Who knew that I’d be able to say anything meaningful with 140 characters? That’s all you get on Twitter. Many times I’ll see a quote or want to do a shout out and post it to Twitter and -14 blinks back at me. I have used too many words, filling empty space.

I have to stop and think: how do I get to the heart of the matter? This absolutely gives me pause —how do you get to the heart of the matter, quicker, and in up tempo? What I love about Twitter is it is teaching me to be succinct in announcing to the world what is important in that 140 character moment.

I joined Twitter on March 9, 2008. I stopped using Twitter shortly after because I didn’t find it useful. I had nothing to say to the world at large about my every thought and movement. It felt a bit like micro-blogging and well, I am just not that interesting or frankly, interested. And yet, I know our students are keenly connected to social media and so connecting with students on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and FourSquare became interesting and important. So my tweeting journey renewed with commitment.

Soon I learned that I was among a very small group of Chief Student Affairs Officers who “tweeted” with their students. Teri Bump, Vice President for University Relations & Student Development with American College Communities sent me a direct message (dcissypetty) and let me know that there were less than 15 in the country currently using this social media. She invited me to be on a panel at the NASPA conference in March, 2011. Kenn Elmore, @deanelmore tweets from Boston College and has a quite a robust following! It’s fun to follow Student Affairs colleagues and see how they are making a difference with their students.

I loved building the connection with my “tweeties” as I fondly call my students on Twitter. It is and has always been about relationships. So I tweet and shout out about @Loyola_NOLA and @studentaffairs and have every day interaction with Vogue_Vein, an extraordinary RA…Jaibee, an involved student whose smile is contagious…Whit-or Miss, who I miss being at @Loyola_NOLA but she’s thriving at Xavier…and lexi-melt, who writes late in the night about studying…and erlswirl, who is on my @studentaffairs team and doing amazing AD work.

You see they laugh with me (and likely at me) about “tweeting.” But I love knowing them and sharing with them in all the ways that they communicate—whether it’s in person in the dining hall, or tweeting to meet for coffee at CC’s, or seeing them at a university function. It’s all about the 140 shout out in real time on Twitter or a real time hello hug in the Danna Center. So join me…@cissypetty and coffee’s on me!

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