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.”

From The Chronicle of Higher Education

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, a 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.”

One thought on “College Builds Hub to Track Social-media Buzz

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  1. A bit of background. Bates Social was the beta demonstration of a dashboard of curated content created by members of the college community about the college. I see that it has now grown to quite a sprawling collection.

    The intention was to gather that content together, organize it, and aggregate it into streams to help people find topics of interest to them. I subsequently established delivery via e-mail, RSS, and Twitter updates by theme — academics, research, athletics, etc., as can still be found here http://www.bates.edu/go/updates — and I established a departmental publishing program that would feed notifications at that deeper level to subscribers.

    All of that was part of a strategy that envisioned the whole bates.edu domain as a social (interactive) space, rather than only a publishing space. The engagement funnel would bring future students, faculty, staff, and donors through progressively deeper commitments, starting with subscribing to interests, then engagement via social media, then transforming virtual connections into face-to-face relationships, and finally, deciding that the college was right for them by making an application: to study, teach, work, or donate.

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