April is the month of milestones for Twitter and those who follow the social networking site. A week after actor Ashton Kutcher beat CNN in a battle to reach one million followers on Twitter, the William & Mary News broke new ground as well - gaining its 1,000 the follower of WMNews.
The Office of University Relations launched its Twitter news feed in February 2009. Twitter is a social networking site where members answer the question "What are you doing?" with updates - or "tweets" -- of 140 characters or less. People who are signed up to follow the feeds receive updates each time a new tweet is posted. Twitter users can send and receive tweets in a variety of ways, including via their cell phones.
Since launching its feed, William & Mary News has used tweets to inform its followers of campus-wide events, media coverage featuring William & Mary faculty, staff and students, and breaking campus news on topics ranging from commencement to rankings. University Relations even posts released news scoops on its Twitter site with initial tweets on breaking news such as William & Mary's commencement speaker will be NBC's Tom Brokaw and, more recently, that the William & Mary Law School, School of Education and Mason School of Business all moved up in the recent national rankings of graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report magazine.
According to the "Twitter Grader" Web site, the William & Mary News feed is ranked fourth among the Twitter sites listed in Williamsburg, Va., with a grade of 98. Many other offices at William & Mary have also been using Twitter to reach their audiences. Other existing Twitter feeds at the College including a W&M Twitter, Swem Library, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Media Center, the William & Mary Alumni Association, the William & Mary Creative Services, the William & Mary Mascot Committee and the Mason School of Business.
University Relations also recently launched a YouTube channel to share its news videos that feature William & Mary people and events. The channel currently has more than 50 videos on it. Videos include interviews with students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as features on campus traditions such as Charter Day, Opening Convocation, Yule Log and commencement. The channel also links to several other William & Mary YouTube channels in the "subscriptions" section of its page. These other channels include those operated by the Special Collections Research Center, the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the Mason School of Business.
A campus-wide list of W&M Web communities, including Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs is also now available.