How WLRN Talked Education With 17 Million People

Oct 16, 2012

Last week’s Twit­ter Edu­ca­tion Forum, hosted last week in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Tell Me More was a huge success. Not only did it pro­vide a plat­form for a dynamic and diverse con­ver­sa­tion about edu­ca­tion reform in the US (and one that we plan to con­tinue), but it also reached a whop­ping 17 mil­lion peo­ple–and count­ing. (That’s right. They’re stilll Tweet­ing. They just can’t stop!)

Sarah Gon­za­lez of WLRN's StateIm­pact Florida education team tells us that the event allowed her to develop sources both near and far–particularly among teach­ers, par­ents and other some­times hard-to-reach communities.Per­haps more impor­tantly, though, the expe­ri­ence pro­vided a big learn­ing oppor­tu­nity for every­one involved. Through both the sub­ject mat­ter and the part­ner­ship with Tell Me More, we were able to engage diverse com­mu­ni­ties that we hadn’t before reached. We test drove Scrib­ble, our new and improved live-blogging and social media cura­tion tool that we hope to use again and again. And we learned just how pow­er­ful Twit­ter can be when used for story and source development–instead of sim­ple con­tent distribution.

“They really wanted to engage in con­ver­sa­tion,” she said. “We tapped into a Twit­ter audi­ence that wanted to be part of the con­ver­sa­tion instead of just fol­low­ing peo­ple who we know are influential.”

“After a quick back and forth with some­one, they would usu­ally fol­low us. I linked to old con­tent from months ago, and actu­ally got some new traf­fic on those sto­ries, which was great,” she said.

In all, they gained about 50 new fol­low­ers dur­ing the forum and grew more com­fort­able with engag­ing by ask­ing ques­tions of peo­ple on Twit­ter, such as “Do you have any stats on that?” or “We at StateIm­pact Florida have done work around that issue, check out this link.”

“The con­ver­sa­tion has slowed down on #NPRed­chat, but it is still going, which is great,” Gon­za­lez said. “And I’d encour­age all the ed states to use the hash­tag. Tell More More and StateIm­pact Florida are still at it.”

You can relive the event through pic­tures on Tell Me More’s Face­book page or in this fancy-shmancy video pre­sen­ta­tion on Vimeo.