Saturday, July 31, 2010

Virtual window to B-school life

‘Another Batch passes out... Adieu PGP12’... or ‘Fresh blood on campus | All PGP1s have reached campus and registered themselves’. For most laypersons, these words may appear gibberish. B-school students, however, hang on to these words since they reveal the happenings on campuses and much more.

From blogging to micro-blogging sites like Twitter, social media has become an integral part of business schools (B-schools) as they attempt to pass on a sense of being part of a community to incoming students.
Take, for instance, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode ((IIM-K) which believes in pioneering technology applications into its domain and connect with a wider community. “For us, Twitter does not replace blogs. Micro-blogging is about sharing quick and short messages which may lead interested audiences to detailed blogs. Also, we believe in keeping pace with the audience — if aspiring students, busy executives and alumni want short updates on the activities of the institute, we must address that need. Twitter is one such tool to connect with the community,” says Keyoor Purani, Associate Professor- Marketing Area at IIM-K.

The institute shares student activities, placements, academic events, conferences, seminars, faculty achievements, research reports — just about everything it thinks would interest its stakeholders. Apart from tweeting, students also blog on their portal — IIMKlive. Public forums are also popular among students who update developments. The alumni community prefers to keep in touch with their alma mater through Yahoo or Google groups. Facebook and Orkut are also widely used for related discussions and event updates.

“In light of activities that unfold every other day, social networking tools which help share quick information such as Twitter become inevitable to keep the interest groups abreast of all the action at the campus. Having a Twitter account is part of the hi-tech, hi-touch value that is part of our DNA. This is a students’ initiative supported by the institute,” adds Purani.

Similarly, IIM Lucknow (IIM-L) shares details about the visits by eminent leaders from the industry and major events happening on campus. “Twitter being a microblogging website helps people outside IIM-L follow the latest happenings on the campus. The idea was to provide a window for IIM-L to the alumni, prospective and current students, media and industry people. While Twitter cannot describe the event in detail, it can be used in coordination with a blog to provide a window into life at IIM-L,” says Anshul Aggarwal, spokesperson, Media Relations Committee at IIM-L.

It has been over a year since Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon, too, is on Twitter. The institute has two Twitter accounts — one for reporting formal events and media links for the current students and other B-schools and another to interact with alumni and internal stakeholders.

“We tweet about all big events and interact with other business schools on our formal account, which is MDI Gurgaon account and the other — Mandevians is followed by alumni and other internal stake holders. Social media helps students be updated about everything happening at their own and other business schools. We know whatever is happening at other B-schools through their tweets, for instance, the recent blood donation camp at IIM-A or knowing about what ISB did today,” says Piyush Jain from the corporate communication cell at MDI Gurgaon.

The B-school is also present on Facebook and plans to link it to the Twitter account. “We are also planning to have a YouTube channel soon where we will put up videos. We are also on LinkedIn and manage a Wikipedia,” Jain adds.

For B-schools, Twitter also serves the purpose of broadcasting social messages such as “So and so at IIM-A donates blood for the 100th time” or even posting official releases on the social networking website.

The IIM-A twitter account is run by the students’ Media Cell at IIM-A. It was started last year to give out information regarding the events/activities which take place at campus. Over the year, information about cultural events, academic activities, CAT result, etc have been posted.

“We also have our own blog — www.insideiima.

wordpress.org. But not all activities/events can be blogged about. The advantage with twitter is that tweets are short messages which can be typed out quickly and sent. This makes it much easier to connect to the outside world,” says Glen D’Silva, Secretary, Media Cell 2010-11, Member, Students’ Affairs Council at IIM-A. The B-school also put up tweets about everyday life at IIM-A. Currently the IIM-A twitter account has approx 2,500 followers.

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