There are so many opportunities to use social media better at associations, and it's exciting to see how those outside of the association world are figuring it out .... like the MIT Admissions office ....
Check these out:
1. The right philosophy: "At MIT, we try to be as transparent as possible - so if you have a question, just ask." They are very clear about their entire admissions process, and encourage interaction with applicants. Associations need to figure out this same type of transparency.
2 "50 things" to learn while experiencing college. Really great advice -- even decades after college. My favorites - "5. Adjust your schedule around when you are most productive and creative. If you're nocturnal and do your best work late at night, embrace that. 7. At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying. 17. Working things out between friends is best done in person, not over email. (IM does not count as 'in person.') Often someone's facial expressions will tell you more than his/her words. 21. Welcome failure into your lives. It's how we grow. What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered."
3. Use your own voice. Always.
4. Give everyone a voice. MIT has sites for those who are accepted, wait listed and not accepted to post their thoughts. This one kid's response to receiving a rejection is classic:
"Dear MIT Committee Members: Thanks for your notification of March 15th. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your rejection at this time.
This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of schools, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals. Despite your outstanding record and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my current career needs.
Consequently, I will begin taking classes as a undergraduate student in your electrical engineering department. I look forward to seeing you then.
Best of luck in rejecting future applicants. Sincerely Yours, Anonymous #2"
5. There are creative ways to use technology. Look at questions one MIT alum said he'd like to ask prospective or newly admitted students. Can't we figure out how to integrate social media and technologies more too?
"Imagine you could have amazingly good interactive college content on your cell phone that guides you around where you go to school or are looking to go to college. What would that content be like? Who would be speaking? Where would it take you? (Research facility tours, architecture, nightlife guides, Greek system guides, dorm room tours, famous hacks?) What is your preferred way to the get the tour: on your smartphone (video streaming), Ipod (iTunes), rental device (information office), etc.? What do you think of the concept of the business? What specifically is good/bad about it from your perspective? "