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Why A Strategy?

The online world is growing -- and changing -- with lightning pace. At any given time, many new and currently popular methods for information distribution will be gone within two years of creation. So while names such as Facebook and Twitter dominate today's social landscape, Princeton University must be able to leverage these current outlets while also having a clear vision for engaging new audiences through new social media outlets and tools.

Through the strategic use of social media, the University can explore opportunities to encourage active participation and connection to Princeton. Traditional information distribution methods do not typically reach audiences in ways that elicit a particular response or behavior, but social media are, by definition, interactive. With clearly defined goals and wisely chosen tools, the University not only can reach new audiences, it can truly engage them.

To maintain the University's reputation of excellence, Princeton's many separate departments and offices should work in concert to communicate to the University's various constituencies about Princeton's quality faculty and students; endeavors in research and innovation; service efforts and engagement; and ability to shape the national and international dialogue on policy issues.

Through collaborative efforts, departments can take advantage of current and new platforms while maintaining the ability to adjust when older platforms fall out of favor. A defined strategy will allow the many units across the University to learn from best practices in the constantly evolving social media landscape, and to avoid common pitfalls along the way. This strategy will allow departments to avoid the risk of messages being lost in the current migration away from traditional information outlets.

This strategy document provides the general guidance each department or program should consider before embarking on a social media effort, as well as throughout the life of that effort. While there is a benefit for any unit that uses social media, working without a strategy and a clearly defined goal also can be detrimental, leading to issues such as loss of confidence in the unit.

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