UIS gets social: #UISEDU
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Hashtags and photo filters are just a couple of the new ways in which UIS hopes to get students involved.
Blake Wood, multimedia writer and producer for campus relations, said that UIS began using social media as a way to adjust to where students are – because more students are using it. He added that it is a way for the UIS campus to be more in tune with their students and the UIS community.
Currently, UIS has its own Twitter and Facebook page. They also recently added an Instagram account to the mix. Within these social media sites, the university shares information with the UIS community on events, interacts and engages in conversations, as well as answers questions that arise.
“I really like the ‘Take a Selfie’ on the Facebook page,” said Kelly Shanahan, senior communication major. She was referencing a featured post in which students were encouraged to take photos of themselves in the snow and post them to the UIS Facebook page.
In efforts to engage, Shannon O’Brien, senior photographer, began posting abstract photos of objects from around campus to Facebook in a post known as “What is it Wednesday?” The weekly post draws students and community members to the UIS Facebook page to guess what the object in the photo is for a chance to win a prize. Eventually, the correct answer is posted, along with a story about the photo – to not only entertain but also educate.
O’Brien said she is often “astonished at how fast people get it,” and that oftentimes it is students that guess correctly. O’Brien believes this may drive students to pay more attention around campus.
Along with “What is it Wednesday?” UIS engages in “Throwback Thursday” on Facebook and Twitter, where photos of Sangamon State University and historical UIS are posted.
Wood said that the University not only uses Twitter to post photos, but also to share event details, and thank and interact with donors and the community. He added that he would like to see students engaging in conversation by using #uisedu.
Cameryn Barbeau, senior communication major, said UIS’ Twitter allows students to keep “updated on information coming up and sporting games.”
Instagram is the newest edition to UIS social media – featuring “fun, light-hearted scenes” to encourage a lively campus environment. O’Brien said she encourages students to link themselves to the Instagram page using #uisedu, to share their own photos with the UIS community.
Wood said that campus relations is “open to ideas” from students about the direction they would like to see UIS social media go. Currently, Facebook has 8,073 likes, Twitter has 2,991 followers and Instagram has 102 followers – all and counting.