Twitter Basics April 9, 2012 11:00 AM | Tagged as public relations for schools, school communication, social media for schools
Do you tweet?
If you know what those terms above mean, congratulations for keeping up with the social media vernacular. If you aren’t familiar with them, you need to hop on the Twitter train. It’s a great platform for increasing effective communication between parents and schools.
What Twitter Is Not
What Twitter Is
Twitter is a social media communication platform that began in 2006 and is now the second largest social media site with over 100 million users. In fact, www.digitalsurgeons.com reports that 57% of people between the ages of 26 and 44 currently use the social media site. According to Kissmetrics, Twitter use has grown so rapidly that between 2008 and 2011 the number of Twitter employees grew by 5,000%. When’s the last time the educational system hired that many teachers?
Basically, Twitter is a platform where people post messages (called “tweets”) in 140 characters or less (yes, spaces and punctuation count). Users choose a “twitter handle” when they sign up for an account, which simply serves as their signature. This is usually a word or phrase preceded by the @ sign. For example, our Twitter handle at School Webmasters is @schoolwebmaster. This is also how you can search for people to follow.
For those just joining Twitter, the platform is easy enough to use, but can feel daunting. Being just 140 characters in length, tweets happen quickly and staying on top of the endless supply of information can feel overwhelming. It is also difficult for some (especially in the educational field) to get used to writing with numbers or dropping vowels to conserve tweet space.
For example, tweeting a message like, “Come to our Governing Board meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m. in the District Board Room. We will be discussing the option of going to a year-round schedule” is too long, running at 154 characters. But changing that message to read, “Come 2 our Gov. Board meeting 2nite @ 6 p.m. in the Dist. Board Rm. Yr. round schedule is on agenda” is only 99 characters. Using Twitter effectively means learning new ways of writing words. The point is the message, not correct spelling.
Benefits of Twitter Communication
The benefit to Twitter is that tweets don’t take much time to write and you have the potential to reach a lot of parents or community members in a relatively short amount of time. Encouraging parents to follow your school or district on Twitter will help your communication become more effective, as parents can get constant reminders or updates about what is happening at school.
If you’re worried about how much time it takes to post messages on Twitter, consider how much time is required to create a flyer, make 500 copies (on consumable paper), count and distribute them among classrooms, and then pass them out in class. Maybe an hour? Two? Twitter’s API averages 2,200 tweets per second each day. How many free tweets could you have sent out in the hour you spent making copies?
Setting up an account on Twitter is easy and more importantly, free! It’s a great way to disseminate information to parents while sharing with the larger community all the positive things happening within your schools. All within 140 characters or less.
You can watch and learn from us by following us on Twitter, @schoolwebmaster. Join in the conversation and let’s tweet!
Posted in Communication, Public Relations, Social Media | 0 Replies
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