Image via CrunchBase
Blogger Andy DeSoto wrote an interesting post on his blog way back in June, which I’m now just getting around to reading. In “Social Media for Colleges and Universities,” DeSoto notes that an alum of his alma mater,
The College of William & Mary, created a Facebook page for alumni that caught on like wildfire, with 141 members signing up per day.
What DeSoto argues is that while these alumni Facebook pages are great, they’re unofficial. As a result, they’re often not much more than membership-only and networking sites. If colleges and universities created their own sites, official college news, events, photos and links could be posted, deeply enriching the site for alumni.
If colleges and universities wish to employ any social media leverage whatsoever, and I highly recommend it, it’s essential for them to establish or gain control of their brand on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, and Digg. More is better, but the aforementioned services will provide the biggest bang for the buck. If administrators are unwilling to go digital or are uncertain how to proceed, it’s highly likely that several to many students have the technical know-how to do what’s necessary. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach your students, faculty, and staff.
I agree and would venture to add the same advice to K-12 public schools. It’s time that the stigma schools have attached to social media be wiped clean, and that schools, colleges and universities begin to explore these places — particularly FaceBook and Twitter — to network, raise funding and get the good word out by serving alumni. (I recently did a social media/Web 2.0 workshop for school PR professionals in a public school facility where FaceBook was blocked. This is a frequent occurrence, borne out of logical security fears, but perhaps it’s time to revisit that.)
Millions of people are using social media today, and it might be time to jump on that bandwagon.
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