Syracuse University Magazine

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Online Presence

Walking into a room where everyone is sitting casually around a table, updating their work on laptops or iPads, and generating creative ideas, you might think you’ve crashed a meeting of a social networking company. But this isn’t Silicon Valley. Gathered around the table is the all-student team known as #44 Social, which creates online content for Syracuse University. “SU is one of the first universities to have a student team promote its presence on its main social media platforms, and we’re very serious about this,” says Kate Brodock, SU’s executive director of digital and social media. “I feel really strongly about our team because I think students offer the best voice for the University.”

Each student on the 11-member team works in three-hour shifts, covering 12 hours on weekdays, and nine hours on weekends. Their prime focus is maintaining SU’s Facebook page and Twitter account. They often use various online tools so they can do quick searchs to answer queries on SU-related issues, and they are responsible for providing and updating information about University news and events, and posting photos and videos. “We are the official SU presence on social media platforms, so we need to make sure we are representing everything going on here, not just focusing on any particular school or department,” says Dan Klamm ’08, assistant director of digital and social media. “It’s a constant effort to build relationships across the campus and collaborate with everyone in our community, so we can get information we need to put out to our community and represent everything taking place here.”

Challenges? The team has had a few, including fielding questions about the Orange’s switch to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and about the investigation of former associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine ’67. According to Brodock, all the members of #44 Social have conducted themselves in a professional and confident way while on the accounts. “It’s really important to me to be part of the team to represent the University,” Jake Hebert ’12 says. “I feel like sometimes the fate of the University is in our hands.”

After the team was established in October 2010, members of #44 Social spent two months working on SU’s Facebook page and Twitter account. Back then, about 60,000 people followed SU on its Facebook page. Today, the University counts nearly 81,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 13,000 followers on Twitter. And this team continues to add more social media platforms and is revitalizing the University’s YouTube channel. Students, faculty, alumni, sports fans, and potential SU students can now stay close to the University through such platforms as YouTube, foursquare, Google+, and Instagram. “I’m a huge fan of social media. It’s no longer a niche market any more,” says Jared Kraham ’13 of #44 Social. “Not only is it an experience of working with the team, but I think the biggest part of what we do is coming up with ideas on innovative ways to engage our community, and really make a statement that SU is a leader in social media in the United States.”       — Yuhan Xu




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