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May 08, 2009

Tech Tip - Using Twitter as your Free Campus, Group Text Messaging Service

There are many group/campus text messaging companies that offer an array of services for a fee, but if you are just looking to communicate with a group via text, then Twitter might be your best free option. Mike Richwalsky over at HighEdWebTech demos how he uses Twitter as Allegheny College's free text messaging service for their orientation. The best part is students don't even need to know they're using Twitter beyond a simple welcome message. They can join the campus texting group without a pre-existing Twitter account. How?

Mike Explains:

Once you have a Twitter account, you advertise to students that if they text follow youraccountname to 40404, they will get updates on their phone. That’s it.

Last year, Mike used the Twitter trick to successfully promote athletic events on campus. This year, he's using the service to communicate with all the incoming students as part of his school's orientation program.

We’ve set up a Twitter account (@alleghenyorient) for our orientation team and we’ve trained them in how to post updates from the web as well as from their phones as they’re out and about around campus during the program.

Now that we’ve set up the team and the account, it’s time to start telling the students about it. We’ve posted on our Orientation site with a link to our regular Twitter page as well as how they text a follow message to 40404. We’re also going to start promoting it in our Class of 2013 pages.

They're also sending out the post card below with orientation information and how to join their mobile group.

Quick, easy, fun and free. Here's your campus tech tip for the week!


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