Students ‘like’ what they see on social media sites

Students+%27like%27+what+they+see+on+social+media+sites

Nona Phoehler

The Wilkes homepage gives links to several Wilkes social media pages including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs. Electronic Communication coordinators Chris Barrows and Craig Thomas are hoping to utilize social media to make university information more readily available. The flood last September saw social media usage on Wilkes sites increase drastically.

Christine Lee, Life Editor

With the rise in social media use, people are finding ways to get to know one another online before meeting in person, making the transition to college easier for first year students.

A Facebook group for the class of 2015 gives current freshmen the chance to bond before arriving on campus. (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/163257740358932/)

“They are able to meet friends and meet up when they get here,” says sophomore middle school math and science education and sophomore class president Amber Konopka, who is an administrator for the class of 2015 Facebook group.

Konopka says there is more bonding done amongst freshmen through the Facebook group. Members were able to make friends before they arrived on campus, were more acquainted with one another and have developed stronger friendships.

Electronic Communication coordinator Chris Barrows and Web Services director Craig Thomas have taken an interest in social media. Both are administrators for the Wilkes official Facebook and Twitter pages and are in the process of developing a social media strategy for Wilkes.

(http://www.facebook.com/#!/WilkesUniversity)

(https://twitter.com/#!/WilkesU)

Thomas says they are beginning to identify different audiences using the homepages.

“Because there’s so many different roles involved with one Facebook or Twitter page, to have just one set goal would be hard to do,” Thomas says.

Thomas hopes to filter messages on the official university Facebook and Twitter pages by creating an admissions page on Facebook and Twitter. These pages would have different goals that would be for recruitment and other admissions purposes.

“The admissions page would be to give them much needed information that they need in their role as perspective students,” Thomas says.

Some of the information that would be posted on the proposed admissions page would include financial aid deadlines, open houses and direct communication with Admissions. He says adapting messages to different audiences is the key and this would transition perspective students to other university pages.

“We hope once we have (perspective students) at the admissions page we would get them to migrate from that page to go to our official pages.” Thomas says.

Thomas says the official university Facebook and Twitter pages function for admissions purposes and there is no admissions social media page. He also hopes the transition to different social media pages will continue once students graduate.

“What we would want to do for the Wilkes University official pages is to have (students)  be a fan for life or four years and then transition them from to our alumni Facebook page,” Thomas says. “We would want to transition people through their different roles they become at Wilkes.”

The university first explored social media with a unique page for accepted students to interact called Hello Wilkes. This social-networking website was pre-Facebook and received national attention. It was discontinued in 2010 when Facebook and Twitter became more popular ways for people to interact.

In addition to Marketing Communications tapping into social media, Student Development, the Alumni Association and the Colonel have made Facebook and Twitter pages. Student Development graduate assistant Brian Switay says social media allows students to be more aware of things on campus.

“Students are more aware of what is going on campus and they can check it regularly,” says Switay, who is an administrator for the Student Development Facebook and Twitter pages.

(https://twitter.com/#!/WUStudentDev)

Switay says the Student Development Twitter page was started this year and is designed to target alumni and people in the outside community to let them know what is going on campus.

“It’s another way for us to get what we want to do out there,” Switay says.

Switay says Twitter has helped out more with alumni who want to see what Student Development is doing for students. The Twitter page follows the other clubs and the university on Twitter.

Editor’s Note: Watch for next week’s issue to see part two of this story.