For the last 9 months (ok that’s a complete guess; let’s just say for a while) I’ve been the cold dead hand guiding the ou’s twitter account @openuniversity. Historically this account has pulled in OU news feeds via Twitterfeed and has tweeted OU / BBC co-productions about an hour before they are due to be aired on TV and Radio (which is pretty cool I think and achieved thanks to the work of the good folk at Open2.net who also feed their twitter account in the same way.
Now the big thing about Twitter (and of course most other soshul medja) is that it’s two-way, it’s a conversation – it’s part of the read/write web. This is one of the reasons that I hate the BBC’s Testmatch special twitter account which just broadcasts random things and NEVER gets involved in a bit of banter. It’s also the reason I’ve been feeling a bit unhappy about what we were doing (or rather weren’t doing) with @openuniversity.
As part of day-to-day ‘sentiment monitoring’ I keep an eye on twitter mentions of the open university – there’s actually quite a lot. Potential students pondering new courses, existing students bitching about / praising OU courses – basically the sort of stuff that people discuss in the normal world. Anyway I’ve always held off following these people on twitter (as @openuniversity) in case they found it a bit uncomfortable, but about ten days ago I decided to give it a go. Since then I’ve been having a bit of back-and-forth banter (both with students and other universities) and helping out students who send questions to @openuniversity (‘can i get an iCal feed of my tutorial dates?’ etc). All of this has lead to an increase in followers (I started ‘talking’ c.5 feb).
which hopefully suggests it’s become a more useful service for people. Obvious right?!