In 140 characters or less, New Albany-Plain Local school board member Mike Klein aims to open the channels of communication between the community and the board.

In 140 characters or less, New Albany-Plain Local school board member Mike Klein aims to open the channels of communication between the community and the board.

Klein joined the popular micro-blogging Web site, Twitter, to share news and his thoughts about the school district and board.

"When I ran for office, one of my biggest platforms was communication and wanting to improve communication," he said. "With today's technology, there are other options for people to connect with you."

Twitter allows users to post status updates and links that are no longer than 140 characters. Users "follow" other users on the site, receiving updates on a personalized homepage.

Twitter has a mobile Web site, so users can "tweet" from their Internet-enabled smartphones.

Klein can be found at "newalbanymike," his username on the site. Those interested also can search his full name to "follow" his "tweets" at http://twitter.com.

Though he's still learning the ins and outs of the site, Klein posted a few notes prior to the May 18 school board meeting to let his constituents know he would be at the board meeting 45 minutes early for questions.

Klein sent this tweet at 4:13 p.m. May 18: "District financial advisor John Payne to highlight re-financing of bonds and cost savings to the district YTD (year to date)." It was one of 12 tweets sent out that day.

He said he hopes Twitter could be a new and different avenue to reach more community members.

"I am hopeful, as time goes along here, that people will log on and follow me," Klein said. "You can nudge me and follow me directly. I can communicate with people in short verse."

District communications director Jeff Warner said Klein's "tweeting" is a great idea.

"Whenever we can use an emerging technology or a new technology that can provide greater access to the community, it's great," said Warner, who is not yet a Twitter tweeter.

He said that because Klein is using the site as his own personal communication to the community and not from the entire board's perspective, the school district doesn't plan to advertise the new mode of communication.

Ted Bernard, a co-chair of the district's former communications committee, cautioned Klein to make sure community members know his Twitter account reflects his point of view rather than the entire board's.

"Twitter can be a very useful tool for getting information out quickly to an audience that wants to hear it," Bernard said. "As long as it's an option for the individual to opt in and opt out, it's a worthy experience."

Nonetheless, he said, new technology is always worth trying. Members of the former communications committee explored such options as Facebook and text messaging for communicating.

"It's great to explore new avenues," he said.

Klein said his Twitter skills need some honing.

"I have been wanting to learn it and try it out," he said. "I'm feeling more comfortable with it. I am clearly doing it more often now."

He said he hopes his tweeting will let the community know he is open for discussion.

"I am not expecting everybody to tweet along with me," he said. "I am just offering it as another communication tool ... for other people to communicate with me. Even if it's (only to say), 'Just give me a call. I'd like to talk to your further.'"