Ian Urbina Presented Lawlessness on High Sea with PICC on Purdue Campus


Outlaw Ocean Forum was the event that I live tweeted last night, and the impact of the event and the difficulty of live tweeting went beyond my expectation.

This forum was held by Purdue Institute for Civic Communication. Each semester, several speakers are invited to present and discuss here at Purdue with local students, aims to raise the awareness of civic communication.

To get myself well-prepared for my live-tweeting task, I researched about Ian’s bio, PICC, and agenda of the event (Interestingly, I actually enjoy reading Ian’s investigation on the boat and the amazing stories being covered).

On the event day, I arrived half hour earlier before Ian’s speech, joined the networking session and networked with members of PICC to dig some in-depth stories about the event.

“Ian was invited because of his connection with Carolyn. She is the executive director of PICC and used to work at New York Time. Actually, Carolyn hired Ian at that time”–member of PICC Jenny Jackson told me.

Arriving earlier is definitely beneficial to live-tweets, since it got me much more familiar with the background information about the event, thus I could pick out some worth-sharing stories to tweet. However, tweeting while keeping the conversation with my interviewee was difficult. Letting the speaker and interviewees feel respected while live-tweeting was what I felt struggled with.

Another difficulty would be twitter content. Since Ian’s sharing was largely based on his reflection about the stories on the high sea, which contained lots of complicated background information, therefore picking the right word and keeping my twitter under the word limit was a struggle as well.

Lastly, in order to make my tweets presents as a professional and credible, I tried to @PICC, yet I figured out that the organization did not post anything relevant to this event.

Overall, live tweeting in a foreign language was a challenging but meaningful experience for me as a non-native speaker. What if there are millions of followers relying on my twitter as the only information source for this event? I can feel how much burden a journalist needs to carry when try to present the real-world to the audience.

Personally, I prefer read news article post the event rather than checking live-tweet, yet it really depends on the genre of the event. I assume that Selena Gomez must have billions of fans trying to get any information available on twitter before she started her concert, but when it becomes to a more serious and formal forum, like Ian’s speech, audience hold more expectation of knowing the detailed content of what he said, rather than what Ian was dressing or how gorgeous the event place is. The latter scenario requires a compacted yet organized report, thus should not be limited with word count.



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