Social Survey: Twitter for Higher Ed Marketing

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted something in the Social Survey series, but after seeing this video on ProBlogger, Why I Love Twitter, last week I knew that I was ready to tackle my toughest task yet. Finding a Higher Education use for Twitter.

What is Twitter?

twitter logo Social Survey: Twitter for Higher Ed MarketingSo there are probably some reading this who have no idea what Twitter is. As my simplest explaination I would say Twitter is Instant Messanging 2.0. Where AOL Instant Messanger and other clients are great for carrying on conversations with someone else, Twitter opens these conversations up to a wider audience. You can talk to a specific person, but with Twitter it is fair game for anyone to jump into a conversation at any time. Instead of writing a whole post about what Twitter is this Guide to Twitter: What It Is, How To Use It and Twitter Tools should cover pretty much everything you need. Or if your lazy and a visual learner Common Craft has created a video explaining Twitter in Plain English.

Practical uses for Marketing Twitter in Higher Education

Some ideas have been thrown around about using Twitter for Higher Education marketing, but the reality is Twitter is a toy for internet techies to communicate. The rest of the world isn’t really using this resource yet. Jeremy Wilburn attempted to tackle Using Twitter in Higher Education a few months ago and it started some interesting conversation. I’ll admit at the time I was a twitter newb and not using it nearly as much as today. Back in those days I simply pulled the RSS feed from twitter and scanned it twice a day. Of course I also only had a fraction of the people in my twitter channel.

Jeremy suggested possibly using Twitter as a live chat channel for admission. Some of the other ideas include emergency postings through twitter and in the comments Mike mentioning that they use it at Allegheny to aggregate their school news feeds. Me being the outside the box thinker I am wonder if Twitter couldn’t be use by a College President to share tidbits of the life of a president? I know our president is all over the world and you never know where, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see your president tweet that he’s in Aspen for a conference? Am I stretching to far here?

Seth Meranda was kind enough to create a community of higher education twitters which is an interesting resource. Check out the HigherEd Crowdstatus community. This page is most valuable if you are a higher education person just getting on Twitter and would like to connect with some really good individuals in the mix already.

Another article that I found really useful in understanding practical uses for Twitter was, How to Use Twitter for Marketing & PR, over at HubSpot. I’d recommend reading the article for yourself, but some of the big take aways is the live updates that can be posted about events, monitoring conversations about your company, and as a way to stay in touch with Social Media heavy users.

I asked some faculty, staff, and students around campus if anyone used Twitter and for the most part the response was, “What is that?”. Even the Computer Science students aren’t really into Twitter, yet. Our library does have a Twitter account that they tested sending updates through, but it hasn’t been updated in months.

Come Back to Earth

The reality is Twitter is great for speaking your mind, but it ultimately leads to increased bacn on the internet. I have been able to ask the community some questions and received some useful responses, but so much of the conversation is little tidbits about who’s doing what (mostly what’s for dinner).

I use Twhirl to keep up with Twitter instead of updating the website. Twhirl essentially turns your Twitter conversation into an Instant Messaging application that users are probably familiar with and adds some additional functionality like URL shortening. You can also tinker with the settings to only allow Tweets to come through every five minutes or whatever you choose.

Closure

In closing I have to share this experience. Since I mentioned Jeremy earlier, one of the wildest experiences I’ve had on Twitter was last Friday as Jeremy was experiencing one of the earthquake in the Midwest on Friday and twittering his experience.

twitter earthquake Social Survey: Twitter for Higher Ed Marketing

Does the experience have any practical impact on my life? No not really, but in the information age where we all thirst for knowledge and love to crunch every little morsel Twitter allows us to do this at a rapid rate never experience before. That’s the real take away value, if that interests you.

Additional Twitter Resources

  • 5 Ways To Have Fun with Twitter When You’re Bored
  • 10 Ways Twitter Can Boost Your Social News Profile
  • Micro Blogging with Twitter - an interesting article from Campus Technology with actual academic responses for Twitter adoption
  • 101 Must See Twitter Resources - You knew I had to include a gigantic resource list
  • My Essential Twitter Tools - great tips with specific examples of tools

This post was written by:

Kyle James

Kyle James - who has written 227 posts on .eduGuru

Kyle is currently the Customer in Residence at HubSpot, a Co-Founder at nuCloud and  formerly the webmaster at Wofford College. Kyle is an active contributor in the social media spectrum. Although his background is technical, he claims to know a thing or two about marketing, but mostly that revolves around SEO, analytics, blogging, and social media. He has spoken at multiple national conferences and done countless webinars on topics ranging from e-mail marketing to social media and Web analytics. He's definitely a fairly nice guy.

Ways to Connect with Kyle

Kyle's Blog Kyle's Facebook Kyle's LinkedIn Bio Kyle's Twitter AccountKyle's Last.FM Music Kyle's Flickr Photos Michael's YouTube Profile Kyle's Digg Profile Kyle's Sphinn Kyle's Mixx Profile Kyle's Delicious Bookmarks Kyle's StumbleUpon Kyle's SlideShare Presentations Kyle's Last.FM Music 


17 Responses to “Social Survey: Twitter for Higher Ed Marketing”

  1. Avatar image
    Tina Russell Says:

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

    Tina Russell

  2. Avatar image
    Kyle James (author) Says:

    Tina, I’m glad that you are enjoying the blog. :)

    Thanks for joining the conversation.

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    Bradjward Says:

    Why weren’t you awake at 5:30am when we were twittering the first earthquake? Haha, just kidding. Great post on Twitter. So many uses, can’t wait to see what some people come up with on how to use this tool.

  4. Avatar image
    Jeremy Wilburn Says:

    Psst…you spelled my name wrong. It’s a confusing name to spell.

    I think Twitter is a great resource for professionals, but I am not sure it will ever catch on with younger people. I think it may be viewed as a place where only adults are and they are looking for a place where adults leave them alone. Then again, the new generation of kids is more adult friendly, so maybe they will make the move over. I’m actually leaning towards Google Talk and getting rid of a group chat feature. But other people would prefer to have that group chat still be available.

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    Seth Meranda Says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said: “Twitter is a toy for internet techies to communicate.” During a recent focus group I held with current students at a small liberal arts college, I asked about Twitter. Over half had never heard of it. The rest said they were aware of it, but hadn’t used it.

    The Higher Ed crowd status is nice, but I would like it to be more dynamic (for instance: automatic AJAX refreshes and smaller interface to keep page scroll limited).

  6. Avatar image
    Kyle James (author) Says:

    @Jeremy - sorry about that, it’s been fixed. Some where I decided to change your name. :)

    @Seth - the Crowd page really isn’t that helpful to me because I already follow everyone on the list, but it’s a great resource to send someone to who wants to easily figure out who to follow and for that it’s perfect. And like you said I remember hearing about Twitter for the first time about a year ago and it took me almost nine months to finally give it a test run.

  7. Avatar image
    Andrew Careaga Says:

    Glad to see this discussion moving forward. A couple of months ago, I posed the question, Should universities tweet? on my blog and in the twittersphere. You’ll find some interesting comments on that post.

    We set up a university Twitter account for Missouri S&T but are still groping with how to use it. Right now I post occasional links of interest rather than feeding every news story, blog post, etc.

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    Andrew Careaga Says:

    By the way, for PR types, Twitter can be a benefit. I first found out about the Midwest ‘quake because I follow the online editor of a major Midwest daily. And since I check Twitter (usually) early in the morning on my cell phone, I could start working on a plan for promoting our earthquake experts while brushing my teeth!

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    Raymundo Says:

    I really appreciate your article. The information is very interesting and useful. It is great that it is possible with Twitter to jump into a conversation at any time and it is fair game for anyone.

  10. Avatar image
    Quinton Says:

    Yeah! It’s really like SMS, but its value is greater not only for me but for many persons including me. Sometimes you really think its kinda blogging but it’s greater… I really appreciate it!

  11. Avatar image
    Dylon Says:

    If Twitter is great for speaking the mind, it is for me. And I was surprised to find out that messanger and other clients are great for carrying on conversations with someone else, Twitter opens these conversations up to a wider audience.

  12. Avatar image
    Tammy Kor Says:

    Good blogpost, I bookmarked your site so I can visit again in the future, Cheers, Tammy Kor

  13. Avatar image
    Manikandan Says:

    Hi its really nice info to know more about twitter.

    Thanks for share….

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