Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Twitter for a karate school?

Have you heard of Twitter? Essentially a micro-blogging tool, twitter lets you inform the world of any banal, trifling and occasionally important thoughts bouncing through your head at any given time. The catch is that you must condense this brain fart into no more than 160 characters.

The end result looks somewhat like someone's Facebook updates. That is, if you have a friend on Facebook that updates their page incessantly.

So how could such a tool possibly assist your karate school? In a traditional studio, perhaps not much. If you're like me, and you run a school at a University, you might find a use for it.

Scenario 1: Class is at 7, and I discover at 6 that the rec center has decided to give our room to a convention of furries. I need to get the word out...fast.

Scenario 2: Furries have taken over the campus, forcing all extracurricular activities to cancel. I need to let my students know, since what has been seen cannot be unseen.

Scenario 3: Tonight is the last night for everyone to turn in their tournament registration paperwork, and noticing a lack of participants, I want to remind everyone. Furries.

In all 3 cases, Twitter could be a big save. Normally, I'd resort to publishing a news article on the web site and hope everyone sees it, or initiate a phone tree, and have my officers call everyone (and hope that everyone has their roster handy.)

Orrr, I could text my message to 40404 and sit back, letting twitter update, my web page pull in the twitter feed, and - best of all -- students who subscribed to my twitter feed get an SMS update wherever they are.

Also works for karate social functions. After class, we may decide to bathe the lepers, but it turns out there aren't enough lepers. I tweet to students: lepers too few and too clean. meet at local soup kitchen instead. Bam! everyone is in the know, and can show up for meaningful social interaction.

Over the next week, I'm going to roll it out and see how it works. Toughest part will be encouraging everyone to set up a twitter account and following the BTSD feed.

Twitter still appears to be a mostly fringe tool, especially amongst college kids. My basic fear is that is a little *too* nerdy, perception-wise. Not as nerdy as furries, though. Yikes.
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