We’ve been talking a lot about Facebook in our communications meetings recently. I’ve also been talking about it in the grad class I’m taking as well. Discussion have been around, use (should we -SMC- have a presence on it, should admissions counselors be on it, should teachers have profiles, etc) and if we are on it, then what is the appropriate level and what should we do with it. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reflecting and blogging on the subject for work and class. My opinion evolves everyday.
I think Facebook is a great tool. I have to admit that since creating my profile over 2 years ago, I’ve become totally addicted to it. I like to connectivity that it offers. For example, I’ve been playing a Scrabble game on Facebook with my sister (a student at Colby) and my brother who lives in San Francisco and has been traveling back and forth to China.
Another aspect of Facebook that I like is its design. It’s simple (although it’s becoming less so now that it’s open to non .edu’s and the application clutter is getting obnoxious). To me, that is what set Facebook apart from MySpace is the simplicity of it’s design. There were lot’s of complaints form webbies about the stiffness and lack of flexibility of Facebook, but IMO, 99% of MySpace pages look awful because they allow for customization. When it comes to web pages regardless of if it’s a college website, a blog, or a Myspace page, simple is always better.
So if Facebook is a good thing, then should Saint Michael’s College have a presence on it or should we leave it for the students?
I haven’t figured that one out yet completely, but for now, my answer is yes – with a few caveats.
Right now we have a presence in two main mediums. We have a generic Admissions page and a Class of 2012 group. I think those a two great methods for us to get important information out, and especially as the 2012 group gets bigger and as we get closer to the end of the summer it will be a great way for students to meet and get to know each other.
I don’t think you’ll ever find us actively looking to “Facebook” people or invite them to groups. I don’t think that’s our role here. IMO Facebook is your space and although there has been a proliferation of ads there recently, it’s not a place to be actively marketed at or to. The idea of going out and “Facebooking” students to get them to our site just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The Facebook is going to be a hot topic for a while, or at least until the new big thing comes around. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and opinions on our presence there and who we use Facebook and MySpace. Check out the Admission page and the Class of 2012 page, and you can find me there as well. Let me know what you think.