Filed Under (New Media, Social Networking) by crosslem on 19-05-2009

Many people think of Twitter as ego-centric micro-blogging: “Hey, world, I’m at McDonalds eating a Big Mac for lunch.”


Yeah? So what?!!

Twitter is called micro-blogging because it limits the user to just 140 characters, and as the above example illustrates, most tweeters use these precious characters to provide the world with a slice of their life.

The reason Twitter keeps tweets to 140 characters or less is that it uses the cell phone text message standard, providing anyone the ability to tweet from their cell phone. If you are really interested, here is the Twitter article at How Stuff Works.

Twitter can be used as an effective communication tool. Many people tweet with interesting factoids or websites they stumble upon. Others use Twitter for customer service questions or to listen in on what others are saying about their company or organization. Take a look at Lifehacker’s blog post on Six Ways to Use Twitter.

An Oregon company, GoSeeTell Network, is enabling visitor bureaus to use Twitter to answer tourism questions from the general public, letting brand enthusiasts (i.e., local citizens who follow the visitor bureau) tweet to answer the questions.

Someone might post a question like, “I’ll be in your city this weekend, where is a cheap place to go for a few hours?”

A potential response might be, “Take the light rail to Forest Park and walk through the award-winning rose garden or take metro bus #12 out into the valley and taste some amazing wines.”

University admissions departments could use Twitter to let current students answer potential student questions about the school. The Extension Service could enable Master Gardener volunteers to answer gardening questions via Twitter (and reach a younger audience at the same time).

Many universities around the U.S. are using Twitter to keep people informed about campus-based news. For example, Oregon State University is leveraging social media with a Powered By Orange campaign (essentially a what’s happening at OSU campaign) that encompasses a website, Facebook group, Linkedin network and a Twitter account. The campaign is intended to educate current and potential students, their parents, alumni and faculty about the cool things happening at OSU (including news items that don’t make the traditional news media).

And Online Degree World has created a list of the Top 100 University Tweeters where you can find out what other institutions are doing with Twitter.

Written by Mark Crossler and Dave King