Monthly Archives: September 2009

Tweet to Who?


(WARNING: Large amount of twitter speak used in post.)

TSPARC_BCU has been tweeting now for 2 months. We keep a daily log of a similar style to our tweets on SharePoint and thought it would be appropriate to tweet along similar lines to let stakeholders know what we are up to with our project. Since joining on Thursday 16th July we currently have 25 followers and are following 42 ‘tweeters’ who range from JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), to members of our cluster, to people from other institutions who are interested in course design.

Since being on Twitter and using it as a serious tool to connect with our stakeholders we have come across a few issues. I’ll outline them here:

The problems with twitter…

  • Is Twitter too new?

Twitter is still quite a new concept to many people, therefore not all the stakeholders that we want to reach will be signed up to it, also it takes some people a while to get used to replying (e.g ‘@tsparc_bcu’) and contributing to trending topics (‘#dcb09’). Therefore it is quite difficult to get the same ‘buy in’ as you would with a blog. A blog would generally attract more people than a Twitter account as people do not need to be signed up and can stumble across a blog page quite easily.

  • How do you tweet to as many stakeholders as possible but not over do it?

A recent issue we came across was when Paul was at ALT-C (The Association for Learning Technology Conference) and I was back in Birmingham. Paul was tweeting away and I thought that his tweets looked very interesting and informative so I began re-tweeting them from the T-SPARC account. Unfortunately I fully re-tweeted them with the ALT-C hashtags, not realising that it came up in the conference feed just above where Paul had already tweeted. Paul sent me a direct message via twitter asking me to stop re-tweeting, but I didn’t get it as I did not have DMs set up on the T-SPARC account on TweetDeck, therefore I continued to re-tweet his tweets until he sent me an email asking me to stop to which I replied that I was only trying to reach the people who are following T-SPARC but not following Paul. We could both see each other’s issue: how do you tweet to the widest audience possible but not be so excessive that you begin to lose followers?

Good Things about Twitter

  • Networking.

I recently re-tweeted something that Harriet (CourseTools, University of Cambridge) put out on Twitter and I noticed that a BCU lecturer tweeted back to Harriet discussing it. This example shows how Twitter is a great way to network and speak/tweet to like-minded people.

  • More hits on websites

Twitter is a good tool to encourage people to look at your blog or website. As you can only use 140 characters it is easier to put a link (tiny url) to a website then try to explain your point on twitter.

  • Let’s talk business

Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows for a profession specific focus and is used by people across the ages for a number of uses. Also people that you communicate with are called ‘followers’ rather than ‘friends’ so it takes the creepiness out of lecturers talking to students outside of lecture time.

Here is a list of BCU Tweeters:

Birmingham City University’s Faculties, Schools and Services who are on twitter

Here are some links to some blogs about how Twitter was used at the ALT-C Conference:

The use of twitter at ALT-C Conference

Twitter: A walk in the park