Penn connects with social media

Social Media at Penn

Social networking websites have revolutionized the ways in which colleges and universities promote campus news and events. Gone are the days when university news officers could simply pitch stories to radio, TV, academic and newspaper outlets; today an institution’s online presence is a critical component of effective communication.

Penn has a strong presence on the web across a number of social media platforms, including Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube.

Since launching in April 2009, the University’s Twitter account has garnered more than 3,000 followers and featured more than 1,200 “tweets” about breaking news and campus events -- including information about this winter's snow closings and the SEPTA strike last fall.

The public has spoken and gives a thumbs-up to Penn’s Facebook page. More than 11,000 people “like” the University’s FB profile, which offers video links, photos, University news, trivia and “Friday Franklin Aphorisms,” words of wisdom from Penn founder Benjamin Franklin.

Penn’s YouTube site offers information on video to prospective and current students, alumni, parents and other interested parties. Recently on the site, visitors have watched videos of the Silfen Forum, Penn Preview Days and Penn in Second Life.

Gates Rhodes, director of the Penn Video Network, says that between July 2009 and March 2010, Penn sites hosted approximately 860 video programs, attracting about 5,000 subscribers.  

“There have been over 850,000 upload views since July 2008 when we started coordinating the sites,” he says. “The Knowledge at Wharton, College Houses and University Communications sites have seen the most activity during this time.”

One of the University’s best online repositories of classroom lectures, research symposiums and colloquiums is Penn on iTunes U, a podcast site that offers some 1,600 audio and video files captured across campus in various schools and centers.  

And if you’re a photo fanatic, the University’s Flickr stream features a slideshow of snapshots from all over campus, including pictures of the Penn Relays, the Penn Park groundbreaking and the 2010 winter storms.

For more information about the University’s social networking sites, click here.

Originally published on May 6, 2010