Student Leaders: Implementing Twitter and Mozes for Student 2.0 Communication (Part 1: Twitter)
No matter which campus you’re on, student leaders have a tough time motivating students to attend events. While some attendance problems may stem from oversaturation, how most events advertise themselves is very 20th century (in the worst way possible).
I wrote a post titled “On Campus, the Disruptive Facebook Flier” for the Portfolio.com tech blog about Facebook fliers back before students’ brains started ignoring the left-hand sidebar. Back when HackCollege was first starting out in late 2006, one dinky $5 flier gave us thousands of visits. Those numbers are 1/100th of that these days and people are frustrated, especially organizations already strapped for cash.
And thanks to Facebook applications and lost cell phones, very few people pay attention to events. What was once reliable, free promotion is just white noise. So what is an on-campus event promoter to do? As always, we recommend you turn to technology. This post will make the case why your associated student body, club, or secret society needs Twitter.
As a standalone product, Twitter is dumb. Really dumb. It’s a “microblogging” tool that just wants its users to constantly answer the question “What are you doing?” Scanning through the Twitter public timeline, you’ll see plenty of “I’m doing homework” or “I’m washing my car.” Tell me me something: who the fuck cares?
Okay, but let’s say you put this in the hands of the tech-headed student body leader. With the proper promotion and hopefully some word-of-mouth spread, you can get your campus instantly connected. Twitter allows updates to be sent out via SMS and IM, 2 of the easiest ways to get in touch with just about any student. With enough students signed up, any information could be spread around campus in a few seconds.
Implement Twitter on an event night and you’ve got crowd control. The second tickets go on sale or sell out, every student subscribed to the said organization’s Twitter feed will know where to go and what to do. Hell, you could even offer a few free tickets held over as an incentive to get people to use this program. That should be enough to motivate students to sign up for (yet another) service.
Good question. Twitter’s bare-bones approach makes it ideal. It does one thing and it does it well. You can plug it into Facebook, put in on the club’s site, and subscribe to it via RSS quite easily. It’s a mechanism-based messaging service, rather than a feature tacked onto a larger system. Something like Facebook mobile might be nice, but it’s tougher to blast messages to all subscribers.
Twitter is boring (for me) when it comes to personal updates, but is perfect for student organizations.
Is Your School Already Using Twitter?
If your school is already using Twitter, let us know in the comments! Let us know if this post influenced you to try it our on your campus! Oh, and friend me on Twitter; I don’t have many Twitter friends.
And stay tuned for tomorrow’s part 2 post about using a little something called Mozes.