Massa on social media

My social media presence this semester might not have changed much from how it was. I do not think that I share my classwork as much as I should. I know it is something that is very important, I have just never been good at promoting my own work. I am present on social media with sharing stories that I like, but not so much promoting my own things and that is something I need to work on doing more.

I have, however, increased followers. I’m not sure of the exact number, but almost every day I at least have one more follower. I only have 440, but i’m working on it.

I think what definitely works is to share classmates stories and to use hashtags. I have to say, I’m not a huge hashtagger, but I need to learn to use them more because that is how people find things. When I tweeted about my audio slideshow Professor Corry retweeted it and added the hashtags that I should have…so I retweeted that as well. (There is a tweet from my sister in the middle there…very important news.)

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I like to use my twitter account to tweet at my friends from the radio when they do their news at noon show. I know that is not specific to this class, but this class has inspired me to do so.

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I think what worked is that I saw a lot of my classmates tweeting their own stories, or putting them on Facebook, as well as the stories of others.

I know a couple of students tweeted about the food story that Nicole and I did and that was much appreciated :).

Speaking of our food story, Nicole and I had fun with that one.

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The only thing that I would say did not work is my lack of tweeting about my own stories and my lack of hashtag use. I’m going to make sure that I do that moving forward.

Hashtags: The key to social media success

In the grand scheme of things, I am a social media nobody. Think about it. I currently sit at the giant number of 562 followers. To put this in perspective with people in my field of work, Mike Tirico (ESPN broadcaster) has 408k followers, Peter King (Sports Illustrated Writer) has 1.495 million followers, and Buster Olney’s (ESPN MLB Insider) currently stands at 1.04 million.

These guys are all famous because of where they work, but they did not have the help of social media. So what does a nobody like me have to do to engage in the conversation? #Hashtags. My number of followers over the last three weeks has increased over the last three weeks, and there’s solely one reason why: #MarchMadness.

The Duke Blue Devils defeated the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, April 6 in the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship game (Photo Credit: ABC News)
The Duke Blue Devils defeated the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, April 6 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game (Photo Credit: ABC News)

Anybody who knows me, I am a huge college basketball fan. I would love to become a college basketball writer when I’m older if I got to choose my sport during my sports journalism career. So, the busiest time of my twitter account is most certainly during those 10 days of which the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship is on.

I tweeted my analysis of everything that came to mind and used the #MarchMadness to get it out nationally. This propelled me up in the follower count, and got a couple of notable follows as well (see: Sam Vecenie and Kim Adams, two college basketball writers for CBS and ESPN, respectively).

One other thing that hashtags do, is not only get you noticed, but it engages you in conversation with many other people. As a sports writer with analyzing and tweeting your opinions, it will always either rile people up or get people on your side. This conversation particularly please me that happened during the first round of The Masters (by the way, if somebody can tell me what a pillock is I will be grateful).

One thing about twitter is that if you are known and work at a big company (see: ESPN, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, etc.), your notoriety is going to be given to you by the name of the company. But if you’re a small nobody like me, you’d need to get your name out there and in a national perspective. Hashtags do just that.

The recipe for followers

The beginning of this semester marks the birth of my professional Twitter account @bridget_downes. Since January, I’ve worked my way to 46 followers. My personal account has 228. Gaining followers is a feat that takes time if you don’t happen to be a celebrity.

Screenshot by Bridget Downes.


To gain followers, you must follow a recipe: post frequently, tag all posts, and interact with people. Posting frequently is important because not only does it show your followers you’re alive and kicking, but it provides a constant feed of information, which is what people want.

Tagging posts is another helpful tactic. By adding #freedom to your tweet regarding your 320 homework, any Twitter user who searches for freedom may stumble upon your tweet. This increases the chances of people visiting your Twitter account and potentially clicking “follow” when they enjoy your amazing, fully comprehensible, well-tagged tweets.

Adding hashtags won’t hurt your SEO, either. In fact it would do the opposite. So add all the appropriate hashtags your heart desires, without being excessive. If you add too many, people will stop reading them.

Comic by Sarah Lesson/

Interacting with people is another important ingredient in the recipe to gain follower count. People like being responded to. People like being acknowledged, noticed. If others see that you interact with your followers, they might be more inclined to approach you. This is also a good way to network. Twitter is a social medium, after all.

In addition to my personal Twitter account and my professional one, I run the account of Stony Brook Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood. I work as the social media coordinator for Vox, which includes running Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This means I am in charge of publicizing and promoting our events to increase turn-out. As a group, we also post relevant articles that deserve signal boosting to spread awareness.

Screenshot by Bridget Downes.


Under the Vox account, I follow Twitter and Instagram accounts that have similar messages and goals as our group. This leads to follow-backs, based on similar interests.

Though I don’t have hard proof, I’ve heard people say that some accounts gain followers by going on a “follow spree,” and then unfollowing the accounts after gaining the follow-backs. Although this sounds effective, it seems morally wrong in my opinion. So I’ll stick to the original recipe.

Boosting my social media presence

@jiminkim92 on Twitter. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 4, 2015).
@jiminkim92 on Twitter. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 9, 2015).

This semester, my social media presence has grown through my managing the Twitter accounts of my start-up, AllKickboxing, and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Since February, I have gained 60 followers on my Twitter account.

AllKickboxing's Twitter account, @AllKickboxing_ Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 4, 2015).
AllKickboxing’s Twitter account, @AllKickboxing_. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 9, 2015).

I frequently favorite and retweet AllKickboxing’s tweets to help promote its podcast or blog. Through this “double-dipping” promotional strategy, people in the mixed martial arts community have started following my personal Twitter account. For instance, Victor Cui, the CEO of ONE Championship, the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in Asia, began following me on Twitter.

Furthermore, on Twitter, I constantly search the hashtags “MMA” and “kickboxing” to engage with people who post tweets that include that hashtag. This has helped me connect with the niche MMA fan base.

For the Alda Center, I take a similar approach by tweeting content using the center’s account and retweeting it on my personal handle. Through retweeting the center’s workshop dates and science contests, scientists and professors have started following me on Twitter. Furthermore, I regularly search the news feed for tweets that use the hashtag “scicomm,” which is short for science communication, to find people who may be interested in the Alda Center’s programs.

(Tweet by @AldaCenter on Twitter promoting a science communication talk).

I have also grown the Facebook account of the Stony Brook University Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. By promoting guest journalism workshops and weekly meetings using SBU-SPJ’s Facebook page and sharing the posts on my own Facebook timeline, I have been attracting attention to the club. I have also made new friends on Facebook who are interested in joining SBU-SPJ.

Facebook page of SBU-SPJ. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 9, 2015).

Furthermore, I have learned a valuable lesson on how to properly use hashtags. An Instagram post allows a maximum of 30 hashtags. But, hashtags increase the size of your post and take up more real estate in the Instagram feed. Thus, people are likely to ignore a post that’s heavy with hashtags for breaking social media etiquette. Since decreasing the number of hashtags, my Instagram posts for AllKickboxing have generated more favorites.

I really look forward to cultivating my social media presence even more.

Getting social on social media

Photo Credit Flickr/Matt Hamm

I have been an avid user of social media since middle school or early high school. I created my Facebook account to post pictures with friends, and my first Twitter account to stay updated on my favorite celebrities.

14-year-old Kayla was unaware that social media could be used to get a point across or be used as a news source, (as seen by the numerous selfies on my Facebook account).

When I created a Twitter account to use for journalistic purposes, I had only a few followers, mostly classmates that had created accounts for the same purposes. The first time I used this account was August of 2013 in my News Literacy course. We tweeted news stories that we found interesting and by the end of the semester we were tweeting about newsworthy events we saw on campus and in our communities.

Fast forward to April 2015, my twitter account has nearly 60 followers and I regularly tweet stories I see along with projects and stories I have completed myself.

My current Twitter account has nearly 60 followers, and the number of times I have tweeted has increased as well.
My current Twitter account has nearly 60 followers, and the number of times I have tweeted has increased as well.

Besides that, I have interacted with other users and in turn, gotten more views on stories and publicity that probably would not have happened if it weren’t for social media.

I also use Twitter to live tweet award shows; events on campus and the weekly radio show that I have a weekly segment on.

The WUSB News at Noon twitter also uses their account to publicize their show, giving their followers a link to my account.

I did find it was important, however not to over share on social media. I don’s want all of my tweets to be links to my stories, so I often try to break it up with live tweeting or sharing other people’s stories.

Some may see social media as being a negative to the news industry, but if it is used in the right way, it can bring exposure to both a reporter and their work.


More posting leads to more exposure

At the beginning of the semester, I followed whoever I followed and tweeted whatever I tweeted. There was no rhyme or reason to the social media madness.

A few months later, it is safe to say that whoever logs onto my Twitter account today will know exactly its purpose is: bringing my followers everything they need to know not just in the general world of sports, but tennis.

Something that has helped to spread my social media presence is both replying to tweets, sending messages to others and quote tweeting.

When news broke that a tennis player named Wayne Odesnik had been suspended for an extended amount of time, I knew from his history that one person would be very happy, and that is Andy Roddick. Roddick is not afraid of controversy whatsoever, as the outspoken American has shown throughout his playing and now broadcasting career.

So, I sent him a message, figuring he would be interested in the news of this suspension.

I guess that reaching out to people on the platform has worked out. The reply Roddick sent me nearly a month ago still has my phone buzzing to this day, as it has gotten hundreds of likes and retweets. Every time somebody saw that, they saw my twitter name, which is only a good thing.

It did not hurt that various publications wrote about the exchange as well.’s Matt Cronin discussed Roddick’s reaction here, where not only did my Twitter handle get published, but my name and face as well.

From that, I would estimate I received give-or-take another 40 followers after about 200 more followed me only to unfollow me when I did not return the favor.

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Something that I have noticed is that on my end, it is best to keep who I am following in categories. A major part of my freelancing career revolves around tennis, so I follow and have added more tennis writers and players with personality. It has enabled me to better keep track of the game, and even given me ledes on articles I have worked on.

So as I have all semester long, I will continue to tweet, tweet and tweet some more to continue to build a reputation in the tennis community.

Living in a nation reviled by another nation

Luigi Pesce Ibarra, a 24-year-old neuroscience graduate student at Stony Brook University, is from Venezuela, a nation ruled under socialism.

The late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez (Picture obtained through Creative Commons).

He lived under the administrations of the late Hugo Chavez and the incumbent Nicolas Maduro. With lack of democracy, both presidents ruled with an iron fist and reviled nations such as the United States.

Currently, Venezuela is in economic turmoil where inflation is over 60 percent and basic necessities and food are hard to come by. Protests resulted because of this and protestors, as well as opposition leaders, are arrested and jailed.

Now that Ibarra lives in the United States, his life here has been a “180 degree turn” from what it was in Venezuela.

A variety of news and subjects on WNYC

I am familiar with WNYC on television since the television signal makes it out here. Ironically, I live on Long Island.

I never ventured to see what else WNYC had other than television and, yes I know, radio, which I knew of as well. Rarely have I gone onto the outlet’s website. I managed to find podcasts for different shows. Some podcasts were news and others were beats.

New Tech City


This is one of those podcasts that were beats I mentioned. The show is hosted by Manoush Zomorodi, who has a history of reporting news related to technology, and is centric toward the subject of technology. I only listened to one podcast that was about young kids using technology.


It was a sensitive topic, but I believe she pulled it off. I like how the story flowed and the focus was around a teacher who taught technology. Kids are hard to interview as they may give one word answers or aren’t concise, but Zomorodi managed to make these kids open up. What did surprise me was how the show operated like a real radio station show. Around the nine to 10 minute mark, there was an advertisement. I thought that since this was a recorded show for playback, there would be none of that. I’m guessing this is done because WNYC receives financial contributions from advertisers to sustain itself. Overall, the piece was a great one, informative, it held my attention because of how the story transitioned and I would listen to this show more often.

The Brian Lehrer Show


I’m familiar with Brian Lehrer, but have not listened to much of his work. At first I thought he was related to Jim Lehrer because of the last name. I don’t think they are. This podcast was a news show. The episode I listened to was called “Realpolitik in the Middle East.”


It operated like an actual radio news show. it contained audio clips of people related to the stories he covered and had invited guests speak. The invited speaker spoke for a few minutes on different occasions. It would have been better, I think, if Lehrer broke into certain points to ask follow-up questions. The tone of Lehrer sounded opinionated at times. There were other speakers invited to speak and a debate went going. Aside from it being a news show, it was more of a discussion show. All sides made their point in a coherent manner.

Freezing, but fashionable

The photo story, SBU Frigid Fashion, by Kayla Shults and Abby Del Vecchio, illustrates how Stony Brook University students are dressing to cope with this frigid winter season.

The greatest strength of the photo story is how genuine each subject looks. The students don’t look like they were forced to model their clothes and they all seem to be enjoying themselves. Also, the photos capture students in their natural environment, including the campus library hallway and the Student Union lounge.

I really enjoyed the quotes in the photo captions. My favorite one was by Oscar Icochea who said, “You gotta be a baller on a budget.” So, Kayla and Abby illustrated the students’ unique personalities, helping the audience get to know them as people and not only models.

Oscar Icochea’s motto when it comes to his fashion sense? “You gotta be a baller on a budget.” Photo by Kayla Shults and Abby Del Vecchio.

As far as what the duo could have done better, the photos could have been enlarged in the blog post to make them stand out more. It would have been great to see the finer details of each student’s clothes in larger photos.

Furthermore, I would have liked to have seen more photos of Yelizaveta Lysakoea. Although she is the featured image, another photo and caption of her in addition to the single picture of her in the blog post would have fleshed out her character.

“Sweaters, leggings, mittens and scarves are the most important things to wear,” said Yelizaveta Lysakoea, a 19-year-old psychology major. “I always have coffee because it’s so cold.” Photo by Kayla Shults and Abby Del Vecchio.

Parts of some of the photo subjects were also cut off. The shoes Lysakoea wore weren’t framed in the photo in the blog post, as well as the top of her head in the featured image.

Featured image of Yelizaveta Lysakoea. Photo by Kayla Shults and Abby Del Vecchio.

In addition, taking group photos of multiple students dressed in winter clothes could have enhanced the photo story. For example, these photos can depict the camaraderie between college friends bundled up in thick jackets in the cold.

For the photo story I published with Janelle Clausen, “No sleep for the studious,” group photos portrayed the pressures of midterms by featuring students who teamed up to study.

For 22-year-old Gabriela Cardoso, left, who’s a senior biology major, the Student Union lounge is a safe haven to study with her friends, Arely Sosa, a 21-year-old health science junior, and Tayisha St Vil, a 21-year-old women’s studies senior. Photo by Janelle Clausen (Feb. 28, 2015).
For 22-year-old Gabriela Cardoso, left, who’s a senior biology major, the Student Union lounge is a safe haven to study with her friends, Arely Sosa, a 21-year-old health science junior, and Tayisha St Vil, a 21-year-old women’s studies senior. Photo by Janelle Clausen (Feb. 28, 2015).

Kayla and Abby’s post can be very popular on social media because it tells a story through pictures. Rather than an 800-word feature story about SBU winter fashion, the photos in the story don’t demand as much time for the audience to enjoy. The photos can be added to a personal album on Facebook, which can be shared to friends. Those pictures will attract people to check out the Facebook post, which can include a link to the actual story. For Twitter, the best picture can be featured in the tweet to draw people to the blog post linked in the tweet.

Kayla and Abby portrayed how students are dressed to survive this freezing winter. Aside from a few technical critiques, the photos captured students in the moment and felt quite genuine. As a student myself dealing with the cold, I enjoyed how the story showcased students who forego fashion for warmth, and others who expressed their style despite the cold.