St. A's makes the most of its social media presence


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A humorous three-year-old YouTube video -- in which the president of Saint Anselm College beseeches Stephen Colbert to visit by promising to name various campus landmarks after the star -- is enjoying a social media resurgence, a sign that the college's active push into social media is paying off.

In the video, Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, longtime president of Saint Anselm and a Benedictine monk, tells Colbert that he's open to naming various landmarks on the Manchester campus after the comedian.

The video was made in response to Colbert's campaign to have the NASA International Space Station named after him. The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, though NASA did name a treadmill on the station after him.

"Saint Anselm is a pretty special place because every candidate for president comes through our campus during the primary season. In fact, a lot of famous journalists do too -- except you," says DeFelice in the video. "We think that's pretty odd. We'd like you to know that if the whole thing with NASA doesn't quite work out the way it is, I have a lot of power on this campus, and we can probably get some things named after you here."

He then visits three quasi-landmarks around campus, including a water tower -- "which actually looks like a space station"; a pond -- "Lake Michigan? Lake Superior? Who cares? Think Lake Colbert" -- and a bookshelf in the library, "a bit of a more academic option."

The video was re-edited and reposted in November in honor of DeFelice's retirement at the end of this academic year, said Jack Morris, director of digital communications and marketing for the college.

"It didn't have a whole lot of legs back then, but it's really become pretty popular," said Morris of the video, which has racked up more than 3,500 views.

While the college never received a response from Colbert or his team, the video's resurgent popularity highlights the success of the college's coordinated effort to boost its social media presence.

It has accounts on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Vimeo, among others, which it uses for everything from posting photos of cafeteria food to tweeting with high school students considering the college.

When Morris came to work at the campus a little over a year ago, he wanted to find a way to bring all of the school's various social media onto one landing page, which it could use to engage current and prospective students and alumni alike.

He found a New York City-based startup called Glossi, and worked closely with it to help redevelop its platform for larger accounts like St. A's, said Morris.

The result was a custom mashup site -- social.anselm.edu -- that launched in August and has "really taken off," said Morris. "It's a handy place to see everything."

The mashup site pulls in posts from all of the college's social media feeds into a clean, content-driven one-stop shop. It reloads automatically without needing to refresh and has an infinite scroll that ensures users never reach the end of the content.

Current students use it regularly, said Morris, but the school's admissions team also uses it in the field when meeting with prospective students and recruiters.

Feedback has been positive since St. A's Glossi page launched, and several other colleges have approached the startup about building similar pages, said Morris.

"We're trying to showcase the campus in a light that people might not otherwise have seen," said Morris. "We're trying to add some humor and some fun to the college experience while at the same time staying true out our Benedictine roots."


 

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