Hashtags, Hard News & Headlines: Twitter’s Place in Everyday Life

 

300 billion tweets have been sent since Twitter was created in 2006. Twitter’s users have access to some of the most instantaneous information in the world. The diversity of news, trending topics and entertainment attracts Internet users around the world to Twitter.

Students at the University of Denver and media professionals alike access Twitter on a daily basis to stay up-to-date on current events, hard news, celebrity news, advice on health and lifestyle choices and other trending topics.

Nonchalant News

“I don’t post that much, I mostly use Twitter to see what my friends are saying. I like that I can see what people I normally wouldn’t talk to, like President Obama or Justin Bieber are thinking or what they’re up to,” says DU Junior Senator, Tess Greenwald. How relaxed the social networking site can be attracts younger users who like to share “just dumb, funny things,” according to Greenwald. Socializing being important in social networking, Twitter allows relaxed socialization with friends, celebrities and other users across the globe.

Originally designed as a platform for to-the-point expression, Greenwald uses Twitter as it was designed with over 500 tweets.

Similarly, Anna Brown, a junior studying Data Analytics, says, “I can connect to my favorite comedians and other random, funny accounts. I use Twitter more from a comedic standpoint. I retweet funny posts and I tweet content I think other people can relate to.” It appears that DU students enjoy the entertainment aspect of Twitter as much, if not more, than the ability to share thoughts or news.

 

Without Twitter, neither Greenwald nor Brown would have seen or enjoyed the newest tweet-famous phenomenon–Damn Daniel.

Quick Connects

Another favorite Twitter aspect is the speed at which users can receive information. A swift scroll through one’s timeline can relay myriad information to users. Brown, with over 200 followers, enjoys how she can stay updated on the news she wants without having to read lengthy pages-long articles. “Twitter is a social network that limits character use. It’s a tool to concisely express what you’re thinking. I like that I can scroll through my timeline in just a few minutes,” says Brown. The speed Twitter offers has distinguished it from all other social networks and news sources.

There are few other places on the web that allow users to access all the content they want in one place, with quick one or two sentence blurbs.

Fact Finding

Although DU students are active on Twitter, finding news stories and keeping updated on current events does not seem to be a popular use of the network. Websites such as TheSkimm, The New York Times, Buzzfeed and Fox News were named favorite news sources. “Twitter has fallen in its status as a social network. It was so popular in high school, now no one uses it. It’s a dying form of social media and I definitely don’t use it to find news,” says Greenwald. Specifically, surveyed students claim to be more likely to visit news sites than to search Twitter for the same news.

Alternatively, professionals in the media industry are more likely to follow news sites on Twitter. “That’s where I get the “popular” headlines, or big hitting news…I also used [Twitter] as a tool to showcase myself when I applied for internships and jobs,” says Anna Hedlund, a Media Assistant with Sterling-Rice Group in Boulder. Still citing Vox and FiveThirtyEight as her most used news sources, Hedlund values Twitter for the professional opportunities it offers.

Seeing the benefit in corporate Twitter participation, Hedlund says, “When a Twitter is done well, it makes such an incredible difference. I think it increases brand loyalty big time.” While Hedlund, as a media professional, is excited to see where Twitter is headed “since tons of their big execs seem to be heading out the door fairly quickly,” she finds Twitter’s merit in information consumption rather than information sharing.

Whether students are looking for a quick laugh or media professionals are in search of a personal branding tool, Twitter offers the space to do it. With intersecting interests, unique ability to transition usage styles and millions of users, Twitter may be dying in the eyes of some, but remains the life of the party for others.

 

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Innovation, Immigration & Imprisonment: Tweeting Across the Globe

Since January 4th Twitter has been flooded with University of Denver student journalists using the hashtag #DUreporters to update the world on news and media stories they found interesting. #DUreporters covers a wide array of topics and has gained popularity with dozens of retweets and favorites. From January 4th to January 20th, here is what happened in the news.

 

Colorado: Ahead in Gun Control

Following President Obama’s tearful speech calling for accelerated gun control measures, the nation was inspired to take action to prevent more of the gun violence that has plagued the country in recent years. However, after the Aurora Theatre Shootings and the Columbine High School Shootings, Colorado had already harshened gun control statewide .

Colorado will likely feel no direct impact from the President’s executive orders; the state’s gun laws are even more stringent than those recently imposed by the federal government. Nonetheless, the state will likely see effects in surrounding states’ adoption of safer gun policies. Colorado’s neighboring states, Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oklahoma, were without such firm regulations on licensing, private sales and ammunition prior to Obama’s executive action call, endangering Colorado through spatial association.

Despite it being one-step ahead of the nation in regulation, Colorado shares the President’s hopes of deterring, and one day eliminating, gun violence and mass shootings.

North Korea in a Pool of Doubt

Claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test came from Pyongyang on January 6th. The United Nations Security Council denounced North Korea’s detonation of the thermonuclear weapon while the United States government, wanting to subvert any publicity the dictatorship could attract, denied the claims.

The explosion caused an eruption of seismic waves that U.S. monitoring systems in Asia affirmed were irregular to seismic waves typical of the detonation of a hydrogen bomb. These smaller-than-expected waves cast doubt over the claims that the test was a success. In fact, a South Korean Defense Ministry official anonymously reported that the test was most likely a failure.

Seemingly, the shadow of doubt over North Korea’s hydrogen bomb success casts far over the fear of the possibility that this unstable nation has such nuclear capabilities.

 

“The Force is Strong in this One”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens breaks the box office with a record-shatter $812 million in the United States alone. Globally, the film became the No. 3 movie of all time with total ticket sales at $3 billion as of January 10th.

Overtaking Jurassic Park in movie rankings, Star Wars beat out Leonardo DiCaprio’s newest film, The Revenant. Similarly as impressive, the film overtook Will Ferrell, Mark WahlbergTina Fey, and Amy Poehler‘s blockbusters in its fourth weekend.

“It’s unstopable.” – Rentrak Senior Media Analyst, Paul Dergarabedian

Star Wars: The Force Awakens took only one month to change the film-scene across the globe.

 

 

In the Wake of the Last State of the Union Address

President Obama’s final State of the Union Address was unconventional with the attention being on the way America has and will conduct politics, especially in the upcoming November 2016 election.

“Fix our politics” – President Barack Obama, January 12, 2016

The focus of the Address was not foreign to the President, calling for a reformation of Washington. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump were subtly specified in Obama’s assertion that the presidential candidates’ responses to the Islamic State and Muslim immigration were unproductive and unfavorable in the current international political climate. Attentiveness to the nation’s future and appeasement of fears of terrorism were additional agendas Obama delivered the nation in his last State of the Union Address.

 

A Starving Syria, Saved

Madaya, a southern Syrian town sealed off from the world for nearly six months, was brought much-needed food and supplies on January 11th, following pictures of atrocious living conditions, emaciated children and meek supplies. Blockaded by government and pro-government forces, dozens have died of starvation with thousands more at risk.

Doctors Without Borders called Madaya an “open air prison.”

The United Nations-supported convoy was permitted to enter the city by the Syrian government to deliver the much-needed aid to Madaya. Although the U.N. was not granted the unlimited access to Madaya and other cities in desperate need, the outpouring of horrific stories of despair and distress were answered by the delivery of food and supplies for 40,000 people.

 

Trump’s Self-Affirmation on Anti-Immigration

The release of a Trump-made Facebook video on January 18th exemplifies the presidential candidate’s confidence in his calls for immigration reform. Perhaps the cornerstone of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the candidate’s anti-immigration policies are, again, a topic of discussion.

Trump boasted in a 57-second video that, with the topic of immigration becoming prominent in campaigns and debates, he was right all along. Although migrant issues are relevant today with the refugee crisis, the necessity Trump feels to construct a massive, illegal immigrant-proof wall around the U.S.-Mexican border may not be as valid as he thinks. Daily Mail reports the shrinking likelihood and viability of Central and Latin Americans able to make it to the United States border, with many planning on settling in Mexico.

From the outset, Trump has insisted on a halt of migration by citizens of lesser and underdeveloped states illegally into the United States, and intends to make this issue a priority in his campaign and possible presidency.

 

Progress in Transportation, Technology and Trade: Africa on the Rise

Breakthroughs in various sectors of Africa stimulate the continent, potentially, economically, socially and politically. Innovations in transportation, technology and trade move the postcolonial continent in the direction of complete development.

The 10,000-kilometer network of roads connecting South Africa to Zambia is one of the largest and, with a $13 billion railway, transportation and trade throughout the continent will be revolutionized. The tapping of hydropower generation projects across Africa solves energy efficiency problems. These examples of progress as well as mobile technology and solar power are the driving force behind Africa’s economy.

 

The coverage of technology-related, political, human-interest, entertainment, international and local news over Twitter comprise the beginnings of #DUreporters tweets, with more to come.

 

 

Denver, Dining & Diversity: Tweeting Across Campus

For anyone wondering what life is like for students at the University of Denver, logging onto Twitter to explore the hashtag #DUstories provides a worthwhile account of how Pioneers spend their days on and around campus. Students tweet, reporting their lives and their peers’ lives, to update the world on DU’s academic achievements, extracurriculars and sports, great places to eat, and even professorial wisdom.

This blog represents the lives of Denver Pioneers from their perspective, on their platform–Twitter.

 

Favorite Food & Drink Locales

South Pearl Street is only a few blocks from campus and offers a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and boutiques. A trendy spot in Denver, South Pearl Street is an easy, fun place for students that are looking for a break from studying, hungry after a day of classes, or needing a new outfit.

Park Burger is a casual and delicious spot, offering DIY burgers, vegetarian and gluten-free options and good old-fashioned double quarter-pound beef patty burgers.

 

Gaia Bistro has delicious baked goods, egg dishes, crepes and sandwiches at prices that are affordable for college students. This restaurant/cafe is a must for anyone in the Denver area.

The homemade sausage, red pepper, onion and swiss scramble, pictured above, is a filling dish for foodies and hungry brunchers alike.

 

Students on the Street

Talking to DU students is truly the most effective way to understand their day-to-day activities, feelings, and thoughts on the best parts of being a Pio. Kelly Mahaffey is a junior majoring in Finance through The Daniels College of Business that just returned from a semester studying abroad in the capital of Thailand–Bangkok. Although she was sad to see her much-anticipated adventure come to an end, getting back to the University of Denver with friends, the mountains, and other wintertime Colorado-esque activities proved “totally worth it”.

 

Academic Excellence

Year-after-year, the university exemplifies its dedication to improving its students’ intellectual and world experience through multiple events. The Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence is held annually during winter quarter and serves as a platform for discussion and rethinking perspectives on diversity around campus and the nation. Debates, workshops and presentations are advertised as part of the Summit and include the topics students want to learn more on.

Fanatic Fans

Pioneer Athletics are ranked top among NCAA colleges without a football team and are a huge part of life for student athletes and fans. Going to games to watch friends and classmates compete is a regular weekend activity. Pioneers are often passionate about their sports teams, making predictions on upcoming season-outcomes. Annie Brown, another junior, predicts that Men’s Basketball will have an outstanding season because all the fall sports teams ranked nationally i.e., Denver Athletics is on a roll.

Scenic Spot

Being in Denver means that almost anywhere on or around campus is prime for a beautiful view of the mountains, downtown, or just Colorado’s clear skies. However, few places around the University of Denver stand out as particularly beautiful with the sun shining, snow glistening, and the antique architecture of the buildings. In particular, the very center of campus, to the right of Anderson Academic Commons boasts impressive scenery.

 

Extracurricular Extravaganza

The University of Denver is well-known for its wide array of clubs, organizations, teams and activities. The Driscoll Student Center is often a hub of activity as students move from class to class while adverts and the members of dozens of extracurriculars set up shop in hopes of inspiring more student participation. A bulletin board crammed with flyers and brochures sits comfortably in Driscoll awaiting attention from passersby.

 

School Spirit

It’s not hard to imagine why students and faculty love the University of Denver and love to show their school spirit. All across campus people are seen wearing Pio spirit-wear, representing their school colors, traditions, mascot, logo and sports teams. Hayden Cox, a Media, Film & Journalism Studies student, looked casual-cool wearing a Denver hoodie in class today.

 

Winter Fun

Winter quarter at Denver is one of the best in the eyes of DU students; being able to go to the mountains to ski, sledding in Wash Park, and warm-weather gear is loved by Pioneers. The snow, being near-foreign to a Texas-girl, is one of my favorite parts of Winter at the University of Denver.

 

Professors on the Street

Being that DU is a premier university, students are able to learn (who knew that’s what we were here for?) from qualified, engaging professors that invest massive amounts of time and energy into our educations. Professor Leah Persky, with the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, promotes and encourages captivating, worthwhile discussions in her class, Gender & International Relations, on Feminist Ontologies. Believing that “social media is everywhere, it connects people, distracts most, and has significantly changed the way people interact and learn,” Professor Persky shares her opinion on the role of social media in society today.

 

Freestyle

By far, the best part of being a University of Denver student is the variety of people there is to interact with. The diverse selection of peers Pioneers are exposed to serves to challenge perspectives and create a space for open-mindedness. As such, Jack Quinn, a junior at DU just having returned from a semester abroad in Seville, Spain, was feeling stressed about homework this week and, instead of taking a yoga class, deep-breathing, or getting in a quick nap, relieved his stress through Freestyle Rapping.

 

Twitter Interactions

Twitter, being a social network, serves to connect people around the world through retweets, likes and @ replies. By communicating with other tweeters, information is exchanged and enjoyed.

Park Burger, being an active commercial tweeter, retweeted and replied to my tweet on enjoying lunch at their restaurant, effectively using my tweet as a marketing tool.

 

I replied to one of @paige_lawlor’s tweets from #DUreporters on the wicked-cold weather in Minnesota at a Vikings game via USA Today.

Upon hearing the news of David Bowie’s passing, I had to reply to @Chris_Lowell_’s tweet expressing my sadness.

@Mellodyao featured DU alumnus in a tweet hoping to predict the outcome of the upcoming Men’s Basketball season; proud, I replied sharing how glad I was to be a Pioneer.

I laughed at @hillconch’s tweet about Ian McBrady’s methodology in predicting the turnout of the Men’s Hockey season and replied, joking along with them.

One of the benefits of being able to interact with other tweeters is exchanging knowledge. I did just that in replying to @annab_27’s tweet from Kaladi Brothers Coffee, suggesting she try one of their worth-the-calories scones.

Replying to @lindsay_miner’s tweet, featuring sophomores Justine Gildea and Ainsleigh Mitchell and the @DUAlphaPhi house, I wondered if they lived in or near my old room in the house.

Bonding over mutual likes, dislikes, and hobbies over Twitter is one of many ways the network connects its users. In reply to @paige_lawlor’s tweet of Vail Mountain, I found a friend I can take a ski lesson with.

Knowing exactly where in Anderson Academic Commons this picture was taken by @hillconch, I liked her tweet of the beautiful view of the sunset.

Alex Adams was featured in @paige_lawlor’s tweet and, being a friend of mine, I liked the tweet.

https://twitter.com/paige_lawlor/status/686380142134857728?lang=en

I loved @annab_27’s filter on her picture of Breckinridge Mountain and liked her tweet.

 

Peeking into the lives of Pioneers is never boring; from mouth-watering burger joints, breath-taking mountain shots, Freestyle Rappers, to professors that know our potential better than we do, the University of Denver is the only place I want to be.