Fitchburg State utilizes many forms of social media to promote campus events and news, but which sites are most popular among students and faculty? According to FSU’s Digital Marketing Manager Kathryn Mahoney, it depends on the age group.
“Facebook is trending toward an older crowd 25+ because of the ability to communicate easily with family and friends,” Mahoney said. “College students still use it, but research says they prefer Twitter because their parents are on Facebook.”
Blogger Sam Harris from Maryville University agrees. “This article says that only 67% (2/3rd) of students are actively using FB,” he states in his blog titled, Social Media Usage Among College Students on October 15, 2013. The article he’s referring to is from eCampus News online magazine.
Harris continues on his blog, “Many are arguing that Twitter is the new FB.” He confirms, “Twitter usage has surged in the past few years, and now 1 in 3 college students are actively using the site.”
He also hints at those in the 25+ crowd may have a hard time keeping up. “Faculty who like to keep up with their students may see the need to try out Twitter/Instagram,” he states, “Also, those who actively use social media as a part of their courses may need to change what sites are used.”
Of course, these aren’t the only two sites our university uses. “Instagram is also very popular for college students,” Mahoney added, because it’s a, “very easy channel to use.”
As for new recruits, “Tumblr is where high school kids are going,” she said.
Certain posts are more popular than others, which could contribute to which sites are most frequently visited. “Videos, memes, photo albums,” Mahoney said get the most hits online.
Being the school’s top sites, Facebook and Twitter gain new posts on behalf of the University five to ten times a week, whereas YouTube is only updated when a new video is created for the website, which happens about four to six times a year. The university’s Instagram account is currently operated by the student-run organization “FalconBuzz” and they post between three and five times per week.
But how does the university stay up-to-date with news and information and post it in a timely fashion?
Mahoney explained, “We use Google Alerts & Hootsuite to get a pulse on what’s happening around campus as well as the email blasts from all of the different departments, clubs & organizations.” She continued to explain that they base many of their posts on “events happening around campus.” Other important posts include, “sharing information from other Facebook and Twitter users that we think might interest our followers,” Mahoney said.
But it’s not always that easy. Some hot topics are inappropriate for Fitchburg State’s social media department to comment on.
“Any type of legal incident that is under investigation or being decided in the courts,” Mahoney informed. “We may issue a press release on these matters, but won’t publicize them via social media.”
So what’s the point of all this social media?
“We try to keep students informed about campus happenings and “interact” with them so it’s more of a conversation, not just posting of information,” Mahoney explained. “It’s a “friendlier” way to communicate and convey up-to-the-minute information to our students.”
Social media sites aren’t always on people’s radar as a way of receiving information. A prospective graduate student, Deborah Radford stated, “That wouldn’t have even crossed my mind,” when asked if she would look at Fitchburg State’s social media pages as a source of information. “I would just go directly to their website,” she said.
Not only are there the sites maintained by the Fitchburg State social media department, there are also a variety of student-run social media accounts. FSU clubs such as Ballroom Dancing, Filmmaker Society, Outdoor Adventure Club and the Falcon Players, along with each graduating class have their own student-operated Facebook page. Similarly, most of these clubs are also on Twitter.