Tweet ON – Creating Healthy Communities’ Marissa Stone Works Differently

The 2013 Priester National Extension Health Conference is just days away but the chatter … make that Twitter … began last month connecting participants and engaging them.

The Priester National Extension Health Conference, named in honor of the late USDA National Program Leader Jeanne M. Priester, draws professionals involved in health research, education and policy from the Cooperative Extension System, health care, federal organizations, private nonprofit organizations, schools and higher education. The conference is April 16 and 17 at Oregon State University in Corvallis with preconference activities on April 15.


Marissa Stone, a coordinator for the eXtension Creating Healthy Communities community of practice (CoP), set up a 12-session Tweet chat series – 60 minute conversations on Twitter – to generate conversation around the topics to be explored at the conference, before the conference. The chats began March 7 and conclude April 15. Each tweet chat highlights one topic. Some chats build on each other while others initiate new topics. All pertain to health literacy. Tweet Reach (, an online application used to determine the reach of a #hashtag (tag used to aggregate tweets) is used to create reports from the last 50 tweets of each chat.

“After each chat, I create a report of original tweets, retweets and replies and send to all members of the Priester Planning Committee and the Creating Healthy Communities CoP,” Stone said. “The reports help educators understand the value of using technology to extend their reach. To date the number of impressions (similar to a magazine ad) per chat ranges from 25,000 to 28,000. The number of people (actual Twitter accounts) reached runs between 2,500 and 2,900 for each chat.”

The chat series was designed to facilitate communication between attendees and presenters. According to Stone, success will be determined by the size of the health literacy learning network made up of those who connect and communicate via tweets and other posts during the conference.

“I measure success of a social media strategy very differently than most,” Stone said. “Social media applications can encourage and enable communication. The reach of a message or the return on investment (ROI) of a strategy means nothing if the conversation fails to continue beyond the specified event. If attendees can learn the value of communicating in online spaces the same way they communicate in face-to-face situations, the reach of Extension’s message becomes limitless. When I help one person learn to use a social media tool, and later observe or engage in their ongoing virtual conversations, I feel the social media strategy was successful.”

Marissa Stone is an information technologist and social media strategist. She has been on Twitter for five years and sent more than 25,000 tweets. She is working on PhD in computer technology in education at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. She has a master’s in family and consumer sciences from the University of Georgia. Stone currently lives in Plano, Texas. Check out her biography.

This is the third Community of Practice Stone has worked with on eXtension. She has been a leader of the Just in Time Parenting Community of Practice since 2006. She has also worked with eXtension’s Military Families Learning Network.

The Creating Healthy Communities Community of Practice focuses on
• improving the health of vulnerable populations,
• developing community engagement and leadership skills,
• fostering informed health policy decisions and
• advancing healthy community environments.


The Priester National Extension Health Conference website is at The conference program, speakers and other details are on Lanyrd, Connect with the conference on Twitter @PriesterHealth and on Facebook