Beyond the Quarterly Alumni News

Beyond the Quarterly Alumi NewsIn his post this week, Institutional Memory, Chuck Will at Proctor Academy touches on the uses and value of electronic media in connecting and binding school constituencies.

Back in the day, schools published the alumni news, usually quarterly or semi-annually. The full color mailing usually went to alumni, current families and friends of the school.

I know I loved its arrival.I’d read most of it. Then I’d set it aside on the coffee table because the pictures were nice.

That’s where my use of the alumni news ended.

This kind of mailing would generate a warm fuzzy feeling in school constituents but little, or more often than not, no action. I don’t ever remember picking up the phone to call someone after reading an article. I never sent a comment about a piece to the school.

So much more and so many opportunities

Electronic/Online media- It’s About Connection, Action and Sharing
Through e-mail, posted photographs, electronic newsletters, facebook groups & pages and other forms that work for each individual school, we’ve now gained the ability to build and maintain living connections throughout our constituent webs, inviting, encouraging, nurturing, and building living bonds through sharing.

Share successes and stories. Post that picture. Post that essay from a faculty member. Post a great achievement by a student. Tell people about the coming building project. You’ll find that people love participating in a healthy vibrant organization.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Who’s that in this picture? I remember doing that; it was a blast. That’s Ms. X; she was a great teacher. I can’t believe we did that and didn’t get in trouble for it.

Pictures freeze and capture people at a particular moment or instant. Chances are, if the moment was photo worthy, the image is meaningful and strong enough to trigger memories and thoughts in its subjects, their parents, or their friends.

Photos in an online setting invite sharing those thoughts and connection. Now when a constituent views a photograph she can comment on it, post it to facebook, share with a friend,  send a note (to the school or to friend) or in the case of Proctor, tag it. Create situations where people want to talk and share.

Social Currency
Binding, sharing, and involving constituencies is about building and using social currency. No one advocates on a school’s behalf more effectively than an active, loyal, connected constituency sharing honest experiences and perspectives.

Photo credit: proctoracademy via Creative Commons

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