As Twitter (apparently) continues to grow, more and more organizations have official accounts, sending out news, event announcements, and other updates in varying proportions.
In the next couple of weeks I plan to look more closely at associations' use of Twitter: what kind of updates they publish, how their numbers shape up, and whether there are any discernible trends. The likely result will be a short white paper and posting here about what I discover.
What do you think I should look for? What do you want to know about how alumni organizations use the microblogging service? Do you think it matters whether an alumni organization uses Twitter?
Note: This won't be a scientific survey, just a snapshot in time of some publicly observable organizational behavior.
Meanwhile, the most interesting question about associations' use of Twitter won't be answered by looking at their Twitter content. That question is, "What is the result of using of Twitter?"
Organizations should attempt to measure the outcomes of their social media usage. Quantitative, traditional marketing metrics will probably not show a huge benefit from Twitter use (for example, new donors, additional memberships, increased event attendance).
But for associations, Twitter isn't really a marketing tool; Twitter is an engagement tool. Associations not using Twitter may be conspicuous by their absence. It's a unique channel, its content appears in real-time, and is increasingly consumed on-the-go (i.e., it's a highly mobile channel steadily converging with location-based services).
How is your organization using Twitter? And what outcomes – if any – can you cite?
Note: I'm on Twitter as @alumnifutures.
I maintain a list of Twitter feeds from about 135 alumni organizations. You can see at a glance how a cross-section of alumni associations use the service:
If you know of an alumni association using Twitter that is not on my list, tell me and I will add it.