Social Media Communicators Meeting 08/24/2010: Foursquare, BU Today’s new editor, upcoming campus events

The Social Media Communicators group met on Tuesday, August 24th to discuss Foursquare, introduce John O’Rourke as BU Today’s new editor, and share upcoming campus events.

Foursquare and geolocation services

FoursquareMary Tunney and Jenny Mackintosh of Public Relations introduced their plan to roll out Foursquare campus-wide in the next few weeks. In their own words:

Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users “check in” to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they’ve been and who they’ve been there with.

They have been working to compile a list of venues related to Boston University in preparation for Foursquare to launch a Boston University Foursquare page (similar to the Syracuse University Foursquare page, for example). Currently, BU has a profile page, which will be converted into the newer university landing page in the next week or so. Once BU “owns” those venues on Foursquare, we will be able to access analytics on who is visiting, as well as manage specials and discounts at particular locations around campus.

SCVNGRLeo Pare of Athletics asked about the accuracy of checking in to locations close to each other, for example, Nickerson Field and Agganis Arena. We clarified that Foursquare’s check-in system is not automatic; it can use geolocation services on your phone to suggest nearby locations, but ultimately, it is up to the user to check in. Susan Lebovits of Sustainability asked if Foursquare could be used to mark “green” landmarks around campus as part of a promotion, since the actual Sustainability office is not likely to be visited by the general population. We suggested that she send a list of venues she might be interested in promoting so that we can include them in a second round of requests. We also discussed SCVNGR as another tool that might allow her to create a challenge on her own.  Raul Fernandez of the Howard Thurman Center also underlined a few of the key differences between Foursquare and SCVNGR, describing SCVNGR as “more flexible and customizable” with the addition of challenges and “treks.”

BU Today’s new editor, John O’Rourke

BU TodayJohn O’Rourke came by the Social Media Communicators meeting to introduce himself and to give some insights on what BU Today is looking to cover in the upcoming academic year. They are looking for feedback on the site — the good, the bad, and any suggestions on how to make BU Today a more effective news source for the campus community. They will put a stronger emphasis on student stories this year in the hopes of boosting student readership. They are also looking to expand beyond their core set of campus experts and to talk with a broader range of professors. Any information or suggestions can be directed either to, or to John O’Rourke directly.

Kim Cornuelle, BU Today’s production manager, also went over some tips for coverage. The front page has three headlines and one feature per day during the regular academic year. If you have an event coming up, make sure to put it into the BU Calendar, as they populate their BU Today calendar (both on the site and in the daily e-mail) from those events. They also suggested keeping BU Today in the loop for social media-related cross-promotional opportunities — any official event hashtags on Twitter, links and other information can be included in the bottoms of stories to help promote use.

Upcoming Events

Sustainability, SPH, DAR, FitRec and CFA all had events to promote this month, which we will list in the “Communicators” section shortly. If you do not have access to this section, please send an e-mail to to request.

Update 4:22 pm: The event listing is now live & available to the SMC group.


Christopher Lloyd posted on December 13, 2010 at 1:27 am

I’m currently looking into the use of social networks within university communities worldwide so posts like this are very informative, especially as the spread of a particular social network within a university community seems to mirror the eventual spread of the network across the containing country.

But thank you for the information! Everything helps!

Jenny Mackintosh posted on December 13, 2010 at 10:49 am


I’m glad to hear you’re finding the information useful!


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