Social Media Communicators Meeting 12/6/2011: Google+, QR codes, and time management

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On December 6, the Social Media Communicators met to discuss the use of QR codes, the emergence of Google+, and techniques for managing social media channels. The Public Relations team unveiled their new website, which includes a social media directory for schools, departments, and student groups.

Social Media Directory

Tom Testa, AVP of Public Relations, presented the new PR website, designed to house comprehensive faculty profiles, news releases and a directory of Boston University social media channels, among other services. Communicators should contact Mary Tunney to list their accounts.

QR Codes

While a few groups have tried using QR codes, including the Dean of Students office and the School of Medicine Alumni Association, the conclusion seems to be that while the technology is interesting, there are pitfalls and barriers to use. Kat Hasenauer of DOS explained that many students did not seem to understand how they work, or that they needed additional software on their phones to read them. She also mentioned that several students still have old-fashioned flip phones, which cannot read QR codes at all. One communicator suggested that directions on how to use a QR code should be included on the marketing materials where the code is being used. Scott Dasse of Interactive Design suggests this article on QR code adoption and use.


Since we recently launched the Boston University Google+ page, we wanted to ask about other communicators’ experience with the platform. Only a couple of departments mentioned their plans to use it, and opinions of it were mixed. Raul Fernandez of the Howard Thurman Center asserted that it’s yet another platform to maintain, but if the audience is there, he would support its integration into their strategy. By many accounts, the most powerful thing about Google+ is the role it plays in search. Ryan Bersani of Online Giving praised it for its customizable privacy settings, while others expressed concern that their privacy would be compromised in ways they did not explicitly allow.

Andrea Little from the School of Management said that they had been considering using the Google+ Hangouts functionality with their Admissions team. (Since the meeting, the Dean of Students office has hosted a Hangout with Cecilia Lalama in the Educational Resource Center.) It seems that currently, Google+ adoption is a phase of experimentation. A few things to keep in mind:

Since Tuesday’s meeting, BU was featured with Emerson and Harvard in a BostInnovation piece on higher ed adoption of Google Plus.

Time Management

Finally, the group discussed time management. How are departments managing their platforms, and the messaging across them? Robert Flynn of Dining Services said that he is maintaining all of their platforms on his own, and that until it is no longer feasible, he would prefer it that way, citing concerns of maintaining a consistent voice. Other teams, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Public Health, and Admissions have taken a team approach, designating different employees and schedules for social media management. Kelsey Labrot of the Howard Thurman Center suggested a few tools to help with scheduling posts, including CoTweet and Tweue.

Suggestions for the next meeting? Comments on the topics discussed? Leave them below, or send a note to

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