UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

What’s up with UMB’s lack of social media presence?

Does the university need a stronger social media presence?



As a freshman or a transfer to a new school, the social media presence of that school is somewhat important. Even for returning students, keeping in the know via Twitter or Facebook is vital, especially when most of us are already plugged in to these social media sites. What are people writing on the Facebook wall? Are students engaging the school through Twitter? With the vibrant online culture we live in, a social media presence for everything, from businesses, churches, and individuals to presidential candidates, music and products, is a reality.

Now, let’s shine the spotlight on UMass Boston. Our social media presence is not quite up to par compared to other universities in the area.

For a university of 15,454 students (Fall 2010), our Facebook page has 6,631 likes and our Twitter handle, @UMassBoston, has 3,133 tweets and 4,366 followers. Other universities in the city of similar size blow us out of the water. Boston College, with an enrollment of 14,600 students (Fall 2012), has 53,036 likes on Facebook, has tweeted 9,945 tweets and has acquired 23,792 followers on Twitter.

For an institution smaller than ours, BC has the social media presence we can only dream of. Boston University has an enrollment of 33,683 students, a population double that of UMB. That university has 77,029 likes on Facebook, has tweeted 4,425 times and has 18,469 followers. Now that’s what I call a social media-friendly school.


Northeastern, on the other hand, has a similar number of students in attendance as UMB. For a Facebook page with 28,033 likes and 15,905 students occupying the campus, their Twitter account has tweeted a mere 2,385 times and has 7,594 followers. Not much in comparison to their Facebook page.


Why is it that other schools in the Boston area are on their best behavior when it comes to social media activity, and UMB isn’t? What makes us different? Are students running these pages? If not, why aren’t students, the ones who will probably know the most when it comes to social media, running these pages? That’s a perfect social media internship if I ever did see one.

All these questions (and more) run rampant in my mind as I think more deeply into the problem of our disconnected campus: Could it be because we are a commuter campus, thus the decreased need to know what’s happening on campus? No. Can’t be. For the most part, everyone on campus has a smart phone and a Facebook account; if not, then a Twitter handle.

After all is said and done, I want UMB to be more proactive on social media sites. I want the university to care about how my random Tuesday 11am class is going. I want them to care about what I ordered for lunch instead of only responding when someone mentions them on Twitter. I want more. I mean, think about it: Would it kill the Office of Communications to ask me how my day is going instead of reminding me about an event I have no interest in attending?