It’s increasingly evident the important role social media plays in everyday life. From the mundane to the catastrophic, events are being reported by peers minute-by-minute, as they happen. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “one-third (35 percent) of American adult Internet-users have a profile on an online social network site.”
Sites like Facebook and Twitter present new avenues to connect and exchange information, so it’s no surprise more users are logging on every day. That growing audience is one reason social media is quickly becoming a mainstream platform for forward-looking school administrators and government officials that want to establish relationships and maintain open conversations with community members.
At the same time, schools and communities have made significant investments in mass notification platforms, like Blackboard Connect, that disseminate important time-sensitive information. And they're wondering how to integrate these authoritative, one-to-many communications into the more conversational nature of the social graph.
At Blackboard Connect, we're trying to answer that question by incorporating Facebook and Twitter APIs into the service and allowing our customers to integrate Blackboard Connect messages into their social media presences. To help streamline communication efforts, customers can now update Facebook and Twitter pages by using the Blackboard Connect social media integration feature.
We're a few weeks into this experiment, and the initial results have surprised us. At first, we expected the primary benefit of this feature to be time-savings, helping to streamline our clients' multimodal outreach efforts with automatic Facebook and Twitter updates. What we've found, however, is more than that – clients are finding that social media integration has led to a more interactive back-and-forth when it comes to community notification.
In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing some of these client stories. First up – we’ll look at how the Village of Dundee, MI keeps residents informed and aware during a tornado thanks to the coupling of Blackboard Connect messages and Facebook status updates.