Monday 13 April 2015 1:55pm
The University’s new Social Media Adviser Susan Baxter is very positive about the power of social media to connect Otago to the rest of the world.
Dr Baxter, who holds a PhD from the Physiotherapy School at Otago, started in the newly created role in March.
“It’s so exciting,” she says. “What I love is that everyone I talk to has a different background and different ideas about how they will use social media to promote their departments.
“We are a remote university on the world stage, but we can use social media to connect with people out there. For example, research has shown that Twitter is changing the way people cite research. New research is getting more citations if it is in the social scene.”
Manager of Web Services Francis Till emphasises the growing importance of social media as a communication channel.
"We are a remote university on the world stage, but we can use social media to connect with people out there."
“While the University has already embraced multiple platforms, it has yet to develop a coherent plan for achieving the best possible results. The social media adviser will be a key player in developing that plan.”
The University already posts to its Facebook account and Twitter. Dr Baxter intends to increase the frequency and communication of events, news and research from the University, and she has now set up a University account on Instagram.
As well as posting on these sites Dr Baxter will also work with Departments on their social media strategies.
“For example the Neuroscience programme doesn’t have a departmental base and wants to use it to connect its students and give them a sense of belonging. Law wants to use it to connect current students and staff with graduates.”
Susan Baxter graduates with her University of Otago PhD in May. She studied in the Schools of Physiotherapy and Medicine and Department of Psychology looking at overcoming barriers to physical activity and facilitating exercise for people with chronic illness.
"When it comes to Facebook alone, she’s already identified over 75 accounts that are associated in some way with the University and she’s currently meeting individually with all of those account holders to help them achieve their goals."
A self-confessed “health and fitness nerd” she uses various platforms to promote her work as a health and fitness ambassador.
“I look at the myths and misconceptions out there about health and fitness,” she says. “There is so much incorrect information out there that it is not surprising that people draw the wrong conclusions. I use my science background and University of Otago training to question and investigate everything I read and then try to share correct information with people via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
This experience and her “almost boundless enthusiasm” stand her in good stead in the new role, Mr Till says.
“When it comes to Facebook alone, she’s already identified over 75 accounts that are associated in some way with the University and she’s currently meeting individually with all of those account holders to help them achieve their goals. She’ll also be reaching out to Twitter and Instagram account holders in the near future – and she’ll be running a special Web Services social media conference in May.”
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