More Twitter thoughts

Just so you know: this page was imported from my old blog. Some pages were rather mangled in the process; my apologies if things don't quite look right.

Twitter is a way of posting mini-updates onto the interweb about what you're doing, and works in much the same way as Facebook's status, except you can do more with it. It's perfect for the narcissistic and bored; two areas in which I excel ;o)

I mentioned playing about with Twitter a little while ago, but never really got into it because I couldn't figure out how to pull the updates onto web pages, so I couldn't see how it would add value to a website.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted BBC reporter Ben Hammersley was touring Turkey to cover the country's election, and was using social networking sites Twitter and (to name a couple) to syndicate content back onto his BBC homepage which had been set up specially to cover the - experimental - feature.

Since I'm supposed to be working my socks off on my Final Year Project, I decided to do something else entirely and, having read all there is to learn about video standards (don't ask - been trying some DIY with an expensive piece of a/v equipment), I turned my attention back to Twitter.

I've now signed myself up for an account (despite the worrying - but not unique - feeling I might already be too old for this. Then again, maybe not ;o), found out I can easily post updates from my mobile by SMS, and found how to add a list of my latest updates from Twitter in my sidebar.

Ok, now I've kinda done it, I want to figure out an easy way for everyone on to add their Twitter information to, so I've put a new to-do in the to-do list: add a box for "my Twitter ID" to peoples' public profile edit screen, then automagically display their latest x updates in their diary sidebar and their profile page. Maybe we could even display their latest update with their forum posts...?

And... Well, that's the rub; since the point of all this - if there is a point - would probably be to attract more students to use, what would Pompey's students want out of this? How would we make it easy and intuitive to add and use? How could we make it obvious what it does? And, of course, how much peripheral marketing will we have to do to let people know why they should bother with all this Twitter nonsense? Maybe a little market research might be in order...

The finer details aside, the SMS updates aspect definitely makes this worth looking into a bit more; maybe not this month, but before the start of the new academic year, when I'm hoping to have had time to revamp the blogs homepage to make it a lot more understandable, I'd like to see it all up and running.

I'd also really like us to come up with some ways we can use Twitter, perhaps for a feature during the Freshers' period where freshers are encouraged to Twitter their first experiences of Uni life in Portsmouth for a live-updated feature piece on

If we found the right people - i.e. bods who aren't coy with their updates - this could possibly pave the way for some really frank, insightful dialogue, and it's definitely something with potential to apply to every area of what the Union does - welfare, entertainment, academic support... Everything, in fact, apart from the kitchen sink.

p.s. BBC Radio 1 are on Twitter - could we do something similar on the Grad Ball mini-site during the event?

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