The office recently launched a Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/WMNews. 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.
Many major media outlets, including CNN, Fox News and the Washington Post, use the site to publish news headlines and links to full stories or topics. University Relations will do something similar, publishing not only headlines of stories written by the University Relations staff but also headlines of selected external news stories that feature the College. The feed will also give followers the occasional news scoop on upcoming events or announcements and provide tweets on items such as expected television media coverage or upcoming national exposure. The design for the WMNews Twitter page was created by Heather Giezey and Erin Zagursky of University Relations.
“We’re exploring new ways to communicate and reach audiences who may not receive their news in traditional ways,” said Brian Whitson, director of news services. “Our Twitter news feed is the beginning of that effort. It’s a fun, new way for people to follow what is going on at the College. We also want to present the news in a slightly different style than what they typically see on the News & Events page. This is just the start.”
Many offices at William & Mary have embraced social networking and blogging to reach their audiences. Other existing Twitter feeds at the College include ones from the Swem Library, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Media Center, the William & Mary Alumni Association and the Mason School of Business.
The College’s Office of Information Technology is developing a page on the College’s Web site that will showcase the different social networking options available to the campus community. IT also created a special Twitter button for the College’s News & Events Web page that will direct individuals to the news feed.
Although Twitter does not release numbers of registered users, a recent CNN article reported that the site has had more than 4.4 million unique visitors as of December 2008. Registering for Twitter is free, and the new feed comes at no cost to the College.