Using technology to help get the word out

About two weeks ago, I had the privilege to present to the ACE writing special interest group. They were interested in how to use technology to help get their messages out. The group is comprised of writers, editors, and other communication professionals who write to highlight the work of cooperative extension educators and specialists. Realizing that methods for communicating with their constituents has changed and expanded, they want to reach their readers in the most efficient manner possible. You can watch the recording of this presentation with this Adobe Connect link.

The techniques I described in the presentation are the ones we are using to help the University of Wyoming Extension distribute stories and other media. UW Extension has realized that we must deliver our stories through social media because according to Pew Research Center’s 2011 Annual Report on American Journalism more people are getting their news online compared to declining traditional sources.

At the University of Wyoming Extension, we support the distribution of our news, podcasts, video, and other media using a Facebook fan page and three Twitter accounts; @skrabut, @uwcesedtech, and @uwagguy. Until recently, when we posted a story to our news page, we would manually post the story to these social media sites. This not only took time but it also was inconsistent. We are now using Twitterfeed to automatically distribute to our social media sites. We have an automatic distribution to 1,613 people who elected to receive our messages.

Twitterfeed allows you to take a RSS feed or blog URL and distribute it to multiple Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. In the case of Facebook, you can send the feed to specific Facebook fan pages. When a new story, podcast or video is added to its primary site, Twitterfeed will note the addition of the item and then distribute it to the appropriate social media sites. Our Twitterfeed account looks for new items every 30 minutes.

As the University of Wyoming Extension implements the use of Twitterfeed, we are incrementally adding more and more feeds to be automatically fed to our social media accounts. Presently, we are feeding the following accounts through Twitterfeed:

We are getting ready to add additional podcasts, blogs, and videos sites to the feed. The great thing about this approach is that we can highlight work that our extension educators and specialists are doing. Expect to see more and more great content as we identify and incorporate feeds into our stream.

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