I suppose it could be said that every tweet is essentially “graded.” From businesses to individuals, the audience who views the tweet will respond in a certain way, and that response determines the user’s overall relevance and authority. That makes sense to me as a marketer and social media fan.
What really piqued my interest last week is the fact that my friend is currently being graded for tweeting for a class. He’s finishing up his Journalism degree at ASU, and for his Online Media class, one of their requirements is an active Twitter account. And in order for the professor to monitor the account, the class is required to tweet with a certain hashtag.
While I fully understand that it’s important for students to learn and understand new types of media and news distribution, and I appreciate the professor’s use of the hashtag as a search function, I’m troubled by the fact that he is reducing the act of tweeting to a simple state in order to give a grade.
To me, engaging in Twitter and other social media sites means understanding your audience and engaging with them as is appropriate. It isn’t about posting a certain number of posts and washing your hands of the whole network. Social media as a whole is ever-changing, and in order to stay on top of all those changes, a user needs to be more involved than, say, by just using Twitter in order to pass a class.
What would have been better, in my opinion, is to allow the class to use Twitter as a learning tool, and then develop a social media strategy for a certain business or company. This way, they’d better understand the point of social media for business, they’d learn the value of networking with other users, and they’d comprehend the need to customize a Twitter experience for the appropriate audience.
If you want to take a look at what my friend’s classmates are tweeting about, search the hashtag #om305r. You’ll also see me infiltrate the hashtag, as I am feeling a bit mischievous this week.