University lends official twitter account to students and faculty

University lends official twitter account to students and faculty

On September 13th, George Mason University’s twitter account posted hints about a new project that would be released to its followers. 

“Announcement tomorrow at NOON on what our plans are for this account!” read one tweet from @GeorgeMasonU. “We can't wait to share! #MNP (Mason Nation Project).

The following day, Mason told the twitter community that it would be launching the “Mason Nation Project,” a program that would allow one student, faculty, or staff member to have full control over the official Mason twitter account for a week.

“The goal of the project is to look at the diversity of Mason and give our community a chance to have their individual voices on the account,” said Tara Laskowski, senior manager of social media at Mason.

President Ángel Cabrera, an avid twitter user, first proposed the idea a month ago after seeing that Sweden hands off its official twitter handle to a different citizen each week.

“We’re playing off that idea too,” said Laskowski. “People have gotten to see [Cabrera’s] personality and ideas through twitter.”

Potential users are nominated through the Mason social media website. Preferred nominees have strong connections to the university and are already on twitter.

Sarah Gabrial Smith, a freshman from Chesapeake, Virginia, was chosen as the first student user of the account.

 “We wanted to have a freshman student who is new at Mason,” said Laskowski. She believed that a freshman user would start off the project with the unique viewpoint of moving in and getting accustomed to life at Mason.

When chosen, users are sent an email that provides guidelines for the content they post.

“You agree that if you express an opinion of a political or religious nature that you make sure to state it is your opinion and not the opinion of George Mason University,” read the agreement. Profane or obscene comments and product advertising are strictly prohibited.

Students are encouraged to share their experiences at Mason.

“We are trying to keep it as open as possible,” said Laskowski. “For the most part, we want most people to express their opinion.”

Other universities have similar programs, but with separate accounts for student users.

“As far as we know we are the only people that let [students] take over our official account,” said Laskowski.

To read student and faculty tweets on the account, follow @GeorgeMasonU on Twitter 

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