Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Social university

We talk a lot about using the advantages of social networking on university web sites but few are really doing it. However I've just seen an interesting example from Texas A&M University who have a special site aimed at attracting new students.

Current students have been encouraged to produce their own YouTube videos depicting all aspects of campus life and the web site is like a video notice board covered in these student videos. Not always top quality productions but for a prospective student much more engaging than the standard glossy university intro film. Furthermore, these films are from future student colleagues rather than top management and possibly more credible to the target audience. Why spend big money when your students can produce more credible advertising for free?

One possible snag is who checks these productions to ensure that nothing offensive is broadcast? If it's an official university site then the university is responsible for what is communicated there. I'm sure they have some kind of safety mechanism in place.

In addition to this they also have a link to Facebook, where you can instantly link up with many student communities at Texas A&M, as well as a link to the university's content on iTunes U (podcasted lectures).

Just a gimmick to attract students? Maybe, but if it does attract new students more than traditional methods it's well worth it.

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