Social Media | St. Louis Public Radio

Social Media

Trey Porter joined Tuesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of St. Louis Public Schools’ termination last month of Trey Porter, Roosevelt High School’s football coach and athletic director, there were more questions than answers. There was also hope — on the part of Porter’s students, parents and others — that Porter might be reinstated, especially after an Oct. 21 student-led walkout in support of him.

But at the latest meeting of the school board, Porter was notified that the board is standing by the district’s decision.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Porter joined host Sarah Fenske to share his perspective on the events of recent days. Porter has said all along that the firing had to do with violating the district’s social media policies, and that his communication with players happened in the context of a strikingly violent summer for many youth in the city.

At a 2018 campaign stop in Blue Springs, then-Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley spoke to crowd of about 50 people.
File photo | Aviva Okeson-Haberman | KCUR

In a scathing letter to Facebook this month, Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, along with three of his Republican colleagues, renewed his criticism of the social media giant, saying the company censors conservative voices.

It’s Hawley’s latest call for more government scrutiny and regulation of tech companies stemming from concerns like data privacy, internet addiction and censorship. 

From left, Amber Hinsley, Lauren Terbrock-Elmestad and Tyler Kelley joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Emoji have come a long way in recent years, with smiling faces and simple thumbs up now vastly outnumbered by a wide range of visual expressions available for digital use. As this visual language infuses contemporary forms of communication more and more, emoji present both opportunities and challenges in humans’ abilities to understand each other.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin talked with three St. Louisans whose areas of expertise have them thinking a lot about how to use emoji and related digital tools well.

Joining the discussion were rhetorician Lauren Terbrock-Elmestad, a PhD student and graduate instructor at St. Louis University; Amber Hinsley, an associate professor in SLU’s Department of Communication; and Tyler Kelley, co-founder and chief strategist at the St. Louis-based digital storytelling firm SLAM!

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley has been an outspoken critic of big technology companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook since he joined the Senate. April 2019
Courtesy of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley's office

There hasn’t been a lot of subtlety about how U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley feels about big technology companies.

Since entering the Senate earlier this year, the Missouri Republican has introduced bills aimed at curtailing video game “loot boxes” and allowing people to opt out of companies tracking their Internet activity. He most recently announced legislation that would bar video-sharing sites like YouTube from recommending videos of minors.

And while the trajectory of the freshman lawmaker’s legislation won’t necessarily be smooth, Hawley noted in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio on Wednesday that some of the ideas he’s supporting are gaining bipartisan favor.

On the latest news roundup show for the Politically Speaking podcast, the St. Louis Public Radio team discusses vaping, St. Louis' police residency requirement and General Motors state tax incentives.
File | Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

A recent study of American teenagers showed a big jump in nicotine vaping among young people in 2018. Even as many steer clear of other substance-related activities such as binge drinking and drug use, the number of teens who are vaping has more than doubled since 2017.

“The data shows that one in five middle schoolers are using these products and one in three high school [students] are using these products, so those are incredibly concerning numbers,” Dr. Patricia Cavazos-Rehg said during Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Sarah’s son came home from high school more than a year ago upset about being bullied.

“He came in tears, (saying) ‘they’re calling me a name and someone’s impersonating me,’’ she said in an interview last month.

But the name-calling didn’t happen in the hallway or even in-person. Instead someone created an Instagram account online using a taunting nickname, according to Sarah. That’s when her “nightmare with Instagram” began.

Erika Klotz is co-owner of the newly launched Selfie Room in downtown St. Louis.
The Selfie Room

The Selfie Room just made its debut in downtown St. Louis, offering the latest evidence of a seemingly ever-present selfie phenomenon. The museum’s mission is to “bring people together by taking photos with fun, whimsical backdrops” that comprise its interactive art exhibits.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Selfie Room co-owner Erica Klotz about what visitors can expect at the new entertainment destination – and also discussed the broader cultural landscape that surrounds it.

Amber Hinsley, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at St. Louis University, and Jennifer Siciliani, a University of Missouri-St. Louis psychology professor in the area of behavioral neuroscience, also participated in the conversation.

Sister An Mei, left, and Sister Mary Lea Hill wave to a group of high school students who recently visited the Pauline Books and Media store in Crestwood.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Daughters of St. Paul have operated Pauline Books and Media, a small bookstore adjoining their convent in Crestwood, since the 1980s. But these days, the Roman Catholic sisters are reaching people far beyond St. Louis with their posts and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

Using the hashtag #MediaNuns, they tweet friendly messages of inspiration:

“If you do nothing else today, remember that God loves you.”

Tim Bono is the author of “When Likes Aren’t Enough: A Crash Course in the Science of Happiness.” He says he is not on Instagram.  He does admit to operating a Twitter account – but only because his book publisher insisted.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Are we as happy as we appear to be on social media?

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh explored that question and others in conversation with Tim Bono, a faculty member at Washington University. The psychologist’s new book “When Likes Aren’t Enough: A Crash Course in the Science of Happiness” draws on scores of happiness-related studies conducted with college students and other adults throughout the world.

Facebook launched News Feed 11 years ago so users could see friends’ posts without having to visit their profiles. Today, News Feed is the unofficial homepage of the internet with billions of viewers each month.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed how users will experience new changes on Facebook and how media organizations such as St. Louis Public Radio and NPR are dealing with the changes.

What will the digital form of looking back at old family photo albums be like in 100 years? We're discussing "digital obsolescence" on St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday at noon.
jmv | Flickr

If you’ve happened to glance through an old family album, it is likely you’ve found photographs still around from over a century ago. Perhaps, too, you’ve found old letters your grandparents wrote one another or an old ticket stub to the movies.

These artifacts help build a more complete story of the lives of those from yesteryear. Those stories are important on a personal and institutional level when it comes to collective memory.

The Trump administration's very public conflicts with government agencies continues on Twitter during the first week of Donald Trump's presidency.

This time around, in response to a gag order barring public-facing communications by several departments, Twitter users are creating spoof accounts and getting embroiled in the dissemination of facts. Here in St. Louis, a spoof Gateway Arch account popped up on Wednesday.

St. Louis Public Radio's social media and engagement producer breaks down how to determine whether or not an account is verified — plus a few more Twitter related questions. 

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, points to a sign last August in Ferguson. Chappelle-Nadal was one of the many political figures who felt transformed by Michael Brown's death.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

William Freivogel, professor of public policy at SIU-Carbondale, recently labeled the widespread use of social media following the death of Michael Brown as “America’s Arab Spring.”

The international parallels are clear: a swell of ‘citizen journalists’ live-tweeting, streaming, and blogging protests and confrontations; Internet-based organization and galvanization of grassroots movements; and the use of social media as an alternative source of news.

Terence Blanchard performs with his band E Collective
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Grammy-winning jazz musician Terence Blanchard is no stranger to composing music inspired by social injustice. He wrote an album about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  He wrote the opera "Champion," which dealt with race and sexuality issues in boxing and debuted at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis last year. And he just released a new work inspired by the death of Eric Garner and the #BlackLivesMatter social media campaign that’s taken root in St. Louis since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan Waters
Jefferson County website

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan Waters says she likely would have been oblivious to the internet uproar over her Facebook comments about the president if she hadn’t set up a Twitter account a few months ago.

Waters claims that she had forgotten about her Facebook post – which appears to ask why the military hasn’t ousted President Barack Obama -- until she was at a radio station for an interview on Oct. 10.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Update: After least four says of of denial of service attacks, the main St. Louis County government website was restored on Monday, August 18. Work was still continuing on restoring auxiliary sites.

Updated at 12:30 on Friday August 15 with the latest on the St. Louis County website.

Sterling Waldman
Provided by Sterling Waldman

For many people, selecting “male” or “female” on their Facebook profile is an easy choice. But for those who identify differently, Facebook now provides 56 gender selections.

Last week, Sterling Waldman of Chesterfield turned 17 and received a perfect birthday present: the option to identify as “genderqueer” on Facebook.

On Friday, Facebook expanded its drop-down menu to offer a “custom” selection of genders that provides more than four dozen options, a cause for celebration for many who identify in a nontraditional way.

“It was very exciting to have that happen,” Waldman told St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

Fifty-six Choices Not Enough?

Born and raised female, Waldman always felt different from friends and schoolmates.

“I didn’t really fit in with the girls and I didn’t fit in with the boys,” Waldman said. “I wanted to be both.”

For years, Waldman struggled with the feelings but lacked the language to describe them.

“I didn’t have the words, but I learned the terminology at the end of my freshman year,” Waldman remembered.

Waldman, who prefers the pronouns “them” and “they” to “him, his, her or hers,” has parental support and a community of like-minded people, outside of school and within Parkway Central High.

“In my grade, there are two others who identify as gender-non-binary,” Waldman said.

Facebook's menu also includes "transgender," "trans," "androgynous" and "cisgender," which is another way of saying you identify as the gender you were assigned at birth.

But are 56 choices enough? When it comes to politics and religion, Facebook users don’t have to pick from a list. They can write in their beliefs using words of their choosing. The profile form looks as though you could write in what you want, but it only accepts one of the 56 terms.

Despite the glee over being able to identify as “genderqueer” on Facebook, Waldman knows that not everyone will find the right term to describe such a personal and integral part of themselves.

"I have some friends whose identities are not on that list," Waldman said.

How Do We Foster Media Literacy In Today's Digital World?

Nov 12, 2013
(via Flickr/Jason Howie)

With the advent of smart phones and tablets, media messages are now ever-present. And with social media, Internet television, satellite radio, blogs and self-publishing in addition to traditional print and broadcasting, the number of media messages out there is also ever-increasing.

That makes it all the more important that people have the ability to critically deconstruct the messages the media convey.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2013: Last Friday teens and those who work with teens in trouble got to interact with lawyers who gave them roadmaps for traversing potential legal problems. The day-long session has been developed to help connect resources and knowledge with the people who need them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 4, 2013 - In March 2005, former Sen. Jean Carnahan and Democratic consultant Roy Temple created quite a stir at Democrat Days in Hannibal when they announced the launch of the state's first major political blog, “FiredUp Missouri.”

The aim, the two said, was to use its web presence to daily promote Democratic ideals – and lampoon the opposition.

(via NPR)

NPR's senior social media strategist Andy Carvin was our sole guest today on "St. Louis on the Air." 

Carvin touched on his beginnings, his role as a "information DJ" and how he pieces together truth in real time.

How does he describe his job?

Carvin said one of the best ways he can think of to describe what he does is a "journalistic test pilot."

"I use the word storytelling because...not everything I do could be considered journalism."

"Someone once referred to what I do as 'information DJ-ing.'"

Beacon blog: About community, not technology

Mar 15, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 15, 2013 - As I wrote back in November when Humans of New York raised $72K in 12 hours, "Real communities and real relationships have immeasurable value. They are built, not bought, and consistently delivering an honest, interesting and genuine product is a surefire way to build them. And if you've built them honestly, they will gladly and swiftly activate on issues in line with the health and survival of the community."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 2, 2013 - Twenty years ago, it was an innovation that ushered in a communications revolution affecting the way businesses, institutions and individuals talk to one another in a way not seen since the invention of the telegraph.

But today, some are wondering what the future holds for email.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 8, 2012 - Best known for "the front page of the internet," Alex Ohanian, co-founder of, will be in St. Louis Tuesday night as part of an Internet 2012 Bus Tour.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 20, 2012 - Dear Paranoid, Right-Wing Email Guys: I write to you in the fourth year of the Reign of Obama the First. In keeping with the spirit of the moment, allow me to begin by apologizing. My salutation above is admittedly stereotypical and for that I am truly sorry.

Morning headlines- Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aug 2, 2012
(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Jobless rate drops below 8 percent in St. Louis

The jobless rate in metropolitan St. Louis is going down, and has dipped below 8 percent for the first time in more than three years.

Ill. bill on employer Facebook password requests hits snag

Mar 22, 2012
(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Legislation that would prohibit employers from seeking job applicants' social network passwords is on hold in the Illinois House.

Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford's measure would allow job-seekers to file lawsuits if asked for access to sites like Facebook. Bosses could still ask for usernames that would allow them to view public information on the sites.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beaon, Feb. 24, 2012 - Christened by The Economist as a year of “seismic” events, 1962 was pivotal in many ways. The Cuban missile crisis took the world close to the brink of nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. John Glenn orbited the earth, boosting the space program and morale. Adolph Eichmann was hanged in Israel bringing some closure to a shameful chapter in human history. Marilyn Monroe died of still mysterious causes. And Telstar opened a new era of information dissemination when it transmitted TV images across the Atlantic.

Commentary: In search of a 'social media' definition

Feb 7, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 7, 2012 - The Miriam-Webster definition for "Social Media" is as follows: forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content (as videos).

Bill would ban businesses from requiring social media passwords of applicants

Feb 3, 2012
(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Updated 3:54 p.m. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.

An Illinois state representative from Chicago has introduced legislation in Springfield that would ban businesses from requiring job applicants to divulge their social media passwords.