B-School Deans Worth Following On Twitter

Berkeley Haas Dean Rich Lyons on TwitterRich Lyons
Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

Handle: richlyons
Total Tweets: 653
Followers: 1,459
Follows: 33

Started Tweeting: July 3, 2009

Want to walk in the shoes of a major league business school dean? If so, this twitter feed by Berkeley’s Haas School Dean Rich Lyons is the perfect one to follow. He began tweeting on July 3, 2009, when he wrote simply: “In today and it’s gloriously quiet. Working on three-pager, “Berkeley-Haas: Who We Are.” Our 10 most defining characteristics. Great fun.” Lyons’ tweets tell you who he’s meeting with, what he’s reading, and what he’s thinking. Reading his short spurts of messages, you’re likely to find out all kinds of interesting things, such as the fact that in 2010 the Haas School became self-funding without support from the state of California.There are also glimpses of his personal life. When his son attended his first sleep-away camp, Lyons let his followed know and then wrote, “We miss him,” or what Lyons considers to be “one of the greatest songs of all time,” the Allman Brothers’ Jessica, which he describes as a tune with “huge life and energy.” If he weren’t a B-school dean, he could just as easily be a Haiku poet, based on some of his tweets. Consider this one: “Olly Williamson, our Nobelist, spoke at a Commencement today: His advice included 1) be joyful, 2) keep an active mind, 3) be enterprising.”

Lyons gives eight top reasons why he tweets:

1) As a Dean, I get exposed to fascinating new ideas every day–a kind of idea-clearinghouse role. I enjoy the educational part of getting those ideas out to a broader audience.

2) Our school is breaking new ground on several fronts and tweeting is a helpful way to get the word out.

3) Tweeting helps me stay in even closer touch with our students. Not all of them follow me, to be sure, but those who do often mention the added connection they feel.

4) Tweeting helps me stay in closer touch with other people who are important to the school. For example, long-time Berkeley-Haas Professor Dave Aaker, who recently retired. Dave just published another book. I tweeted about it. As a result, he and I have had several twitter-based exchanges that would not otherwise have occurred.

5) Tweeting helps in the continuing effort to sharpen the narrative of our school. I lean into areas that are fundamental to our reputation.

6) Tweeting takes very little time. When I became Dean in 2008, I was encouraged to blog to get my ideas out. I found I just could not find the time to do so consistently. At that time, I had never used twitter. At 140 characters a pop, this became a happy marriage.

7) Tweeting about upcoming events or industry panels/conferences helps me keep alumni and donors engaged and excited about their alma mater.

8) Tweeting is a chance to (try to) be funny. One day I tweeted from my cell-phone that I was having a very good hair day. I should add, though, that within a couple hours one of my direct reports called to see if perhaps my phone had been stolen.