Clever Curator Consonance

Still confused about exactly what happened at the UM System Board of Curators meeting last week? That’s OK, so are all of the sports reporters (just kidding, though all the important news was reserved for us higher education writers).

Last week was a regularly scheduled board meeting that once again got the sports spotlight treatment, even though meeting included so much more than conference realignment.

The board met behind closed doors Wednesday and Thursday night to discuss the presidential search and again all afternoon Thursday to cover a ton of information points and action items. The board voted to approve a much-debated retirement plan, renovations to the MU campus and a new athletic training degree program.

In the end though, everything was overshadowed by the press conference Friday. Board Chairman Warren Erdman made two announcements — first, that the board would produce a group of system presidential finalists to their advisory committee (the hot news I was there to cover), and second that the board had chosen to give Deaton all the power he needs to change MU’s conference affiliation.

I know and understand (both as a reporter and a fan) that the sports story is unbelievably big deal, but the way the conference realignment announcements have overshadowed the other vitally important things the curators are doing is a little frustrating.

Nonetheless, I had a great time reporting the meetings and spending time with education and sports reporters alike.

Much like the Oct. 4 curators meeting in St. Louis, I split my time reporting and live-tweeting the meetings, this time with a mix of personal and Missourian twitter accounts.

I felt much more comfortable operating CoTweet to publish tweets from the Missourian’s Twitter accounts, and published 19 tweets over the course of three days (plus many more from my personal account). Nine of those came as general updates about the curators meetings from @CoMissourian, and another 10 from @CoMoSports during Friday’s press conference.

To keep things flowing over the multiday meetings we chose to tie together all the tweets relating to the curators with the hashtag: #umcurators. That way folks who were genuinely following along could search the hashtag to find all of the relevant tweets and see the chronology of the meetings.

Plus the content of what I was tweeting was infinitely more effective than the last time I live-tweeted the curators, and the number of retweets proves that people found the information valuable. Although I would have loved to see more engagement with @CoMissourian during the meetings, perhaps the folks most interested — and that have the most questions or concerns — about the retirement plan aren’t exactly of the Twitter generation (which is admittedly an unfair assumption, because there are lots of older adults on Twitter and lots of younger folks concerned about retirement plans).

Regardless, the week was full of steps forward: for my tweeting skills, for the presidential search, and for (apparently) the future of MU’s conference affiliation.

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