Greek Life Madness

Happy Friday! I know that I usually post on Thursdays, but I had a meeting with one of my professors about graduate school yesterday and that threw off my posting schedule. Now, I’m back on track and excited to blog!

I’ve been posting vintage Monmouth College photos to Facebook and Twitter for a few weeks now, and they’ve gotten really great comments from alumni and current students. I got the idea to start posting vintage photos from a Twitter Higher Education conference that discussed ways that colleges use social media. Most of the vintage photos that I post come from the Monmouth College Alumni page. Today, I posted a Kappa Delta photo from 1971 per request of one of the Monmouth College Alumni. The Kappa Delta photo isn’t the first Greek Life picture that I’ve posted; before, I’ve posted a Kappa Kappa Gamma photo and a Pi Beta Phi picture. I am hoping to post pictures from each of the Greek Life organizations eventually.

I really enjoy seeing all of these pictures and how happy the people in these sororities look. They do really look like a group of sisters. I think that it helps that I’m not part of any sorority so that I can be more impartial. I do know that I have so many friends in sororities and fraternities that love them and do great things with their brothers and sisters for the college and the community.

On top of posting a vintage photo from Monmouth College Greek Life, I will also be posting a happy birthday to the Pi Beta Phi founder, Inez Smith Soule. She would have been 166 yesterday!

If you want to send in your vintage Monmouth College photos to have posted on the Monmouth College Facebook Page, send them to news@monm.edu.

Have a great weekend. Also, feel free to comment! I would love to hear any input or suggestions on what to write or how you like what I’ve written so far!

What The Wizard of Oz Taught Me about Posting

This is my first time trying to incorporate pop culture into a blog post! I have wanted to try it since I read a couple of blog entries, “Hunger Games Inspired Survival Tips for College Students” by Allison Freeland and “The Avengers’ Top 10 Tips for Building Remarkable Teams” by Bryce Christiansen on Pinterest. Both posts are really fun and interesting but also had important information for students and people in the work force. I want to strive for that same balance of entertainment and helpful information in my blogs.

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In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Glenda the Good Witch’s first question for Dorothy was “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” The answer to this question establishes Dorothy’s reception and her trustworthiness. If she is a good witch, the Munchkins parade her down the yellow brick road in triumph and do a little song and dance number in celebration. If Dorothy is a bad witch, she risks getting a house dropped on her or a fatal bucket of water thrown on her.

Similarly, the value of a social media post determines the reception that the post receives. If a post is good, it has a better chance of generating comments, likes, shares, and retweets. If a post is bad, it may be ignored or even criticized. How do you avoid the poppy field of unsuccessful posts? Don’t have a meltdown like the Wicked Witch of the West! Just remember timing, paying attention to audience, and proofreading.

If you post something later in the day, you will receive more responses than if you post it early in the day. There are some posts that will elicit comments no matter when you post, but those usually employ photos. If you have two similar posts to put up in the same day, space them apart time-wise, with at least one different type of post in between.  I like to wait 40 minutes to an hour in between posts. This allows your followers to respond to one post at a time, and it makes it seem like you have more material to post if you space it out.

For posting on social media sites, as with any writing for an audience, you should consider what your audience wants and needs. The weather is a topic that vast audiences can agree about. It’s been really hot lately, and when it feels like everyone is going to suffer in the heat, I can post a photo of a snow-covered Monmouth College to offer some relief. It was one of the most popular posts on the Monmouth College Facebook page on July 2nd. Other audience interests that I take into consideration include new student information, dorm room design, alumni and student news, local news, job search advice, and school advice.

Never post something without reading it over a couple of times. You never know what spelling errors you might make that you cannot take back. Since I started posting for Monmouth College, I have become more attentive to my spelling and grammar in posts. I would hate to post something on the Monmouth College Facebook page that had a misspelled name or a missing verb. Not only would it reflect negatively on me, but it would also run the risk of reflecting badly on the college. I always read over posts at least three times, twice silently and once aloud, before I post. This helps me to catch any mistakes that I might not notice the first time.

While I doubt any of your posts will send you skipping down a yellow brick road or getting a bucket of water thrown on you, evaluating your posts before you show them to followers is a smart practice that will build your credibility as a social media representative and a writer. Keep posting, and remember there’s no place like Monmouth!

 

Ominous Elevators: Taking Pictures of College for Kids Final Day

It was a Friday, the day that I would take more pictures of the construction of the Center for Science and Business and College for Kids. I got the schedule of events from Jeff, grabbed the camera, and headed out to take pictures. I had done this the previous Friday, so I was confident that I would get some great pictures.

I started at Austin Hall where the kids were having piano lessons. The basement of Austin Hall was rather small, especially with a bunch of parents and kids packed into the room, so I stood in the corner and took some pictures. I was really impressed that these kids got to learn how to play a musical instrument because I had always wanted to do that. Plus, a skill like that always sticks with you.

After Austin Hall, I headed to Wells Theater, where kids were putting on a version of “Cinderella” with costumes and everything. I was impressed at how good they were at acting and projecting on the stage.  All the parents in the audience seemed to enjoy the performance.

The really exciting and slightly terrifying part of my day came when I was taking pictures in HT. I took pictures of all the classes and was going to come back for the 10 am rocket class. While I was waiting for them to finish building the rockets, a father of one of the kids approached me. He was in a wheel chair and came to tell me that the elevator was broken. He told me that he thought the floor stop button just might have been pressed and that if that was fixed it would work. I told him that I would tell one of the people working for College for Kids about it and make sure that it got fixed.

I went to tell the workers at College for Kids, but they did not have the number for maintenance. I did not want to leave the elevator unfixed and the father stranded, so I went to see if the elevator really was just stuck on a floor and simple press of a button would fix it. I walked up the stairs to third floor to find the elevator opening and closing ominously. This probably should have been the part where I called maintenance and steered clear of the elevator, but I wanted to see if I could quickly fix it with the press of a button, so I went inside the elevator and flipped the floor stop switch. The elevator started dinging repeatedly like an alarm, so I got out of the elevator as quickly as I could and the elevator went up to fourth floor where it repeated the process.

I walked up to fourth floor to find the kid who was waiting for his dad who was in a wheelchair. I explained that the elevator was broken and that someone would come to fix it. He wanted to ride the elevator down to his dad, but I didn’t want to chance anyone being trapped in the elevator especially kids. I told him to go back to class, and we would sort it all out.

After that, I searched up and down floors for someone who had maintenance’s number. Professor Godde told me the number finally. I called and told them about the broken elevator in HT, and they said that they would send someone right over. After this whole ordeal, I walked back down to the first floor to tell the College for Kids volunteers that maintenance was on its way. They thanked me, and I walked back to the Admissions Office glad to not have ended up stuck in a dysfunctional elevator. Although I had watched the “How to Survive in a Stuck Elevator” special on the Discovery Channel, I didn’t want to put those tips to the test any time soon.

It was definitely my scariest work day so far, but I also felt like it was a good thing that I was here for the summer. One of the things that makes me happiest is helping people, and I definitely got a chance to help people that day.

Tweet, Tweet: Researching How Colleges Use Twitter

One of my first assignments from Monmouth College Coordinator of Web Services Bryn Lawrence was to research how other colleges were using Twitter and apply that to Monmouth College. I was asked to come up with a list of tips for people using Twitter to promote athletics, alumni events, or admissions. I had used Twitter for the first time my junior year of college as a writing tutor. All of the tutors participated in a Twitter conversation and webcast for a talk on online tutoring. After using it for the first time, I discovered that I could follow my favorite actors and authors and feel connected to them, but I had never actually looked at college Twitter pages or thought about how Twitter could be used for promotional purposes.

I started my research with the list of colleges that Bryn gave me. At the top of the list were Ivy League Schools, I thought that it stood to reason that schools where so many people want to go would have good publicity. I started with Yale University’s Twitter and was very impressed by the writing on it. I also liked Princeton’s variety of posts. There were some question or survey posts that asked for student opinions. There were also tons of picture, video, and blog links to posts. My favorite college Twitter pages by far were for Wesleyan University and Cornell University. Both pages had fun, witty writing that caught the reader’s attention.

The report that I completed about how to use Twitter to promote Monmouth College ended up being five pages. I had ten general do’s and don’ts Twitter, and I had more elaborate explanations with examples from other colleges’ Twitter pages after those. I explained how and when to use the “@” symbol, how to retweet, how to use the hash tag, and how to catch people’s attention with tweets. Not only did this assignment make me feel more comfortable with tweeting for the college, but also I hoped that this report would help future people who were tweeting for Monmouth College to do it better.

Picture This: My First Day as a Summer Intern

Hi! My name is Katie Struck. I am a Senior English major with a Women’s Studies minor. I am from Galesburg, Illinois. My summer internship involves doing the hometown releases to newspapers about students receiving honors, updating Monmouth College’s social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest), taking pictures every Friday, consulting with different departments (Admissions, Athletics, and Alumni) about how they can use social media to enhance their work, and researching how other colleges are using social media. The great thing is that I love what I do for my internship, and I get to stay in Founders Village while I am here. I wanted to do this internship because I love writing and learning about social media. Also, I usually help to run the Monmouth College LGBTQIA Spectrum Facebook Group, so I knew that I was not only experienced with social media but also excited about it!

On my first day, I was taking pictures of the new Center for Science and Business and College for Kids. I had never handled any camera other than a disposable yellow and black camera where the most complicated part of picture taking was remembering to wind it before you click. Now, I had a big, black, bulky Canon camera. I was so afraid that I would forget how to view the pictures or that I wouldn’t be able to find the flash, but I went out to the construction site to see what pictures I could get. The view was so clear and crisp that it felt like I could touch the beams and smell the red brick. I had never taken pictures that turned out so focused. I think that I took about 30 pictures of the the building on that first day because I was so excited to have pictures that looked professionally done from someone who had never taken a photography class.

After I took all those pictures of the Center for Science and Business, I went to various classrooms on campus to take pictures of the College for Kids. I started in Wallace where kids were being taught to do everything from speak foreign languages to play chess to learning about ancient history. It was great to see so many kids who were excited about learning. They were so excited to answer questions from teachers and to work with other students to create projects. I hoped to never lose that enthusiasm for learning that drove those kids to put their minds to whatever was given to them.

After Wallace Hall, I headed to McMichael Hall to take pictures of the art classes. There were classes for painting, drawing, and clay. The painting and drawing students were very quiet and concentrated while working on canvases and easels, but the clay students were clamorous and alive with their art. One girl held up her clay dog proudly to show her teacher. I really hoped that some of these kids would end up going to college here when they got old enough because I think they would all enjoy the college art classes.

Next, I went to HT to finish up taking pictures of College for Kids. In HT, students were working on food chemistry, computer programs, and art projects. The students in these classes were quiet and concentrated. They were so enraptured by what they were learning that none of them were talking amongst themselves or wanting to run around. All attention was on the teacher.

After I got back to the Admissions Office with the pictures, I uploaded them to Monmouth College’s SmugMug page. Then, I got to do another first! I posted one of the pictures to Monmouth College’s Twitter page. I had done my own Twitter posts before, but I had never done one officially for my college. It was a really exciting experience that I don’t think I will ever get over. It is so cool that I get the chance to speak for and promote my college.