Twitter can be an incredibly absorbing and quick source of news and information and a great way of building a community. It can also be a rush of celebrity gossip, untruths and banal banter. This article is an attempt to identify the best places for education professionals involved in marketing to go to keep in touch with the education market and to learn about marketing.
Firstly, if you’ve never used Twitter before, what is it? Twitter users send ‘Tweets’ – messages up to 140 characters long. The challenge of writing something valid in this space, often with a weblink as well, is something that takes time to get used to! Tweets are accessible to anyone else with a Twitter account, although most people subscribe to Tweets from a few specific users and ‘follow’ them. Tweets can also be ‘retweeted’ to reach a larger network, and individuals can also send private messages! To help find users who might be tweeting items of interest to you, a tweet can incldue a ‘hashtag’ (words or characters starting with # e.g. #schools) which you can use to search for interesting tweets.
Phew! If you’d like to explore, the best way is to have a play and see what you find. It’s easy to sign up for an account at www.twitter.com, and you can follow your Twitter account online or through apps on smartphones (iPhones have Twitter built in!). I find Tweetdeck very useful on my PC for managing tweets.
For those interesting in education and marketing, there are two essential groups of Twitter users to follow. The first group focuses on educational developments, the second more specifically on marketing issues for schools.
The best site I’ve found for general education news is UK Education Matters (@SchoolDuggery). The author brings together news from multiple sources several times a day. Other news sites to follow are the BBC (@bbceducation), the Times Educational Supplement (@tes), and the national newspapers The Guardian (@guardianedu) and the Telegraph (@tele_education) which give input from across the political spectrum.
Three other consistently interesting commentators on education issues are the Good Schools Guide (@GoodSchoolsUK), author and blogger Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes), and teacher and author Francis Gilbert (@wonderfrancis).
There are two great marketing education feeds. Julia Acklams’ @marketschools and Louise Hitchen’s @134marketing drip feed common sense advice!
Oh, and you could alway sign up to @mktadvice4schls as well. (But that makes 11…)