Do you check the official Twitter feed for the Missouri School of Journalism on a regular basis? Probably not, based on the dismal number of followers.
As of Sunday afternoon, the J-School’s official Twitter account has just 618 followers. That is a far cry from most other top journalism schools and a negative reflection on our own.
Just by the number of followers, let’s see how the Missouri School of Journalism’s Twitter feed stacks up to other journalism schools:
- Columbia University: 5,612
- Arizona State University: 4,892
- USC Annenberg: 3,823
- UNC Chapel Hill: 3,047
- Northwestern University: 2,308
- New York University: 1,985
- Berkeley: 1,103
- J-School Buzz: 920
- Mizzou: 618
- Kansas: 545
- Illinois: 312
At least we have more than Kansas … but not by much.
As students at the Missouri School of Journalism, we’re familiar with the J-School’s reputation as one of the top journalism schools in the country. For years, Mizzou has sat comfortably at the top, alongside universities such as Columbia and Northwestern. But since we are a school that prides itself on innovation in online media, why is it that our social media is so lacking?
If you do look at the Missouri J-School’s Twitter feed, you’ll notice its content is made up entirely of press releases. They’re about J-School students and professors winning awards and other news that boosts the school’s reputation. This content is important to include, as Twitter is a great public relations tool. At the same time, press releases are boring, and unless yours or your friend’s name is in that press release, most students won’t care enough to read them.
Plus, with a measly 15 tweets since the Spring 2011 semester began, we can hardly count on Twitter to keep up with the happenings in the J-School. Maybe that’s why just a month and a half after J-School Buzz began publishing, our Twitter account already has 920 followers, nearly 300 more than the journalism school’s.
And in case you were wondering, the Reynold’s Journalism Institute Twitter is not representative of the J-School. RJI is a journalism research and testing center, and the Twitter accounts are maintained separately.
The Missouri School of Journalism Facebook page is even worse. There are no recent posts to speak of, only a few links and comments from J-School students.
Like any other typical college student, checking my Twitter and Facebook accounts is one of the first things I do when I sit down at my computer. And because we spend so many of our waking hours (and some of our non-waking ones) in the J-School, it’s only natural to expect more communication from it.
Columbia Journalism School uses its Twitter feed to remind students of workshops and lectures as well as to publicize content that its students have published. It even engages in conversations with students sometimes, @ mentioning them and responding to their comments. Its Twitter is friendly, interesting and consistent, with about two tweets per day.
The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications has a similar approach. It also retweets students and other UNC accounts on a regular basis. You can read tweets about upcoming events, view students’ work and even find links to internship and job opportunities.
The University of Southern California’s J-School has one of the most conversational Twitters I saw, with an average of 10 tweets per day. It uses the hashtag #ascj for Annenburg School for Communication and Journalism. Students, alumni and professors have joined in, so it’s easy to communicate. They even encourage prospective students to use the #ascj hashtag so they can chat with current J-School students.
New York University’s J-School does such a good job of filling its Twitter with interesting content that it took me a full five minutes of scrolling through tweets to find an actual press release.
I want to be able to visit the J-School’s Twitter and find links to students’ work, reminders about club meetings, and announcements of speakers and films being shown in the J-School. These are the kind of tweets we feel obliged to send out because the J-School’s Twitter feed doesn’t. I want to see links to relevant news stories and other content that students would find helpful and interesting. The J-School should be using social media not just as a mouthpiece for its own achievements, but also as a learning tool for students.
Suzette Heiman, director of planning and communications for the Missouri School of Journalism, maintains the J-School Twitter. Heiman says the account is used primarily as a publicity tool. And while including more information on the Twitter is a good idea, it’s more complicated than it sounds.
“It’s a matter of how it’s going to be monitored, and having proper organization,” said Heiman.
Currently, J-School students receive relevant news and information via email. Heiman says for the foreseeable future, that system will remain in place.
How do you think the University of Missouri School of Journalism can better use its social media? Let us (and the J-School) know in the comments below, or better yet, tell them yourselves on Twitter.