Throughout this year, I’ve realized the importance of blogging and using social media for academic use. This was constructive both academically and socially, as I explored the internet and interacted with students from all over the world. Blogging taught me how to make good use of social media websites. The truth is, it really taught us (our class) how to make better use of our tools, as digital citizenship is crucial in the modern world.
In order to gain more information for our following Genius Hour Project, we were seeking advice from professionals of our subject. With my new twitter account, I searched and followed experts, reporters, chefs and companies all related to my topic- fast food and organic food. These include: Ashley Lutz @AshleyLutz, Kerstin Rodgers @MsMarmitelover, Linda Murphy @HNFastFood, FastFoodMaven @FastFoodMaven, Organic Valley @OrganicValley, StonyField Organic @Stonyfield, Jenny Hopkinson @JennyHops, NRDC @NRDCFood, Berkeley Food Inst. @UCBerkeleyFood, FastFoodGeek @FastFoodGeek, Samantha Bomkamp @SamWillTravel. I then created a list of the following account.
The next step was to start the conversation with the experts by composing 10 introductory tweets, one for each user.
Time passed, and I was finally ready to ask specific questions- which I had previously drafted, covering different topics in the “fast food” spectrum. I wrote 10 new tweets, one to each account. I kept my question simple and straight to the point, not forgetting to be polite. After a few days, 4 accounts replied. First, Kerstin Rodgers gave me a short, straight to the point answer to this question: “Dear @MsMarmitelover , being a chef and a food traveller, to you, how has the fast food industry impacted our lives? I am currently working on a research project. Sincerely, Karel”. She replied with- “Fast food can be convenient, wish there was more vegan fast food. But people should not rely on it.” I wish she gave me more details to my question, because it could really benefit my research. However, I thought this was good for a start. Secondly, I tweeted Organic Valley, a cooperative of family farmers. I asked this – “Greetings @OrganicValley, do you think most people have sustainable knowledge on organic food? I working on a research project about organic food. Thanks, Karel”. They replied by saying that if I sent them a direct message, they would be able to provide resources for me. I thought that this gesture was really nice so I sent them a message but the organization did not reply yet. After that, the @Berkeley Food Institution gave me the link to a report that BFI had recently released about organic policy. It was pretty cool that a worldwide known university replied to my tweet, me being a student from the International School of Dakar. This is the power of social media; it allows people from different backgrounds to connect and share ideas. Lastly, Fast Food Maven- a business reporter covering the food and restaurant industry- was confused about my question. Therefore, she asked a clarifying question. I asked: “Dear @FastFoodMaven , what is your general thoughts on the modern-day fast food industry? Would you consider it “good”, or “bad”? Sincerely, Karel”. She replied: “Not sure I can answer that on Twitter. First what do you mean by modern day fast food?”.
After thanking them and asking follow-up questions, I reflected. This being my first time using twitter, 4 out of 11 people responded. @OrganicValley even followed me back! I think that is really good for a first time. I managed to get my questions answer and got extra resources. Even though these experts took the time to answer my questions and reply to my tweets, I don’t think those answers and resource will necessarily be useful in my Genius Hour project. My topic will change and mostly focus on the effects of fast food on one’s physical and mental health. So, in conclusion, their answers did not really help my project, but I know have more knowledge about this topic and they may be helpful for future use.
I definitely see myself tweeting to experts in the future when I have projects or research papers to write. This process is interesting because it allows you to interact with people who have different views on a topic. Overall, this process taught me how to make better use of the internet and social media for academic purposes.