Monday, January 28, 2008

What are the benefits of social networking that have yet to be tapped?

Late last semester I saw something on a technical team a college someplace that posted a flyer on FaceBook in order to recruit student for work. I asked our student technical staff here and they thought it was a great idea.

What about using social networking to reach alumnae? How many of MSU’s graduates are on LinkedIN, FaceBook, or MySpace – or how many of them have accounts on Second Life?

I was doing some Second Life work for the class I am teaching, and I was hanging out on the CHSS Island (sitting on top of what will become the Sprague Library overlooking our new neighbors, the CEHSADP island), when someone came flying over, plopped right down next to me, and started chatting. She is a graduate student in Education and she’s been on SL for quite some time. She had no idea any organization at MSU had a presence, we thrilled, complimented me on our island, and then we spent the next 30 minutes chatting away.

Imagine if we started advertising to people that we have a presence? What if we created a FaceBook community or group, started hunting people down on LinkedIn and tried to get folks together, or sent something out to our thousands of alumnae? Is this a way for us to keep in touch with them? Is this a way to tie them together and then also to the University? Many institutions think so and are making moves in that direction.

But just propping up sites on all these places is not enough – its as bad as putting up a web page, expecting people to visit it, but then never doing anything else with it? This would have to be an ongoing and sustainable effort – not just some one off or something dropped onto the plate of someone who is already far too busy to do the zillions of other things s/he has to do. Well, the above it true only if you expect the idea to work, in my opinion. If you don’t expect it to work, or don’t want to create an environment in which it CAN work, then disregard everything I said and do it some other way.

Speaking of keeping in touch, what about having the University put together a web page listing all the blogs of their faculty, staff, and/or administrators. This would be SO easy to do. When an employee signs in to their profile page ( for instance), they could have an option to enter a “blog” site (and only one), with a check box – and the check box would be to en/disable the link. When it is enabled, it automatically feeds the URL onto a web page with the blogs listed. The only human intervention would be the initial set up, and then requiring the blogger to go into their profile page and enable it.

Stay tuned, more to come.

No comments: