By Adam Rubenfire, Daily News Editor
Published July 1, 2012
Four months after the University hired Social Media Director Jordan Miller, she’s launched what is thought to be a one-of-a-kind social media platform among American universities.
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Miller recently launched @UmichStudents, a Twitter account that will be hosted by a new University student every week.
With @UmichStudents, Miller wanted to ensure not only that the administration’s message was injected into the Twitterverse, but also that of the University’s students.
“We exist for our students and because of our students, and we need to give our students a voice the same way that we do (administrators),” Miller said. “You shouldn’t hear only from the administration — you should hear right from the students.”
Miller said the idea for the account was hatched from a meeting between Lisa Rudgers, the University’s vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives; several Twitter executives including Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who is a University alum, and herself.
Though administrators expressed no problems with the idea, Miller said some Twitter users were concerned that giving students an open microphone could lead to image problems for the University, similar to issues the Swedish government had with its similar @sweden account.
Miller emphasized that the account is intended for students to have the freedom to tweet about their experiences at Michigan but acknowledged that it will be monitored for inappropriate or profane tweets.
“I don’t know why we have this assumption that we’re going to put them on a pulpit and they’re going to do foolish things,” Miller said. “I think (with) our students, you put them on a pulpit and they really say great things.”
Miller’s inaugural Tweeter on @UmichStudents was her summer intern, LSA senior Taylor Davis.
Davis said that it was exciting to be the first user on the account. She added that it was empowering to be able to engage with followers about the University and echoed Miller’s idea that University students won’t want to tarnish the University’s reputation.
“For the most part, especially at Michigan, students are really proud to attend here … and want to represent the University in the best light,” Davis said.
Davis added that she and Miller agreed students should feel free to tweet about their concerns and how to improve campus life.
LSA senior Mark Chou tweeted for the account last week. Like Davis, he said what he enjoyed most was the power of the account to engage with individuals about the University.
“I just loved talking about Michigan and hearing (others’) own experiences and offering my perspective on Michigan and the life of a student,” Chou said.
Chou tweeted often about the Development Summer Internship Program, which he is a participant of. Tweeting about D-SIP even got the attention of Athletic Director David Brandon.
So far, the account has reached more than 580 followers in just one week of existence. Miller said she attributes the success to the talent behind the account.
“Taylor and Mark have both been incredible,” Miller said. “Honestly, I couldn’t have asked — or prayed — for better people. But it kind of proves this point I have — we talk about being (the) leaders and best, and our students really are the leaders and best.”
Miller said student demand to tweet on the account is high. She currently encourages anyone who’s interested in tweeting on the account to direct message or tweet @UmichStudents.
Business junior Maggie Chang will be taking the reins of the account this week.