Social listening is a useful reporting tactic

Social listening is a helpful tool that I can use to gain sources and information for my multimedia project on diversity demographics at San Diego State University and within the California State University system. Through social listening research over the past few days, I was able to find some interesting points that I would like to include alongside the data that I am collecting for this project. 

Using Diverse Voices to Drive the Story

An important factor that I will need to pay attention to in conducting my research for this project will be highlighting diverse voices within the campus community.

USA Today’s “Teens talk about diversity” video on YouTube may serve as a source of inspiration in a sense when it comes time to edit my video. This video is produced in a short and simple format that highlights teenagers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds as they explain what diversity means to them.

A video like this might be an effective trailer for a longer documentary about diversity at SDSU. For each of my interviews that I have conducted thus far, I have asked the subjects to state why they think diversity is important in colleges and universities. The footage that I have captured would lend itself well for a similar product.

Discussions Related to College Diversity

College diversity is being used in many discussions on a variety of subjects on social media. When searching for #collegediversity on Twitter, popular hashtags that are used in related posts include #inclusion, #campusdiversity, #diversity, #highered, #diversityandinclusion and #affirmativeaction.

One of the key influencers talking about college diversity on Twitter is professor Stella Flores, a proponent of affirmative action who researches educational opportunity at New York University. Flores writes posts about current events related to diversity, as well as writes about ways that universities can better connect with underrepresented populations, such as undocumented students. Though she is not specifically talking about SDSU, she may be a useful referee source in discussing the obstacles that colleges face when trying to diversify their populations. 

Another hashtag that I found through my Twitter search was #UndocEdu, which was used for a Twitter Chat about issues pertaining to undocumented students in higher education. In one tweet by Latina/o studies professor Isabel Martinez from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, she offers advice to college administrators. In her tweet, she suggests that they “Hire administrators, faculty and staff who have experience working with undoc/DACA/immigrant students.”

Several professors and administrators have posted on Twitter about diversity and inclusion at SDSU. One such professor, Nathian Shae Rodriguez from the School of Journalism and Media Studies, discussed the pride that he feels about working for a college that he said supports diversity.

Something that is often missing from the tweets about diversity are the viewpoints of younger generations. Many of the Twitter users using these hashtags are professors, college administrators or other older Twitter users. As such, I will make sure to capture information from a variety of generations for this project so that all voices can be heard.

Though there are limited tweets from SDSU students, I did find a couple of tweets from users specifically discussing issues pertaining to diversity at the college (@michaeljpn and SDSU student @aaanndrew_). Both tweets highlight the same social media post from SDSU’s official account that they said doesn’t reflect the school’s diverse student population.

The Importance of Diversity

While discussing my project idea with others over the past few weeks, a common question that I have been asked is “Why are you researching college diversity?” There are many reasons why I decided to pursue this subject matter, but my primary reason is that as a journalist, I am interested in sharing the stories of those who can’t always share their stories themselves. My own personal interest in the subject is not, however, as making sure that readers care enough to engage with my social media posts and the multimedia package I create. Through my social listening research, I found other reasons why scholars and the general population believe that diversity is important.

One tweet that I found includes a link to an article by Sarah Degnan Moje about how students can benefit from attending diverse campuses. In her article, she states that attending diverse universities can broaden a student’s worldview, have positive effects on their communication skills and prepare them for a “global workforce.”

In Michael Gavin’s TED Talk on YouTube, he discusses the importance of cultural diversity. Though he focuses on diversity in a wider sense, I think the concepts he discusses in his talk can also be applied to campus communities.

“First we need to recognize that culture is not static, it’s not something that we can take and just put in a museum. Culture belongs to people; culture is dynamic and changing,” Gavin said in his TED Talk. “The other thing we need to recognize is that contact amongst different cultural groups, communication, Twitter doesn’t automatically lead to the loss of cultural diversity.”

Conclusion

Through social listening, I was able to think about my multimedia project in a way that I hadn’t thought of before. Though I had already planned to include as many diverse voices as possible, I am now even more motivated to do so, and to compile those interviews in different ways for my website and various social media platforms.

Sources

@aaandrew_. (2018, July 19). I love how SDSU promotes diversity, but…where it at???? [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/aaanndrew_/status/1019987924647997440

Beiser, H. (2014, December 10). Teens talk about diversity. Retrieved October 20, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFNuRJm4LMs

Degnan Moje, S. (2017, July 31). The Benefits of Diversity in College. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://students.collegefactual.com/blog/why-seek-a-diverse-campus?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=articles_rm

@doctoraizzy. (2018, Oct. 16) Hire administrators, faculty and staff who have experience working with undoc/DACA/immigrant students #UndocEdu [Tweet]. Retrieved https://twitter.com/doctoraizzy/status/1052267539340959744

Gavin, M. (2014, November 07). Retrieved October 20, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48RoRi0ddRU

@michaeljpn. (2018, July 20). sdsu: “SDSU is proud of its diverse student body and its ranking as the one of the nation’s best universities for diversity!” also sdsu: [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/michaeljpn/status/1020338741896810497

@Nate_SDSU. (2018, July 11). The #pride flag 🏳️‍🌈 is flying high over @SDSU !!! I’m so proud of the institution I work at! So many great programs and opportunity here? #inclusivity #diversity #equity #intersectionality #LGBTQ #LGBT @SDSU_JMS @PSFA_SDSU @SDSUhousing [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Nate_SDSU/status/1017188782951370752

@parentsCF. (2018, Aug. 24). The Benefits of Diversity in College #collegediversity #collegelife [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/parentsCF/status/1033068987272376321

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