Making a case for Twitter

There’s a lot of talk about how we use Twitter as a marketing tool…or if should we use it as a marketing tool…or what companies are using it well as a marketing tool…or if we have time to start integrating it as a marketing tool.  Blah blah blah.  For me, the jury is still out on whether or not Twitter can be truly effective as a marketing tool.  I’m not convinced that the demographics are there for most institutions, or that the time required to do Twitter well is going to garner a return on investment.

With that said, here’s the one thing I’m sure of: Twitter is one of the best professional development tools out there.

When I spoke at the CASE: Communications, Marketing and Technology conference in April, there were a lot of self-professed “Twitter skeptics” in the crowd.  I tried to make the case for Twitter to the audience like this: One of the benefits of going to a conference is that you’re surrounded by smart people who want to be better at what they do and the best learning opportunities don’t come from the presentations - they come from the opportunity to talk to each other and brainstorm about what they’re doing and what is possible.

I don’t have to go to a conference to have that.  Every day on Twitter, I’m surrounded by some of the brightest minds in my field.  They’re accessible, and I learn something new (almost) every day.  They post everything from blog posts they’ve written, to interesting things they’ve read to random musings about life. Over time, you start to build not only professional, but personal relationships.  When you finally meet your Twitter friends in person, at a tweet-up or a conference, it’s just hanging out with an old friend.

Plus, now that I have a bunch of followers, if I have a question about almost any topic, I can tweet about it and get half a dozen answers back within minutes.  Recently, I asked my followers about higher education consultants, and it turned into a conversation with 40 participants.  When you’re in a bind, it can really come in handy.

Now that’s not to say that this will happen the minute you join Twitter.  But over time, if you contribute valuable information to the community, it will.  Don’t give up on it because you don’t see the benefits right away - give it time and get involved with the higher ed community.  It’s a great group of people icon smile Making a case for Twitter

Have you just joined twitter and are looking for higher ed people to follow?  Start with the !

  • Head of Marketing (me!) - @Head of Marketing m
  • Founder - @kylejames
  • Director of Web Communication - @rachelreuben
  • Associate Director - @nickdenardis
  • Director of Web Marketing - @fienen
  • Technology Training - @nikkimk
  • .eduGuru blog feed - @eduguru

13 Responses to “Making a case for Twitter”

  1. Says:

    Very much agreed. My Twitter life didn’t really begin until I ‘got it’ at a conference. Since then its taken off and become much more to me. Professional development is probably 60% its value to me. The other 40, well, is just plain fun. :)

    Per us’, great post! ;)

  2. Says:

    I love this. When I try to describe why I’m so “hooked” on Twitter people, the common thing I say is, “it’s only as good as the network you create/join.” It’s pointless for people who just use it to actually post “what they’re doing” and not reply and interact with others. The latter is where the power is.

    Twitter has been the most useful professional networking and information gathering tool I’ve used in my career. There are so many amazing people just seconds away who love to help - and I love being a part of that community.

    For anyone reading this that has a Twitter account, but doesn’t feel hooked into a network of people, please say hi to any of us listed above, and we’d be more than happy to introduce you and plug you in.

  3. Says:

    Absolutely agree! I’m hoping that after the Oprah/Ashton/Next Big Thing hype dies down, people will give Twitter a look for the right reasons: for building community, interacting, professional development … NOT for ego gratification, get-rich-quick schemes, establishing their guruhood, etc. As I always say, the main reason Twitter clicked for me was because @rachelreuben made sure I started following people who made it useful.

    I make the point about networking/crowdsourcing a lot when I talk Twitter. Probably should track the number of times someone at another college — once known as a competitor, now a collaborator — has helped with a problem or idea.

  4. Says:

    The video made me smile. Even though we were drinking, we were learning about flip cameras. :) Remember when @kylejames thought his gamer handle (@jameskm03) was cooler? I do, but will bet money @oprah doesn’t.

    • Says:

      Haha… yeah yeah so you remember the “old” Kyle… funny thing is if you digg hard enough there are comments out there on the web where I trashed Twitter saying that I didn’t get it.

      Oh it’s amazing what a conference and hanging out w/ a @drunktsand will do to a person.

  5. Says:

    Next time someone asks me about Twitter I’m pointing them here.

    Obviously the online types have been the first to really accept and see the value in twitter — if only more industries could truly understand its usefulness and start using it rather than just talking about it!

    People have started comparing Facebook to Twitter and they really are two diff things and serve separate purposes. On Facebook, my friends (mostly from high school or college) have their own careers—almost all of the time in a completely different industry. If you want to see family/friend photos or read my pointless 25 things, friend me on Facebook. If you want to hear me spout off about SEM, usability, and general online marketing tactics (and hear the occasional random thought) follow me on twitter.

    Hope to meet up with you all at a conference soon!

  6. Says:

    Great post Head of Marketing . I’ve been struggling with the issues around ROI and usefulness in higher ed for twitter too. But like you, I’ve found for my position, it’s been an invaluable tool.

    Kati brings up a couple good points too. Twitter is not, for me anyways, a tool for personal relationships outside of my profession. I use it to learn from the best and the brightest, and to share my insights on topics too.

    I had a friend choose to follow me the other day. I warned her up front that the majority of my tweets would be about higher ed marketing, with the occasional NBA tweet thrown in. She’s still following me, for now ;)

  7. Says:

    Thanks for the post I can point people to :)

  8. Says:

    I agree with you, Head of Marketing : it’s great for professional development. And I often say to people who ask about Twitter that it replaces the water cooler for me, since I work in an office by myself. I can have great conversations with people on Twitter: it helps me feel less isolated.

  9. Says:

    Completely on target, Head of Marketing , especially your remarks regarding the value of professional conferences and how Twitter actually functions as professional development (24/7). Director of Web MarketingStoner’s water cooler analogy must really hit a chord for the freelancing crowd…

  10. Says:

    I had a Twitter account about two years ago and couldn’t figure out what the point was. I just set up a new account this week and I was blown away by the conversations going on and all the information I was learning in the process. I’ve found that Twitter is only as good as the people you follow. I’m following some really good people and think it’s really valuable. Good post Karyln.

  11. Says:

    I used to say Twitter is just another form of real live RSS feeds as a joke but its true that we are surrounded constantly on Twitter with great minds out there that most of the time we don’t need a large convention to set up when we have the knowledge at our very hands.

  12. Says:

    The term social media itself say that it is social; it is a network of people. When talking to people you have to make professional as well as personal relations with them, you can’t through information like any thing to your followers, the information should hold some value and should be interest of your followers.

    I don’t thins sitting the whole day on twitter will going to work for marketing purpose. You must have quality followers that share same interest.

    Thanks for the great post Karyln