Wash. U. expands blog presence to enliven school’s image
A new blog launched by the John M. Olin School of Business is one of the most recent additions to a larger Washington University effort to convey the school’s experience online.
The blog, launched at the end of last year, covers news related to student life, faculty research, global initiatives and careers. All of the site’s current contributors are staff members, but the school plans to assemble both undergraduate and graduate student contributor programs this week.
Gabe Watson, assistant director of marketing and social media and one of the blog’s creators, hopes it will ultimately contribute to the business school’s appeal.
“When they understand what Washington University is all about, then they want to come here. So if we can replicate that feeling and the livelihood of our school online, the better we can attract prospective students, faculty and corporate partners to want to work with us,” he said.
Mark Brostoff, associate dean and director of the Weston Career Center, said that recruiters and employers are targeted as the career section of the blog.
“If there is a way that I want to reach employers, hiring managers or alumni, then the blog is a great mechanism. It is short, it is to the point, and it is easy to follow. My hope is that we use it to get an external audience that could make a decision as to whether or not to look at a Wash. U. student to hire,” Brostoff said.
The blog is looking for dedicated student contributors who are passionate about student groups, practicum projects and keeping the community up-to-date by posting once or twice a month.
“The ultimate goal is to get content from students, faculty and staff and to put it into an aggregated space where it all can live and then push all of these great stories and messages out to all of the social media channels,” Watson said.
“There is so much that goes on here at Olin that it would be impossible to try to tell the entire story if just a couple people are doing it. The more student bloggers we have, the better and more well-rounded we can bring the experience to life,” Watson added.
“We want people who love this space. That’s why we made it voluntary amongst staffers, students and faculty,” Paula Crews, associate dean and director of marketing and communications, said.
But while the blog’s success may ultimately depend on student input, many do not even know it exists.
“I haven’t heard of it. I’ve heard of [Olin] getting onto Facebook and Twitter but haven’t heard of any type of blog,” business school sophomore Ross Putterman said.
Contributions may not come as easily as initially expected either. Putterman said he personally does not plan on contributing.
“The business school sends out so many emails and updates I feel like my messages on the blog would just be lost,” he said.
While the Olin Blog is the only one dedicated to an entire college at the University, others exist inside specific departments.
The Bears Repeating blog is produced by the University Archives. It was launched in June 2012 in order to “help people see us as a resource for university and St. Louis history,” said university archivist Sonya Rooney.
Bears Repeating has a new post every week, pulling information and history from the school archives. It occasionally has a themed series of posts. Currently there is an ongoing series derived from the personal papers of William Greenleaf Eliot.
Staff, undergraduate students and graduate students all contribute.
The Olin Blog and Bears Repeating are just two of a number of blogs run and contributed to by university staff, faculty and students. Moving forward, Crews sees a bright future in blogging for the University.
“We are just really looking for people who can appreciate what we are trying to do. I think the reaction has been really positive,” she said.