By Lee Richardson
Some prominent Ryerson senior administrators are using Twitter to promote campus events and Ryerson achievements, but they’re doing it all wrong, according to a Toronto marketing and social media expert.
Staff like Interim Vice President Administration & Finance Julia Hanisberg, Director of Student Community Life Glenn Weppler and Manager of Student Housing Services Chad Nuttall are tweeting about events like the Ryerson Blue and Gold Day.
“Blue and Gold Day is this Fri Nov 5. Wear your Blue and Gold and show your Ryerson Pride!” said Nuttall in a recent tweet.
However, some social media experts feel that’s using the social media network in the wrong way.
“Looking at Twitter as promotion is the wrong way to it,” said Eric Meerkamper, president of the marketing consulting agency DECODE.
“It’s more shrilling if it’s just another ad platform, it really contaminates the thing.”
But they could be missing out on an opportunity to directly connect with students, according to marketing experts.
“A good Twitter user will pay attention to their feeds, they’ll respond to other people, and will contribute to the conversation,” said Joseph Thornley, CEO of marketing agency Thornley Fallis.
“I can tell you something, but its even better if I tell you something that you’re interested in, and that comes from listening as much as it does from talking.”
Weppler and Nuttall both have student followers who are interested in their messages, boosting campus events and announcements by using the Ryerson hashtag (#Ryerson), which collects search results that use the hashtag.
“I don’t think that many Ryerson students would be interested in what I’m talking about to follow me, maybe some other staff would be,” said Nuttall.
“Administration may think it’s a good outlet to communicate with students, but I wouldn’t follow anyone from the administration,” said second-year fashion communication student Danielle Brogan.
“Following someone like Sheldon Levy [on Twitter] would just be weird.”
However the Ryerson president has already made his decision regarding Twitter.
“I have a huge problem just being able to handle the amount of regular email I have,” said Levy.
“I just don’t need other ways of communicating such that I won’t be able to respond to people who ask questions.”
Some staff members, like Adrian Williams, manager of custodial services, are on Twitter yet have no tweets posted.
For staff willing to take part, there is a potential to create a strong bond with students.
“One of the problems with large institutions is that they’re easy to dislike, they’re abstract, they’re authority figures, it’s difficult to understand sometimes whether they hear us or care about us,” said Thornley.
“With social media, when you start to see the actual person, you can start to relate to what that person’s really thinking and it removes some of that abstractness of the institution.”
Photo: Jordan Campbell