‘Social Media at GVSU’ helps faculty, staff with new technology

Lyanna Hampton

Lyanna Hampton

Lyanna Hampton

As society progresses so does its ways of communication, and social networks have become the latest trend.

At “Social Media at GVSU” held in the Kirkhof Center on Thursday, speakers answered faculty and staff’s questions about social media.

Dave Poortvliet and Benjamin Rapin gave a two-hour presentation about social media use including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. Academic departments can use these pages to promote events or reach out to students.

“We had two goals: first, to inform faculty, staff and students about what GVSU is doing on social media and second, to give tips and guidelines on how to run social media well,” Poortvliet said.

He and Rapin both web managers with GVSU Institutional Marketing and GVSU alumna, with a team of students help departments set up social media pages.

“We just provide guidance and help,” Poortvliet said.

Rapin said representatives of academic departments should request approval before creating a department social media site.

“We just ask, ‘Don’t be rogue with this,’” he said. “You can’t have social media without having a good homepage for people to fall back on.”

The web managers also spoke about personal uses for social media. Rapin said social sites require big time commitments. It is better to have no presence than a poor presence on the web.

As far as choosing a site to use, every social network has its pros and cons.

Facebook and Twitter both offer instantaneous posts, give various voices and perspectives and are worldwide. However, they can have too much information and fake accounts.

YouTube is easy to use, but anyone can post any type of video, including violent or offensive videos.

Linked In is good for networking and resume-building but is mainly used overseas.

“This is social – it’s about relationships,” Rapin said. “It’s about using manners, being polite, using a nice tone with people. Sarcasm doesn’t play very well over social media.”

Poortvliet said transparency on the Internet is very important.

“Let your audience know exactly who you are, where you work and what you’re doing,” he said. “They don’t want a non-human voice. They want to know who they’re talking to, so be very transparent and be human.”

While the sites draw users with the promise of a social network, Poortvliet said social media often market products or services.

“There is a lot of potential return on investment and little investment required to do some of the social media work,” Rapin said.

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