On Saturday, SUNY Oswego joined the vanguard of colleges live-tweeting Commencement, as I posted updates and photos throughout the two-ceremony day at our Twitter account twitter.com/sunyoswego.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to do. Any mobile device with Web access to provide running commentary is all you need. It’s a bonus to have a device that also takes photos, such as my iPhone, to provide the proverbial 1,000 words to followers. Camera phones mean a lack of zoom and depth of field, so you may have to count on panoramic shots or the occasional blur. The ability to get in there for behind-the-scenes views, serendipitous shots and hammy bits of joy — and to communicate instantaneously — is quite the payoff. (You can also collect ’em all into a Facebook photo album later.) Remember that if you’re live-tweeting photos, a short compelling description will let people decide whether to click the image link.
LiveTweet 1 had room for improvement. My Commencement responsibilities include media relations (most notably having C-SPAN in the house!) and managing ushers, so such other duties probably got in the way of posting content. Having the luxury of a person dedicated entirely to live-tweeting probably makes for better output. I also decided late in the game to live-tweet it, which meant we didn’t do a lot of pre-promotion.
Still, I was quite happy with the feedback. Several images/links were retweeted, always a sign of appreciation. Alumni tweeps commented on how much they enjoyed their graduation, current and future students tweeted questions and comments, and @sunyoswego saw a jump in followers. So I definitely think it was worth the effort … but I’d say that even if it helped just one more person enjoy such a glorious, momentous, joyous day.
EDIT/UPDATE: Icing on the cake = Oswego County Today, a local online-only daily, did a story mentioning the live-tweeting and using a couple of the posted photos. Who says social-media projects can’t cultivate positive press coverage?