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School of Mass Communications faculty members Dr. Tim Bajkiewicz and Vivian Medina-Messner presented their latest social media research at the Convergence and Society Conference in Columbia, SC the last week of September.
Bajkiewicz showcased a study that examined the use of social media platforms as sources in cable news coverage, while Medina-Messner talked about the findings of her analysis of the Twitter engagement of leading business media.
Dr. Bajkiewicz is a well-known scholar at the Convergence and Society Conference and has presented his research there multiple times in the past.
“VCU Mass Communications has been active in convergence journalism for years, so scholars at these kinds of conferences know us,” Bajkiewicz said, who teaches broadcast journalism at VCU.
Bajkiewicz, who conducted his study with VCU colleague Dr. Marcus Messner, found that the social media website MySpace dominated mentions on cable news in 2006 and 2007. But, as Facebook and Twitter came on the scene, they’re now the social platforms most often talked about. The researcher also found that cable news often used these social media as sources in their stories, from 20% to more than 60% of the time. A surprising finding was how often cable news networks now mention social media when promoting their own Facebook page and Twitter feed.
“The presentation went very well and was nicely received. It’s great when people are coming up afterwards wanting to talk to you about it,” Bajkiewicz said.
Medina-Messner, who also conducted her study with Messner, pointed out in her presentation that the Twitter engagement of leading business media varies greatly. Measuring not only the frequency of the engagement, but also the community building efforts through retweets, hashtags and use of Twitter handles, her study found that the use of “shovelware” is still predominant.
The research showed that almost half of the more than 2,900 tweets analyzed were identical to the headlines of the business media’s websites and that 99% of all links went directly to the websites.
“Business media can do a much better job building and engaging their audiences,” said Medina-Messner, who joined the School as a journalism instructor last year. “If you link to your website, it means that you are presenting old news. You are not using Twitter as a breaking news platform, but only as the second or third step in the news process. That’s surprising as Twitter can has so much more potential as a news tool.”
Read a summary of Medina-Messner’s presentation on the website Talking Biz News. Also see the discussion on Twitter about the conference.
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Updated: October 4, 2012