CSU expands social networking efforts with YouTube

Clayton State University is joining the so-called "YouTube revolution," school officials have announced.

The school's Office of University Relations said it will begin using a Clayton State-specific channel, ClaytonSTNews, on the video-sharing social networking web site, www.youtube.com, to release school news.

The use of YouTube to distribute school news represents an expansion of the university's presence on the social networking web site arena. In addition to YouTube, Clayton State's Office of University Relations has also been on other social networking web sites, such as Twitter, and Facebook, for close to a year now.

John Shiffert, the director of university relations, said his office is using social networking web sites in an effort to bring awareness of the Morrow-based school to new, younger audiences who are still in high school, and are fully immersed in the social networking culture.

"I've been in public relations since 1974, and for most of that time the way you operated in public relations was you sent out news releases to TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers," Shiffert said. "But, none the less, times have changed in terms of how you get your information out to your audience ...

"People in the age group that we are targeting do use social media fairly regularly, so it's definitely something that we want to use more often," Shiffert added.

The internet plays a heavy role at Clayton State, because the school is a "digital campus," where wireless internet access is available virtually everywhere. Shiffert said being a "digital campus" also means all of the university's students are required to, at least, have access to a laptop computer, with internet access capabilities.

In addition to promoting the university, the school is also using social networking web sites to distribute news to students. During last month's snow storm, which shut the school down for a week, the university used its Twitter (@ claytonstnews) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Clayton-State-University/) pages to help notify students, faculty and staff about class cancellations.

Shiffert said the school wants to reach students directly with news. He added that, like potential students, current Clayton State pupils are becoming more reliant on social networking web sites to get their news. The university spokesman said his office has one part-time staff member whose primary job is to post school information on social networking web sites.

Although Clayton State now has a YouTube channel, it will likely be a slow launch on the video-sharing web site for now, according to Shiffert. The school's YouTube channel shows it was created on Oct. 18, 2010, but its first two videos did not show up until last week.

Shiffert said his office does not have the equipment to shoot, and edit videos, so his staff has to work with other departments at the school who do have the necessary equipment. Shiffert's office is also hampered the fact that two members of his small staff, including the university's official photographer, are currently on maternity leave.

"It's [posting videos regularly] something we want to move towards, but we don't have a target date, at this time, for when that will be," Shiffert said.

So far, the items posted to Clayton State's channel are a commercial for the university, and a piece promoting the school's matchup against Lander University in women's basketball. Within the first five days of being on YouTube, the videos had been viewed a total of 320 times.

Shiffert said the commercial was made last month, to run on television, when a women's basketball game was aired on the CBS College Sports network.

On the Net:

YouTube: www.youtube.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com