Twitter, like Facebook, is considered a social network. Twitter is much simpler than Facebook however; users do not have a robust profile of information to view. Instead, they simply post their thoughts in 140 character bursts called “tweets.” “Tweeting,” as the verb is called, is usually from a mobile device like an iPhone or Blackberry while the user is going about their business over the course of a day. Each tweet is limited to 140 characters. Users “follow” other users who tweet things that they find interesting and receive a “feed” of tweets from every other user that they follow. It is all integrated together so that each tweet has an equal place in the feed. Twitter accounts are free and can be set up for an individual or an organization.
The fast-paced and concise nature of communication on Twitter makes it perfect for networking with a wide range of people, and celebrities and public figures use Twitter to easily interact with thousands of their fans directly.
While Twitter is growing quickly, it is still relatively small compared to a site like Facebook, and still attracts certain “types” of users. Whether or not your department should invest the time in creating and maintaining a Twitter profile depends on the answers to the following questions:
- Who are you trying to reach? Twitter is very popular with users in their mid to late 20s. These 20-something users are usually tech savvy and interested in the latest trends, news and information. There are some college and high school students on Twitter, but not very many. Twitter is also growing with users in their 40s and 50s as businesses begin to understand Twitter’s potential for a communication environment.
This makes Twitter a fertile area for communicating with young alumni. It is unlikely that it is a useful marketing tool for your future students at this time, but you might find that current students do use it. Talk to your students to get a feel for what they’re using and if they’d be interested in following your unit on Twitter.
- Do you have a lot to say? Twitter is perfect for an organization that has a lot of things constantly going on. If your department has an event every week that you would like to promote, Twitter could be a good avenue to do so.
Keep in mind that when people read content on Twitter they expect it to be immediately relevant or entertaining. If you want to use Twitter to promote an event, promote your event on Twitter with a lot of lead time at first and then again right before the event happens as a reminder.
- Can you manage a conversation? Conversation thrives in Twitter’s fast-paced environment. Users will often reply to things that you post and expect their questions to be answered. Sometimes they will share what you say with other users, which means that information can be distributed extremely quickly on Twitter, depending on the quality of the information and how interested the audience is.
To make the most of this conversation a twitter account should be monitored at least once a day, and possibly more often if you wind up with a large group of followers and a lot to say.
Setting up a Twitter account is easy and free, but should only be done after consideration of what the costs and benefits would be for your department’s communication strategy. If you do set up a Twitter account, remember that it is inappropriate to refer to the University as “SEMO” except in limited cases. For more information, consult the style guide section on acronyms here: http://www.semo.edu/news/style/index_acronyms.htm. In your Twitter username it is recommended to start with SE_ and then your department name. SE_ResLife, for example. Talk to us and we’ll help you weigh the options.
Profile Picture: When you create a Twitter account, or if you have a Twitter account already, please let us know. We can answer any questions you have about managing your account and help you create a profile picture for your Twitter account.
Please do not use the University’s official logo as your social media profile picture; use of this logo is restricted to the official University social media accounts.
Instead, find a picture of your staff, students or an event that helps communicate the mission of your department. We can take a new picture for you if you don’t have one already.
After you have selected a picture we will apply a small university logo in the corner of the picture to let users know that your Twitter account is officially affiliated with Southeast.
View Southeast's Twitter Page.