There have been a lot of posts lately about the uses of . Andrew Careaga asked Should Universities Tweet?, a University of Auburn student, Brett Pohlman posted about Twitter, Chris Brogan wrote about a company that Uses Social Media to Announce, and The Chronicle questioned whether it would take off with professors. Last week we brought in Shel Holtz, a consulting agent who spoke about social media in higher education, and he talked a lot about using Twitter. But I was really hoping that he would go into HOW to effectively use Twitter for Higher Ed. This is something that I have been running through my mind for some time now. I have been using Twitter for a good couple of months. The uses in my life are easy to track. I use it to keep up with not only my friends, but also people in higher education that I share similar interests with, etc. It gives me ideas and lets me keep up with what projects they are working on. Here’s an example…FJ Gaylor is an excellent Higher Ed photographer, Shel Holtz who I mentioned before, Matt Herzberger is a Web Rockstar at the University of Texas A&M, Brad J Ward is the Electronic Communications Coordinator (ie visionary) at Butler University, Heidi Cool is a web designer at Case Western Reserve University, and Seth Meranda is the Assistant Director of Interactive Media at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
I mention all this because these are all people that I follow (and who follow me) so that we can keep each other updated. We do it as friends and we do it as professionals.
However, I have been searching for a convincing manner in which to use Twitter for Higher Ed effectively. Amongst all the turmoil in my head lately (hence the lack of blog postings), I came up with an idea. The Admissions Department at UIS has been thinking about ditching the chat feature on our page for something much better. It is a very expensive service that doesn’t get used that often. So I thought, why not set up a UIS Admissions Twitter account and post that on our website? Most people in the chat use it like an IM and use very short sentences. Not only that, they don’t have to wait until a chat date to talk with someone. Our Student Ambassadors (as well as myself) can/will check the Twitter account during the day, and I will monitor it at night. It probably wouldn’t get that much use normally, but on days where we have advertised chat sessions, a group of ambassadors would be logged in and could post responses to it.
Now this may not be the best way to go about a live chat, but for all the time where the chat isn’t live, I think this would work well. Students have to log in to the chat anyway, so why not get them started on Twitter and build a community before they come to college. That way when they get here, they already have some connections.
If anyone has any good suggestions for a Live Chat service, let me know because the one we have now is not attractive and very expensive. This is definitely one area in which we could cut back costs since our governor keeps reducing our budget…that’s just my own personal insight and not necessarily shared by others.
I did want to mention one last thing though. Shel Holtz mentioned that the University of Michigan implemented Twitter as a FREE Emergency Notification System. There has been a lot of talk about ENS’s lately, and I know UIS has invested a lot of money into a cell phone notification system. The fact that someone at Michigan said why not use Twitter to send text messages to students is brilliant! I only wish I would have thought of that first…