By: Whitney Neilson - The Aquinian | September 25, 2012 | Filed under: Headline,News
St. Thomas University stepped up its tech game this month by joining the growing number of universities who use Twitter.
STU’s communications department joined the social media site, as a way to keep students informed about news, events, and class cancellations. Jeffrey Carleton, communications director, said they had been planning it since last March.
“We’re at about 145 followers, probably adding five or six a day. And I expect that only to increase as time goes by,” Carleton said.
Carleton says the account will send out tweets several times a day with bits of information, usually with a link to more details. He hopes it will be well-received since so many students now use Twitter.
STU athletics started a Twitter account last year, as a sports feed, to learn the best way to use the technology. Matt Sheriko is the communications officer for athletics at STU. He manages the athletics twitter feed.
“It works so so well for university sports because there’s not these big outlets, like TSN, that cover university athletics. It’s probably the best place to go get scores during the game,” Sheriko said.
Carleton looked at other universities’ and STU residence life’s Twitter accounts to see what worked and what didn’t.
Alex Solak is a STU graduate and the social media manager for Tourism New Brunswick. He also worked for STU’s communications department two summer ago. He says he suggested a STU Twitter account to Carleton, but was turned down.
“The reason given to me was…to the effect of, the university has an image as a long standing institution. It has this institutional memory that goes back in time and it likes to be tied to older traditions, and the quick-paced ideas of Twitter and this new service didn’t fit with that kind of profile the university wanted to manage” Solak said.
Carleton says he doesn’t remember the idea being suggested, but that these things take time. He believes social media is successful when you have something to say, and St. Thomas University has just that.
“Anytime there’s a new piece of social media communication technology, you don’t necessarily want to be the first adopter,” Carleton said.
Solak says he hopes they use Twitter to its potential, and don’t make it just another “boring mouthpiece.”
“I hope they have some fun. I hope they engage people in conversation, who are just bumming around campus. I’d hate to see it as just a feed for their news and press releases,” Solak said.