Twitter and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
I wanted to hit the ground running, and what better way than to use the fast-paced social media platform, “Twitter”. It is “a free microblogging service founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone. At its heart are 140-character bursts of information called tweets. Users can include links to other content in their tweets, and broadcasts can be public or private” (Mashable).
We as a class were setting out to follow our Canadian Olympic athletes as the competed in 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. Students would learn to celebrate with the athletes, fellow Canadians and any others following the Olympics, 140 characters or less at a time. We spent some time discussing the 140-character limitation in preparation for our two weeks of “tweeting” during the games. The most common questions were,
- What if we can’t say what we want in 140-characters?
- Why are we doing this?
- Who will see what we are posting?
These led to some excellent discussions between those who had previously used Twitter. They were able to share the strategies they had used to met the 140-character limit (short forms, symbols, elimination of vowels, URL shorteners). A few already a part of the Twitterverse shared their knowledge of (@) handles (@_PhilYoung) and (#) hashtags (#treelineps #peel21st #wearewinter). I added to the discussion the purpose behind our Tweeting and of course an answer to the question of, who will see what we are posting/tweeting?
Our purpose, to be active participants in the global community in a positive way. To build a sense of nationalism amongst the class. To build enthusiasm for athletics. And eventually, at the culmination of the games, to learn how to curate (using Storify) stories of the Olympic games that we tweeted, retweeted, and followed.
Who will see what we are posting…why those who follow us, of course. Our followers are our audience. But of course, most of my Ss had few followers, few beyond their peers, and our class Twitter @YoungTreeline7s So I was asked, “If our peers are the only ones who can see what we are posting than what is the point?” and “How can we get other people to see what we are saying?” Again, as a user, I knew that the simple answer was “We need to acquire a following!” to which I was asked, “How?” The answer to this was far more difficult and to be honest I did not have a straight answer for them. What I could say was that,
- it is all about what you have to share
- who you share with (the @ handles linked in your tweets)
- its about the # hashtags you use and others follow
So, we would be using, @Sochi2014 @CDNOlympicTeam #WeAreWinter and of course any twitter account for the Canadian athletes we would follow and support.