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College integrates more social media

February 28, 2014

Just mentioning parents on Facebook can elicit a groan from almost any college student. It can be bizarre to see adults using spaces that are typically reserved for teens and young adults. So, what happens when your college actively partakes in social media?

Social media has long been a platform of advertising for businesses and organizations. More recently, however, schools have been using this outlet to reach out to the community. Monmouth College has attempted to bring more information and excitement to the community through its own social media accounts. Currently, Monmouth has an active Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube profile, LinkedIn account, Pinterest account and even a SmugMug page.

Kevin Lindsay, media support specialist, has been running most of Monmouth’s social media accounts since he was a student. He works specifically on the main Monmouth pages and the alumni pages. “[The goal of] the main Monmouth Facebook page would be to get the word of news stories and what’s generally going on at the college out to current students, parents and alumni.” Monmouth focuses most of its posts and tweets on promoting the school and attracting new students.

Lindsay understands that Monmouth still has a long way to go in employing this new platform effectively. “One of the things that I want to do over the course of the year is improve our social media,” Lindsay said. “We don’t have one audience in mind. We try to spread out our posts to alumni, current students and incoming students. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s harder to get everyone’s attention.”

The College Communications Office isn’t the only one on campus utilizing social media. Some professors are utilizing the group feature on Facebook to engage students outside of class. Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Kate Zittlow Rogness sets up groups on Facebook for several of her classes. “Email wouldn’t always be a reliable way to get ahold of students or for them to get ahold of me,” Zittlow Rogness said of her decision to turn to the social media site. “The springboard for it functioning as an additional discussion place really depended on the classes themselves.”

The use of Facebook in the classroom isn’t unheard of for today’s students. Junior Alyssa Janssen has used Facebook in several of her classes and sees the value in it. “I think it’s a productive way for professors and students to keep in touch with each other.”

Whether it’s for promotional purposes or to help create a “virtual classroom space,” as Zittlow Rogness deems it, Monmouth is using social media more frequently and has plans to increase this use in the future. “I want to be able to do more fun and creative things instead of the typical, ‘here’s what’s happening in Monmouth,’” Lindsay said. “I think it’s a productive way for professors and students to keep in touch with each other.”

Mackenzie Mahler
Copy Editor

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