10 Uses for Twitter within Student Affairs (free educational handout)


Twitter is a very powerful resource that all Student Affairs professionals should embrace and utilize on a daily basis to enhance their work. While many individuals within Student Affairs feel that Twitter is merely a novelty or distraction, there are in fact many purposeful ways in which Twitter can be used to advocate, educate, empower, and network with students and other Student Affairs professionals from across the globe. Here are 10 ways in which you can use Twitter within your department and division: 

  1. Program Publicity – One of the most practical and least complicated ways in which you can use Twitter is to publicize any and all events and programs that you may have. Tweeting event information days and hours prior to the actual program can serve as an easy event reminder. Program announcement tweets can also include website links for more details about the program, including registration information if applicable.
  2. Advising / Mentoring – Because Twitter is based on an SMS system (messaging), you can use it in order to communicate with students whom you advise and / or mentor. Simple tweets of encouragement or advice with those students who “follow” you can prove helpful in developing meaningful relationships. This can be done publicly for everyone to see or you can “direct message” the individual privately so only they can see the tweet.
  3. Program Assessment – Mining tweets for qualitative and quantitative data can be invaluable for program assessment and even departmental reviews. After a program, simply ask the students who attended to tweet the most important thing they learned and one question that they have remaining in 140 characters or less (or two tweets if necessary); this practice is called a “One Minute Paper.” Create and give them a “hashtag” associated with the program (e.g., #Greeklife12; #AOD12; #Wellness12; etc.) to include within their tweets so that you can track everyone’s tweets afterward. To encourage participation, those who tweet are eligible to win a raffled prize. You can aggregate tweets from over the course of a semester to illustrate evidence of the various student learning outcomes you have developed.
  4. Club & Organization Communication – Organization advisers and student leaders alike can tweet valuable information to the student members of their curricular and extracurricular clubs and organizations. Content related to the club’s interests can be tweeted and even discussed during regular club meetings.
  5. Staff & Student Recognition – Public displays of recognition for both staff and student achievements and contributions can mean the world to them. Tweeting a few words of kudos is a free and simple way to recognize students among their peers. As a bonus, this can help them to acquire more Twitter followers in the process.
  6. Staff Development & Training – Twitter is a wonderful way to find and share a wealth of resourceful information related to literally any topic. Using a “hashtag” along with a keyword in a twitter search (e.g., #leadership; #reslife; #greeklife; #studentaffairs; etc.) can help to easily find resources that others are tweeting and re-tweeting.
  7. Vendor Discounts – Tweets can be use as a marketing platform to create and spread bookstore, campus eatery, and special event (i.e., concerts, comedians) discounts. This tactic can be combined with various contests to reward those who respond to trivia questions 
  8. Leadership Development – Many tips, blog articles, and other associated leadership resources can be shared and discussed through Twitter. Students can tweet about their leadership experiences throughout the semester.
  9. Advice, Facts, and Tips – Twitter is a free and easy way to distribute department-specific educative information. Tweets related to student learning outcomes can be utilized as a part of a semester-long educational campaign. These tweets can include links to online resources for more extensive reading.
  10. Emergency Announcements – Twitter can be used as an effective way to send out emergency announcements to a large amount of students, faculty, and staffers. Keep in mind that individuals must follow you in order to receive the tweet. Obviously this emergency announcement strategy should be used in junction with other options such as mass texting, website updates, and email given that not everyone uses Twitter. 
Downlaod the FREE Twitter 101 for Student Affairs Professionals 9-page PDF handout. Please feel free to share this with your colleagues and students.
 
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