How Higher Education Professionals are using Twitter

When I hear non-twitter users inquiring about why they should use twitter, I often can hear the disdain in their voice.  They think of twitter as a vast wasteland of 140 character messages about what people ate, where they ate and whom they were with.  What many Higher Education professionals do not realize is that by not being an active twitter user they are missing out on a fast network of resources, information sharing and professional development.

As a contributor to a very active twitter community, EMchat, I can firmly tell people that twitter is much more than a place to show off your vacation spot or your gourmet meal.  Twitter is a platform to connect with others.  When Enrollment Management Professionals look for help they can turn to their colleagues. EMchat has a weekly twitter chat (Thursday 9PM ET) where professionals share ideas and learn with each other.

Some of the reasons to use twitter include:

  • Collaboration/Networking – twitter is a great networking tool.  Connect with people you know and find new people with similar interest to connect with. People who have met in the virtual world also have tweetups or in-person gatherings outside of the virtual world (IRL – in real life).
  • Community – people with a special interest like Enrollment Management can share information on topics of mutual interest.
  • Information Gathering – looking for a new CRM or wonder if there is a better way to do something?  Reach out to a twitter community to gather data. You can get multiple responses quickly.
  • Professional Development and Learning – follow leaders in your profession on twitter, keep abreast of current trends and topics in your industry and learn from others and help them back.
  • Training and Development – take part in community chats, attend virtual presentations and share information on twitter and continue to learn through discussions.
  • Socializing – connect with others in the virtual world.  Stay in touch with friends and colleagues across the globe or meet new ones through twitter.

Once you decide to take the plunge and signup and start using twitter, you should consider following a hashtag.  Hashtags provide a way for tweets to be categorized and followed.  There are many hashtags that are in use in Higher Education.  Inside Higher Ed has a twitter directory that contains a vast listing of HE hashtags.

Many people “lurk” when they first join a twitter chat like #EMchat.  I slowly joined in the #EMchat community and added my own insights and ideas.  When I first attended a chat I thought that I would not have anything to contribute.  That could not be further from the truth.  Even if you don’t have first hand knowledge you can contribute – ask questions, find resources online and share them etc.

I now look forward to Thursdays since it is the time that I connect with other professionals who are interested in Enrollment Management.  #EMchat helps me to network, collaborate, follow current trends and socialize with Enrollment Management professionals.  Most of all it allows me to be part of a community.

Follow me on twitter @timdunning and look for me on Thursdays at 9 PM ET on #EMchat.