When Archival Services started posting on the UL Facebook page, they curated carefully researched articles on University history, personalities, or events drawn from our collections. They’ve covered past and present campus buildings, people such as John R. Buchtel and “Aunty” Brown, and events like May Day, Engineer’s Day or the 1894 Faculty vs Seniors baseball game. Now with the help of student assistant Natalie Mitchell, the posts appeal not only to the historically minded but also draw interest from current students, alumni, faculty, and staff attracting more viewers, more shares, and more engagement. Each #tbt (throwback Thursday) post is the most engaging content on our page- performing even better than our beloved therapy dogs!
Natalie talks about the process of preparing posts: “When writing Facebook posts, I attempt to find a theme that is either topical or novel in some way. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of highlighting how campus life has changed over the generations, particularly because I know current UA students get a kick out of seeing how style and activities have changed or what traditions have stayed the same throughout UA’s history, while former UA students seem to enjoy reminiscing about their college days. I usually settle on a theme by flipping through our Tel-Buch and University Photographs collections and noting photos that were taken during a particular event or time of year or feature certain activities which could be compiled into a post, but sometimes a certain series of photos will simply catch my eye as having something in common and I go from there. When assembling the post, I try to choose photographs that complement one another, have some level of visual cohesion, and represent our diverse student body.” Natalie’s post in May about graduation reached more than 12,000 people and had 492 reactions, comments, and shares.
The average post takes 3-8 hours to prepare including the selection of the topic and images, digitization and editing of the images for social media, as well as verifying facts and proofreading. All the hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. University marketing and social media units on campus are utilizing our visual resources and requesting additional supporting information.
Akron Alumn Eric Shawn Schweitzer commented, “I love seeing the old black and white photos of campus buildings long gone. I have three degrees from the University of Akron and was a student there from the Fall of 1990 through the Fall of 2000. It’s been some time since I’ve been on campus and boy has it changed. Looks good! I have always liked Bierce Library and thanks for showing so much of The University of Akron’s history!”
Thank you to the team at Archives for contributing to University Libraries Facebook page: Natalie Mitchell-Student Assistant, John Ball-Reference Archivist, Vic Fleischer-Head of Archival Services and Mark Bloom – Archives Associate Senior.