Campus News

Bethel College snaps its way onto students’ phones

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8 seconds, and it’s gone. This is the world we all know as Snapchat, and Bethel has jumped on the here-and-gone bandwagon with its very own Snapchat story.

Jessica Fuller, coordinator of Bethel’s summer LEAD teams and social media coordinator, said that she felt that Snapchat was a good choice for Bethel because she felt Bethel needed a platform to engage current students. Snapchat is quite popular among students, so it seemed a good fit. “My goal for it is to be a platform where students can go to learn what's happening on campus,” said Fuller, “(where) they can interact with one another. We're doing Takeover Tuesday, so every Tuesday, I'm hoping, there'll be a student or a faculty member or staff member who will take over Bethel's Snapchat for the day, (and we) can kind of see… a day in the life of other students, to have fun contests on Fridays, (and) to engage students.” The Snapchat account is barely two weeks old, but Fuller said it already has over 180 followers with regular views topping 150 each story. Fuller’s social media coordinator position is actually brand new this year, and falls under the jurisdiction of the traditional enrollment office. The Snapchat is actually meant to serve two purposes: keeping current students up-to-date on what’s going on, and giving prospective students a look at life at Bethel before they’re enrolled. “We use it as a marketing piece for our prospective students,” said Fuller, “but there's a lot of crossover, because what is happening within our current student life is what our prospective students want to see. So that's why we're using it in both capacities.” Fuller has a plan laid out for the story: each day of the week will have its own theme. Mondays will be updating the community on events. Tuesdays will be known as “Takeover Tuesdays,” which means, as stated before, a student, staff, or faculty member will “take over” the official Snapchat story and show a little of their life at Bethel. (Interested students can apply to “take over” at Wednesdays or Thursdays will simply be random tidbits about Bethel. Recently Fuller did a story showcasing the theatre department costume shop in the lower level of the Everest-Rohrer auditorium. Finally, Fridays will be for contests students can enter via Snapchat. “That's the plan right now,” said Fuller. “It may evolve and change as needs and, you know, our audience changes.” Fuller said she also plans to give Bethel a stronger overall social media presence. “So we're hoping to post more on Facebook, post more on Instagram,” she said. “More than just the basic press releases, more than just the basic reminders of deadlines, but just a lot of what's happening on campus, a lot of things that maybe people don't necessarily know about, and just promoting the college across campus.” I asked Fuller if she feels that students are actually interested in Bethel’s foray into Snapchat or if the follower numbers are just that: numbers. “It's hard to tell if people are interested in it or not,” she said. “(I) would be curious to know if there's any chatter on campus around it.” Fuller went on, “We're still gaining followers every day, to me that says that people are interested in it. Monday's story…got quite a few screenshots, so that tells me people are interested in what we're posting, because they're screenshotting it and wanting to know what's going on, so...and then the contests that we are doing on Fridays, people are entering those, so it tells me that people are watching and wanting to engage in those.” So Bethel has officially joined the ever-changing world of Snapchat. Is it something students will actually use, or is it just another story to click through without really looking? Only the ticking of the Snapchat timer will tell.
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