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New ‘BC Social’ Site Launched

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By Office of News & Public Affairs |

Published: Sept. 5, 2013

This week, Boston College launched BC Social, a fully integrated convergence site that brings together the best social media from across the University.

Commonly known as a "mashup page," BC Social aims to highlight posts, videos, tweets and pins from multiple divisions and departments. Managed by the Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs and developed and designed by Web Technology Group within Information Technology Services, the site is the first of its kind at BC, publishing multiple users' updates from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Visitors can navigate through a social media directory, see active social media campaigns and discover featured members of BC's Social Media Council.

The site boasts a fully responsive design and all content can be viewed on desktops, tablets and all smartphones.

"BC Social offers real-time updates through the BC Social Stream, while providing a comprehensive look at all social media activity at Boston College," said Director of News & Public Affairs Jack Dunn. "It offers students, faculty, parents and prospective students a single point for interaction with the University's official channels."

"The Social media mashup page needed to work on many different devices," explained Web Support Manager Scott Olivieri. "Lead designer Mikal Morello implemented what's known as 'responsive design', a technique in which the elements of the page are adjusted – on the fly — based on the browser window size. It essentially involves creating three separate designs — for desktop computers, tablets and phones -- combining them into a single page, and writing code that checks the screen resolution and tells the browser which version of the page to display. This approach enhances the user experience and enables us to deploy a single code base that meets the needs of desktop and mobile users."

BC Social is just the latest social media achievement for Boston College. Over the summer, the University was recognized 16th in the nation -- fifth among mid-sized schools -- on Enterasys' Top 100 Best and Most Collaborative US Colleges. Nitogram named BC's Instagram account number one in the country and Future Index recognized the Boston College Social Media Council among five most innovative practices in the industry.

In addition to BC Social, the Division of Student Affairs recently launched The BC Beat, a social aggregator that culls the best of its 12 departments. Also designed and developed by the ITS Web Technology Group, the site offers a student-centric focus of social media on campus.

"We are always seeking ways to improve the channels, to provide a better experience for our audiences, and we believe that this convergence site will make it much easier for users to learn about and locate BC's social offerings," said News & Public Affairs Deputy Director and Social Media Council Co-Chair Patricia Delaney.

"Social media can be overwhelming and intimidating for those unfamiliar with how to use the platforms," said University Social Media Manager and Social Media Council Co-Chair Melissa Beecher. "It can also be difficult for a department or institution to distinguish itself and be heard above the noise and constant stream of information. The goal of BC Social is to assist both of those audiences to find a meaningful way to engage with Boston College.

"Boston College has found great success in engaging with our internal and external community. We hope this is yet another resource for them," said Beecher.

The site also aims to help social media practitioners across campus, linking to the University's social media guidelines, hashtag guide and Social Media Council blog.

"We understand that many people across campus are using social media, in addition to all their other responsibilities. We hope that this page can offer them support and guidance when starting or maintaining an account on behalf of BC," said Beecher.

ITS Designer Kul Thapa contributed to the project, while David Lewis performed quality assurance testing and Ramiro Oliva provided technical assistance.

For more on BC Social, see www.bc.edu/social or email social@bc.edu