Nice to Tweet You

Tom Hanaway

By Tom Hanaway (@tomhanaway)

Hello! My name is Tom Hanaway and I am the new social media coordinator for the Department of Journalism this year.

Just because I have this new position doesn’t mean that I am a fresh face around the department. On the contrary, I have been working in the department for over a year now.

Back in the spring interim of 2009, which I was just a naïve, doe-eyed sophomore, I took Principles of Public Relations with Dr. Steffes-Hansen. After the course ended, she recommended me as a student assistant for the Journalism Department, and I instantly knew that this was the perfect job for me.

Initially I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. At first I thought it would be stapling papers and making photocopies (which I do often, don’t get me wrong), but later it evolved into something greater. After becoming a student assistant I felt like I was a part of the heart and soul of the department. I started meeting dozens of students in the program, I began to develop relationships with professors and I knew what was happening in the department weeks before anyone else.

My connections with the journalism department even landed me a dream internship. Currently I am one of three writers who contribute to our school union’s blog. I heard about this position while having a discussion with a fellow journalism student. When I inquired to a professor about the job, she immediately told me who to contact and what to say. Within a few weeks I was blogging for the website, which receives hundreds of hits every month.

My blogging internship also sparked my passion for social media. After working as a blogger for several months, I attended a conference in Milwaukee where I got a crash course in social media. Afterward I fell in love with the topic.

Around the same time that I began to understand and become a part of the social media universe, so did the Department of Journalism. Dr. Steffes-Hansen and others decided to implement a social media initiative where one student would help create and maintain a blog, Twitter and Facebook account on behalf of the department.

Last year Melanie Stepanek was more than successful in constructing and implementing the social media plan for the department. But now that she graduated, I have been asked to fill her shoes and to continue to nurture and grow our online content.

I feel so lucky and honored to have this position. It seems like destiny that this internship fell into my lap right in the peak of my social media experience. I’m looking forward to writing and editing blog posts, updating our Facebook fan page, sending out tweets all day long, and most of all, keeping students, faculty, staff and alumni informed about what is going on in the department throughout the year.

If you want to write anything for our department blog, please feel free to let me know and e-mail me at I want this blog to be the best possible outlet for stories about journalistic experiences, ideas, theories and dreams, and I can only do it with your help.


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