Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Academia meets Twitter: The Presentation

Getting a handle on Twitter for communication and professional growth in an educational setting.

I started a series of posts to prepare for a presentation entitled Academia meets Twitter for the eMarketing Techniques for Educators event in Austin. This post will serve as a means to follow along during the presentation as well as for attendees to refer back to for future reference:

Twitter can be a game-changer for online communicators. Education provides countless opportunities for various forms of communication, especially online. This leads to the question: Can Twitter be incorporated into an effective online communication strategy for educational institutions?
The short answer is yes and I wanted to explore how educational institutions can and are using/trying Twitter to assist in their communication efforts.

Communication needs
We can all agree with the general assumption that there are many areas within an educational institution that require effective communication in order to help meet objectives:
  • News Updates
  • Athletics
  • Admissions
  • Marketing/PR
  • Development
  • Alumni Relations
  • Etc.
So what does this have to do with Twitter? 
Think of Twitter as a tool that could be a worthy addition to communication tools already in use.

Twitter is...
  • a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time (Twitter)
  • a social networking and micro-blogging tool (photo: geishaboy500)
Yes, but what is it?

 Let's try connections, conversations, community, and content.

For educational institutions, Twitter can be...
  • a cost-effective (free) option to accentuate existing messages;
  • a broadcasting tool to announce relevant information to specific audiences; and
  • a (brief) conversational tool to appropriately respond to relevant inquiries and follow-up questions or comments. 
Two Twitter Types
  • useful if audience knows what they are getting
  • another way to push information
  • works best if you have good information to give
  • could fill a need from specific area or topic
  • provides a "voice"
  • seen as an authority and source
  • ROE - return on engagement
  • a way to interact with those interested in the institution
  • all about building relationships
 Twitter is not... 
  • a silver bullet for communication problems
"It won't replace crime alerts, regular campus e-mails or our cooperation with local news outlets to help ensure community awareness of important safety issues, but it's an important addition." (quoted from Univ. Michigan adds voice, text messaging for emergency notification, not specifically about Twitter, I just like the sentiment.)

Let's Explore

Want to see more examples? http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Universities

Twitter and Professional Growth
  • Referrals
  • Community
  • Networking
  • Commerce
  • Knowledge
  • Serendipity

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