It’s been ten years since I’ve taught high school English and even longer since teaching college rhetoric but I can’t help thinking about voice and message on Twitter these days. We talk about how often to post but not so much what our posts sound like or reflect about our schools. Maybe it’s time we do so.
We tweet with bursts, microblogs of 140 characters or less. We perhaps think of these as stand-alone bits of communication but many of our followers may be reading our tweets directly from the Twitter site. That means seeing each tweet one right after another, creating if you will a body of work.
Why does that matter? Let’s say that at your school you have two or three folks who tweet. One is your Athletic Director whose tweets are short, spirited and of course slanted to sports. Another is your Communications Director with a terse but accurate journalistic style. The third is your Alumni Director who regularly asks for alumni participation in events or fund-raising efforts.
Imagine tweet after tweet in those three styles. Pretty schizophrenic, huh? Instead, wouldn’t it be preferable to find the one voice, the one tone that you want to represent your school in this social media medium and stick to it. Maybe it is the Communication Director who tweets, including sports and alumni relations in his/her tweets, but keeping the tone the same throughout.
While we are on tone, have you consider that your tweeting is just one of many ways your school introduces itself to the world? Your viewbook, your campus, your school culture, etc. are distinctive and each tells the world who you are. After all, message matters. Are you representing your school accurately with how you tweet or are you simply tweeting as your own personality?
Hypothetical Case: School A is an all boys school where academic rigor and an emphasis on tradition are highlights. A new staff member is hired to manage social media among other duties. On the school’s Twitter profile, he focuses on fun, extracurricular activities and a few recent pranks pulled at the school. Perhaps the staff member needs to rethink how his tweets reflect the school’s priorities and way of sharing its philosophy with the community-at-large.
We want to hear from you: how is your school tweeting with one voice and on message these days? want to hear from you!