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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Facebook should strengthen its student/alumni ties

For any facebook "old-timers" who joined the network in its infancy stages during 2005,we remember its main appeal: It reconnected us with many of the good college friends we lost touch with.
Obviously, the site's entire landscape changed two years later, when the general public was allowed to jump on the bandwagon. As a result, the current product is becoming less distinguishable from its main rival- Myspace- the site many of us wanted to avoid in the first place.
While Facebook is enjoying the surge in popularity, many users, myself included, aren't too thrilled with the new format.
How can Facebook appease its old core- the student and alumni users? Well, my suggestion is a renewed focus on college network connections. Sure,many of us moved on to our careers, but at least once a year, we consider a trip to homecoming, or , at larger state universities, a major sporting event, such as a basketball or football game.
The problem is, planning a trip is often trickier than it seems. For example, I was talking to an old college friend on facebook's chat,and we neither of us had much time to talk. I mentioned the possibility of going to homecoming or a game,and neither of us had an immediate reference point or schedule to plan around unless we opened a new window and started a search. Another example is
This is where Facebook could strike pay-dirt.

Now, I'm already aware that there are certain widgets and applications that can upload an NCAA basketball or football schedule,but, again, you have to search for it, add it, and hope your friends have it, or the ability to find it. My alma mater periodically sends postcards and emails regarding campus events such as homecoming or "Step sing", but those aren't in front of me when I'm catching up with an old friend for a few minutes on chat.

If every member of a college network was automatically given a universal calendar that was updated daily or weekly,it would streamline the reconnection and reunion process for users by removing the need to search for a third party application.

Facebook should partner with college activity councils/alumni clubs could create an app for each college network to keep every respective network member updated on upcoming events. You could test the app with all the schools in a particular region or conference, I.E.- all of the schools in the South Eastern Conference. If sponsors were needed, those could include surrounding hotels,restaurants,bars,etc. Each party involved has incentives to cooperate on development of this feature:

1. It would ensure that nobody is left out of the loop in a college's network

2. It could potentially boost ticket sales and attendance for college athletic departments, activity organizations and alumni organizations.

3. It could attract a new wave of users from alumni throughout the world.

By Matt O'Hern at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

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