Twitter and Tube

Ashley Thorne

What are you doing?

NAS is using Twitter, a free messaging service that lets users post updates of 140 characters or less, to let you know what we’re up to.

That last paragraph, in fact, is a good example of a “tweet,” a short note informing followers what the user is doing, writing about, or thinking about. Twitter has been called “the telegraph system of Web 2.0” and “one of the fastest growing phenomena on the internet.” Individuals use it to write Facebook-status-like updates such as, “On my way to the oral surgeon to get my wisdom teeth pulled.” Bloggers use it to circulate links to their recent musings and organizations like NAS use it to reach greater online reader audiences. Additionally, celebrities hire staffers to twitter on their behalf; yesterday, “Oprah” said she was “speaking at Duke Graduation in a few minutes.”

To get in on all this tweeting, simply click here to sign up and create your own account (it takes about 30 seconds). Once you’ve got an account, click “find people” to look up those you’d like to “follow” or receive updates from. Every time the users you follow post an update, it goes to your custom homepage. You can also follow specific trending topics. Some of today’s most popular topics, for example, are “Star Trek,” “Swine Flu,” and “Hubble.”

You can follow NAS on Twitter by simply going to the Twitter page for NASorg (http://twitter.com/NASorg) and clicking “Follow” under the profile icon.

NAS has been intentional about exploring new media to help get the word out and connect people who care about reforming higher education. We have a daily-updated website, a Facebook group (invitation required; befriend Ashley Thorne to join), and RSS feed for our online readers. Most recently, NAS has created a non-profit YouTube page under the name NAScholars. Our first YouTube video is of our chairman Steve Balch accepting the Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award, and we are in the process of adding videos from the NAS conference this January. We hope to post many more, of both weight and levity, in the days ahead.

We have paid much attention to new technology and its uses in higher education. As we have noted this year, book readers are turning to the electronic Amazon® Kindle, student class-skippers can now listen to course lectures captured on iTunes U, and some colleges give incoming freshmen complimentary iPhones (for campus security of course). The University of Phoenix and a number of other distance learning institutions have proven that online education can work well. Literacy is transitioning to electracy.

This movement, while disconcerting to us in some ways (we actually like literacy), is one that we also welcome for its innovation and efficient stewardship. As communication forms multiply, we are expanding our horizons. We’re not looking to bombard our readers with information overload; we just want to give you plenty of options and a variety of ways to find us. So look for us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google Reader. We’ll be there.

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