There’s a divide between the academe and students, and it can’t be more obvious in their social media activities. While the students have been utilizing different social networking platforms, most universities are still struggling to determine its use. In this technological age, adapting to changes and innovations is important for universities to learn more about their students. These days, reaching out to them is easiest through technology.
While many academic institutions have well utilized Facebook in recent years, they fail to bring into focus the use of Twitter. It’s one of the platforms where students are free to express their thoughts and ideas. If universities really want to know their students, then they need to tap into Twitter.
Instead of telling students to only focus on their academics and unplug from their accounts, it’s time that universities try to learn the culture and put it to good use. Falling behind the times is something every academic institution should avoid.
There are about a billion Twitter users, so just imagine how many of those are students. But it’s not just about the numbers. Twitter works in a real-time form of updates. It’s also one of the apps that most students have in their mobile phones. They’re wired through their phones 24/7, so it’s definite that they’ll be reading updates as soon as they come out.
Twitter is also a lot more personal than Facebook. Since students often feel like Facebook is still too public, they post more rants about school and life on their Twitter accounts. In no way should schools snoop around, but it’s a great device to get firsthand and unfiltered feedback from students about the school.
Tweets and Tricks
The next thing to figure out is how to actively communicate with students via Twitter. It’s no easy feat since many of them would rather not have anything to do with the university once they step outside the gates. But it’s actually quite easy. Here are some things you can try:
- Make it the official Twitter account of your university. By making it official, you’re already inviting students to follow you. It’s necessary that it comes from the university’s website so students will know it’s authentic. It can serve as the students’ direct connection to the administration for concerns and announcement.
- Post news and announcements on Twitter. Think of it as a modernized form of a text brigade. Instead of hoping that students will receive a SMS through chains of text messaging, academic offices can now post on Twitter every breaking news in the campus. It can spread faster than wildfire as it gets likes and retweets from student followers. Through this, the Twitter account becomes the number one source of reliable campus information.
- Ask for feedback for every school event. Getting comments on school events can be quite tricky since most students are lazy to send their comments and suggestions to the academic offices. But through Twitter, you’ll see how the blanket of anonymity can give them courage to voice out their opinions. When you get past trolls and filler comments, you’ll notice the honest and blunt response from the student body.
- Create your own hashtag to foster a community. For every event and activity, an official hashtag can help you keep track of progress and receive immediate feedback. Responding to concerns make it easier if you can follow the tweets of the participating students. It’s a good way to gauge the success of the program.
- Share news and articles useful for students. Be it a chance for scholarship abroad or time-management tricks, Twitter is a great avenue to curate content beneficial to students. It can be the start of discussions, but most of all, you’re imparting useful readings to them.
- Require every college department to have its Twitter account. Each college has its own set of announcements, so a specific account for each one makes it convenient for students to follow the news. Smaller communities are easier to manage as well, and it has a greater chance of engaging students in online discussions.
Managing a Twitter account may be overwhelming at first, but it gets better as the student engagement increase. Most of the best universities are on Twitter already. You can take a clue from some of the best university Twitter accounts and follow suit.