College Builds Hub to Track Social-media Buzz

“So many great technology ideas seem totally obvious when you see them in action,” Mr. Alexander said. “It’s a very basic, simple idea, but those are often the ones that change the world.”

Colleges are increasingly sending out announcements on Twitter, Facebook, and other social-media services, hoping to build a positive buzz about the institution and keep people informed. As the list of departments and officials adopting the services grows, some institutions are building Web sites that aggregate college-related social media in one place….

Bates College has gone beyond Twitter by aggregating all of its social-media platforms on a single Web page. Its Bates Social site features links to athletics blogs and those by professors, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn groups for alumni, and lists of Twitter accounts from students and clubs. It also allows members of the college community to subscribe to an RSS feed of various Bates-related blogs and add their own social-media content into the mix. Designed during a larger restructuring of the college Web site, Bates Social “was developed to provide a tool for both internal use and visitors seeking to connect with Bates people or learn about the college,” said Bates spokesman Doug Hubley in an e-mail.

Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, said the Bates site is a simple way for colleges and universities to corral information from social media. “So many great technology ideas seem totally obvious when you see them in action,” Mr. Alexander said. “It’s a very basic, simple idea, but those are often the ones that change the world.”

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