@studentGroups: Twitter frenzy

Sasha Fine

Twitter. Tweet. For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years, Twitter is a social networking forum that allows people to set up micro-blogs and track each other as they go about their lives. Tweeting, the act of updating your status in 140 characters or less, can be done from any computer or smartphone. This has led some very driven (read: addicted) individuals to update numerous times a day. But the vast majority of members moderate their usage.

Understandably, this trend has crept onto the Washington University campus. As Student Life reporter Eliza Adelson covered in “The Interwebs” last week, Wash. U. continues to take great advantage of this resource. Not to be outdone by the administration, however, some student groups have also created their own accounts and are Twittering away.

Student Union created one of the most prominent and visible Twitter accounts on campus.

“We tend to Tweet a lot,” sophomore Morgan DeBaun, SU vice president of public relations, said with a laugh. “We Tweet…an average of three times a day. It’s not just governmental, administrative or procedural items either. When Student Union got to tour the new dining facility, they sent constant update[s] with pictures.”

Twitter also promotes awareness about the goings-on of SU, encouraging transparency and allowing students to convey their opinions directly to SU, according to DeBaun.

In general, Tweeting among student groups on campus seems to be a relatively new phenomenon.

“We got one at the end of last semester, and we used it a lot over the summer,” said junior Kenny Hofmeister, one of KWUR’s two music directors. “It’s great for getting the word out. We’ll post something on our blog and link it on the Twitter.”

Twitter is in its infancy and still has several opponents on campus. Central among them is senior Gregory Allen, editor in chief of the Washington University Political Review (WUPR).

“We don’t think that very many people would read it,” Allen said. “The main age demographic that uses Twitter is quite a bit after graduating college, so it doesn’t seem like there would be a whole lot of value to us from doing it…[It] seems like it would be a lot of time expended for not a lot of gain.”

A New York Times article published on Aug. 25 of this year stated that only 11 percent of Tweeters are between the ages of 12 and 17. Considering the inverse relationship between age and technology, this appears to be a relatively low number.

In place of Twitter, WUPR’s Internet medium of choice is Facebook. Its Facebook page displayed 374 fans.

“Facebook was something that we saw as absolutely mandatory,” Allen said.

On the other hand, groups such as Student Life, SU and Eleven thrive on Twitter’s ability to disseminate information more frequently.

So what are some recommendations for aspiring Twittering groups?

“It’s useful for promoting events…it’s a promotional tool,” DeBaun said. “It’s also useful for just updating students [about what is going on with the group].”

Hofmeister said: “If you’ve got something you want to share with other people, then I guess it makes sense. It’s a good way to get information out there.”

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