Great Social Media Idea: Student Portraits

"Sometimes you've just got to try a little harder now..."

Not just a lyric from a brilliant song by a brilliant band. (Vitesse's Starlight.) It needs to be the motto of this blog.

I had a whole weekend to myself (better half was in California for a wedding), and I had grand plans of writing some awesome blog posts, catching up on correspondence (both email and Twitter, which I am horribly behind on - apologies to everyone who has tried to connect with me and received an icy silence), sending out some page manager Q&As (something I haven't done in more than a month), and even changing my Twitter handle to my name instead of the clunky @SMforColleges I am using now.

Care to guess how much of that got done? Zip, zilch, nada. I do indeed need to try a little harder. Sigh.

But at least I'm getting this post done, which is something, right? Right! 

I know I just featured UConn on this blog a week or so ago for the adorable puppet video they made, but I can't help myself... I'm going to feature them again. This time for a really cool gallery of student portraits.



I love the simplicity of the photos, all the way down to the black and white images, very brief info, and the Helvetica font. (At least, I'm 99% sure it's Helvetica. I dabble in graphic design from time to time, and I'll never forget a lesson one of the actual graphic designers from the book publisher I used to work for taught me: even if you have no design skills at all (like me!), as long as you use just Helvetica and Helvetica bold in one or two font sizes, it will look good.)

Not surprisingly, these have generated lots of photo tags (probably the single best way to spread a page and its content to new audiences) and engagement... if there's one truism that I'll repeat til I'm blue in the face, it's this: college students love having their photos taken professionally. LOVE IT.

Together as a group, these photos do a really neat job of showing off the variety and diversity of the students and the campus, while telling just enough about the subjects that you can start to get a deeper understanding of what the school is about - where the students are from, what they study, what they are interested in, etc. These are very "current" feeling, and they lend a sense of coolness and hipness to UConn, which is always a good thing, in my opinion.


Best of all, a student (the obviously very talented Kat Connelly) is taking these photos. It's always great to tap into the vast resource that is the student population, and it inevitably makes the content more authentic - created by the audience it's intended to for the audience it's intended to.

It looks like they are planning on updating this gallery throughout the year, which I think is a terrific idea. With every photo posted, there is a prompt to contact the social media administrators if students would like to be featured, which I think is a smart way to make this project feel inclusive and accessible for everyone, even if no one ends up taking them up on the offer.

Overall, I think this is a cool and fresh way to feature students in a pretty simple way, and content like this is also very versatile - I could easily see these photos being used in a variety of capacities beyond Facebook and Instagram. 

So props, UConn, and especially to UConn student Kat Williams! 


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