A college’s social media can provide prospective students with important information about the academic quality and campus life of a school. But how can colleges leverage these channels to communicate their brand?
Each department, center, or institute must have a primary account holder who can be reached for questions. It must also have two-factor authentication enabled.
In February 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, a social networking website for college students. It was initially limited to Harvard students, and within six days, more than 90% of the school’s student body had signed up. Soon, he expanded the site to other universities and then to people of all ages.
Zuckerberg’s twin gifts for coding and creating controversy made him a campus celebrity, but he had his share of critics, too. He was sued by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Divya Narendra, and other ex-collaborators who claimed that he stole their idea for the site. The lawsuit was settled in 2008, and the trio received 1.2 million shares in the company.
Harvard is closing its project that tracks misinformation on the social media site, but will continue other work in the field more. The decision has raised concerns that American staff could influence conversations at the company by advocating goals that align with their own political ideology.
When Alina Taratorin ’24 moved onto Harvard’s campus in Palo Alto, California, for her first fall 2020 semester, she recorded a video to send back home. It included footage of her flight, Target run, on-campus COVID test, and key and meal pick-up at her dorm. The video blew up, drawing thousands of views. Soon her followers were asking her questions about the school, her SAT scores, and her extracurricular activities.
Harvard uses Instagram to share photos of campus and around the world, along with other social-media posts from the University’s official channels. They also use the platform to promote events, communicate news and updates, and share student stories. In addition, Instagram allows for the inclusion of captions to make videos accessible to people with visual disabilities. This is an important feature that’s often missing from other platforms, such as TikTok.
Twitter is a social networking platform where users can share short messages (up to 140 characters) and photos or videos. Its global reach, instantaneous dissemination and ability to promote engagement with content makes it an important tool for disseminating School information.
The University has an official Twitter account for the School. The Office of Communications maintains this account, along with other accounts for departments and centers. If you are interested in establishing an account for your department or center, contact the Office of Communications to determine whether it is available.
Harvard is taking heat for a decision to rescind admission offers to students who participated in a private Facebook group chat that traded sexually explicit memes and targeted minority groups. The decision evokes comparisons to the Soviet Union’s moral standards that resulted in the expulsion of young people. It also highlights the limits of a vision of Twitter as a public forum or town square for free speech.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social media platform where professionals can post content about their work experiences. It also allows users to connect with other business professionals and recruiters. In addition, it can be used to share professional events and news. It has more than 13 million members and is a major channel for the Harvard Business Review (HBR).
HBR uses LinkedIn to share up-to-date news and carefully curates archived content. It has over 13 million followers on the platform and has recently launched a TV show called “The New World of Work.” This series features interviews with top-tier executives about how they see the future of work and what their companies are doing to meet these challenges.
Colleges use social media to communicate with students around-the-clock, whether it is answering questions about the admissions process or providing tips on surviving next week’s midterm. They also provide funny anecdotes, GIFs, pop culture trivia, quirky campus traditions and behind-the-scene pictures of student life.