Putting Education Reform To The Test

How Instagram Allows University of Florida Alumni To Relive The Good Old Days (And Give Money)

UFlorida / Instagram

An Instagram shot of a television studio posted by the University of Florida.

The University of Florida is using the faux-nostalgic Instagram photography app to foster relationships with nostalgia-seeking alumni, according to a story in U.S.News & World Report.

Instagram is a social networking site designed to share photos. The app allows smart phone users to apply filters to their shots and digitally imitate gauzy or sepia-toned photos that used to take professional equipment or processing skills

School are using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to engage students and alumni and foster a community.

When the university asked followers what they wanted to see, university social media director Bruce Floyd said users wanted two kinds of shots:

“What we heard from them is that they want behind-the-scenes images,” he notes. “They want to see parts of Florida that people don’t normally get to see.”

Since receiving responses, the university has posted more exclusive-access images, such as a photo during a class lecture, an image inside a university television station, and a point-of-view photograph from the podium at the university commencement ceremonies.

Alumni also sent feedback, requesting photos that would spark nostalgia, Floyd says. To fulfill this request, Instagram offers filters to alter and enhance an image, many of which can mimic the style or appearance of a photograph that may have been taken years earlier.

“Our alumni may not have seen [the] campus for 10 or 20 years, and by presenting something that’s presented like a Polaroid, it creates an even more interesting connection,” he says. “They’re nostalgic, and then they see something that is presented in a way that is nostalgic.”

The bottom line for college and university social media? The bottom line of course. The more schools connect with students and alumni, they said, the more likely they are to donate to the school.


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