Shipley joins instagram

Rutth Mercado

Screen shot from Midwestern State's President Suzanne Shipley's Instagram profile.
Screen shot from University President Suzanne Shipley’s Instagram profile.

#FollowTheLeader -literally. This semester, Social media novice and University president Suzanne Shipley joined the Instagram community with four Instagram posts and 52 followers in just a few short weeks. 

Shipley, said, “I don’t have the photo talents, but to me it’s a non planned, spur-of-the-moment opportunity to connect with students.”

Daniel Zaiontz, #FollowTheLeader author, said Social-media outlets offer leaders the opportunity to be a “living and breathing” model of a college’s story. They provide a format that connects with students and other audiences instantly, often far beyond the reach of the physical campus or other media in an interview with The Chronicle.

Shipley also joined twitter last fall, and has 367 followers.

More than half of American college presidents have Social media (Twitter or Facebook) accounts, according to a 2013 study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts.

Kenadi Campbell, computer science sophomore, said, “She’s keeping up with the times, and it just makes her seem more relatable as a president.”

Presidents are using Twitter as a tool to recruit students who these days use social media as their main form of communication and interaction.

Emily Richburg, fine arts sophomore, said, “it’s nice to know that she cares about that aspect of our lives. We constantly hear how social media is controlling us, and instead of agreeing, she is finding a way to use it to connect with us. She’s making it personal, which is pretty cool.”

Shipley said she thought social media and the phone divided us and distracted us from each other, but in fact the phone allows her to break through resistance that someone might have towards her. 

It’s really an access tool, because otherwise I’m going up to people and introducing myself, and they don’t know who I am, and they don’t really care. But if they see me on social media, it’s like they know exactly who I am. And it’s important for students to know who their president is, if you need something. So I have found it a really great tool to build connections,” said, Shipley.

Students engage on several social media platforms. Sometimes out of boredom, sometimes for a good laugh and sometimes to find out things that are going on around them. The Midwestern State Instagram alone has 2,473 followers.

AJ Lopez III, social media coordinator, said, “We share information differently on all the social medias. Facebook is geared towards more alumni and family. Twitter is geared towards more event stuff and is more of a customer service platform. Instagram is more of the lifestyle of the university, and then, Snapchat is still evolving, but it’s a combination of more personal narratives and information.”

 Lopez, also enjoys when the students take the pictures.  He said he loves it when students put their stuff out.

“That’s the contrast between us and other universities and what they do, because we like putting out what the students see as a university. Social media is about having fun. Yes, we want to convey a message out there, but we can have fun with it. That’s why the students use social media, because it is fun, so we use it the same exact way. It’s easier to relate something with humor.” 

Other Texas University presidents on social media include:

On Twitter:
Followers: 9,700+

On Twitter:
Followers: 26,000+

“It’s refreshing, because she’s trying to connect to her students through social media, which most of us are on. I’m sure not many administrators take time out of their day like that. I’d like to see her post what’s going on at Midwestern, her interests and her favorite parts of the school.” said, Elizabeth Barcenas Mejia, nursing sophomore.

Over half of college presidents studied by the the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research,are posting on Facebook (58%) and tweeting (55%), while 35% host their own blog.

Victoria Estrada, education major, says Shipley having an instagram will help her keep in touch with the students on campus.


Shipley's Instagram


Check out the rest of the series:

Social media is more than retweets and friend counts

Coordinator: ‘We try to be ahead of everything’

Digital presence can make, break job searches

Networking: If You’re Not Doing It, You Should Be

Social Media: Be mindful of what you post

Build a positive social media presence