For some of us, Twitter management may be a luxury (or a curse) that we aren’t able to allot much time to. A necessary tactic for most, we may have students to do this or may be on a weekly schedule of checking ritualistically every few days. But, for those who are lucky enough to have the time, there are a few nit picky things that I wonder if we all do. Like follower scrubbing, list making and brand management.
When i recently threw the question out to the #highered community “Do you scrub your Twitter follower list?”, the responses were mixed:
I then began to think about the things that I do and wondered if I’m Twitter crazy, or just your everyday control freak. Here are a few examples:
Daily Scrubbing: I treat the university account very much like my personal account. Each day, I log in via the web and check the new followers. I have a set rule that I only follow back possible prospects, current students, alumni or local or contributing businesses. I also block spam accounts or those that may be wrongfully following such as many UK businesses (obviously with the name ‘Suffolk’ we do see a lot of those). Since the UK is not a hot prospect pipeline for us, theres less of an issue of loss of publicity here. I try to make a business decision regarding those on the line: will being in this account’s follow list serve the purposes of furthering the institution? Will we reach prospects or community members that we’d like to engage? If not, I block. Some may say this is harsh, but I do not block many accounts. They are mostly spam, rss-feed, commercialized misuses of Twitter.
List Management: I also check daily any new lists we are on. I see more and more students who are using lists to manage their information from several colleges while they are in their search phase. I try to reach out to these students in particular with some friendly offers and make sure we are following them. I also try to see if we are on any spam type lists from vendors or others and remove us from them by blocking the offender. Lately, I’ve seen lists popping up from those trying to market to college students and I’ve removed the account from them. No need to provide an easy route for more spammy posts to our students. As a simple helpful task, I created a list of all university twitter accounts for students to access.
No Student Lists: I’ve seen students creating lists of other students. At first, I thought this would be a great way to university to take a role to connect them but then it brought up the privacy issue. If we lump them together, they’ll be able to find each other, but we’d also be contributing to ‘outing’ them as students. Basically, its marketing them. I’m not comfortable with that. I’d be curious to know what others think. (This is also a reason why I’m on the fence leaning towards ‘no’ for on campus location services, such as Gowalla and Foursquare. Even though it is ‘opt in’, it kind of breaches a student’s privacy IMHO.)
Brand Management: I think most of us also use Twitter for brand management via Twitter Search or mentions in our @reply field. I use this to reach out to prospects as they announce their acceptance. I also use it to monitor what’s being said via RSS feed daily. I RT valuable comments and reach out to students for retention purposes should they have a problem. Sometimes it backfires and students feel like they’re being watched by ‘big brother’. Most times, however, students feel heard and begin to use the university account as a way to connect to other students via us RTing information they send us. Information that they determine is important.
How do you manage and maintain your account? Do you feel scrubbing isn’t important? How much time are you able to spend maintaining the Twitter account?