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Twitter in Education

Twitter in Education

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Published by Bert Kok
White paper about ways of using Twitter in higher education
White paper about ways of using Twitter in higher education

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Published by: Bert Kok on Apr 21, 2011
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05/28/2011

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POWERFUL WAYS
 The SecondIn a Series of White Papers From
TO USE
5
IN HIGHER EDUCATION
 
5 Powerful Ways to Use Twitter in Higher Education
Accomplishing the Amazing in #140charactersorless 
By Dustin Brady 
When Twitter was introduced to the public in 2006, it had a lot going against it. First o all, itsname was “Twitter.It’s diicult to take a website seriously when all its users seem to do is“tweet” their musings on everyday lie. Second, many people didn’t get what it does. I it’s possi-ble to post a status on Facebook, why limit yoursel to 140 characters on Twitter? And isn’t Twitterall about celebrities telling us what they had or lunch?Despite those initial misconceptions, Twitter has grown to become one o the top 10 most-visitedwebsites with 65 million tweets each day.
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So either a whole lot o people are interested in Ash-ton Kutcher’s chicken salad or Twitter is much more than a passing ad.While Twitter has become one o the most powerul tools in the social media world, manyschools are missing out on its value because they still don’t understand exactly how it should beused. Through this white paper, you’ll learn ve powerul ways to use Twitter in higher education;but rst, it is important to understand what Twitter is
not 
:
Facebook Lite 
Many schools have grown rustrated with Twit-ter because they’ve made the mistake o usingit like Facebook Lite. To them, Twitter is onlyuseul or posting 140-character status updatesand a ew links. While Twitter and Facebookshare a number o similarities, they are distinctin enough ways to make Twitter ar more valu-able or certain applications. Through this whitepaper, we will look closer into these distinctionsto draw out Twitter’s value.
A Popularity Contest 
Number o ollowers is the only metric many schools use to measure success on Twitter. Whileit can be easy to xate on this number since it’s one o the rst things you’ll see when checkingyour prole, it’s important to realize that number o ollowers has almost nothing to do with realsuccess.“Followers on Twitter is a loose metric,” said Mark Greeneld, Director o WebServices at the State University o New York at Bualo. “I I wanted 10,000 ol-lowers, I could make that happen. On Twitter, it’s more about the quality o yourinteractions than your number o ollowers.”1
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Continue the Conversation
Thoughts, comments or questionsabout this paper? Continue the discus-sion on Twitter in higher education byusing the hashtag#hetweet
 
Driven by Teenagers 
Why hasn’t Twitter taken o as a recruiting tool? According to 2010 statistics, 11 percent o Fa-cebook’s 500 million users are between the ages o 13 and 17, translating to around 35 millionteenage Facebook users. According to those same statistics, only 4 percent o Twitter’s active us-ers are teenagers. Since there are currently about 106 million users on Twitter, 4 percent trans-lates to only 4.2 million high-schoolers.
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 High-schoolers and undergrads simplyaren’t using Twitter as much as they useFacebook. This doesn’t make Twitter anyless relevant, it simply means that youmay have to adjust your goals and targeta slightly dierent audience.
How to Use Twitter
By talking to schools across the countryand ollowing some o higher education’sbest tweeters, we discovered ve impor-tant things every college and universityshould be doing with Twitter. How is yourschool doing?
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I your school is not active on Twitter, start by simply listening. Use Twitter or a solution likeCoT-weet,TweetDeckorHootSuiteto search or the name o your school and nd out what people are saying about you. You’ll quickly discover that there’s more conversation going on about yourschool than you thought.Bringing the results o your searches to administration is a great way to get buy-in or your social media initiatives. When they see what kind o conversation isalready going on, it’s hard to justiy staying silent.Ater you eel comortable listening on Twitter, it’s time to start participating in the conversation.I an applicant expresses excitement about your college, send them a reply sharing their excite-ment. I someone has a question or complaint, do your best to solve their problem as soon aspossible, even on the weekend. In today’s world, great customer service can seem a rarity. I youcan use Twitter to go beyond their expectations, it’s easy to make a long-term impression.What kind o value does this quick reaction have?The best answer to this question comes rom Lori Packer, Assistant Director o Public Relationsat the University o Rochester. “I really don’t know how to measure the value o a tweet. What Ido know is that the Web is where people make connection and that’s not going away any timesoon. I we get better at making connections online, our eorts will pay o.”In tomorrow’s world, instant communication will be expected. Instead o spending months devel-2
On Twitter, it’s more about the 
 
quality of your interactions 
 
than your 
 
number of followers.
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