OU’s official Twitter account slow to gain student followers
Eli Hull, The Oklahoma Daily
An average day for a college student: sit down at the computer in labs or at home, make a few choice clicks to open. Instead of opening Office Word, D2L or e-mail, he or she will zoom straight to the words of Welcome To Facebook on its homepage.
Devoting copious amounts of time, social networking is a large part of one’s collegiate social life.
Seeing its potential, OU has made strides to get its bid in when it comes to social networking, developing a Twitter account and Facebook page. One is doing better than the other.
“We want students, prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans to feel plugged-in and heard,” web communications spokesman Kam Stocks said by e-mail.
OU’s attempts to keep students connected through the social networking site Twitter is slow-paced in gathering new followers. The Twitter account, @UofOklahoma, is operated by the web communications office. Stocks said the Twitter page is connected to the OU Facebook page. When statuses are posted on Facebook, they are reposted on Twitter.
“Twitter gives us a great opportunity to listen to what students have to say about OU and share that with others,” Stocks said. “We love for students to drive the conversation about their university. You get to decide the importance of the information.”
While OU has 4,593 followers on Twitter, its Facebook presence is much larger at 105,020 fans on the fan page. In a poll taken this week, OU students said overwhelmingly that they do not follow the OU Twitter account and most said they do not use Twitter at all. An anonymous student said he finds Twitter to be obnoxious and he doesn’t see the point of it. Civil engineering senior Daniel Ferrufino said he has never used Twitter.
“I don’t even know what Twitter is, I know its like Facebook but I’ve never used it,” Ferrufino said.
Also having never used Twitter, Diana Hernandez, petroleum engineering graduate student, said she prefers Facebook.
Stocks and his team in the web communications office have plans to change this attitude and make Twitter more applicable to students.
“We’ve had success integrating our social networks. We’ll run contests for Twitter or YouTube on our Facebook page to help promote all three,” Stocks said. “We stick with Twitter - tweeting and re-tweeting all the time to let people know that we’re really listening. I think persistence and cross-promotion is the key to growing your social networks.”
Yet there are a number of students who do follow the site. One student polled was in favor of Twitter and liked the site because she could text what she wanted to post immediately.
“I think people prefer Facebook because it’s more than just a micro-blogging tool,” Stocks said. “Some people prefer to have all those tools at their disposal. Some prefer the simplicity of micro-blogging. Facebook also has the nostalgia factor, being able to keep up with old friends and classmates.”
Most major colleges at OU also maintain their own Twitter and Facebook pages. Among them are Price College of Business, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Rainbolt College of Education and School of International and Area Studies. Although the ratio of followers to fans reflects that of the university’s. Each college has a distinct difference in numbers and overall Facebook comes out ahead.
Out of 20 students polled
About 16 said they do not use Twitter at all