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News > Best Practices > Plant yourself in their hearts. A #HigherEdSocial story about growth and intention.

Plant yourself in their hearts. A #HigherEdSocial story about growth and intention.

Plant yourself in their hearts. A #HigherEdSocial story about growth and intention.

When I tell people, I have an M.Ed. in higher education, I often get two things: a polite head tilt and then a follow up question. So, is this even what you want to do?

For some reason, my degree and current position don’t appear to mesh on the surface. It’s interesting how once you’re sitting behind the screen, you can suddenly feel lightyears away from any student lifeform. In my last role, which I held for 4.5 years, I worked in student activities. Depending on the day you ask me, I might tell you that all of the daily fires prepared me for anything – or –more often, that eventually, those same fires consumed me. With my educational and professional background, something that is always salient to me is that we do work for students.

While it is not my job anymore to listen to frustrated relationship problems, explanations for failing grades at midterm, or to beg my student worker to please, please clean out the popcorn machine to avoid health code violations – I still consider myself someone who works for students (along with the rest of our university community). Now, I can legitimately put Instagram in my “Productivity” folder on my iPhone and not feel as though I’m living a lie. One thing I have adapted to is that working as the face of a university account nearing 50k followers means you are not everyone’s best friend all the time.

Once, you were the person students ran to with their successes, and now you shake when you see the @ symbol next to your handle. But hope is not lost. It’s those posts packed with school pride that get you through to the next day. Its alumni chiming in on those photos laced with nostalgia. Nothing can make your heart skip a beat better than when your posts get organic engagement from your university community. It’s a sense of pride when someone emotionally connects to your work. As someone who gets excited over font types, you can imagine that I’m living my best life by using stories to instill pride throughout a university.

While on the surface it may seem that our positions are removed or distant, I would argue we couldn’t be closer. Our accounts feed their screens around the clock. We’re there to tell the great stories that remind them why they’re here, why they love our campus, faculty, or programs. We’re diving straight to their hearts and minds, especially when we post that perfect dog photo.

To answer some who have questioned, yes. A hundred times yes, this is what I love to do. You can catch me carefully crafting posts down to the last hashtag for as long as they’ll let me.

About the Author: Katie Johnstone is a Social Media Specialist for the Office of University Communications at the University of Pittsburgh. She previously worked as a Student Development Specialist at the Community College of Allegheny County. When she’s not working, she is smothering her dog, Maggie, with love and attention. In her free time, she can be found re-watching The Office, Parks and Recreation, or Friends. She lives in Pittsburgh with her boyfriend, dog, and many plants. Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook

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