University News

University Snapchat account tells community stories

Office of Communications launches University Snapchat account for students, alums, visitors

By
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Brown students can now add a new friend on Snapchat: the University.

The Office of Communications introduced its own Snapchat account last month, giving current students, prospective students and alums a firsthand glimpse of life at Brown in micro-video form.

“Historically, user-generated video has been extremely difficult to acquire,” said John Murphy, social media specialist.

“Snapchat is revolutionizing the way that users generate content and the ways that users consume content — especially video content,” he said. “We need to engage audiences locally, nationally and globally using video.”

The University’s first Snapchat story was posted Thursday with the help of Julia Elia ’17, a social media intern for the Office of Communications. Approximately 800 people viewed the story, with 93 percent of viewers watching the entire two minutes.

“I was really surprised by how many people viewed it, which was awesome,” Elia said, adding that many of the viewers may have been prospective students and alums visiting campus, rather than current students.

While the account has only launched one Snapchat story so far, others will be posted soon, Elia said. Student group leaders can reach out to the Office of Communications’ web communications team about their events being featured on the account and “seen by not only people on campus, but also people who are beyond campus,” she said.

“We’re going to try and capture a lot of different kinds of aspects of what’s going on around campus,” she added.

In addition to watching stories filmed on campus, friends of the University’s account can also send in their own user-generated content from around the world, Murphy said. Many of these submissions are screenshots that the University shares on other social media accounts, such as its Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well, he said.

Several Brown community members have sent photos and videos from Brazil, Murphy said, adding that other snaps last week came from downtown Providence, New Hampshire, California and Poland. “In order to grow the account, our call to action is for students and Brown community members — both local and abroad — to submit videos,” he said.

To increase awareness about the account, Murphy has advertised on many of the University’s existing social media channels, including Instagram, Linkedin, Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter. He also tweeted the account’s QR code. “We’re starting to integrate ‘add us on Snapchat’ into all our existing communication channels to up our audience,” Murphy said.

Seven months ago, the University became one of the first schools to enable the Our Campus Story feature on Snapchat, which allowed those in the vicinity of campus to send and view video content. But Snapchat has since deactivated Brown’s Our Campus Story.

“I’m still reaching out to Brown alumni at Snapchat to get it back,” Murphy said. “I’ve also heard from other institutions that it’s been turned off there as well. One of the differences between (Our Campus Story) and owning an account was that the campus stories were so hyper-local that you could really only be on College Hill to submit.”

While awareness of the University’s Snapchat account is still spreading, students expressed positive reactions to the initiative.

Blair Langford ’17 said though she had not heard of the University’s account, she approved of the University’s effort to engage with new social media platforms.

“It’s a quick and easy way to promote school spirit,” Langford said. “I would definitely add Brown.”

  • John S Murphy

    Add brown-u on Snapchat and send in your most creative snaps!