The site, hosted on the Ning platform, has been up for three weeks. You’ll note that the site is residing on the university’s domain. We have only found a few other college/university social networks. Auburn’s is the only one we can find that is totally open to the public.
Coverage has been pretty good. The Associated Press and several state newspapers and TV stations have covered the site’s launch.
Students in PRCM 4020, PR Messages in Style & Design, are managing the site. Each student has complete administrator status. Every week, one group of students write features and create videos for the site.
As of this writing, Auburn Family has 1,324 members. Here’s a breakdown so far: 680 students (Auburn & high school), 78 parents, 453 alumni, 20 faculty, 58 staff, and 110 Friends of Auburn. Please note: the numbers overlap because now you may pick more than one designation. Also, answering this question was not required for half of the signups. So, we know – for example – that we have more than 78 parents. Many of the alumni, for instance, are also parents of students.
Here are three of the stories in state newspapers so far:
Why did I want to do this? It is the ultimate experiential learning experience. Well, one of them, at least. Considering that the university bought into all of our work over the past several years, I feel it serves to give a bit of validity to our classroom activities. The students are now getting to run a site for the university.
It isn’t hard to get the students excited about the exercise. They love their school and want to put their own best foot forward. It is content ripe for a student’s digital portfolio. Showing future employers that they have experience running a social network for such a large institution has its benefits, too.
I’m happy with the site’s progress. Looking forward to how it advances in the weeks to come.