Homecoming week is upon us and the honor of being chosen to represent one’s sorority or fraternity on homecoming court comes with great fun and great responsibility (but seriously. It does.) As I received my homecoming packet on when and where I am allowed to promote , I forgot all about the poster stipulations and turned to the internet for my main campaign.
Promptly at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time on the Sunday before homecoming, queen and king facebook campaigns were in full swing. Profile pictures were changed to promotional images of contestants, Facebook groups and events were made (and all of the college network was invited, of course). TwitPics were uploaded and status updates included Facebook tags with sayings such as “______ pities the fool who does not vote him for Homecoming King” and other Chuck Norris-like sayings. While I must say it is a bit odd to see 80 of my Facebook friends with my face as their profile picture, it proves a vital point: visibility is key, and what is more visible to a college student then a social media post?
With over 85% of college students on Facebook and other popular social media sites, the need to reach mass quantities in little time is met through postings, events, tags and more. However, an open profile can do more damage then intended. Feelings are hurt when the “not attending” button is checked, friends are divided when an opposing status is “liked” and wall-to-wall conversations can be read and interpreted to a meaning far from their own. Does bringing a friendly competition into the social media world cause more harm then good? The pros and cons are questionable on both ends, however the fact is here: social media is so integral into today’s collegiate experience that it is impossible for this competition to remain off the internet. Facebook has become the ultimate procrastination tool, StumbleUpon is often seen pulled up on a classmate’s screen in class, and Gordon Hayward was a trending topic on Twitter feed after his #9 draft pick to the Utah Jazz. Jobs can be found via LinkedIn connections, students are checking into academic buildings with Foursquare or Facebook Places, the list continues on and on.
So as my fellow Homecoming court participants and I continue our viral campaigns, we may not even acknowledge the fact that we are reaching more students quicker and with more information than ever before. Yes, we’re living in a digital age and yes, we know that social media has changed our communication methods. The truth lies in a simple event feature that Facebook offers: the “Invite all of the _______ network” button. One click separates us from a fan following. I may not be completely savvy yet on my marketing skills, but reaching over 1000 people instantly sounds pretty good to me.
Steph Gray is a Senior Theatre-Arts Administration major and Public Relations minor at Butler University. She is a performer with Butler Theatre and heavily involved in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. Interests include social media, audience development, Shakespeare and her family.