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Communications in the modern age

Had a good visit with the folks in the Communications Department over at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences today.  A strong group of faculty members who are truly interested in what we’re doing from a strategic communications perspective.  Even got a few volunteers for our committees.  Kindred spirits I’d like to think.

Not surprisingly, the talk eventually led down the path of social networking.  Who uses what, when and why.  I’m sure someone in the College will be able to explain how best to use the tools that are available to us, but we all agreed it’s a work in progress.

Biggest question I have is about Twitter.  Who is using Twitter and for what purpose.  A couple at the gathering today (but certainly not all)  believe that students do not tweet.  They text.  I thought about that and went to my Twitter feed to see who is following me and who is tweeting on a regular basis.  Not a student to be found in the mix.  Recent grads for sure, but overwhelmingly, my peers and others in the mid- to later stages of their careers seem to be the ones who like to tweet.

hiceschool twitter site

We also talked Facebook and here students share a commanding lead.  Everyone is on Facebook, or so it seems. But why.  If students today aren’t tweeting, are texting, and are Facebooking, why aren’t they tweeting?

Hey, don’t expect any answers here.  I’m just posing the question.  But the question just points out how big of a challenge we have to create a strategic communications program for NC State University.  What tools do we use?  When do we use them?  How do we figure out which audiences tweet and which audiences text?

And I believe that digital communications — the Web, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Linked in, hiceschool.com (blogs), etc.  — will play THE key role in our outreach as we move forward.  If 20 million people chose to come to www.ncsu.edu annually, that’s a powerful tool for the university.  Look at it this way, 20,000,000.  That’s a big number and almost three times the population of North Carolina.  If power is in the numbers, we got the power!

I know this is a ramble, but think about it…especially if you’re interested in working on the web/electronic communications committee.

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1 TJ { 10.28.09 at 7:17 pm }

Students are tweeting, one just has to know where to look. They range from Grad students, undergrad students and even some parents. They are there, the challenge is finding them. Look at student groups and their followers such as @uab_ncsu @IRC_ncsu @NCSUifc @NCSUsorority @ncsutechnician and many others.

True tweeting is an art! Its about the power, the passion and networking. Just like in person, networking takes time to understand how to do it and do it well. So too is tweeting. Thats the difference between the “text” and the “tweet”

The real challenge is creating those brand ambassadors! Those disciples who will not just cheer (tweet, text, facebook) for Pack athletics but also academics, campus life, research and more! Creating lifelong pack believers!

By the way….I love the blog! Nice work!

2 John Martin { 11.03.09 at 2:01 pm }

I devised this description of how we’re using Twitter in OIT here at NC State. Executive summary–for three communicative purposes: 1) Advertising (workshops, seminars, services, events), 2) Announcements (outages, change management, security incidents, etc.), 3) News (IT education, social media, IT in education, social media in IT, and social media in Education.) More details include choosing followers, a feedback survey, and challenges: http://ncsuwebdev.ning.com/group/twitter/forum/topics/ncsu-oits-use-of-twitter-for

3 Joe Hice { 11.03.09 at 3:31 pm }

John: This is a very thoughtful, thorough approach to Twitter. Congratulations! I think the way we all use Twitter is key to its usefulness and value and this is a great example of how it can truly add value. Now I just need to work on you to use more NC State branding on your ning site and twitter accounts:-)

4 John Martin { 11.05.09 at 2:35 pm }

Thanks, Joe. I’m interested in being in/on the Internal Communications Committee if you’re still taking names and kicking… around the membership. 🙂

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