[Updated 30 January, 2009 with link to comparison of Twitter directories.]
[Updated 2 June, 2009 with link to updated research on Twitter users and usage patterns.]
I am pleased to announce the publication of a free white paper on using the "micro-blogging" service Twitter to activate alumni networks. My colleague Elizabeth Allen and I have tried to capture a snapshot of Twitter, and explore its potential for higher education advancement.
About the White Paper
The main purposes of the white paper are to inform readers about what Twitter is, and suggest ways it might enhance relationship-building and alumni interaction. We did not intend to list the "right" and "wrong" ways to use Twitter, but we do share our opinions on what uses might prove effective.
Twitter's development, role and uses are evolving so quickly that any description will soon be out of date. So we offer a look at Twitter's current status, with the hope that this serves as a departure point for your own efforts and ideas.
Don't know what Twitter is? Haven't used it? No problem; the first sections of the white paper give a crash course in what Twitter does and how it's used. The next section asks, What is Twitter's Potential for Alumni Relations?
And if you've been sitting back, wondering what to do with Twitter, we've included a short list of simple ideas to serve as a way to get started. We'll update this list periodically and I'll post new information on the blog, as warranted.
We close with links to potentially useful resources, including the names of other web-based communication platforms that you might want to explore.
Finally, we have included an Appendix with results of our recent informal survey on Twitter usage in higher ed. Our survey showed, among other things, that
- 20% of respondents had either never heard of Twitter or had heard of it but didn't know what it was;
- more than one-third of respondents are currently using Twitter; and
- about one-third know what it is, but haven't tried it.
Which category are you in? I hope you'll leave your comments about the white paper, and about Twitter on the Alumni Futures web site.
Click the link below to download the white paper:
Note: Fans of Alumni Futures on Facebook always get a sneak peek at white papers before others. After we sent out a link to the white paper on Friday, we received our first reviews – appropriately enough, via Twitter:
And the folks at MrTweet sent a thumbs up as well: