Waiting for you, @President Powers

Katherine Taylor

It is time for UT to step out of the dark ages. It is time for UT to leave Plato’s cave and enter into the light of Internet expression. It is time for President William Powers Jr. to get a Twitter.

Look, President Powers, I like you. That fact surprises even myself given my intense disagreement with the way the budget crisis has been handled. But after Monday’s feature titled, “12 Hours with President Powers” in The Daily Texan, I found myself impressed by your hard work and inspired by your attitude. I think other students will like you, too, if you give them the chance to get to know you better.

Plus, I saw in the article’s accompanying video segment that you have an iPhone. Twitter is literally at your fingertips. And now you can have something to do with your fingers when you’re jamming out to rap music in the car.

Remember those students on Wednesday who “occupied” your office? Rather than sending other University officials outside to talk to them, you could’ve tweeted them yourself. Maybe the whole thing could’ve ended with a better understanding between you and the students, without student arrests.

You can use Twitter to bolster your online personality and as a means to reach out to more students, not just the ones who are granted special audiences with you. Plus, you would be at the forefront of university presidents on Twitter, given that there’s just a few out there on it right now. Even University of Houston President Renu Khator has a Twitter account with almost 6,000 followers. Since when do we let ourselves get behind?

The political realm has already figured out the benefits of direct communication with constituents and jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. President Barack Obama has more than 14 million followers. Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker has recently become a Twitter sensation — spawning the hashtag #CoryBookerStories — after his daring fire rescue a week ago.

Even more than the potential “celebrity” status garnered from tweeting is the ability to directly connect with students. As president of our University, you have first access to budget news that you could share with us sooner.

If you want to gauge student opinion about a political issue, you could ask an audience that would be all too eager to respond. When you want to let students know about the causes for which you spend your day lobbying on Capitol Hill or the successes you hear about, put it on Twitter. You would have a captive audience.

Sure, you have a blog. I hate to tell you this, but unless your blog is covered in Ryan Gosling pictures, it’s not going to get much traction among students. Take your message directly to the students. Show us that you want to reach us. Shows us that our opinions matter and that you’re listening. I promise you I’ll be listening to you. @KTay725, when you get a chance.

Taylor is a Plan II and rhetoric and writing senior.