I love communicating with students about their HBCU experiences, internships and college life on social media. The pride in these historical landmark institutions is very evident.
With all the talk about the value and relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, social media is breathing new life into many of these institutions. We all want our social media messages to be positive about these schools and the sustaining work taking place on many of the campuses. So many students in their anxiety to become a part of the legacy talk about their HBCU on social media at every chance they get.
For many of these students, they are the first in their families to go to college and for many others, they are the next in a long line of family members to attend HBCU’s. Whichever group you fall into, we are happy you have decided to add your story to the journey of these great institutions. We love that you want to lend your voice about your HBCU on social media to promote your campus, your school spirit and your excitement about becoming a part of a HBCU family.
As you do that, I want to encourage you to follow these guidelines as you talk about your HBCU on Social Media.
DO talk about your HBCU on Social Media this way
Do connect with people in your class. The Class of 2019 is already very connected to help and support each other through college. Although many who are hoping to be in the Class of 2019 won’t get there, this is just the reality of college wherever you go. However, many colleges are introducing new ways of helping students stay in college by staying connected with your HBCU cohort and helping to encourage each other to stay the course. Social media is a great way to do that.
Connect with offices, resources and staff on campus. Promote events and services such as Writing Centers, Career Centers and Student Government activities among your peers.
Use lists on Twitter to group organizations and resources that will help you finish college and transition into careers successfully. eg. List scholarship sources. Create your first list from my list of 25 Twitter Pages with Career Information for Diverse Students.
Give updates on live events on campus via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, You-Tube, Vines, Periscope or whatever you prefer. The more you share positive news about your HBCU on social media, the stronger your school’s brand will be and the more attractive to prospective students, scholarship donors and employers.
Brag about community involvement. America’s HBCU campuses have students that do more community service projects than other universities I know. Find causes you care about and introduce them to your campus community via social media.
DON’T talk about your HBCU on Social Media this way
If you are going to mention the name of your school in your social media bio – DO NOT add inappropriate photos or statements right next to the name of your university or in your timeline. So, you can’t be cussing and calling yourself a student at XYZ HBCU at the same time.
If you are enrolled at a school and yet you or others continue to speak badly about your school or your program, you are actually devaluing the power of your own college degree. Why would you undermine your own future? This is not a wise way to speak about your HBCU on social media.
Be careful what you confess on social media. Do not use your school name or logo in any way that will compromise or defame your institution.Remember that “HBCU” is an acronym that represents over 100 schools. It does not just represent your school. Therefore when you speak about HBCU’s or make blanket statements about #HBCUs you are speaking about over 100 schools that are all different. Just as we wouldn’t make negative statements about ALL Catholic universities, ALL Ivy League schools or ALL engineering schools, don’t make negative statements about ALL HBCUs.
The HBCU vs. PWI (Predominantly White Institution) is not a bandwagon you want to join. We should all be excited about the fact that an increasing number of diverse students are using their access to higher education to create options for themselves, their families and their communities. Many students do bachelors degree in a non-HBCU and graduate degrees at HBCU’s or vice-versa.
Know that your voice about your HBCU on social media is very, very powerful. What you say will be seen by other students exploring college, employers looking to hire college graduates and donors looking to donate scholarships. How you brand your school will have huge impact.
Your college years will be a time of great memories, hard work, personal challenges and you will be called on to make decisions all the time. Be wise about how you build up your own future by speaking positively about your HBCU on social media.