Great Social Media Idea: Fighting Back

Yes, yes, I'm fully aware that yesterday was April Fool's Day and there are tons of great examples from the higher ed world of April Fool's pranks, but....... April Fool's isn't really my thing, and so many people have already put together lists of great April Fool's examples that I think I'm just going to defer to the people who beat me to the punch. OK? OK!

Instead, I'm going to go totally left-field here and feature something that completely jumped out at me while browsing through all the #hesm posts today: This blunt and forceful response by Goshen College to a college ranking that made the school look bad. Talk about coming out swinging... if nothing else, I admire the chutzpah to tackle the ranking head on.

Gutsy for sure, especially the call for alumni to chime in and comment on their thoughts about the ROI of a degree from Goshen. Not surprisingly, thus far their community has come through in spades, with lots of supportive comments about how great their college experience was and how they are very proud of their alma mater.

As someone whose main job description is media relations and PR (though, to be honest, I do less of that these days than I used to), I'm pretty sure that had I been faced with a situation like this, my first instinct would have been to just be quiet about it and only respond if and when it seemed necessary, ideally in non-public settings like private emails/phone calls/meetings. The reason being that by responding you could end up exposing a lot more people to the initial news item that caused the issue than would have otherwise seen if had you just laid low instead. Of course every situation has its own unique circumstances, but this is pretty basic PR strategy. 

However, as Goshen shows with this example, if you feel confident enough in how your community will react to an unfavorable news item and you aren't concerned about exposing it to a wider audience, sometimes offense can be the best defense. It's risky, but with risk can come great rewards... or with great power comes great responsibilities... or something like that.

Anyway, examples like this are definite food for thought - all of us are sometimes faced with unfavorable news items, and there are lots of different ways to deal with them. Here's one way, and it seems to have worked out well for Goshen so far.

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Quick note before I sign off - Many thanks to all of you for making March a banner month for the blog... even with me slacking off for a while in the middle of the month, I still set records for unique viewers. My audience may be very (very!) small, but I can't say enough how much I appreciate everyone who stops by this little corner of the internet. 


Music at Midweek: Magnetic Fields

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