say yes. At times it may feel that we are powerless when it comes to politics and governmental decision-making. Social media gives everyone in our country a voice, which is more than can be said about many countries around the world today.

_By Ben Malotte

Facebook has slight lead when it comes to getting readers

October 28, 2012 2 comments

Information drawn from Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism 2012 State of the News Media study.

Connecting to readers should be the most important part of a journalist’s  job. The most interesting, well-written piece will never get the readership numbers the writer would like if media outlets, and journalists themselves, aren’t adept at reaching out to readers. One way of doing this is through social media.

On the morning of Oct. 4, 2012, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, announced on his page that Facebook  had 1 billion people actively using the site each month. At the end of 2004, Facebook could only claim 1 million users. By the end of the next year, its population had grown to 5.5 million. Seven years later, the social networking site is the most popular in the world.

On the other side of social media domination is Twitter. In recent months, the site has been the subject of many stories about fake users. CEO Dick Costello said in September that Twitter has 100 million active users each month. This number is much lower than the  200,000 registered users. This should make media companies think about how many people they really are reaching when they tweet. StatusPeople has come up with a simple tool for finding this out. For example, The New York Times has more than 6 million followers. The StatusPeople app says that only 34 percent of these users are active.

While Twitter is a fantastic tool for spreading news and connecting quickly, it does not provide the same kind of platform for gaining readers that Facebook does. I think of Twitter more as a tool for connecting with other journalists or other people who are actively looking for news, whereas Facebook is a tool for connecting to everyday readers.

A 2012 study by the Pew Research Center shows that Facebook is the more popular of the two sites when it comes to getting news. However, neither is really driving that much traffic. Only 9 percent of digital news consumers follow links they find on either site. A lot of responsibility still lies with website designers because 39 percent of online news consumers are still going directly to news websites. But as the meteoric rise of Facebook shows, there is room for the growth in social media; it isn’t going away.

When it comes right down to it, Facebook and Twitter are both tools that journalists and news organizations should have in their box. The key is knowing how to use them. Facebook and Twitter will bring stories to different groups of readers. Journalists must know a potential audience is waiting on these two social media sites. Both sites are gaining users who could become readers.

By Mallory Miller

Twitter is changing journalism as it propels news faster

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Photo via from ©


In today’s changing world, social networks have become a major force in journalism.  Twitter is now a main source of news for millions of people.

Whether it is breaking news or local news, Twitter is an effective way to keep readers and followers in the loop, without the need for print. It is especially great for breaking news because it allows news to be posted quickly.

When Twitter first appeared, many people were unsure of the role it would have in journalism. I personally thought that Twitter was a waste of time; no one cared that you were eating lunch at a certain place or wanted to know where you were at every minute of the day. But, slowly, Twitter showed the world that it had a rightful place in journalism, and it hasn’t been the same since.

Twitter is also a good tool used in journalism schools, much like our own here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In our case, it is used to learn how to properly link to stories, to sharpen our news judgment by helping us determine what is worth tweeting and to help us establish ourselves as professionals in the way we use Twitter accounts.

In an article found on just how much Twitter has affected journalism is shown in two charts, both of which display how long news took to reach readers before-Twitter and after- Twitter. The article also examines how easy it is to use and retweet information so it can spread even more, faster. The author says Twitter can no longer be defined as a social network, instead it should be classified as social Web since it connects so many people around the world so quickly.

For me, the most interesting point is that since Twitter has been around, ordinary people can tweet about events happening around them — many times before any news outlets get to it. The idea that anyone can contribute to local journalism is empowering to many.

Since Twitter has become a major source for news, it has undergone changes itself in how news is spread. An article found on outlines how the industry is embracing Twitter and how it has changed since it was first introduced. The article demonstrates 10 ways that Twitter has changed the way journalism works. Those include how linking to articles has become extremely popular to how Twitter has become a great place for a reporter to gather sources. The article is interesting as well as eye-opening on how reliant we have become on Twitter to get news out fast and as readers to stay as up-to-date. It is also amazing at how creative journalists become with Twitter, specifically using Twitter to conduct research for stories.

Twitter has changed the way social networks work. It has opened up many opportunities for industries, especially journalism, to grow. My advice to anyone looking at social media to stay connected to the world and news, is get a Twitter account. With this, you will be able to keep up with the news  and learn about advancements in the journalism world.

-Alicia  Mikoloyck