Tuesday, August 11, 2009

University President's Online Persona

I had a representative of a university president's office ask me about getting their president up on twitter. I thought I would share part of our exchange. The short research that I did might help you in a similar decision.

My initial response...

I would be remiss if I didn’t ask a couple of questions.

Is the president wanting to partially participate in a profile that is also being updated by others?
Is [president] already the kind of person who creates content on a regular basis?
Aside from simply being an active participant on twitter, does [president] have any specific objectives he’d like to see met as a result of his participation? (I can suggest a few)

Based on the answers to these questions, I would suggest a specific approach to managing his profile.

After another exchange that clarified the questions I asked, I provided the following overview of other university presidents that are using the tool and how they are using it.

http://twitter.com/asupresoffice -Arizona State is clear that this is the “Office of the President” President Michael Crow has a personal profile here http://twitter.com/michaelcrow. The office of president profile has largely turned into a newsfeed. This could be a way we would choose to approach, and then push [president] to do his own tweeting while at high profile events through the same channel. The disadvantage of this approach is that it is a bit contrived, stiff, and the opposite of what regular twitter users would expect from someone seriously interested in using the tool.
This is something we could do for you with a little training and consult. We could set it up and turn it over. Someone in the president’s office is best suited to manage the feed on an ongoing basis. It would be difficult for us to manage this type of feed for you on an ongoing basis, but it is (remotely) possible.

https://twitter.com/presidentgee - Ohio State University, obviously more personal than ASU, but guarded and not engaging. You’ll see he never @replies or Retweets or asks questions or engages in the conversation that is available. It could easily be Gordon Gee’s personal assistant transcribing an event off of his calendar. It is Less newsy, more personal, not interactive (which is the point of twitter [but not if the user isn’t willing to embrace the tool and be transparent])
Other similar examples… http://twitter.com/kstate_pres
We could assist in setup, launch, and a bit more extensive training and consult to both [president] and an assistant of his. It would be very difficult for us to manage this kind of feed on your behalf and we would not recommend ghost writing.

http://twitter.com/johnmaeda - Rhode Island School of Design, President Maeda is extremely engaging, uses the tool well. Intentionally follows others and has a huge following because of his obvious transparency and willing to use twitter as it was intended. Notice all the Retweets and questions and @replies. This user has actual clout and influence in the tool. He likely never has anyone else share his feed. He has completely embraced it as part of his daily rhythm.
Other similar examples… http://twitter.com/AJUpresident
http://twitter.com/DavidSDockery - President of Union University in Jackson, TN
We could assist in setup and launch and provide exhaustive training and consult in explaining philosophy and practices behind becoming this kind of user. We could NOT operate this kind of feed on an ongoing basis.

Let me know what you think?
Do you know of any other school presidents who are doing a good job tweeting?

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I had been trying to find a list of university presidents who are tweeting. Great breakdown of the types of accounts.