Tufts U uses ‘Vibe’ in massive outreach to prospective students

Back in 2010, Tufts was one of the first (if not the first) university to accept a one-minute YouTube college video essay as part of the application process. What was the catalyst behind embracing YouTube and what have you learned in the past few years about the students and video applications?

DG: There were others – St Mary’s College in Maryland, for instance – but we got the most attention for it. The YouTube option was designed to work alongside the traditional essay option, and to let students demonstrate something about their personalities that just can’t be fit into a written prompt.

How many people are involved with Tufts’ official social media accounts and which department is responsible for them? What training or education do you give to those running your social media accounts?

DG: It seems like every office at Tufts now has a Twitter account. Dining Services tweets their menus for every dining hall meal now. Most departments run their own accounts. The broader Tufts University accounts – the ones responsible for representing the entire institution – are administered by our Office of Web Communications. Tufts has a social media working group that meets regularly.

In admissions, we train ourselves. Social media changes too quickly to do otherwise, and you constantly have to teach yourself new tricks. As soon as something gets recognized as a “best practice,” Facebook changes and everything’s the Wild West again.

Does Tufts have a social media policy or guidelines for staff, students, and/or student groups?

DG: We do. Web Communications maintains a page that lists Key Principles, best practices, offers training suggestions, and provides an entry point to the community of students, faculty, or staff doing formal social media work at Tufts.

How are students involved in helping the official social media efforts at Tufts? How do students get involved with the official social media program?

DG: In admissions, we create the opportunity for conversation between prospective students and current students and then get out of the way. We encourage students to unofficially become involved with our program as much as they can. Authenticity of information is key and a prospective student will sooner trust a current Tufts student than an admissions officer who says the same thing. Sometimes, this manifests in an obvious way – such as a student taking over our Twitter handle for a day of “guest tweets.”