Facebook, Twitter accounts for MU groups come with guidelines

Accounts target different audiences.

MU, an institution more than 170 years old, has rarely hesitated to embrace new technology, such as cable television in the dorms and Internet access throughout campus.

In the last few years, the university has established its own foothold as a part of the social media craze. Dozens of the university's schools and organizations have joined social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to keep those associated with MU connected.

Different educational departments and organizations have a loosely connected web of social media accounts, with varying amounts of usage.

The College of Engineering tweets multiple times per week to its nearly 600 followers. Hudson Hall has an active Twitter account, with about 20 followers.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said MU departments and organizations each decide which social networking accounts, if any, to maintain. He said the accounts must be professional and adhere to the university's acceptable use policy regarding online communication.

"If an office deems that a social media account will help them with their goals and missions, they're free to," Basi said.

Of all the accounts - on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – the account with the largest number of people tied to it is the official MU Facebook page. The page has approximately 148,000 “likes.”

Ryan Gavin, associate editor for MU's Web Communications department, said the school's Facebook page is the ninth largest among domestic universities.

"I think it just really speaks to the pride people have for the university," he said.

Web Communications Department Editor Karen Pojmann said parents, students, faculty, fans of the university’s athletics program and others interested in MU comprise the community connected to MU’s Facebook page.

“I would say that it's sort of a good way to challenge ourselves to continue to come up with a diverse amount of information,” Gavin said.

The Web Communications staff posts athletic updates, news about the UM system, information about campus events and student organizations and a photo of the week, which Gavin said is one of the page’s most popular features.

“We put a lot of energy into our Facebook account because it’s more visual and more interactive,” Pojmann said.

In addition to sharing information with MU’s many online fans, the department also uses the university’s Facebook pages to answer questions from prospective students or share information with other posters.

“We can respond quickly and directly to requests for information,” Pojmann said.

One benefit of comments on MU's facebook page is that it has become a type of frequently asked questions archive.

“Someone who needs similar information can see that information on the Facebook page,” Pojmann said.

Other schools within the university use social media to provide relevant updates to those who are interested specifically in those individual organizations.

“We kind of see our pages as promoting school of medicine news, and if campus decides to promote it as well, then that's great,” School of Medicine Information Specialist Laura Gerding said.

The department’s page, which has more than 400 followers, displays messages regarding news and achievements by the school and its students and professors.

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