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College recognized for use of social media

Jillian Barwick | Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saint Mary’s College has taken No. 97 in StudentAdvisor.com’s “Top 100 Social Media Colleges” ranking. The college review site attributed the ranking to Saint Mary’s interactive 2010 Commencement website.

“Last year Saint Mary’s created a social-media driven commencement website allowing students to create a ‘digital keepsake’ with photos and streaming videos,” the rankings page states.

Daniel Miller, director of Web and Interactive Communications, assembled last year’s site with Assistant Director Peter Mlodzik. Miller is responsible for managing all of Saint Mary’s websites, ranging from the main site to the College’s Facebook pages.

Miller said the ranking considered both the quantity and quality of sites operated by colleges.

“The rankings look at the number of sites a college has, for example, YouTube pages and Twitter pages,” he said. “They liked what they saw on our 2010 Commencement page specifically, which allowed us to be on the Top 100 list.”

Last year’s commencement page included YouTube, Twitter and Flickr feeds. Miller and Mlodzik helped popularize “SMCgrad” as a Twitter hash tag, drawing attention from students and alumnae alike.

Twitter was used to share photos of pre-commencement activities and was updated with video and photos throughout the ceremony.

“We went to Twitter because it gave us the ability to have external commenting easily allowed and accessed,” Miller said. “Facebook did not allow broad user content for what we were aiming for.”

Miller said he was pleased to see the College’s use of social media receive recognition in the online ranking.

“It is nice to be recognized amongst big and small institutions across the country, especially because the idea was conceived and built from inside Saint Mary’s,” Miller said. “The idea to the design to the implementation, it all came from SMC.”

Miller said the constant process of change in social media will always leave room for improvement, and he hopes experimenting with new ideas will be the key to the College climbing in the rankings.

“We have learned a lot in the building of the 2010 Commencement site. Now we can see what to implement for the 2011 Commencement site as well as sites for reunions, admissions, and development,” Miller said. “Having a longer timeline to create the site helps, and we are really looking to get more people involved for the future.”