“This is definitely a more proactive way to update that information,” Logan said. “This is definitely something [alums] might not otherwise do themselves. … I see the data collection that we get from this as invaluable.”
From December to February, Tulane has seen more than 500 alums join its U For Life page, with about 200 former students sending requests to the university for more yearbooks to be posted on Facebook.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s U For Life Facebook page attracted more than 300 alumni in February, and the “numbers are growing exponentially … as members tag friends and classmates, encouraging them to view and share memories,” said Jodi Briggs, WPI’s senior associate director of alumni relations.
Rob White, founder and president of U For Life, said using Facebook to keep former students updated on their school’s latest projects and news items should be a key part of an alumni Facebook page, but providing content that triggers conversations and sparks connections will keep alums coming back to the page.
“You need to seed it with nostalgic content, information they can smile about,” said White, whose company is based in Massachusetts. “A person’s Facebook news feed is their … social dashboard, and connecting with them through Facebook is very important.”
Colleges and universities have traditionally used social media—especially Facebook and Twitter—to connect students on a centralized platform. U For Life provides that platform, White said, and reaps mass amounts of alumni data not accessible anywhere else on the web.
“Facebook is where people are,” he said. “The value is not only in commentary and engagement, but also the continuous data flow” that college officials can use to stay in touch with alums.
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