O&E Social Media Podcast #1

Welcome to the first podcast in a series of interviews with Oregon State University faculty and staff discussing how thy use social media in their work. In this podcast, Victor Villegas interviews Denise Ruttan from Extension and Experiment Station Communications to find out how OSU Extension uses Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter for their social media outreach and engagement.

NOTE: If you are unable to view the video below, here’s the link to it on YouTube: http://youtu.be/gqOMtJpIouU

Social Media Resources

Take a look at the OSU Extension technology help website for social media tutorials and resources.

Oregon State University Extension Service logo

Twitter and the Faculty SenateI’m a newbie in our university’s Faculty Senate. During my almost thirty years as a faculty member, I’ve always managed to avoid being elected/selected/drafted as a Senator. But last fall, my number came up. I think I failed to respond to an email from them: “If you don’t say no, then you are a Senator.”

Oh well. I actually started thinking it could be interesting and maybe even fun– despite dire warnings of comrades who had served. “You haven’t lived until you‘ve sat through an hour-long discussion of new bylaws for the Committee on Committees,” was one comment.

At my second Senate session, just before adjournment, a discussion began on why Senate activities and sessions are seemingly ignored by just about everybody on campus…and often by Senators themselves. “Why aren’t people watching the live video stream of the sessions?” whined one Senator. That’s when I gathered my nerve, and spoke up for the first time on the Senate floor. I suggested that we start using Twitter to communicate fast-breaking news about Senate activities. The idea was greeted by nervous laughter and whispers. Feeling a little more confident, I continued. “Twitter has become a very powerful means of communication. Look how it brought down several governments in the Middle East,” I said. More nervous laughter.

A few minutes later, we adjourned. As I was leaving the room, I overheard our University President say to a colleague, “You know, it would be an inexpensive way to see what people are thinking.” Armed with that endorsement, I wrote a follow-up email to our Faculty Senate President making a more formal pitch for him to sanction Twitter as a new and timely means to open, transparent dialog with our community. I used words like “interactive”, and “participatory” and phrases like, “staying connected, current and vital.” I also mentioned that it’s not like I —or anybody else for that matter– needed the Faculty Senate’s permission to tweet, but nonetheless I would be happy to hear what he had to say about the idea.

A few days later I received an invitation to meet and discuss Twitter with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Yikes! Only one month as a Senator, and already I am being called before the Star Chamber. They wanted “an explanation of how you envision the Faculty Senate using Twitter for communicating with faculty… as many of the EC members are not familiar with Twitter.”

OK. Seemed harmless enough. So I spent about 25 minutes helping the committee understand Twitter. As you’d probably guess, their biggest concern was how to control inappropriate or inflammatory tweets. I explained that Twitter wasn’t something they could control. They can’t “edit” or block tweets. It’s a self-policing system. If snarky posts did occur, the reaction is similar to behavior in the bird world: the unwelcome crow gets mobbed by the sparrows and flees. Welcome to the 21st Century. Again, more nervous laughter.

I left the meeting unclear on where they stood. But to their credit, the next agenda for the Senate contained the following brief note:

Follow the Faculty Senate on Twitter – #OSUFacsen 
The OSU Faculty Senate invites Senators and all others—both on and off-campus—to connect and share their thoughts, concerns and ideas on the activities of the Senate using Twitter. You can follow senate activity at #OSUFacsen.”

So, now we’ll see what happens…if anything. It’s a classic case study of how an organization can be unaware of social media, like a fish oblivious to the water around it. Will Twitter make the senate more vital and involved? Will Senators rise to the bait and tweet their observations, concerns and…. heaven forbid…rants? Or perhaps an even more disturbing question: “What’s the sound of one person tweeting?”

To find out, stay tuned to further adventures of #OSUFacSen.  (Note:  The next OSU Faculty Senate meeting is Thursday, May 8th at 3pm.)


Jeff Hino

Jeff Hino

OSU Faculty Senator
Learning Technology Leader
Oregon State University
Extension & Experiment Station Communications

Twitter & AIM: hinojosu

Google+: http://plus.ly/jeffhino 

Social Media, it’s not just a way to tell (or show) everyone what you had for lunch anymore, it’s actually how many of use now work, and if you’re not, you really should. “But isn’t social media just a big waste of time?”, you ask, “I mean, isn’t it all just silly cat photos and stupid videos of people doing stupid things?”. Well, to be fair, there is a lot of that online, but social media is so much more than that. Social media allows anyone with access to the internet to become a publisher and connect with others in ways that traditional ways of communication can not. For example, Twitter has been used by protesters to overthrow governments and every day millions of people learn new skills and share them with others via YouTube, increasing the world’s collective knowledge base at pace traditional publishing can’t even touch. Social media also allows you to collaborate with others across the globe and participate in virtual communities, breaking down barriers of time and place.

So how can you harness the power of social media and the internet to help you work better and smarter? The purpose of this blog will be to answer just that. We will be showing you how staff, faculty and students use these tools to reach out and connect with others within Oregon State University, across Oregon, and beyond.

For those of you who are already using social media for work, please let us know so we can showcase it!


The OSU Outreach & Engagement Social Media Innovation Team

Social Media Marketing