“So, should we stay in touch?” A Plan to Build Community Using Social Media Among Alumni of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University
Keywords:social media, community building, community management, alumni relations, university communication, health communication, school of medicine,
Can a community be maintained or put back together when there is distance? Students of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine spend an intense three years together in its undergraduate program, and then they move on. However, universities, including McMaster, look to maintain rapport with alumni who often support their alma mater: Alumni often appreciate ties to the prestige of a high profile academic institution and to the memories of their time there. The new social media technologies appear to give the chance to maintain or even rebuild that engagement, but universities are stepping into the opportunities slowly. They are cautious because there is no wave of social media acceptance except, perhaps, for Facebook, and the costs of providing true two-way communications on a one-to-one basis is not in the budget. However, building on a survey of its market, this case study looks at using social media to start to build community among alumni of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.