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Social Media Usage Among Teens

A big research study on social media usage among teens was just released by the Pew Research Center. For those of us working to target this demographic using social media, the findings are especially interesting.

The key nuggets I took away? Facebook usage is waning, parents are watching what they do online and teens DO think about their privacy when using social media.

The full report is available here.

For those of you who don’t want to read through the whole white paper, key findings include:

Teens are sharing more information about themselves on their social media profiles than they did when we last surveyed in 2006:

  • 91% post a photo of themselves, up from 79% in 2006.
  • 71% post their school name, up from 49%.
  • 71% post the city or town where they live, up from 61%.
  • 53% post their email address, up from 29%.
  • 20% post their cell phone number, up from 2%.

60% of teen Facebook users set their Facebook profiles to private (friends only), and most report high levels of confidence in their ability to manage their settings.

  • 56% of teen Facebook users say it’s “not difficult at all” to manage the privacy controls on their Facebook profile.
  • 33% Facebook-using teens say it’s “not too difficult.”
  • 8% of teen Facebook users say that managing their privacy controls is “somewhat difficult,” while less than 1% describe the process as “very difficult.”

Also interesting is what teens share and how they protect (or don’t protect) their private information on social media channels. This infographic demonstrates what they are sharing:


Social Media 2013: Internet users who use social networking tools

The folks over at Pew Research Centre recently compiled their annual research on the demographics behind social media users on different platforms.

The infographic below (courtesy of Adweek) takes Pew’s data and displays it in a nice visual, including these key takeaways:

  • Women are five times more than men to use Pinterest
  • City dwellers are significantly more likely to use Twitter than rural residents
  • Black people and hispanics are more likely to use Instagram than white people
  • The 18-29 year-old demographic is more likely to use Instagram than Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr


Duke Chats During The State Of The Union

The Duke community  joined a Twitter chat during President Obama’s “State of the Union” address last night.

Several faculty and students participated in the chat, tweeting their reactions to the president’s speech using the hashtag #DukeChat. The chats provide an opportunity to have a “public classroom” about issues in real time. We had a ton of conversation. In fact, as of noon on Wednesday, Feb. 13, #DukeChat is still trending in Raleigh, NC on Twitter.

Twitter _ Search - #DukeChat-2

We had some fun promoting the chat on Facebook and posted a nifty State of the Union bingo graphic (credits to Jonathan Lee, Office of News and Communications).



And, here are some of our social media team’s favorite tweets from #DukeChat:







Check out the Twitter chat in its entirety here.

Duke’s Office of News and Communications has hosted a few politics-based twitter chats within the past year, including during the January 2012 “State of the Union” address and, last fall, during the presidential debates and both the Republican and Democrat conventions.


Duke’s 2013 Social Media Roundup

For our most recent Duke Communicators event, I organized a fun tour of what’s happening across our community in social media.

At our 2013 Social Media Roundup, my colleagues described how they are using social media to promote bloggers, share photos, reach new international audiences and much more. Each person spoke for five minutes, in a format similar to an Ignite session. Hopefully the Duke Communicators group walked away with lots of new ideas to try, as well as with information about colleagues to call for inspiration and advice.

Our presenters were:

Laura Brinn, Global Communications

Debbe Geiger, Duke University Medical Center

Wendy Livingston and J. Caldwell, Nasher Museum of Art

Orla Swift, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Aaron Welborn, Duke Libraries

Ashley Wolf, Duke Athletics

(Tawnee Milko with the Nicholas School of the Environment was unable to make the presentation and her slides are at the end of the slide deck.)

You can view our entire slide deck from the event here.

What would you like to see at our next Social Media Roundup?

A Duke Faculty Social Media Workshop

Last Friday, about 70 Duke faculty and staff attended a two-hour workshop on how best to use social media tools in the classroom and beyond. The workshop was hosted by Duke’s Office of News & Communications (ONC), which holds a number of training sessions during the year for the Duke community, including ones covering such topics as how to write and publish Op-Ed articles or how to conduct interviews with the media.

Last week’s program began with David Jarmul, ONC’s Associate Vice President of News and Communications, welcoming participants to the workshop and setting the scene for the morning.

David Jarmul welcoming Duke faculty at our social media workshop

For the first hour of the workshop, I led a panel of five Duke faculty and staff members who have been using social media tools. Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, Mark Anthony Neal, David Schanzer, Tawnee Milko and Peter Ubel all did an amazing job describing their experiences with tools like blogging, Twitter and Facebook, including what has and hasn’t worked for them and how they’ve incorporated social media into their classes. Here is a link to all of the sites and examples we shared during the first hour.

In the second half of the program, workshop attendees divided into two groups. I led a discussion among people familiar with social media about how they can more effectively use blogs, Twitter and other tools and reviewed accepted best practices. Here is a link to my Prezi outline.

Jonathan Lee, ONC’s social and digital media fellow, instructed those new to social media on how to set up a Facebook page, Twitter account or blog, among other things. Here is a link to Jonathan’s presentation and a quick handout we prepared on tips and tricks for getting started with these tools.

Attendees live tweeted during the workshop using the hashtag #DukeSocial.

Finally, Jonathan and I are happy to follow up with attendees on any questions or comments they have about the workshop. We also want to do a quick commercial for Duke’s Center for Instructional Technology, whose great folks do regular training sessions on getting started with social media and blogging tools. They also offer free access to online courses (which include TONS of options for learning more about social media) for anyone with a Duke NetID.

We hope to see you at ONC’s next workshop! Stay tuned to Duke Today for information on upcoming opportunities.

The new @DukeU on Twitter

Twitter recently launched several features to make user profiles more engaging, including a new header image. To take advantage of these additions, Duke’s social media team designed new graphics to use for our Twitter background and header images. Here’s a walkthrough of the approach.

the new @DukeU experience

The header:
The header is a new feature Twitter introduced in September that gives users an additional element of customization and personal branding. However, there are a few constraints:


Twitter recommends 1200x600px with a maximum file size of 5Mb.

Regardless of what file size you are working with, your final product should have a 2:1 aspect ratio.


Twitter will automatically apply a darkening gradient to your header image, and layer white text over that gradient.


our recently redesigned undergraduate admissions site

Though the size constraints actually give users a great degree of freedom, allowing users to upload hi-res files, we kept our header simple, which gave us more flexibility when designing the background. More on that later.

For inspiration we referred to the subtle, but graphically intriguing backgrounds on the new Duke Undergraduate Admissions site, and designed the header image shown below:

Twitter also applies a wide white stroke to your avatar and layers that over your header as well. To undercut the off-putting boldness of this effect, we changed our avatar to the blue on white version of our logo. This way the stroke appears to be a part of the image rather than a boundary constraining it.


The background:

Backgrounds are a bit trickier to deal with because different users will see different swathes of your image based on their monitor’s resolution and what browser they are using.


There are two kinds of boundaries to operate within. First, Twitter allows backgrounds up to 2048px wide (no height limit), with a maximum file size of 800KB. However, regardless of the background dimensions, viewers will only see what portions of it their monitor and browsers allow. While Twitter’s allowances tells us which perimeters we should design for, browser data dictates where we should place important content:

99% of Twitter visitors have at least a 1024px wide resolution. Twitter’s own content occupies 865px, so that leaves you with 132px (a pair of 66px gutters on either side of Twitter’s content) to work with. This is enough space for a logo or a brand name to descend down the side of the canvas, but doesn’t leave much room for other graphic elements.

85.4% of visitors have a 1280px or greater resolution. This gives designers 372px (194px on either side) to work with, and is the option we pursued. (Browser data from W3Schools Jan 2012)


Earlier, Twitter allowed backgrounds to be left-aligned only. This could be problematic for some designs since graphics were anchored to side of the user’s browser rather than anchored to the content, making the right-hand gutter functionless for incorporating further information. With the most recent update, users have the options to left-align, right-align, or center their background images. Centering allows users to make full use of both gutters, and also fixes design to your content.

The various background alignment options Twitter now offers.


We created a 1920x1520px background at 72 ppi. We used the left gutter to create a banner 180px wide. For a the rest of the background, we used a high-resolution photograph.
Using a photo can present a few challenges. When using the header image feature, the user needs to be sure that the background and header don’t clash and compete with each other (or the profile photo) for the viewers attention. To negate this issue, we used a subtly patterned header, though the inverse is just as plausible – highlighting a photographic header and utilizing a clean graphic background. Combinations of dual photos or dual graphics work as well; it’s just a matter of finding visuals that compliment each other.

Additionally, because Twitter limits background images to 2048px in width, viewers with a browser resolution higher than this (or than your photo) will see empty canvas space on either side of the uploaded background. Popular solutions include having your background fade into whichever color you set as the background color (or utilizing a background that strongly features that color). However, since our background photograph features a wide range of colors, we selected a clean black from the Duke Style Guide to accentuate and showcase the photo.

A quick look at the 'Save for Web' panel in Adobe Illustrator. Key elements are highlighted.

Lastly, photos are typically much larger files than other kinds of graphics due to their color depth. Our final image was 7.6MB, well over the 800KB Twitter allows. To get our file size under this limit, we used Adobe Illustrator’s “Save for Web” feature to decrease the quality of the image.

By decreasing the file’s quality to 61%, we reduced the file size to 794.1K – right below the 800K mark – while introducing minimal artifacts. Naturally, a user can shift the balance the other way, in which image quality would be prioritized over photographic dimensions – it’s just comes down to what aspect the designer would like to optimize.

For those interested in adopting this background, we’ve provided the following resources:

Duke Social Media Twitter Background

Duke Social Media Twitter Header


Happy designing, and tweet on!

– Jonathan

Talk Energy with Duke Experts on Twitter

Over the past year, our news and communications team has been exploring different ways to use social media to connect Duke researchers and faculty with larger audiences. One of the more successful experiments are Twitter chats – conversations on Twitter using a hashtag around a topic and/or event. Twitter chats are a great way for Duke experts to weigh in on a topic and engage in public education.

One example of a Duke Twitter chat was when we had faculty, post-docs and students tweeting during the 2012 State of the Union using the hashtag #DukeChat with #SOTU, the main hashtag for the event. We ended up with a total of 45 people tweeting 250+ times with the hashtag, creating some good conversation around the opinions of Duke experts.

Duke’s next Twitter chat  is hosted by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and follows the release of two new case studies exploring the opportunities and barriers associated with clean energy, using solar water heating and combined heat and power as examples. On August 21 from 2-3 p.m. EST, two study authors will lead a conversation about the case study projects and an overview of the state of renewable energy in the southeast U.S. To participate in the chat, send your questions and comments on Twitter using the hashtag #seenergytalk, or post them early to Facebook. We hope to meet you there!

Duke Faculty ‘Live Tweet’ Obama’s State of the Union Speech

Earlier this week, Duke University held our first Twitter chat during President Obama’s State of the Union speech. We came up with the idea in a brainstorming session about getting faculty to try new tools and use social networking to amplify their voices. The concept was to assemble a handful of faculty and post-doc students who are already on Twitter – or just interested in trying Twitter – to have a sidebar conversation during a larger conversation on the social network.

The result was the creation of the hashtag #DukeChat, linking to broader international discussion about the speech at #SOTU.

Terrorism expert David Schanzer, religion professor Ebrahim Moosa, Maurice Wallace of AAAS and other Duke faculty also participated in the Twitter conversation, which included about 250 posts. Others watching the conversation online Internet added their own comments. A complete transcript is available.

“As a ‘Twitter newbie,” I found the experience interesting and enlightening,” said political science professor Paula McClain, whose comments ranged from Obama’s “tough talk on China” to how House Speaker John Boehner was reacting to the speech. “It was interesting to see how my view sometimes corresponded with those of my colleagues and at other times differed. I am definitely up for this again.”

A Storify round-up of the Twitter conversation can be found here.