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Get Ready: Tweet Spots

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By Bethany Powers '11

Published Apr 1, 2011 8:00 AM


art

Illustration by Richard Mia.

When the social media site Twitter was launched in 2006, "tweeting," or sharing a message in only 140 characters, seemed more like a taxing puzzle than an enjoyable way to post updates about, well, anything. But in just a few short years, Twitter has become an important marketing and public relations tool — not to mention an often amazing agent of social change around the world — in Westwood.

Across the campus, in fact, tweets fly frequently, and with increasing impact. For example, Dr. Gary Small '73 launched his Twitter account (@DrGarySmall) while writing his book iBrain, looking to gain insight into the emerging social media site and its relationship to our gray matter. A UCLA professor of psychiatry, aging and memory and a leading neuroscientist, Small wrote the book to explore how the digital age has impacted the human brain.

In addition, Small also tweets about breaking Alzheimer's research and other articles he finds interesting. He cites the efficiency of Twitter as a reason for diving into this social media avenue.

Speed and efficiency convinced the UCLA Newsroom to start using Twitter as well. Seth Odell was integral in the creation of the UCLA Newsroom Twitter account (@UCLAnewsroom), and currently manages the Twitter account for the UCLA School of Public Affairs (@UCLAPubAffairs).

"The UCLA Newsroom account was a great way to build a relationship with local media," he says. "It's a great platform to share information directly with people — instantly."

Looking for the latest book from a UCLA alumnus or professor? Since its inception in 2009 by Meg Sullivan, the UCLA Book Club Twitter account (@UCLABookClub ) includes everything from books published by Bruin students to books about UCLA professors — and more.

Sullivan's tweets often include links to book reviews, and she has even run a very successful contest through her Twitter account.

"It opens a fun window onto the campus, like the UCLA pediatrician who writes crime novels or alumni with moving memoirs or the freshman who manages to get a novel published," she explains.

Since sustainability is one of UCLA Transportation's goals, the "green" nature of Twitter made it a natural place to share information and get their message across without using paper. Sirinya Tritipeskul M.A. '09, a social media analyst for UCLA's Transportation and Commuter Services, helps run the UCLA Transportation Twitter account with Penny Menton '76, M.B.A. '87. They've seen how the Twitter account (@UCLACommute) has connected them with micro-communities at UCLA and with individuals passionate about promoting all things green.

There are many more UCLA Twitter accounts, including UCLA sports, the UCLA medical community and professors who have their own Twitter accounts. The information may be short, but no doubt it will be sweet.

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