Integrating Twitter into the Application Process

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Integration Week, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 03-11-2009


Maybe this week should just become Integration Week at SquaredPeg?  Monday we talked about some theory of integrating social media and yesterday I showed an example of using text + traditional media to reach an audience.

Today I want to chat about an example that I found while doing some client research for BlueFuego.  Davidson College has put a twist on using Twitter in Admissions. They pull 140 characters from student applications and tweet them, then mark the student on a  Google Map to show how far their app pool reaches across the states. The project is nearing completion, with 3 weeks to go.

From their site:

Twice daily throughout January, February, and March we’ll update our Davidson Admission Twitter feed with a quotation, shared anonymously, from an actual applicant to Davidson College.  We’ll also plot that applicant on a Google Map of the world — to show you just how far-reaching these student perspectives actually are.

We hope this project — at the very least – will help showcase the power of the Davidson applicant pool.

Google Map


Here are my 3 suggestions to make this work better:

  • Since you have some international applications, share tidbits from them too! Currently the map only shows students in the States. Truly be ‘far-reaching’.
  • Since Davidson isn’t too interested in conversation on Twitter (following zero people), embed both the Twitter updates and the Google Map on the Davidson site. This provides the Twitter and Google Map experience directly on the page and doesn’t require click-throughs.
    • Note: Twitter started providing new embed badges several months ago.  You can see one in action on the BlueFuego Blog. There’s even a red one that would fit Davidson’s branding VERY well!
  • If you are going to require visitors to click to Twitter or Google from your site, use target=”_blank” links to pop up a new window.  Otherwise, your site is gone in their browser and you’ve lost your visitor.

Overall, an innovative way to use the Twitter platform to demystify the app process and show the breadth of applicants!  Well done, Davidson.

Want to learn more about using Twitter for Higher Education? Sign up for the upcoming webinar on April 9th or 10th!  Only $99 to attend. Learn more and register at

Comments posted (7)

Very nice. I’m diggin’ integration week! :)

Posting their feed to their site shows potential applicants that the school is engaged in relationship building which builds brand affinity. Twitter is only just starting to take hold in student communities on college campuses and this kind of integration allows them to reach people who might not even know what twitter is.

Interesting idea they came up with. Definitely agree with your suggestions for Davidson. I’ve seen students lose interests because everything isn’t visible on one screen

This is really a great idea! I agree with Devin that Twitter is still taking hold on college campuses – let alone high schools! I also agree that it would be great to include international applicants. It will be interesting to see other new and inventive integration projects come down the line!

Did you see the reaction on the NACAC listserve?

I stopped reading listservs for ’09. :)

Positive or negative?

A few were upset…they thought the pushpins were actual student homes. What’s more, they didn’t read the very first tweet, so they thought essay quotes were being shared without permission. The words “violation of NACAC policy” were used.

An apology was issued after some back and forth explaining how those push pins work.

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