Twitter has gotten a lot of press lately. CNN loves to talk about it. It has been on both John Stewart and Steven Colbert. Jimmy Fallon uses it copiously and talks about it on his show. Twitter has grown 2,300% in 13 months. There is no ignoring it.
Yet, recently at the ACRL conference in Seattle I was told students aren’t using it. I heard this at an excellent session called If You Build It, Will They Care? Their data may be correct for the time they conducted the survey. I thought as much was true myself. I had not seen students on Twitter. Now, though, my response to them is: “just wait.”
The presence here at Champlain College has been growing steadily. This is likely in part due to the efforts of “the queen of social media” Elaine Young, a marketing professor at the college. She began to use the hashtag #campchamp to group all the tweets Champlain College together.
Following and using that tag has proven very useful in learning what’s going on around campus and connecting with students, faculty, and staff. I was even able to perform some preemptive reference for a student who tweeted that they were working on a paper.
I am predicting a growing number of students will be on Twitter in the coming months. It is not going away. We may have a number of pretty savvy students and faculty members here at Champlain, but I forsee a this becoming a national trend.
My advice? Try to find and follow the tag for your school or your community using a tool like Tweetdeck or even Twitter Search and RSS. If there isn’t a tag , start it. Someone has to be the first. Why not you?
It is a much less formal way to interact with students and faculty members. Instead of seeing them in class or meetings or a reference interview, you can simply have conversations about what’s going on around campus or in current events or whatever. It can be very powerful community building tool, in addition to its other myriad uses.
Your students may not be there yet, but they will be…they will be.