FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: INTRODUCING @FORDHAMIT
Katherine S Egan, Executive Director, Strategic Program Office
In case you’re not familiar with Twitter, Mark Johnson, in the History of Twitter, defines it as “a short burst of inconsequential information” and “a series of chirps from birds.” But that doesn’t really explain it…
Wikipedia describes Twitter as an “online social networking and micro-blogging service.” According to Twitter itself, “Twitter helps you create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
Essentially, Twitter is a way of sending your “followers” (people following your Twitter handle) information about anything in 140 characters or less via a tweet (a very short message). “Hashtags” are used to differentiate the content in a tweet. For example, in tweets about IT-related outages, we use #outageFordhamIT and #resolvedFordhamIT; for events we've used #FacTechDay14 and #LearnIT. Hashtags are used to join a conversation with others on a particular subject, and they can searched to see all the tweets about a particular subject.
Twitter has grown quickly. Matt Collins from the Guardian calls Twitter a “buzzing conversation hub of the important issues of the day.” In 2007 there were 400,000 tweets per quarter, and by 2008 there were 100 million tweets per quarter! According to Johnson, in January 2013 Twitter was growing by ~460,000 new accounts each day. OK, enough history…
Twitter & IT
Faculty Technology Day 2014 was our first big public promotion. During the event, several faculty and IT staff joined @FordhamIT in tweeting notable things said by the morning’s speakers, David Pogue (@pogue) and Charles Kinzer, as well as talking points from the afternoon break-out sessions. You can search for #FacTechDay14 on Twitter to see some of the 170+ tweets related to the event. You’ll notice that Dr. Kristen Turner (@MrsT73199, from the Graduate School of Education) tweeted the most, earning her one of the day’s prizes. All in all, it was a successful day!
As of this writing, @FordhamIT has gained over a 100 followers. We hope to increase that number to over 1000. During the summer and back to school, we will work to attract more followers to our Twitter stream for updates about outages, events, and links to news beyond Fordham IT.
We also use Twitter to communicate directly to individuals in the University. For example, a Fordham student recently sent us a tweet asking why the right-click function was disabled on the Apple computers at the Electronic Information Center in the Library. To make a long story short, and partly thanks to Twitter, it’s now possible to right click on the mice in question. If we use it strategically, Twitter will be a powerful and positive communication channel for IT within the Fordham community.
Even so, as Tim Elmore observes in his article, “Will Text Messages Become Obsolete?,” Twitter will stay useful until it’s replaced by another social media channel. Already, that seems to be happening. Instagram and SnapChat are taking over the mobile devices of the younger generation, who prefer image-based communication. As they enter college and then graduate to join the workforce, we need to rethink how we communicate with them!