No matter if you are an administrator or student leader, your department or organization should have a blog. Listed below are 10 reasons your student affairs organization should have a blog.
1. Connection: Blogs extend your reach. Students are attracted to the way blogs disseminate information. They can quickly scan and get the information they need. Students can also “Like” or “Tweet” information, pictures, videos, or web links posted to your blog to all the people they are connected with. This sharing of your groups information really helps to extend your mission to a larger audience. Don’t forget PARENTS! Your parents will also find your organizational blog a beneficial way to stay connected.
2. Current Information: By blogging you are getting your students the most current information instantly. There is plenty of information you need to get your students quickly that could be educational, informative, imperative, or just plain fun.
Flood or loss of power? Post procedures and links to campus and town safety resources. Program this week? Post details to publicize and generate excitement. Afterwards, summarize the program and allow for extended learning and discussion. Your Greek Organization is volunteering? Post your blog reminders and updates. Take video or pictures during the event and post on your blog after the event.
3. Support: Through your blog your students will have access to helpful information 24/7. One part of your blog is the blog itself. There is also a “website” portion where you can add pages just like you would to a traditional website. Your pages contain your permanent information such as links to campus website, off-campus resources, student code of conduct, check in/out procedures, how to’s, do’s and don’ts, staff pictures and bios, and much more. Standard information that students need access to can be posted to the mainly static pages and the new, timely information will post to your blog on a regular basis. Blogs also allow for comments. This is another way that a student can approach your organization for assistance. Just be certain to return comments in a timely manner.
4. Engagement: Blogs are interactive and engaging to your students! Your blog can be full of pictures, videos, polls, comments, twitter feed, web links, and posting buttons for other types of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
5. Exchange: Blogs are very useful in soliciting feedback. Blog comments and polls are very valuable in extending conversation between staff and students, students and students, or your organization and its broader world audience.
Of course kudos and positive comments are always welcome. The challenging and most beneficial comments can be those that are contrary, critical, or unfounded. If you take things too personally you might consider these to be “bad” comments. But there are no bad comments, just good conversation. Often a “bad” comment can come from a student that has a need or may feel slighted in some way. The way a blogger replies to comments can help shape opinions, educate, and diffuse situations. Opportunities can spawn from blog comments like connections made, problems solved, face-to-face interactions created, and educational moments.
6. Scheduling: A blog that is updated with events, calendars, agendas, contests, and promotions will keep your students informed of what is going on in your residence hall, department, club or organization.
7. Predictability: When you update your blog daily, weekly, or on a routine basis, your students will know how and when to expect information.
8. Human Touch: Your blog will bring a personal nature to your technological web presence. Blogs are conversational and less formal in how information is presented. There can be a sense of fun with a blog, and it provides a “human touch” to an increasingly technologically-oriented student.
9. Assessment: Your organizational blog is an informal tool to assess what your students are learning, what goals are being met, and what changes you need to make. You can use comments and quick polls to gauge what students are learning from programs or other educational initiatives. If you use a free WordPress blog format such as this one, (StudentLifeGuru.com) you can track the effectiveness of your blog through statistics, track backs, and search terms.
10. Eco-Friendly: Yes, it is time to kiss that monthly paper newsletter good-bye! Go green! Save some trees and start a blog for your organization.
Are you already blogging for your organization? What suggestions would you add to this top ten list to encourage others to begin a blog for their area? Have you received similar results from your blogging experiences?