Campus News

September 12, 2011

Report From: Emory Alumni Association

Evolving communications through social media

By Tania Dowdy '08Ox-'10C, online services specialist for the Emory Alumni Association

It's no small task for the Emory Alumni Association to keep up with graduates once they leave campus—people move, last names change, and new employment opportunities arise—but it's the reason we come to work every day.  With social media, it's become easier to maintain a relationship with alumni and for them to continue their connection with the University far beyond graduation day.

Since joining the EAA earlier this year, my sole responsibility has been to establish and cultivate these relationships.

With 92 EAA-managed Facebook groups and pages, 32 LinkedIn communities, a Twitter profile, EagleNet and an ever-changing world of social platforms, it can be overwhelming.  Every day a new social community emerges—have you heard of Google+?

Our presence has allowed us to connect with alumni worldwide. We're able to listen and share instantly.  We can inform through the dissemination of important University news; connect by inviting alumni to EAA-sponsored events; and engage alumni in special online-exclusive campaigns like our bucket list, a collection of 175 things for seniors to do before graduation to commemorate Emory's 175th anniversary celebration.

The rewards for alumni are even greater.  I shudder to think what would happen if our online communities didn't exist.  Would an alumna have the opportunity to identify classmates in an old photo she found, or alumni have the chance to share an accomplishment as great as opening an art gallery with former classmates?

In a world where status updates have replaced face-to-face interaction, social media has changed the way we communicate, and enhanced what is now known as traditional methods of communication—email and print mailings.

In addition, photos, videos and blog entries allow alumni to follow big events like Homecoming and Emory Cares International Service Day, wherever they are at the time.

When tech site Mashable asked millions around the world to celebrate Social Media Day on June 30 in an effort to "acknowledge and celebrate the revolution of media becoming social," we took the moment to celebrate by thanking alumni for their contributions to our social forums.

And, as our communication evolves, I look forward to using these tools in new and innovative ways every day.

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