Siouxland's top tweeters revealed

Grading Twitter users
2010-02-20T22:15:00Z Siouxland's top tweeters revealedBy Joanne Fox - jfox@siouxcityjournal.com Sioux City Journal
February 20, 2010 10:15 pm  • 

Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee may be the way "Rockin' Robin" communicates.

But for a number of Siouxlanders, tweeting is the way they stay in touch.

According TwitterGrader.com, the Sioux City Journal and a number of its employees are the Top Twitterers (a.k.a. Tweeters) in the Tri-State area with a rating of 98.9 percent, 1,024 followers and 23,996 updates.

Following the newspaper in popularity is Jerrid Kruse, who earned a grade of 98 percent -- one his South Sioux City middle school students would be proud of.

Kruse uses Twitter because a lot of teachers connect that way.

"I post a lot of links to sites that I have found that are useful in the classroom," he explained. "I'll say, 'Hey, I just found this interesting link' and I'll get the same response from other teachers."

In the ever-expanding world of social media, Kruse and other educators are searching for ways to apply the latest technology to learning.

"I previously used Twitter in the classroom until a teacher brought edmodo to my attention," he said of edmodo.com, an education-friendly Web site similar to Twitter.

"It's better because it's made for a school atmosphere," he explained. "You have to have a code to access it. That's better for students because it's not an open access like Twitter is. Students need to understand that Twitter is not secure."

A bit further into the ratings is Beth Trejo, director of investor relations with the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce; however, she's still in the top tier with a 91 percent rating, 271 followers and 433 updates. Last year, Trejo and two Morningside College social media interns launched a chamber strategy that tapped into the popularity of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

"I had been hearing a lot about businesses using Twitter as a means of communication," she explained. "I thought it was a good way to apply marketing concepts to get the word to others."

Trejo, who joined the chamber in 2008, learned to harness social media as a communications tool in her previous job with the Siouxland Chapter of the American Red Cross. She had attended national training at Red Cross headquarters that focused on using the platforms for disaster relief programs.

"With the chamber, Twitter helps keep members and others up to date on various chamber and community events and happenings," Trejo said. "And if someone has a question about where to eat or what's going on, we can refer them to the chamber Web site or another link that would answer their question."

Trejo hopes to provide the Chamber's roughly 1,100 members with tips on how they can use social media platforms in their own businesses. For example, many people are aware of Twitter, but don't know how to use it effectively or fear it's time-consuming.

"I probably tweet three or four times a day and that's about 10 minutes of my time. It's amazing when you realize that in one Tweet, you can reach possibly millions of people," she marveled. "It really made me realize the power of it when we tweeted something about the chamber and an industry expert picked up on it and put it on his blog in a manner of minutes."

LaKeshia Rainey started tweeting last fall just to see what everyone was talking about. Now she boasts a 97.9 rating with 1,543 followers and 704 updates.

"I liked it because it was simpler than Myspace or Facebook," she said of two other social networking elements. "I also discovered it was easier to tweet than to text."

Rainey's tweeting has evolved over the past six months.

"I didn't know what to tweet originally, like 'Should I choose a chocolate chip or macadamia nut cookie?'" she admitted. "Now, I've expanded to include more substantial information, like the blood drive I do to raise awareness for Sickle Cell Disease."

Rainey noticed her friends were doing the same thing.

"They started out with, 'I'm back in town.' and 'Do you want to go out?'" she explained. "I'm still getting those, but I'm also getting tweets from people in marketing and business and they provide me with insights that I find helpful."

Rainey is in the process of setting up a new business called Common Ground, celebrations and entertainment.

"I'm still working on the particulars and the Web site," she said. "When it's up, I'll definitely use all the social networking to get it off the ground."

Rainey also hopes to benefit her parish, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.

"I'm still doing a test drive on that one," she confessed. "I don't know if I can keep up with Pastor (Floyd) Brown."

PC Magazine reports that Twitter's popularity has exploded from about 475,000 visitors in 2008 to 7 million in 2009. The average user hits Twitter.com about 14 times a month and spends about seven minutes on the site.

Although some might dismiss the Twitterers as primarily teens or college students, the magazine reports, the largest age group on Twitter was 35-49.

Kruse, at 29, Rainey at 31 and Trejo at 26 are exceptions to the rule.

"That makes sense that it's an older crowd using Twitter," Trejo said. "I don't feel I've mastered it yet. It's very much a learn-as-you-go technology."

"It doesn't surprise me it's popular for those ages," Rainey said. "I believe Facebook and texting appeal to a younger crowd for social networking. They may be just a bit behind the Twitter appeal."

"I believe that age range is accurate, because my eighth graders don't see the point of tweeting," Kruse admitted. "They would much rather text message."

He added, "And I don't think using Twitter is good for them because it takes away from forming relationships face-to-face, which is important for that age group."

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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