By Deepa Arora, Guest Columnist
College is a time to learn and gain new experiences. It’s a time that graduates will reflect on for the rest of their lives. Social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, can assist educational institutions by informing students of opportunities and news, while also engaging graduates that still hold their alma mater in a special place.
As the Communications Director at Santa Clara University (SCU), I believe there is true value behind social media for our community of faculty, staff, alumni and students—both prospective and current.
According to Cisco’s VNI Service Adoption Forecast (VNI-SA) research, the global adoption of social networking will increase from 1,022 (in millions of subscribers or users) in 2011 to 1,691M in 2016 and mobile social networking will increase from 679M in 2011 to 2,424M in 2016. Knowing this, Santa Clara University’s Facebook page and Twitter handles (@scunews, @SantaclaraU, @Santaclarauniv) take on a greater importance each day. These vehicles inform the SCU community of upcoming events, activities and topics of interests.
Social media has become a resource hub for anyone interested in on-campus happenings. These updates occur in real-time allowing not only a method to convey timely information, but also one for us to respond to questions or concerns among our community.
Just because a student graduates doesn’t mean that they find the SCU social media outlets irrelevant. There are fun ways to use social media that go beyond information sharing and engage an audience. Our alumni take part in games, such as our Tuesday Trivia and Foto Fridays where we post a picture of a mysterious spot on campus and followers can guess where it was taken.
Contests are another great way to get followers to participate. For example, we had a Valentine’s Day photo contest where participants submitted a photo of themselves with someone they love. We received quite a number of photos and we allowed the SCU community to vote via “like.” Facebook acted as our contest platform.
Students are seemingly never without a mobile device, whether that is for working, studying, or taking a break from working and studying. It is nice to deliver updates directly to the devices they use with the most frequency—laptops, phones, and tablets. There is little doubt in my mind that current students will continue this habit of mobile use throughout their life. Establishing the importance of our social media platforms with current students is vital as those students become graduates and supporters of SCU.
Social media has made a positive impact for Santa ClaraUniversity. As its adoption and the variety of platforms grow, we as a higher education institution will be utilizing more capabilities to bring our SCU Bronco community even closer together and ramp up school spirit.
Deepa Arora (Twitter @scumediadiva) is the Communications Director in the Office of Marketing and Communications at Santa Clara University.
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What is VNI-SA? This is the Service Adoption forecast portion of our popular VNI research. It focuses on the worldwide end user adoption rates for a wide variety of services (e.g., SMS, mobile banking, online gaming, social media, location-based services). Read more at http://www.cisco.com/go/vnisa