16 August 2010

Hillel & Twitter Follow-Up

Apropos of my post on Jewlicious last week regarding Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life not operating a solid Twitter account, I asked around and about why Hillel's Twitter account was so lacking. The answer I basically got from having discussed it was that the resources just aren't there, as opposed to Hillel:FJCL just not recognizing either the significance of social media or understanding how Twitter can factor into their PR. In better times, the department that handled these matters had a few more staffers, but, as with the rest of the economy and many other non-profits, staffers are on the short side of the budget (especially for social media). So, even though I got many people agreeing with my online as well as at the conference, but it doesn't seem like this will change Hillel's social media strategy on account of the economy (unless a donor out there decides that it's important (c'mon, you know you're out there - Hillel is a 501(c)3...)).
As an aside, during the last night of the conference (held at the awesomest museum), there was a presentation held in recognition of some of the Hillel professionals for having served for such a long time. For a visual, they put up a screen behind the speakers with a Twitter feed for Hillel Institute. But here's what's peculiar, although there exists a Twitter feed for HI, it only includes one post. Which means, instead of actually inputting and actually tweeting, they created a computer simulation of the HI account tweeting about such and such person (pictured above).
I don't know whether that indicates that they get Twitter, in that they are using it in a presentation, or the opposite: that they get that it's hip, but don't know how to use it. Either way, it was still strange and I think that they haven't realized how they can harness Twitter to work for them yet.
While talking this over with someone afterwards, I realized they should incorporate what they are doing, much like what goes on in some classrooms and at other conferences: which is to put up a screen with a live feed of a certain Twitter hashtag that is germane to the discussion. This allows not only a fuller conversation to take place (because there are more people contributing to the conversation than simply the people speaking in the room), but the speaker(s) can reference some discussion points taking place in the Twitter hashtag feed. Moreover, not only does the conversation in the room become more robust, but also people not in the room can participate or at least be aware of the discussion underway.
Hopefully, Hillel will catch up soon....

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