From Myspace to Facebook to Instagram to ?????

 

 

Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge, I bet you have all done it.  First, the water was not that cold and the challenge was not that difficult.  Who ever thought that taking a bag of ice, dumping it into a bucket of water, and pouring it over your head would be done by millions of people in months?  According to a Facebook blog, between June 1 and August 17, over 28 million people joined the conversation about the Ice Bucket challenge.  28 million!  The viral campaign also raised over $90 million dollars for ALS research.  This is one example of the power of social media and it ceases to amaze me.  The ability to take something so simple, and have millions of people learn about it and act in the matter of days is unbelievable

I like to think I am a social media expert – I am not.  I still remember stealing my older brother’s college email address to gain access to Facebook when it was first coming out and putting Vida Guerrera as my MySpace background (outdating myself?).  Over time, my social media presence has transitioned to Instagram and Twitter and I have created accounts on a few other social media platforms just to get a taste.  For me, social media is something that has become engrained in my everyday life.  It is fun talking trash to my friends about an upcoming sports contest through Twitter or following a friend’s road trip to the west coast through an Instagram hash tag.  What better form of entertainment is there than living vicariously through other people!

Beyond my initial excitement about being able to be on Facebook before the rest of my friends and my use of social media as an entertainment tool, social media has also become a professional tool and a tool for me to express my opinions/thoughts.  For a year after college, a friend and I created a sports blog.  Although the writing was average at best, it was exciting being able to put our own thoughts onto paper and sharing them with others.  The ability to write a post, share it with other people, and engage in a conversation through the internet was amazing.  If I had the time, I would definitely start the sports blog up again.

Through my two jobs, I have always been known as the young guy who won’t shut up about the need to increase the organization’s social media presence.  My first job out of college I worked as an Assistant Director of Admission at Milton Academy.  At the time, we had little to no social media presence, although the students we wanted to reach were getting their information through the internet and social media – not a paper catalogue like the rest of my office thought.  My boss was resistant to implementing a social media strategy, but after a year of bickering and researching the benefits, he agreed to allow me to start a student-run blog.  It was a huge success and when I was leaving, I learned the blog had over seven thousand hits in the matter of 18 months.

At my current job I run our Facebook and LinkedIn pages for alumni.  However, I have learned that I am not an expert in creating content and struggle to keep the pages interesting.  I look forward to learning how to create value out of social media and also how different platforms work for different functions.  I also look forward to learning more about how to create effective social media campaigns.  My major interests are sports, education, and business so most likely all of my blog posts will revolve around these three topics.

So far the Twitter conversations have been interesting and the class seems to have a diverse range of interests.  I look forward to seeing what the semester brings and taking some of what I learn back to my current organization.  I also look forward to learning more about new social media platforms that I am not up to speed on (What is Yic Yack (sp) again?).  To an informative and fun semester!

8 comments

  1. Going off your comment about running the BC alumni LinkedIn and Facebook page, I think it is particularly interesting the way in which higher education institutes are utilizing social media. During the fall semester I interned at a PR firm who ran the social media accounts for a small all-women’s college in New England. As I drafted potential tweets and posts for this university, I felt like I was always trying to find a balance between appealing to the young students but also the older students enrolled in their online or night school. How do we craft effective social media campaigns when our intended audience comes from such a wide demographic? I was also curious if in your work with the BC alumni social media do you have a certain voice that your try to have carry throughout all your posts or is it more an informative tone?

  2. It’s Yik Yak. I should definitely put you in touch with some of my former students who are doing social media for BC, as I think it could be very helpful for your work. Also that’s a legitimate blog/ individual presentation topic.

    1. I would love to be in touch with them….I am sure they could be a valuable resource. Thanks for the correct spelling…shows how much I know!

  3. Your quote “What better form of entertainment is there than living vicariously through other people!” hit social media on the head for me. I’ve thought about this concept a lot; what makes social media so appealing to people? I definitely believe it’s a two-way street of living through other people’s experiences, while trying to one-up them with yours. My Facebook and Instagram is currently flooded with pictures and posts from my friends abroad all over the world, and while it’s great to see them enjoying the time, I can’t help but compare my experiences here in Boston to theirs. I think that is the saving grace of websites like Facebook, as much as we want to maintain our “privacy”, people cannot resist exploiting their lives to others. It’s as if people need online verification of their personal lives now-a-days.
    Also a piece of advise: stay away from Yik Yak unless you want to see a side of Boston College you’ll wish you never had.

  4. Ah, so happy that someone brought up the Ice Bucket Challenge! I participated in the ice bucket challenge this summer and watched countless videos of friends, family and friends of friends participating in it as well. I was amazed at how quickly and how far the challenge had spread, and could not help but take pride in the fact that it all started with a fellow Eagle, Pete Frates. The challenge gained media attention on NBC’s The Today Show, and even President Obama made an ice bucket challenge video. This social media campaign did fantastic things to raise money and awareness for ALS research. However, I think the ice bucket challenge also raises the important issue of how viral activity on social media is very difficult to control. It was often questioned if people remembered first and foremost that the challenge was meant to raise awareness for ALS, or if they were simply participating in a social media stunt.

  5. Just to clarify, I do not run social media for alumni at BC. I work at Nativity Prep, a small jesuit middle school for boys from low-income families. As the Director of Graduate Support, I run our alumni Facebook and Twitter page with the intentions of keeping our alumni engaged with the Graduate Support program. Thanks for the comments all!

  6. This post immediately caught my eye because I realized I had not thought about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in months. It’s crazy that it dominated Facebook during the month of August when I was looking at dozens of these videos everyday, but it has hardly crossed my mind since then. I find it interesting that the viral video seemed to explode, but also die so quickly. Obviously $90 million+ is incredibly impressive and far exceeded all expectations, but could it have continued for longer? Did the campaign need a new update or new content to stay relevant on social media? How could this fundraising effort make a comeback? With over 28 million people joining the conversation, the average participant contributed $3.21 to the cause. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the 28 million donated money, what percentage fully understood the story behind the campaign, and what percentage wanted to participate just to interact with their friends/get attention from others on social media. In only a matter of a week or two after I posted my ice bucket challenge video, I saw some of my Australian friends who I had met in my semester abroad at the University of Melbourne begin to post these videos as well. I still wonder how many of these people fully understood the purpose of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I hope some of them realized it started at BC and made the connection that it was my home university. Of course, it is much more important for people to know about the ALS fundraising purpose than to know about its BC origins, but I would love to see how many of them had heard the Pete Frates story when they posted or learned about it afterwards.

  7. Nice post! You have an interesting background in social media and will definitely be able to provide a lot of interesting insight to the class. The intersection between education and social media is a fascinating one – one that you could take in many directions. Great content for blog posts!

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