VIDEO: Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone Talks About Information Sharing at NAA Conference

March 28, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed

The Newspaper Association of America’s MediaXchange 2011 conference kicked off with a look at how Twitter helps disseminate news through a very mobile platform.

As NAA Chairman Mark Contreras introduced the first session, he said some of the organization’s primary goals are to promote the value of newspapers and an industry with a wide digital shopping experience.

With a recent Pew Research Center study revealing that about half of originally reported journalism is done by newspapers, the session focused on how the social media platform Twitter helps – not hurts – the news industry.

“Anybody can publish, but no one has the responsibility that we do,” Contreras said.

Biz Stone of Twitter agreed. The man who co-founded Twitter five years ago said he doesn’t worry so much about false information shared on the platform, but he knows it exists. Stone said he’s seen an overwhelming positive impact with the open exchange of information and that Twitter has become a user-regulated outlet.

Twitter currently has 200 million registered accounts with 500,000 new sign-ups daily around the globe. Initially, Twitter was created for mobile use. Stone said about 40 percent of usage is via mobile.

“We started on the SMS network,” Stone said. “It represents a much larger market to build on than the Internet. The combination of the two makes for a much wider audience.

With the three areas of integration into media – journalism, the news consumer and the news maker – Stone said more journalists are curating trusted sources to do their jobs, as well as sending out tweets.

“While Twitter may break news very quickly, we don’t go into detail,” he said.

He said he believes links give tweets a richer context and the character limit forces people to get creative. That’s why, he added, the 140-character limit is here to stay. Meta-information can be shared via attachments of images, video, time and even location.

As for the future of Twitter, Stone said it will stick to its original platform.

“The big thing is going back to our roots, which is mobile,” he said. “I hope Twitter will be available on any phone globally in the next five years.”

He acknowledged the marketing potential for companies, as well as the impact Twitter has on breaking news. Twitter, which was first used heavily at the 2007 South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, has increasingly been a factor in major national and world events. In 2008, Twitter emerged as an important tool in the political arena; more recently, Twitter users have provided news on protests in the Middle East.

Stone said at the end of the day, Twitter’s goal is to serve users and to provide value to everyone on that platform.

For more Daily Mustang coverage of the NAA Conference visit the blog.

Video and Editing By Andy Garcia and Fernando Valdes

SMU Students Share Their Spring Break Experiences

March 22, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted By E’Lyn Taylor

Through the course spring break, SMU journalism students shared their expeditions via twitter. Look below to see what experiences they have encountered via twitpic.

SMU Community Responds To University Opening on Twitter, Night Classes Closed

February 9, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed


Statement From SMU at 4:02 p.m.: SMU classes at the Dallas and Plano campuses are cancelled for Wednesday night, Feb. 9. Fondren Library will close at 9 p.m. Wednesday night, and the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center is closing at 6 p.m. Wednesday. A decision regarding Thursday classes will be announced in the morning. We appreciate the cooperation of the University community as we make difficult decisions and cope with this unusual weather for Texas.

Snow fall has hit Dallas in a second round of inclement weather in two weeks.

According to National Weather Service Sr. meteorologist Eric Martello, the snow should be ending across the metroplex by the afternoon, but that’s not he end of the cold temperatures.

“We might see more light snow grains and flurries by midday and it some partial clearing by the afternoon but the artic air will prevent the snow from melting,” Martello said.

Dallas hit the day’s high at midnight in the upper 40s. The average temperature for the day is in the teens.

We’ll stay well below freezing and it will continue until tonight and drop below,” Martello said.

SMU students are not happy that SMU has decided to open campus for classes Wednesday and are speaking out on Twitter.

Tweets mentioning SMU and the weather are filling timelines with students sending in pictures of injuries they’ve sustained in the snow and worsening road conditions. Here is what a few concerned students and Dallas residents are saying about the university’s opening:

loganmasters (logan masters)

BQtheTruth (B.Quarles)
Is SMU the only school in DFW still open? This is some bull

LolaBlonde (Lola)
@wfaachannel8 needs to broadcast 2night the fact that @smu was only school open in entire area 2day.Look @ their facebook page to see uproar

texas_tide (Allison McNabb)
Ok Smu. Time to close. The streets are dangerous!

l_lieberman (Lieberman)
@SMU has lost its mind, making us come to work today

BricFlair (Bric Flair)
RT @astaubus: Hey @FOX4, since @SMU decided to have class today I was involved in a wreck. Would you like to see the photos?

MicaelaSimonne (Micaela Watkins)
Dear SMU, this is not walk to class weather… Douchelords

ErinDonnelley (Erin)
work is canceled, but @SMU is not…

astaubus (Austin R. Staubus)
Hey @SMU great call having classes. Thanks to you my car slid into a wall.

LizHealy07 (Liz Healy)
Lots of buzz about @SMU being open today despite the horrendous driving conditions. #notsurprised

heather91779 (Heather Rodenborg)
Voiced my feelings to the news station about @SMU remaining open during an ice storm and putting the lives of many at risk. #SMU#Dallas

SadiAnderson (Sadi Anderson)
Wondering when @SMU will decide to cancel classes….The roads are worse than last week!!

annedowney (Anne Trussell)
Dear SMU, since you refuse to cancel school, can you come airlift me to my classes instead?

rickygrundenjr (Ricky L Grunden, Jr.)
so glad @smu is putting sand on their roads…although doesn’t do much good unless they sand the rest of dallas for the commuters

COG2009 (LaKeisha James)
I’m so not happy with SMU!!!

EmilyPGreig (Emily Greig)
OMG I just slid out into the middle of an intersection when I was only going 10mph. I DON’T FEEL SAFE @SMU

clutteredluxury (TR & CR)
WOW! Good thing I bought a genuine Alaskan sled dog team to go up turtle creek this morning on my way to @SMU!

chineboy359 (Mike Y.)
Fu.smu. Have Togo to class now…

EmilyPGreig (Emily Greig)
Seriously @SMU? I have been slipping all over the place and I have 4 wheel drive

aghadiry (Amir Ghadiry)
There is no way commuter students can make it from North of Dallas to @SMU. Traffic is backed up to 121.

loriswarner (loriswarner)
Worst strategic move of 2011 in Dallas, TX: @SMU having class during 19 degree sleet storm that has closed schools & roads all over DFW.

We also asked students what they thought about the opening on our Twitter page. Here’s what some had to say:

iKinG2Ryse (Drizzy)
@SMUDailyMustang dont like it, should have at least delayed until it stopped snowing

StangbOi9 (marquis frazier)
@SMUDailyMustang. Bs

Students, as well as concerned parents have also taken to the university’s Facebook page to voice concerns, ask questions and post pictures of accidents due to the bad road conditions.

At around 7 a.m. SMU commented on their page saying, “Thanks for the feedback. This is always a tough decision because it affects so many people. We’ll continue to monitor the situation throughout the day.” The post has since collected 128 comments.

There is no word yet if SMU will close campus on Thursday when weather is said to be the same. Martello said Thursday will start off in the low teens but sunshine is in the forecast, with temperatures in the upper 20s for the day. Friday and Saturday temperatures will go into the 40s and higher.

Click here to see the SMU policy on inclement weather. Check back with the Daily Mustang for updates on the weather and campus closings.

Global News Blog: Twitter in Venezuela

December 1, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Stuart Fisher

Twitter is one of the most powerful social media sites in the world right now, and even with severe censorship, Venezuela has been taken over by the social media site.

Unlike what most Americans are used too, Venezuela severely restricts and censors any media in the country. President Hugo Chávez even wanted to censor social media sites and internet; however, surprisingly, Chávez joined Twitter in April 2010.

Chávez represents the most followed person in Venezuela with 250,000 followers. BBC News reports that around 18% of his messages are hostile, and he employs over 200 people to read and follow up on his twitter. Many criticize his time spent on the social media site instead of tending to the immediate needs of Venezuela

Luckily, college students do not have people policing time spent on Twitter, or we would all be in trouble.

Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 4

November 4, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 4 from on Vimeo.

On today’s Daily Update you’ll find out why Rangers fans still have a reason to celebrate and the direction that political campaigns are moving. Also, Kellius Cunningham will gives a preview of what this week’s football game against UTEP is going to look like and how SMU’s athletic policy is changing. All this and more on your Daily Update.

Dallas Journalists Come to SMU to Give the Lowdown on What’s Happening to Journalism and The Media

October 26, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kalyn Harper

Distinguished Dallas journalists discussed the growth of social media and strategies for students to enter into a professional career in journalism at SMU’s Meadows Symposium 2010: The Art of Entrepreneurship Friday.

The panel discussion, “From Citizen Journalist to Professional,” was held by Matthew Haag, writer and blogger for the Dallas Morning News, Linda Leavell, editor for, and Callie Wall, KETK-TV anchor were invited to discuss the growing world of social media.

Linda Leavell is managing editor of The Dallas Morning News website, where she has worked since January 2003. MU graduate Matthew Haag, who interned under Leavell, covers Plano and Plano ISD for The Dallas Morning News. SMU graduate and journalism major Callie Wall was hired by KETK, an NBC affiliate in Tyler, where she co-anchors a 2-hour morning show, KETK Today, and a one-hour midday show, East Texas Live.

Each journalist on the panel were invited to discuss where journalism is going, how it’s changing and what people can expect. Students were encouraged to ask any and all questions about what their careers and perspectives on the future of the media.

The underlying question of the day: What do we, as journalists and future members of the media, need to know to make it?

“Journalism has always been about being first and being the most current,” Wall said.
“This industry is moving so much faster than it ever has and social networking, amongst other things, is repelling it forward.”

The future of journalism is changing because of the incorporation of multimedia, and flexibility is the key to success in the business.

“Flexibility is huge and your willingness to experiment—maybe Skype live to do an interview—you have to be willing to be on the cutting edge to see what works and what doesn’t work to better reach your audience,” Haag, who co-writes a beat blog about Plano on, said.

Journalism students are learning the implications of live blogging—an experience that many older reporters aren’t comfortable with. CoveritLive and other mobile sites are becoming more important because people want to get their news on the go.
Haag uses Twitter and Facebook for reporting, which “adds more social responsibility” to what he does. People expect news from a number of platforms: newspapers, websites, mobiles, iPhone apps, and iPADs.

Now, reporters must know how to distribute news that is valuable in various forms of media because the receipt of information is different. “The immediacy of it all is indicative of how fast things are changing,” Wall said.

After the panel discussion, SMU sophomore and journalism major Erica Penunuri asked Wall, “What makes you happy about choosing this career?”
“Feeling like I’m bringing information to people is a pretty powerful thing, I never go day to day with the same thing going on because news is always changing,” Wall responded.
“It’s not an easy industry to be in, but if you thrive on a changing environment, it’s a fun a one to be in.”

Social Networking Sites Are More Important Than You Think

October 21, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Maggie Ashworth

Five years ago, Facebook was popping up in high schools across the country and Twitter was practically unheard of. Today there is an entire facet of careers dedicated to the world of social networking.

Last night, as a part of the Hegi Career Center’s Social Media Week, five Dallas professionals gathered in the Hughes-Trigg Forum to discuss the importance of social media jobs with SMU students. The Careers in Social Media event featured panelists that log onto social networking sites on a regular basis- and get paid for it.

The panel included Laura Stillo, social media producer for YouPlusDallas, Mike Merrill, director of marketing at ReachLocal, Brian Conway, who handles the social and digital media for Weber Shandwick, Kendall Shiffler, social networking and marketing associate for Lower Oak Lawn, and Jessica Nunez, owner of Nunez PR Group.

Although the panelists work for businesses ranging from modern digital journalism to real estate and public relations companies, each receives large amounts of traffic and attention as a result of social media.

These social media professionals covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from appropriate subjects to post on Twitter and personal blogs, to knowing where to draw the line between personal and professional social media.

As black and white as it may seem, today’s college students are still posting unsuitable pictures and information about themselves across the World Wide Web, regardless of the fact that future bosses will have access to this information. Mike Merrill believes it’s best not to blur the lines.

“Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom to see,” Merrill said.

Although Twitter might seem like an appropriate place to tell the world about your horrendous hangover, it’s better to tweet about what’s going on in the world, or topics that are relevant to your areas of interest.

Employers want to see your creative writing ability and input on current events, but spare them the details of your crazy nights out

“Brand yourself online well,” Stillo said.

The importance of “careful” blogging was strongly emphasized by each panelist.

Nunez, who own’s her own PR firm, clarified that blogging experience is important, but it means nothing unless the subject matter is relevant.

“We tell you to blog, and then you go out and blog about your life, and then I know too much,” Nunez said. “Blog about something that you care about and that interests you, just don’t tell us about your weekend on Knox-Henderson.”

The subject of a blog can be helpful or hurtful and the first step to understanding proper blogging is to look at your blog as a representation of yourself. Panelist Laura Stillo took this approach, and it helped her land her current job.

Stillo, who graduated from SMU in 2009, used her blog from an advertising class to demonstrate her writing ability and it got her a job interview at YouPlusDallas.

By showcasing her initiative to find interesting information, as well as her unique writing style throughout her blog, YouPlusDallas saw Stillo as an exceptional job candidate. Traits such as writing ability and experience can’t be explained on a resume, but a blog can convey that information.

According to the panelists, blogging and internships are the way to demonstrate one’s ability, and that’s what makes job applicants stand out. When it comes to blogging, the panelists told students that there are several ways to approach beginning a blog.

Merrill urged that is the ultimate domain site for those who are ready to become dedicated, serious bloggers. But, for beginner bloggers who want to start out slow, he recommends reading or for tips on better blogging.

As far as internships go, Nunez feels that experience as an intern is essential for resume building and will pay off in the long run.

“It’s like the accessory to your outfit,” Nunez said. “Your degree is your dress, accessorize it with your internships.”

SMU Legend Craig James Encourages Students to Get Involved

October 19, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Hayley Bosch

A big crowd gathered in Hughes-Trigg Monday night to hear from one half of the legendary Pony Express duo, Craig James.

As part of the Craig James Tour, the alum visited his alma mater to encourage his audience to get involved in democracy.

Jo Jensen, a member of the Craig James Tour team, said, “the whole point of this event is that we can hear from you.”

Whether through Twitter or texting a question via “ASKCRAIG,” the tour kept close to its slogan “Getting students off the sidelines and into the game.”

Liz Healy, an SMU graduate, took the stage to introduce Craig James.

“One of first things that I always tell people is to get involved, make a difference and leave a legacy. And today we’re here to hear from someone who did just that,” Healy said.

Healy continued to share the Craig James legacy at SMU. She read an excerpt from a book, which James was featured on the back cover.

James began the night by making the crowd comfortable, cracking a couple jokes and urging each person to ask questions.

“Notice on that book that I was on the back. I wasn’t quite good enough to be on the front of the cover,” James said.

Craig James went on to share an anecdote about his first business venture. He started his first company, Mustang Car Sales & Leasing, when he was a student at SMU. It was this venture that really got him interested in the business world.

“[I] learned a lot in those first few years because I had to be disciplined,” James explained.

Live polls were taken throughout the night. The first one asked the audience where they got their news. The majority answered that they got their news online. James went on to discuss the journalistic side of this trend.

Jordan Hamilton, an SMU senior, responded, “On my iPhone, I have all different apps, Wall Street Journal, CNN.”

Another student said she gets all of her news from Twitter.

The “conversation,” as James chose to refer to the event as, continued with the discussion of democracy and the importance of involvement.

“It’s a passion that I have to have a chance to visit and communicate with you guys. I know you’re busy. There’s a reason that we’re coming out and trying to visit with young Americans. It’s not just about young Americans; it’s all Americans. But I have a passion right now to help get you guys involved. And to encourage you to help you understand the importance that you have.”

James, a Texas Public Policy board member, discussed the Texas economy and why it is doing well.

SMU student Cameron Skreden gave his reason. “[It’s] probably the deregulation of government and the fact that there’s no income taxes…I believe in the economy report they put out last month they said that their main objective is to get California businesses to move to Texas.”

Craig James ended with an anecdote. The moral of the story was that people have to be passionate about whatever they do and it is vital to stand out.

The SMU Libertarian Club sponsored this event.

The Language of Social Media

April 26, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Meg Jones

SMU students live in a world where Facebook is their homepage. When they are not at their computers, they are blogging from their cell phones and it is completely acceptable to poke, tweet or tag somebody.

Social media has invaded the Hilltop and has introduced a whole new lingo to our everyday language and new words to the dictionary.

“When I’m not blogging from my computer, I’m tweeting from my cell phone or checking my Facebook updates,” Kerri Dezell, SMU junior advertising major, said.

Web 2.0 is the buzzword summing up the latest generation of Internet technology and signifies the change in philosophy as to how information is generated and shared.

People used to think of electronically mediated language as abbreviations such as OMG or LOL, but in today’s world, the focus of e-language is changing from text message short hands to the coined phrases of social media.

The integration of words such as Facebook, Twitter and blog into our daily vocabulary “reflects the dynamic and somewhat porous nature of the English language,” Kartik Pashupati, SMU professor of Mass Media and Technology, said.

The computer-crazed culture has changed the noun Facebook into a verb. Facebook is not only something we have, but also something we do.

According to an article written by Professor Susan C. Herring of Indiana University, “Computer Mediated Discourse is not just a trend; it is here to stay.”

The New Oxford American Dictionary word of the year in 2009 was unfriend; a verb that means to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site such as Facebook.

“It has both currency and potential longevity,” Christie Lindberg, senior lexicographer for Oxford’s U.S. dictionary program, said in a press release.

Hashtag, also considered as a candidate for the 2009 Word of the Year, is defined as a sign (this one: #) added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items.

Facebook was the runner-up for Merriam-Webster dictionary’s 2007 word of the year. Other entries similar to Facebook in the Merriam-Webster dictionary include Facebooker, Facebookian, Facebooking and Facebook-it is.

According to Facebook’s Press Room, there are more than 400 million active users and the average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook.

When people don’t have access to their computers, they are logging on via cell phone. There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile phones.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced at Chirp, the Twitter development conference, that the site has 105,779,710 registered users and is adding 300,000 new users daily.

Opinion Blog: Why No One Is Too Good to Tweet

April 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Steve Thompson

As a young college journalist, it is somewhat expected of me to be knowledgeable about the latest news. It is even more assumed that I am updating my Twitter and Facebook statuses constantly. Until recently, I had no desire inform the world that I “just had an awesome meal at Fabi + Rosi in Austin” or the fact that I’m “studying in Fondren again. Ugh!” But with the influx of Twitter accounts by important and sophisticated institutions, why should I be above tweeting?

Celebrities were the first to jump on the Twitter train, as I like to call it. Many of them said it was a way to connect with their fans. But we have seen even more of them use it in much more dramatic ways. John Mayer used the 140-word platform to issue an apology in February after using the N-word in a Playboy interview. P!nk stood up for her fellow girl-power singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on Twitter after Kanye West interrupted Swift on stage at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards. And infamous gossip blogger Perez Hilton even used Twitter to notify police of an alleged assault he suffered from Black Eyed Peas member
After reviewing these events, does that mean I should immediately turn to my Twitter next time I am mad at my parents or say something inappropriate in public? Probably no. That would never solve the issue. But was that really the goal of the celebrities? I’m not sure the police ever came to Hilton’s rescue, or Taylor Swift and P!nk became BFFs. Those tweets did nothing more than give them a little more publicity in the following week.

I’m a Texas college student. I don’t need publicity. So I thought I didn’t need Twitter.

Then all the news organizations got in on it and even politicians started using the site to voice their opinions. But what really made me rethink my lack of Twitter activity was when the White House joined. Maybe Twitter could be used for valid and highly informational purposes. A quick glance at the White House Twitter page suggests otherwise.

Check out this tweet from the White House yesterday: “You’re upset b/c you missed @justinbieber at the WH aren’t you? On again in a couple minutes. It’s ok. 1:41 PM Apr 5th via web.” Bieber isn’t the only celebrity taking up some White House staffer’s time. JK Rowling, Sara Barielles and the cast of Glee were also topics of discussion. Don’t worry! The President’s statement on Nuclear Posture Review did make the tweet cut. The White House Press Secretary is also on Twitter.

He recently posted about baseball. Maybe that isn’t the worst thing.

Tweeting about everyday nuances is what Twitter is all about, so I guess I can’t expect top government institutions to not join in on the fun.

After following the trends of Twitter in the past year, I realized that people actually do care about where their friends went to dinner last Saturday or what celebrities like Ashton Kutcher are up to. Actually, more people care about Kutcher than CNN. Why shouldn’t people care about me? My newfound love of Twitter is something that I never thought I’d admit. The idea that anyone or anything can be news is what makes Twitter so great. It can give people a big head, but with a 140-word limit people can’t get too pompous. This idea of individual broadcasts and little blurbs of news may be where news is headed. It’s easy and incorporates everyone from the White House to a lowly college student. If this is the future, I’m not about to be left behind.

What do you think? Is tweeting not for everyone? Or is it going to continue to change our social interactions and news? Leave a comment.

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