In fall 2008 the economic crisis seemed to fuel a need for connection. At Owen we noticed a large spike in the number of people asking to join the school’s group on LinkedIn, a networking Web site for professionals. This got us thinking about Owen’s presence on other social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, and how we might help alumni stay in touch with each other and the school.
With help from the Marketing & Communications office at Owen, school-related groups are now growing rapidly and organically online. Alumni are reconnecting with classmates, discovering job opportunities and developing valuable business connections. They are also receiving the latest news from the school through Twitter feeds, a Facebook fan page, YouTube videos and iTunes lectures.
If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to explore the various social media sites out there. Signing up is easy and free. Here are a few ways to get started:
Facebook is a wildly popular and fun way to keep in touch or reconnect with classmates on a social basis. There are now more than 300 million people around the world who use the site. Facebook allows its users to customize their personal profiles by posting status updates, uploading photos, joining groups and becoming “fans” of just about anything under the sun, including the Owen School. Users receive updates regarding their friends, groups and fan pages through what is known as the News Feed, which appears on every user’s home page.
The Owen Facebook alumni group has nearly tripled in size since October 2008. Here’s how to join:
- Sign up for a Facebook account. Be sure to add Vanderbilt and the year you graduated when creating your profile. This will help you and other classmates find each other.
- Visit the Newsroom page on Owen’s Web site and select “Social Media.”
- Click “Owen on Facebook” and then “Become a Fan.” From time to time, you will receive valuable updates about Owen on your Facebook home page.
- Click “Owen Alumni Group on Facebook” and then “Join Group.” By becoming a member, you can connect with other alumni.
- Search for other Owen groups. Try typing “Vanderbilt Owen” in the search box. You will find several “Class of” groups, some of which are more active than others.
- Search for your classmates. Try typing a name within quotes (“First Last”). If you get too many results, or don’t recognize your friend from the thumbnail photographs, select “My Networks” from the drop-down box. That may narrow the results enough to reveal a classmate.
The LinkedIn networking site is to business what Facebook is to friendship. The site now boasts a membership of more than 43 million business professionals from more than 200 countries and territories. LinkedIn users create profiles summarizing their professional accomplishments and then invite “trusted contacts” to connect with them and their networks. These networks give users the opportunity to search for job openings, collaborate on projects, and gain business insights through discussions.
The Owen LinkedIn group has more than doubled in size since October 2008: from 800 members to 1,900 members (as of early fall). Here’s how to join:
- Visit LinkedIn and sign up for an account.
- Visit the Social Media page on Owen’s site and click on “Owen on LinkedIn.”
- Click the “Join this Group” button.
- Start networking! LinkedIn can be invaluable for a job search. Try finding other Owen community members who work within your target industry or geographic location.
- Do you have a business question? Post your problem to the discussion board and let other Owen members help you solve it.
Twitter is a way to stay in touch with the world through short messages limited to 140 characters. Users send messages (“tweets”) to others who have signed up to follow their updates. Owen uses Twitter to send out real-time information about alumni events, such as happy hours hosted by the school in various cities around the country. Alumni news, like promotions, career changes and new business ventures, are also posted to Twitter.
Here’s how to follow Owen on Twitter:
- Visit Twitter and sign up for an account.
- Visit the Social Media page on Owen’s site and click on “Owen on Twitter.”
- Click the “Follow” button.
- Check your Twitter page regularly for updates from Owen. You can keep up with Twitter online or by using your mobile phone.
- To find other people or organizations to follow on Twitter, click through Owen’s “Following” list.
These various social media sites may seem overwhelming, but don’t be afraid to give them a try. Keeping in touch with the Owen community has never been easier.