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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Twitter helps during Hillsborough schools swine flu scare

TAMPA - It was the week of Twitter for the Hillsborough County schools.

Within hours of the decision Sunday to close three schools over swine flu worries, the district was sending out news updates over its version of the social networking tool. Twitter - invented to allow friends to post innermost thoughts or idle musings in 140 characters or fewer - had become an emergency communications device.

Other school districts, including Pinellas, also have Twitter sites. But few have put them to such immediate use.

From zero followers on Sunday, the district now counts more than 400 followers at its site, By Tuesday's School Board meeting, members Jennifer Faliero and April Griffin were posting messages from their own accounts and urging everyone to join up.

"I'm sure that we will twitter, tweet, whatever the lingo is," said superintendent MaryEllen Elia. "We will pull out all the stops to make sure parents know what is happening with this situation."

For more details, read tomorrow's St. Petersburg Times or visit

Tom Marshall, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:23am]


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