Colgate University gets the updates of his official student Twitterer on its homepage

September 4th, 2008 Karine Joly 7 Comments

Do you Twitter?
I do (feel free to follow me @karinejoly) as more and more people in the web and PR higher ed world.

But, what about our prospective students or their parents? Do they?

We’ll probably find out in a few months by measuring the success of an initiative Colgate University has just launched, as Charlie Melichar, VP for PR & Communications, mentioned in an exchange via Facebook (and when I get contacted by a university VP via Facebook, it’s probably a good indicator that he will be a good source of interesting new initiatives):

We just launched a twitter stream on our homepage. We have a first-year student posting pretty consistently — though it’s just day one

When I checked it out yesterday around 6PM, Ajay Chahar (aka @colgateunvrsty), who is as far as I know one of the first official student Twitterers (please, correct me if I’m wrong), had only 10 followers.

The experiment was introduced to the world in a news story about this special student published Wednesday on Colgate website:

Now, after choosing Colgate, he’s ready to share his experiences in a real-time way so high school students and others can get a sense of what it is like to be a student here, a place he said offers the “complete college experience.”

Chahar is using a service called Twitter to provide brief regular updates on what he is doing. Pretty much anything and everything is worth a new “tweet,” and anyone can read these slices of college life.

What’s really interesting (and should I say “bold”) is that Colgate chose to include the Twitter updates on its homepage – at the bottom left though, not front and center:

The stream doesn’t link directly from the homepage to the Twitter account though, but to a page where contextual information is provided along with the latest updates.

I’m not sure Twitter is the tool to communicate with students (although I do find it very useful in my daily job), but this experiment might prove me wrong. I’ll keep an eye on it and will let you know.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your opinion about this unconventional initiative.

Do you think it’s going to work?

7 Responses

  1. Robert says:

    Not really. Which university recently published a report that only 2 out of 300 of their incoming students have twitter accounts?

    Twitter is, in my experience, something web developers and editors get excited about, and pretty much no one else.

  2. Bradjward says:

    That was my research, Robert.

    Regardless, I think Twitter can fill the gaps between blog posts, as we are doing on It occasionally disappears when we hit our API limit because we are still working on getting all of our IP’s whitelisted.

    Here’s a preview of what it will look like:

  3. Matthew Levy says:

    I think it will work, so long as it isn’t branded as “Twitter”. Skinning it as something else makes it seem like a quick view into the life of Colgate. No, prospective students are jumping on Twitter in droves, but they’ll appreciate the perceived transparency on the site.

  4. John McCrory says:

    I created a twitter feed for our law school and placed it on our home page last week, under the heading “Now @ Pierce Law” — it’s slow to start, but I expect it to grow as the school community gets used to it.

    The idea is to use it for all sorts of updates — from what’s happening to ‘there’s a blue honda accord in the Daniel Webster parking lot with its lights on’ to lost and found, etc.

    Now we finally might get all that ephemeral stuff off our e-mail system.

  5. Karine Joly says:

    Thanks for the info, Brad and John. Interesting to see some institutions using Twitter as part of their communication tool box. I’d be really interested to learn more about the results.

    Thanks for sharing your opinions, Robert and Matt.

  6. [...] few days ago, I wrote about Colgate’s Twitter initiative, but I’ve also read about another interesting [...]

  7. N Campbell says:

    In one week our school has gained 8 followers–two of them are other colleges. LOL

    I think it will catch on, but I think it will take time. I’m looking at it as a long-term, i.e. at least a year-long experiment.

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