“You should be on Twitter”

Hi – I’m Chandler. And if you did not already know, I’m an enthusiastic fan of Twitter!

Twitter bio for Chandler Thompson

I love Twitter for many reasons. Twitter is part of my personal learning network, has connected me to wonderful people, fuels my relentless enthusiasm for Wolfpack sports, and has provided me incredible opportunities related to my professional career! When I was a student leader at NC State I felt the need to beg other people to join me on Twitter. I prodded and begged friends (successfully and unsuccessfully), NC State’s Chancellor Randy Woodson (unsuccessfully), and many other people to sign up for accounts. Twitter was so great for me, I wanted it to be great for other people!

Since then, I have a new philosophy for promoting Twitter. I still speak positively about Twitter usage and recommend that people join, but I no longer relentlessly campaign for their participation. Twitter is best when someone joins excitedly and willingly.

Yes, I think senior student affairs officers and higher education professionals should be on Twitter. Twitter allows leaders to connect with their followers in ways that other mediums do not. Twitter gives everyone the tool to be a leader! Twitter provides realtime updates and is an incredible way to follow a live event. Twitter also allows professionals in higher education insight into lives of students and campus culture. You might even be more competitive in the job market if you are familiar with Twitter and other social networking sites.

The desire to be on Twitter and use Twitter as an administrator ultimately needs to come from within. If YOU want to be on Twitter, I want you to be on Twitter. You will not enjoy it or use it as much if I force you to make an account. :) When you do decide to explore Twitter, I am happy to support and be good company for the journey.

My new philosophy with colleagues and friends is to respect decisions about use of social media. If Twitter works for you or you want to make Twitter work for you that’s great! Let’s talk about it. It is also okay if Twitter is not the social site for you. My opinion and strategies for inviting others to join Twitter have changed over time although I still believe it is a very positive tool that can improve your personal and professional life. If you want a reason to join Twitter, many students are on Twitter and enjoy engaging with university leaders on the site as well!

Do you think senior student affairs officers should be on Twitter? Do you encourage Twitter use among friends and coworkers? What approaches do you use?

SA #SoMe crisis communication plan

Social media’s prevalence on college campuses is increasing, and student’s reliance on social media during a crisis creates a need for a crisis communications plan that incorporates social media. One of the risks of social media is that it can enable the rapid spread of misinformation (Fusch, 2011). While centralized communications staff at your institution may deal with the official crisis response, there might be some situations where action is needed from your office to respond and work with students on social media. For example, last week an event in University Housing spread like wildfire across social media and the department had no control over the message.

The first question your office needs to consider is: When should you respond to or acknowledge a situation through online postings? You will probably not be able to come up with a blanket response that works for all situations, but it is a good idea to talk through multiple scenarios and have steps in place.

Here are other key things to think about:

  • Assign staff or volunteers to monitor social network sites during a crisis (Fusch, 2011). Plan to call a staff member (or the staff member that runs social media) to be “on call” for postings when a crisis occurs.
  • Establish guidelines for when you typically monitor social media postings and clearly communicate those to others (Stoller, 2013). Establish a similar set of guidelines for how you will operate in a crisis situation.
  • Collaborate with institution-wide social media/communications team.
  • If you schedule posts, make sure to immediately unschedule any that are currently scheduled to go out. The last thing you want to do is tweet about regular office news during a campus lockdown. Or inaccurate gym hours on a snow day.
  • Have graphics ready. If needed, consider changing the Facebook banner or other photos to generic image (Brown, 2014). I see this more relevant for institution-wide postings.
  • Use Twitter to share frequent, real-time news, updates, and resources (Fusch, 2011).
  • Monitor information (or misinformation) by searching hashtags on social media sites and share accurate information as allowed (Fusch, 2011).
  • Post status updates frequently, disseminating appropriate information as it comes in (Fusch, 2011).
  • Determine students or other department staff that can help spread the message (Fusch, 2009).
  • Avoid sharing personal information.
  • Provide students with resources.
  • Post information to a blog or website – maybe an update a few days later if the situation warrants it.
  • Use social media (Twitter is great for this) to post about news conference coverage (if exists), the coordination of a vigil or other type of event depending on type of crisis, and to talk about support services on campus (Brown, 2014).
  • Take care of yourself (Brown, 2014)

What did I forget or leave off? Have you had a campus incident involving your office that created a strong response from students/families/others online?


Resources for this post:

Brown, P. (2014, January, 22).  Active shooter. Worst day ever. (weblog) Your Website Stinks Retrieved from http://dvimedia.blogspot.com/2014/01/active-shooter-worst-day-ever.html
Fusch, D. (2009, September 19). Crisis communications 10 years after the Texas A&M bonfire [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.academicimpressions.com/news/crisis-communications-10-years-after-texas-am-bonfire
Fusch, D. (2011, September 8). Including social media in your crisis communication plan [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.academicimpressions.com/news/including-social-media-your-crisis-communications-plan
Stoller, E. (2013, March 14). It’s 3AM. Do you know what’s happening with your social media? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/student-affairs-and-technology/its-3am-do-you-know-whats-happening-your-social-media

Pinterest & Student Affairs

Last week I blogged about my technology project for Campus Ecology (#ECHD7430) and over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of my classmates’ projects! Each person chose a specific technology or social media tool and explored uses for student affairs professional and student organizations.

The first project I am going to feature is student organizations using Pinterest by Veronica Roman. Veronica chose Pinterest because it is the third largest social platform, behind Facebook and Twitter. Since she first started using Pinterest, she observed a common-held belief that the site was only used for planning weddings, sharing crafts projects, or other more social purposes. She saw potential for it to be used as a way to share knowledge and information.

Veronica created a Pinterest account for our student personnel association organization at the University of Georgia, UGASPA. For three weeks she explored the use of this social sharing site for student-led organizations and student affairs professionals. Veronica recommends that student affairs professionals use Pinterest to display information in an interactive and creative way.

This summer, I noticed a lot of residence life accounts on Pinterest.  Eric Stoller wrote about Pondering the Interest in Pinterest last March. His post includes examples of Pinterest use in student affairs.  What are some examples of offices or organizations using Pinterest well?  I have a student affairs board on my account (which needs to be reorganized), and have found it a helpful place to store ideas! What are ways that Pinterest has helped you be successful?

Connect with Veronica on Pinterest and Twitter

Learn more with Veronica’s info-graphic:

Pinterest and Higher Education Infographic

Let’s talk about Snapchat

Snaps to friends not in Athens yet (earlier this year)

Snaps to friends

What is Snapchat? Snapchat is an application that allows you to take pictures or videos, add text or drawings, and send them to one friend or a chosen group of friends. The photo or video, known as a “snap”, disappears after a certain amount of time (0-10 seconds) or after the video plays.

When talking with others, I discover that most individuals hold a negative opinion of the Snapchat app. A classmate even teased me for bringing it up in conversation with a faculty member. What’s the big deal? I think the negative opinion results from a tendency to associate the app with sharing R-rated photos. There are fun and beneficial ways to use this app in communication with friends in your everyday life. Taco Bell is even using the application. In case you have not tried the Snapchat app yet here are a few ways you can use it:

  • Stay in touch with friends and family: this summer, my graduate school cohort was all over the country at our summer internship sites. Some of us used Snapchat to send pictures about our work. It was an easy way to communicate and tell quick stories about what as going on.
  • Workout accountability: want to prove to your friends that you are at the gym? Or check in with your accountability partner via technology? Use Snapchat! Send pictures from the gym or after your run to let your friend know that you worked out today.

    After-run snap!

    Workout snap!

  • Outfit advice: send snaps of your outfits to your friends if you are having trouble deciding what to wear.
  • Programs and competitions: University Housing at UGA has a green points competition going on and I heard that some communities are sending snaps of them engaging in “green activities” to get points. The picture is not saved to a camera roll in this instance and it can be a quick way to have a competition.

Recently Snapchat created “Snapchat stories”; a story is shared with all of a user’s friends for 24 hours. Snapchat stories are comparable to a Snapchat timeline. This is allowing friends to share messages with everyone instead of sending out what might be considered a mass snap.

I have not used Snapchat with students for an organization or activity, but the housing green competition example might be a way that the app can be used for competitions or other programs on college campuses.

Do you have other ideas for how to use Snapchat? Add them in the comments! With 350 million photos shared daily, it’s worth learning about…