We had a great meeting today at the UNC Health Sciences Library. I think we settled on an avenue forward that can be helpful for those interested in digital storytelling for both social services and public health work.
We’d like to put together a workshop template for using video in story-based program evaluation and needs assessments. The Story Lab would do the workshop once a semester. Right now we have three students involved in planning from the School of Social Work, School of Public Health, and School of Information and Library Science. There’s room for more students on this planning committee! (School of Education, hello!) No media experience necessary, just the knowledge you bring from your own department!
Undergrads and grad students in the first years of their programs are especially encouraged to attend.
For a starting place for thinking about what these workshops might be like, check out these sites we talked about at the meeting:
http://storycorps.org/ – Story-recording booths in NYC subway, anyone?
http://www.photovoice.org/ – Great photo-based, community-empowering methodology for gathering qualitative data.
If you’d like to come to our planning meeting, click on the schedule poll here: http://doodle.com/ptgstzqqme52c79u
Piecing it together
The one-thousandth tweet from @uncstorylab will be the announcement of this blog post. To commemorate the occasion, I’d like to lay out a few thoughts and observations about the endeavor. This has been my first attempt at managing an organizational Twitter profile, and it seems like a good time to take stock of “what is happening right now” and what’s happened in the 6 months it took us to reach 1000 tweets.
For me, social media is all about making and sharing stories, and I am increasingly enchanted by Twitter’s narrative chunks (which are of course comprised of much more than just 140 characters). So microblogging may be more important to us than the average student group, but I hope that this post might also help other student organizations benchmark their own Twitter experiences.
I established the @uncstorylab Twitter profile on May 20, 2010, less than a week after this website went live, and about a month after the Carolina Digital Story Lab became an officially recognized UNC student group. From the beginning, tweeting was a key component of our communication and community-building strategy.
I also had a very specific vision for the account, which has changed a little over time, but still basically holds true. I want the @uncstorylab profile to be the must-follow account for all things related to digital storymaking at UNC. The Story Lab is an umbrella group for student media activities. Similarly, I wanted our Twitter feed to be a rich source of information about digital media-related activities in the UNC community.
Here are some of the numbers for @uncstorylab:
- It took 6 months and 10 days to reach 1000 tweets, averaging 5.2 tweets per day.
- We reached 166 followers in the first four months and have 274 today, meaning our follower growth rate has hovered between 41 and 44 new followers per month.
- At the begining of August, our ratio of followers to users we follow was 35%, but has increased today to 44%.
- Among those tweets that included URLs shortened with HootSuite’s built-in ow.ly service (i.e. those for which I have click data), the two most popular tweets garnered 24 and 17 clicks. The most popular was a call for undergrads interested in helping build a social media consulting business and the second was a link to an analysis of the recent Monty Cook scandal. Both were clearly labeled as “blog posts,” perhaps indicating that original blog content is good Twitter fodder.
- We’ve had 292 clicks on ow.ly shortened links in 110 tweets, averaging 2.65 clicks per link. We’ve had better click numbers since the previously mentioned high-water mark in September.
- Visitors to uncstorylab.org that arrive via Twitter are less engaged with our site content than those that come from our Facebook page. Twitter “referees” have a higher bounce rate (61% vs 53%), average less time on the site (1:24 vs 4:37), and look at fewer pages per visit (2.39 vs 2.92).
- On November 9, I changed the @uncstorylab profile name from “Story Lab” to “Mike Nutt” and started tweeting in the first person instead of using the royal “we.” This has caused no significant difference in the number of mentions of @uncstorylab in the 20 days since the change.
- Twitter has delivered 192 visits to uncstorylab.org
- Retweets per month: May = 0, June = 2, August = 4, September = 8, October = 9, November = 16
- Our Klout Score has risen from 20 to 42. Whatever that means.
A big shout out to @KatieRoseRepp, who ran our social media campaign for the #SciStory event last September!
What have you learned since you were a junior Twitterer? What kind of tweets get the most replies, responses, and clicks for you? Why is (or isn’t) Twitter valuable for you or your student organization?