Outpost time line graphs

Outpost time line graphs

In today’s social media world, it’s no surprise that the initial rumor of Chancellor Kent Hance’s retirement was first released on Twitter the night before the official announcement. What is surprising is how fast #kenthance started trending.

According to reports provided by the Outpost, a social media lab in the College of Media and Communication, Hance’s name was mentioned in 349 tweets within 12 hours after initial rumors were posted around 10 p.m. on Oct. 10.

When those statistics were pulled again on Oct. 15, that number grew to around 1,000 tweets. The report also shows that Oct. 12 was Hance’s most popular day. Texas Tech was also a popular topic over the weekend.

Trevor Bell, the social media lab manager at the Outpost, said the Texas Tribune was the first to tweet about Hance’s retirement. However, the Texas Tech Today report has been the most popular.

“You see, no one’s talking about Kent Hance on Twitter, I mean, why would they,” Bell said. “But then, all of a sudden, word of his retirement comes out and you have this gigantic leap.”

Lea Hellmueller, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism and electronic media, said breaking stories on Twitter is a useful tool for journalists in today’s internet society.

“I think it’s a good way to break the story because it goes viral, like, in one minute,” Hellmueller said.

Hellmueller went on to say she thinks Twitter is an especially good way to reach students. She said tweeting can keep students up to date on important issues, such as Hance’s retirement.

Outpost Pie Chart

Courtesy of the Outpost

The Outpost’s reports also showed that most tweets about Hance have been overwhelmingly positive.

The pie chart included in this article shows although students seem to be sad about The Hancellor’s retirement, they are also supportive and excited for Hance’s new endeavors.

Hance has faced some hard times as chancellor, particularly during the Mike Leach football scandal. However, students still seem to have nothing but respect and gratitude for him.

Colleen Bradley, a junior energy commerce major from Lubbock, met Hance during the Kappa Kappa Gamma Founder’s Day dinner. Although she had never met Hance before, Bradley was surprised at how friendly and caring he was.

“I think that if you meet him, everyone loves him. He just has that charm,” Bradley said. “He can just make everyone feel comfortable. I know I was really nervous, because I was sitting next to the chancellor. But, he really does make you feel comfortable and talks to you like a person”.

Bradley went on to say she hopes the new chancellor will uphold similar morals as Hance and will continue to improve Tech.

Photo credit: Colleen Bradley

Bradley with Hance at a Kappa Kappa Gamma event.

Hance has been the chancellor for Tech since 2006. In his time here, he has raised more than $1 billion in order to help Tech become a tier one research university. He has also raised enrollment numbers to new records.

Hance will officially retire at the end of 2013, but has said he will stay on into 2014 until a new chancellor is named.

About Sarah Self-Walbrick

Graduate Executive Director — Mass Communication Graduate Student, Class of 2017
Sarah, a Lubbock native, has two bachelor of art degrees in electronic media and communication and journalism, and is pursuing a master’s in mass communications. She loves Texas, her husband and dog, and good storytelling.

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