WSU Common Reading program takes on Twitter

Students may be familiar with #gocougs, but a new WSU twitter program, #wsucr, started by the Common Reading Program, hopes to start a whole new conversation. 

The WSU Pullman campus is partnering with the Global Campus to stage an ongoing exchange via Twitter about this year’s Common Reading book, “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz.

“I saw another university was doing this on the author D.H. Lawrence, and they sent a memo to the English department encouraging WSU students to participate, so I thought it would be fun,” said Rebecca Stull, a project specialist for the WSU Global Campus.

The program began at the end of last semester, and the feed includes videos, quotes and comments in the hopes of starting a conversation, said Leslie Jo Sena, a Pullman campus English instructor. Sena also manages the Common Reading program in conjunction with freshmen focus. Sena is the current voice behind the Twitter account.

“There is a running dialogue that is not captured anywhere,” Stull said. “With social media there is a way to see it accumulate even after it’s not our common reading.”

The aim is for the WSU Pullman campus, Global Campus, and all satellite campuses to participate, allowing students all over the world to read the book and discuss it with their peers. 

“Twitter is asynchronous. We have students around the world, so it seemed easier to follow,” Sena said. “I love Facebook, but this seemed easier to manage than a page.”

The hope is that professors will have their classes participate and use this as an outlet for Common Reading, said Karen Weathermon, co-director of the Common Reading program.

The Common Reading program had a similar scenario with live web chats to discuss the book, but the turnout was not outstanding. With live events there is a lot of work involved for not a lot of turnout, Sena said.

“I feel like this is something we could continue to do, more people have smart phones than laptops or tablets,” she said.

Look for live tweeting during Kathryn Schulz’s visit in February.