“Really enjoying all the detail on NSLDS aggregate calculations!”

And that, my friends, was my very first tweet ever.  If that doesn’t spell “Financial Aid Nerd” I don’t know what does! 

I had the privilege of attending the Federal Student Aid Training Conference during the first week of December in Las Vegas.  6,000 of my closest friends were there as well.  

For individuals who go to the FSA conference regularly, you know it can get a little monotonous at times.  So I was intrigued when a colleague (shout out to @jstnchsbrwn!) told me to check out Twitter during the conference to find out, in real-time, what was the most exciting information of the day.  In conference materials, FSA encouraged attendees to connect with them on Twitter @FSAconf.  Even more fun though was “joining the conversation” using the hashtag #FSATC2013.

For those new to Twitter as I was, conference attendees would publish their thoughts and observations in 140 characters or less and then add the #FSATC2013 hashtag.  Anyone with a phone, tablet or computer could then follow that conversation.  Let me tell you, Tweeters are a dedicated bunch!  It takes some practice to be in a session and trying to actively listen while also trying to capture information in short phrases to share with the rest of the FA community.

It was a lot of fun to be in a general session or open forum and to see what information others were honing in on.  It was nice to be in one breakout session and to be reading comments from those in other sessions to see what I might be missing or which presentation was best learned on my own with the PowerPoints.  A number of sessions got high marks on Twitter when the presenters used some energy, creativity and humor to get the audience going. 

For FAAs who weren’t able to make it to the conference but who were following the conversation on Twitter back in their offices, they were able to ask clarifying questions in hopes of an answer from the original owner of the tweet in question. 

There were 2,314 tweets during the conference!  If you want to see what you’ve been missing, there are a few things you can do!  First, you can always get on Twitter and review tweets by searching for #FSATC2013 to see any current tweets about the conference.  Second, if you really want to dig in and see it all, Great Lakes compiled the best tweets by session for each day of the conference on Storify.  Check out Day 1 at http://storify.com/MyGreatLakesFAP/federal-student-aid-training-conference-2013-day-1.  You can link to other days using the box on the right hand side to see other transcripts.

Finally, if all of this appeals to you, you can check out #FAchat!  This is a moderated chat on Twitter for Financial Aid Professionals on the second Tuesday of every month from 12-1pm CST.  Each month FAAs tackle a different topic and chat about it!  You can check out transcripts of archived chats at http://thefachat.blogspot.com/

In closing, Federal Student Aid has done a lot to embrace social media in the past few years!  They regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, Storify, YouTube and Infographics.  I encourage everyone to check out Session #39 from the conference to find out how you can borrow some of the content they have developed for these different platforms to use in your own social media campaigns.  The PowerPoint and session recording can be found at http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/

Happy Tweeting!

Sara Vancil
University of Kansas

One thought on ““Really enjoying all the detail on NSLDS aggregate calculations!”

  1. Pingback: Announcing Our New Weekly Twitter Chat: #LeanImpactYou By My Side | You By My Side

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