The BC Social Media Council returned this semester with a full house and an hour packed with information.
The meeting kicked off with alumnus Tom O’Keefe, who explained that he is so identified with his brand that “my mom is the only one who doesn’t call me Boston Tweet.” A major influencer in Boston with more than 164,000 followers, Tom said his social media experience was bred from necessity when the stock market crashed and recession hit in 2008. At the time, Twitter was in its infancy and early adopters carved out niches long before industry brands adopted the medium. Tom found himself focused on his adopted city of Boston and affordable options for food and entertainment. That resonated with his demographic – college students and young professionals.
“I believe in and support local business. I’m the type of person who wants to know the bartender and recognize the owner when I go out to eat or drink. Especially in a city like Boston, there is an interconnected-ness,” said Tom. “At the time, in 2008, local businesses were suffering. I had lost everything. I started using Twitter as a way to share tips like where you could get a meal that filled you up all day. It’s a a powerful communication tool, it lends itself well to networking.”
As his Boston Tweet following grew, so too did the user expectations. Timeliness was and continues to be a challenge, he said.
“The best thing is the nonstop flow of information. And the worst thing is the nonstop flow of information,” Tom said. “It’s amazing that we’re at this place where we’re all journalists. We’re all responding in the moment to what is happening right int front of us.”
Tom has spun a business model from his Twitter prowess, and works with local and national companies to promote events, products and ideas. He also is the founder of Flutter, a concept that marries crowdsourcing and charitable giving.
Tom said what sets him apart from other personalities on Twitter is his continued focus on Boston exclusively, positivity and authenticity. “I know exactly who I am and what I believe in. My followers know who is behind the account. They value that transparency. And I always try to be positive and support local charities….within a character limit.”
BC Athletics Associate Director of Communications Lizz Summers gave a brief presentation on the new department website and a strategic shift from using the hashtag #WeAreBC to #BCEagles. Lizz said that considerable consideration was made into this decision. Although used for years as a hashtag to show BC pride, #WeAreBC is also used by groups from around the world, including high schools, competitions and, of course, British Columbia. Because Athletics’ messaging was becoming so diluted from non-BC community members, the shift was implemented on Aug. 1. Lizz asked all Council members to support the new hashtag, #BCEagles, if posting about Athletics’ events or programming.
Boston College Alumni Social Media Manager Cheryse Ong updated members about upcoming programming and the Office of International Programs asked Council members to support International Education Week (stay tuned on their Facebook page.)
Finally, the Council had a brief discussion on Periscope. Social Media Manager Melissa Beecher briefly talked about some experimentation News & Public Affairs is doing with campus tours and events. Athletics will be using Periscope for press conferences and BC Alumni is using the medium for campus events. We’ll be sure to continue discussions on this medium as more members start adopting, or are interested in learning more.
Our next Social Media Council Meeting is Dec. 9. What topics would you like to see covered?