Archive for June, 2011

Final Project: A prospective students guide to the UW

For our final project, Josh, Preet and myself decided to create a website for prospective University of Washington students. Each of us has a separate page reflecting on our time at the UW and what the school means to each of us. Furthermore, there’s an introduction on the front page and a resources page where prospective students can find links to everything they need.

Link to homepage:

Link to my Soundslides and photo gallery:

Direct link to Soundslides (“Future, Hope & Progess”):


Twitter and social media: what’s next?

I first signed up for my Twitter account way back in 2008, and since then I’ve researched the website, used it, and seen it explode as one of the most popular and — in my opinion — one of the most important tools the Internet has to offer. For at least a year, I didn’t take Twitter seriously, often just using it as a way to communicate with my friends and family. It wasn’t until I transferred to the University of Washington and started my communication classes that I really started seeing the true potential of Twitter. And within the blink of an eye, it seemed like the website exploded in popularity. Suddenly every celebrity, newspaper, television network and everything in between was using it. Twitter had become a regular in popular culture and a regular punchline on late-night television.

When we were assigned to use Twitter for digital journalism, I was already following several journalists and joining discussions about the news and other topics. Although already familiar with how to use Twitter, the COM466 class list actually was nice because I learned how to use the ‘list’ feature to better effect. As for the future of Twitter, I see it as a continually important aspect for journalists, bloggers, news organizations, and citizens. It’s certainly one of the most powerful tools for citizenry journalism. Suddenly, anyone on Twitter is a reporter. Moreover, anyone on Twitter is a source — I’m thinking about the recent scandal involving New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and Whatcom Community College student Gennette Cordova.

But Twitter can be both dangerous and extremely powerful. Its dangers lie in who you can trust and what you can trust. If news organizations aren’t careful, they can lose credibility through Twitter — both by the accounts they run and the accounts their employees have. All it takes is one unchecked source, and suddenly a tweet is online forever. I’m reminded of a tweet earlier this year involving a UW basketball recruit. He was upset with a story that ran in The Seattle Times about his high school academics, and blasted the reporter through his Twitter account. Within minutes, he removed the post, probably thinking it was better to let cooler heads prevail. However, the tweet was already captured forever by third-party websites, and word spread like wildfire to Husky athletic websites and message boards.

Nevertheless, the power to do good with Twitter exists as well. It’s easier to get — sometimes — reliable updates about breaking news. Not just from your community, but from around the world. The role Twitter has played in movements in Iran and other countries is extraordinary. If a website like this has helped bring social change to millions, what more could it do? Only time will tell. Furthermore, the potential for the journalism world is still growing. Bringing in clicks through Twitter for blogs and newspaper websites could be huge for potential advertisers. In comparison, Twitter could (and likely already has) help diversify the journalism market — community and subject-specific (like sports) blogs still seem to be all the rage. Will this take business away from smaller newspapers? Can those newspapers adjust?

Plus, Twitter might just be the start — what big idea is just floating around in someone’s mind, waiting for millions to join in?

Categories: Assignments, COM466 Tags: ,