Students and faculty can now check the latest “tweet” from St. John’s University due to the recent installment of STJnow Twitter on the St. John’s Central Web site.
The Twitter account was launched on St. John’s Central on Oct. 5. After Facebook and MySpace, Twitter is the third largest online social networking Web site with an estimated five million users around the world. The online site allows users to post text-based messages up to 140 characters which are displayed on the site’s public timeline.
The users can send and receive posts that are known as “tweets.” The site has been gaining popularity due to its simplicity, which enables users to post updates via mobile texting, instant message or the Web. According to John Kelly, graduate assistant for Student Engagement, the primary purpose of the STJnow Twitter is for it to be viewed through the widget in St. John’s Central. This provides many benefits for St. John’s students and faculty.
“St. John’s Central has thousands of unique logins every day, and using it as the medium of communication allows students who do not have Twitter accounts to receive information,” he said.
“The secondary benefit to using Twitter is that students can ‘opt-in’ to receive updates on their personal computers and mobile devices.”
Frank Jerome, Student Affairs business analyst and Student Affairs social media committee chair, said he feels the using the social network has lead to more opportunities for the University to connect to students.
“The real time capability of Twitter provides a unique advantage,” he said.
“Using our initial Twitter account at STJnow, we seek to engage students by making them aware of events, primarily large scale, signature events, through this feed that is easily viewable through St. John’s Central.
“Our main objective with Twitter, and all other social media, is to establish a two-way communication with students. Every idea the Student Affairs Social Media Committee implements has this goal in mind.”
The topic of the St. John’s Central Twitter was introduced last year through dialogue between Student Affairs, Student Government, Inc. and Information Technology.
This allowed for a new organization to form, the Social Media Committee, which is comprised of students and administrators.
According to Kelly, the committee seeks to leverage social media to create new avenues of interactive and collaborative communication about campus events to students. Updates for the Twitter account are handled by members of the Student Affairs Social Media Committee.
“Content fed through Twitter is based on major Student Engagement initiatives that are open to all students and primarily focuses in the areas of Weekend engagement, commuter engagement and athletic engagement. Other announcements, particularly those from student organizations can be posted, as well,” said Kelly.
Kelly also said that it benefits students because those who are not Twitter users can also receive updates on St. John’s Central. Jerome said he feels the Twitter account feedback on the St. John’s Central Web site has been good so far.
“We have grown from zero to over 200 followers in about a month. The natural consequence would then be an online environment that is as engaging, vibrant and reflective as is our institution’s enriched campus life,” he said.
“Twitter is still in its early stages on this campus. We see this as an advantage as we are one step ahead and will be ready when this platform does grow.”
Saida Harrigan, a junior, said she thinks the new integration of Twitter on St. John’s Central helps keep her informed better.
“I don’t really use my Twitter account that much,” she said.
“It makes it easier for me to find the specifics for campus activities with updates that are directly on the school Web site.”
Myron White, a senior, said he enjoys the new application, even though he is not a Twitter user.
“Seeing that I do not have Twitter, I think it is cool to see the updates without having to create an account. The updates will definitely save me time,” he said.
Jerome said he believes Twitter will help bring students together, and serves as a better communication system.
“Our long-term goal is to have these platforms serve as a sandbox for students,” he said.
“The ultimate result would be to establish an online virtual community that allows students to interact with us and one another in a meaningful way; in a way that balances traditional academic and social life.”