Alaina Wiens is the Web Content Strategist at the University of Michigan-Flint, where she works to ensure the university’s story is told effectively through the web and social channels. She helps departments across campus think strategically about their online communication, and is project manager for large-scale web projects within University Relations. Alaina is also the “driver” of #strategycar, a weekly Twitter chat designed to encourage strategic discussion and brainstorming for higher education professionals.
It seems not long ago that I left behind the world of special events and entered the realm of social media, even though it’s been over five years. After more than a decade of work in event planning, donor relations, writing, and marketing inside and out of higher education, I was given a new direction. While a total shift in career focus might unsettle some, it’s exactly this sort of challenge that I enjoy most. Give me something new to learn, let me create a plan or implement a strategy, and watch me go. Whether the result is success or failure, the opportunity to explore and try new things is essential to my professional and personal growth.
I quickly learned that web and social media are evolving, interactive, living things that allow brand new kinds of connection. This girl who spent so many hours on message boards in the early 2000s is now spending even more hours online, doing all that she can to listen. We who integrate web and social media with marketing have an uncommon vantage point from within the communities we aim to reach—and an obligation, I think, to ensure that the voices of those communities are heard. This is the beauty, really. We all get to be heard. Communication as we know it will never be the same. Every one of us in this field has the chance to be on the cutting edge of new applications and technologies that are emerging and developing every day. And this work is so important.
My current professional purview lies within higher education, where I am the web content strategist for a public university. There is always something new to learn and share about social media, web, and marketing as they relate to higher education and the world at large. This is my contribution to the conversation.