AUBURN – Auburn University became one of the first universities to have its own social networking Web site last week with the launch of “Auburn Family,” a site designed to inform and connect current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and fans.
The site, which can be accessed at http://family.auburn.edu, allows users to manage their personal profile, upload Auburn-related photos, blogs and videos, set status updates and communicate with other members via their “comments wall” or direct messaging. The network also features current news stories about Auburn University from students’ perspectives.
“It’s the Facebook model taken to a different level,” said Auburn’s director of communications, Mike Clardy. “In addition to the interactive features, Auburn Family gives us the opportunity to place the Auburn story directly before those who want to read it. Prospective students, in particular, want to read more about the campus experience, and this network allows them to do that.”
Robert French, a public relations instructor, worked in cooperation with Auburn’s Office of Communications and Marketing to develop the network. Each week, students in French’s “Style and Design in Public Relations Messages” course write, blog and produce videos about news and events happening in Auburn’s 13 schools and colleges.
“For the students, it’s a valuable learning experience,” French said. “For the university, it’s valuable to show ‘this is a class, telling the Auburn story and we want you to participate.'”
In addition to the students’ featured stories, the site has a calendar of Auburn events and feeds of official Wire Eagle and This Week at Auburn headlines.
The network, which was created using the social platform Ning, is visible to all, but those wishing to contribute must register.
John Roberson, a senior in public relations who is taking French’s class, said he is glad the site will give him the opportunity to have his articles viewed by the public.
“I think it’s particularly good for alumni and fans,” Roberson said. “It gives them an opportunity to feel more connected to the university.”
(Contributed by Natalie Nettles.)