As usual, Brad J. Ward offers some interesting insight today on his blog about Twitter trends in higher ed. He finds that more than 400 institutions of higher education now have some presence on the micro-blogging site. However, he also notes that “Admission offices usually have the lowest # of followers out of all types of accounts.”
This made me wonder why this might be, so I did a quick search on Quantcast to see what the demographics are of Twitter users. Not surprisingly, there were very few teens (approx. 1%) currently using the site and more than 2/3 of users do not have children between 12-17 in their household.
This could mean Twitter may need some time to develop before it has a big impact on traditional undergraduate recruitment.
So why haven’t teens embraced Twitter yet?
Youth Marketing blog YPulse offered a sound explanation recently stating that, “As long as teens can update their status via MySpace and Facebook for their friends as well as IM and text, Twitter doesn’t really add to the existing technology.”
Does this mean Twitter won’t ever catch on for teens? YPulse suggests that as more pop icons begin to build their Twitter presence younger audiences will follow in time.
However, until that happens, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Twitter’s growth, as Brad alludes to in his post, is a force to be reconed with. There’s still a role for Twitter in higher ed recruitment, admissions and marketing to constituencies besides prospects…just look at how may young professsionals are on there. Might be worth cultivating your alumni groups or even building a following for your graduate and executive programs.