Howard W. Hewitt – Social media isn’t a new term. Blogging, Facebook, and social networking may be foreign to many people but the concept of individual journals dates back years. It’s just that publication is now instant with the internet.

What’s happening across the country and around the world is really nothing short of a revolution.
For instance:
If Facebook was a country, it would be the fourth largest in the world. Boston College did not issue e-mail addresses to its freshmen this fall. The startling numbers indicate a seismic shift in the way we communicate.
If you have four minutes to spare, watch the fascinating YouTube video at the bottom of this page. Or, click the icon on the right and you can go to our Wabash YouTube page and check it out.
Student bloggers have told the “real” story of Wabash, student-to-student, as an effective recruiting tool. We’ve learned about the world as our students study abroad, participate in immersion learning trips, or go fly fishing in Montana.
We’ve actually had Facebook pages for a couple of years. The current king of social networking sites is just four years old. Check out our Wabash page by clicking the icon at left.
Or, check out the College alumni page – that icon – over there, on the right ->
One line keeps coming back to me from an August seminar on social media and higher education. I’m paraphrasing – ‘For years people sought out news, now news finds people. For years, high school students looked for a college, now colleges look for students.’
If you buy the basic concept you’ll quickly realize a passive approach to communication no longer works with this generation of incoming college freshmen or the next.
It’s a fundamental change in the way young people communicate. Wabash students, as others across the country, have to be reminded to check their email. They’re communicating largely via text messages or perhaps Facebook.
For those at the College charged with marketing and recruiting the new students, this is not an insignificant challenge. The glossy brochure is no longer enough. And to rely only on printed material might be foolish.
You will now find links to six different social mediums across our website with established Wabash College branding and content. We’re going to use students in many of these efforts to present the content in a peer-to-peer manner.
Our student bloggers are going to get more prominent play on our pages as we emphasize student voices.
The College has strong participation on Linked In – a business-oriented social networking site. We have two sites! The Alumni site has more than 1100 members. Check it out by clicking on the icon at right. Career Services has a Linked In page that’s much newer.
We’ll be writing more about social networking and how we’re using it throughout the year. Social networking may or may not be a communications revolution, but ignoring it is a communications blunder.