Chancellor adopts Twitter as communication tool

April 23rd, 2009

Chancellor Nasser Paydar knew when he came to Indiana University East that he wanted to increase the communication level of the campus, and to make his leadership style transparent to staff and students alike.

As the student body became more traditional, the university followed by ceding associate degrees to the community college system through its partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and focusing on bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Paydar knew, as a result of this, he would have to attract that elusive group currently known as the Millennials, the hard-wired students of today whose birth years began around 1982. 

Paydar found that part of the answer was close at hand; in fact, as near as his iPhone.

Paydar built, and began to update, a Twitter profile, texting brief messages from his phone and his computer, attracting followers interested in what the new chancellor was thinking and doing. 

“It is an exciting time at IU East, and technology is a good way to share this excitement with others,” Paydar said. “People want to know what is going on at IU East. By using conversation tools such as Twitter or Facebook, IU East can effectively and quickly communicate with a wide range of people every day.”

Twitter is a social media application that provides short messages and updates to readers, its content falling somewhere between larger than a text message but smaller than a blog post.  Twitter’s phenomenal growth in the past year has attracted everyone from Barack Obama to Shaquille O’Neal to Oprah Winfrey to Ashton Kutcher to John Mayer; and, of course, your friends and neighbors and colleagues, whose snippets contribute to what, for some, becomes a curiously compelling digital tapestry of daily life.

However, The Chronicle of Higher Education could find only one other university president on Twitter; The Ohio State University’s E. Gordon Gee. Though President Gee has received more attention, Chancellor Paydar actually began “tweeting” earlier, as he drove to Washington D.C. to take part in President Obama’s inauguration.

“It has been another way to connect with people, which is the power of social media,” Paydar said. Paydar also noted this came as a logical extension of his Chat with the Chancellor sessions that he regularly hosts with students. 

Paydar’s interest in Twitter came as Indiana University East began to embrace Twitter as a part of a larger social media strategy also involving blogging, YouTube, Facebook, and more. Other Twitter streams at IU East include a news stream, an athletics stream, a sports score stream, and an Alumni Association stream.  All of these can be found on the Web at www.iue.edu/twitter.

“Twitter continues to grow,” Paydar said.  “It has been interesting to be a part of it and to watch where it is going.”

Paydar can be found on the Web at www.twitter.com/paydar.

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