This morning, Mike Petroff and Stamats Catchfire launched their anticipated Twitter product FollowEDU. A searchable directory of higher ed professionals on Twitter, the site allows you to discover new people to follow, create lists based on industry-focused hashtags, and more.
While connecting with fellow higher ed folks on Twitter has always been rewarding, it has often been quite hard for those just starting out, as well as for more seasoned folks looking to connect with peers around very specific topics.
It’s for that reason we here at Higher Ed Live are excited to see FollowEDU open up its doors to the industry. To celebrate, we invited Mike to answer a few questions to give us a glimpse inside FollowEDU, what it can do and where he hopes it will go next.
1) What is FollowEDU and how does it work?
FollowEDU is a searchable directory of Twitter users in Higher Ed. It allows users to Sign In via Twitter and create an account and list their profile under Interests within higher ed, schools, companies, and more.
As higher ed Twitter users join the site, the categories within the site will continue to grow with influencers in certain topics. Whether you’re new to Twitter or a seasoned expert, you’ll be able to visit FollowEDU to find a new list of users to follow or even to learn more about the people you already follow.
2) What’s your vision looking forward?
After launch, FollowEDU will continue to evolve with new features for users. We’re currently working on more Twitter integration throughout the site, making it easier for FollowEDU members to follow Twitter users and even create Twitter lists right from our site. We’re also exploring better ways to measure impact that Twitter users have within certain topic areas and possibly allow users to customize their own FollowEDU lists.
FollowEDU will hopefully replace the need for shared google doc directories of Twitter users, clunky Twitter Lists, and other ways we try to crowdsource lists of higher ed staff, faculty and administrators on Twitter and other social sites. I’ll continue to get feedback from our community of FollowEDU members and build the features they find most helpful.
3) How was it built?
After I created the concept for FollowEDU, I collaborated with developers and designers at Stamats Catchfire to build the site. The site was built in WordPress in a custom theme we created. It uses the Twitter API and OAuth to allow Twitter users to join/sign in, pull information from Twitter, and make following new users from within FollowEDU simple. Twitter integration will continue to grow within the site.
4) How can people participate?
If you have a Twitter account and work in higher education, you can join the site by visiting http://www.followedu.com. After a very short sign-up process, you’ll have the ability to add your profile to “Interests” within FollowEDU. You’ll also be able to browse 350+ interest lists, look for new users to follow or connect with, and search all of FollowEDU to find lists of Twitter users in specific schools or companies.
Thanks to Mike for participation, and our congrats to him, as well as the Stamats Catchfire team.
Check out FollowEDU and let us know what you think in the comment section below.