So you say you are a Twitter skeptic?
I will admit, I was as well. I thought, I have a Facebook account, I update my status there, do people in the Internet world really need more me?
When we started the official Tufts Twitter account, however, I started to play around with it a little more in my free time trying to figure out what it was really all about. How does one use such a tool effectively on both a personal level and on a university level? How can we really use this to continue to build on the Tufts brand?
The perfect example of this -- Tufts Commencement.
In the weeks leading up to commencement we asked seniors to share any pictures, videos or stories using the hashtag #tufts09, which helps sort the material and make it easy to search, and we announced that we would be live-tweeting the event.
So the day of I went, cell phone in hand, and began to update the account via text, sharing observations and posting photos via Twitpic. Unfortunately, due to the rain, my phone began to short, but luckily Tufts Photo members, who were tweeting from the photographers perspective, were holding down the fort in Packard and had a computer ready to save the day.
From the time we began tweeting to the end of the work day we had about 50+ tweets and over a dozen students and alums were communicating with us through the #tufts09 hashtag. Some are still communicating with us are even days later.
Looking back at the day, here are some of the more interesting observations we have taken away:
--The pictures we sent via Twitpic proved to be fairly popular. Some of the shots had nearly 80 views.
--Links we posted through Bit.ly, which is a great URL shortener that also tracks the number of times the URL is clicked, were also well received. The link for the commencement story featured on the homepage later that day has seen over 100 views.
--We received positive feedback from alums and others who followed us
-@julieburrows The first commencement I've ever watched twittered. #tufts09. A mix of news, quotes and emotions (most poignant). Congrats grads!
-@punkaroo_banzai best follow all week: @TuftsUniversity
Overall, despite some technical difficulties, we think it was a success. We started a conversation, which is exactly what Twitter is all about.
I recently attended a higher ed conference where Twitter was a very popular discussion topic, and I think one of the conference speakers described it best:
"Imagine having a question and finding yourself in a room full of experts on that topic."
That is what it's all about. Don't be afraid to start a conversation...people are listening.
Need tips on how to get started? Check out Mashable.com for some interesting insights into Twitter and other social media tools.