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Staying Connected: Groton’s Social Media

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Likes. Comments. Shares. We mention these words daily, if not hourly. Technology use is expected for the average Groton student. From getting assignments on MyGroton to posting about Dorm Olympics on our Snapchat stories, captioning “Beat St. Marks!” under Instagram posts or checking Facebook for pictures of Winter Formal. While scrolling down your Instagram feed, you may recognize the constant posts from Groton School’s Instagram – a picture of the JV boys soccer team or a particularly pleasant sunset.

Groton’s Instagram account, created in 2012,  is one of the five platforms the Communications Department uses for social media. The others: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the Groton School Alumni App. According to Director of Recent Alumni Relations Allison MacBride, using Instagram “creates a social media presence for the school that engages students, alumni, and parents.”

As of September 25, almost 3,000 people, from current students to parents of alumni, follow Groton’s official Instagram account. “Students love Instagram,” says Ms. MacBride. If follower numbers are any indication, she’s right. “I like how they engage students with the photos – almost all of the photographs are taken by students,” says Elizabeth Girian ’20. Calie Messina ’22, however, wishes posts highlighted “the academic [aspect] as much as the promotion of sports and extracurriculars.”

So, who runs these social media accounts? Much of the task falls to Director of Communications Gail Friedman. Her role, in her words, involves “overseeing social media efforts.” Ms. MacBride says that she works more with daily upkeep of the site while Ms. Friedman takes charge of news stories. Also on the team is Assistant Director of Communications Chris Temerson, who often photographs School events and assists in running Groton’s media outlets.

Potentially more important than social media engagement within the community, though, is engagement with School outsiders, such as prospective families who are unexposed to the ways of this school. When she was an applicant, Calie remembers the School’s social media well: “…the Instagram account made the school look much more appealing. I liked how the students appeared in almost all the photos on the Instagram.”

And yet not all have been swayed by social media. Recent graduate Carly Bowman ‘17 said that she does not use Groton’s accounts to stay connected with fellow alumni and the School. “You really just have to take it upon yourself to reach out and keep in touch with people there if you want to know what’s happening at Groton,” she said. (The School runs Facebook pages dedicated to certain forms and maintains a mobile application for alumni, which sends notifications of relevant upcoming Groton events and connects with sites such as LinkedIn.)

The concept of technology as a tool for communication among the masses allows platforms the room to expand and gain new uses. In the near future, Communications staff plan to use social media in a fundraising push under the hashtag #Give2Groton, says Ms. MacBride, with “focus on participation.” More generally, Ms. Friedman plans to “do more analysis and use social media more strategically. To make better use of video. To stay on top of new social options and determine if any are worth a school account.” With the constantly increasing popularity of social media application, the department can rely on past trends to make the future of communications even better.  

Groton is no stranger to changing times – after all, it’s been around for 133 years. The School strives to smoothly integrate new technology and techniques with the traditional, older culture that the institution was founded upon. As the influence of technology evolves, the web of complex connections expands further to reach more people. Regardless of the perspective, whether an applicant, a parent, student or alumni, social media will continue to serve its purpose of connecting the world.

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