Interview with Nicole Morell

March 9, 2015

Nicole Morell

Nicole Morell is the MIT Alumni Association’s social media community manager. She manages day-to-day social media and writes for the Slice of MIT blog. Nicole shares her insights into her favorite social network, as well as the challenges and successes she’s had on the job. 

What is your favorite social network and why?

My favorite network is Twitter. I feel like it really accomplishes what all social networks should—there’s low barrier to entry, it’s real time, and you can find your people or topics easily. Since Twitter moves so fast, I also feel like you can have a little more fun with it than something like Facebook. Every now and then I will slip a pun onto Twitter, or make sure to celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day—which actually had an alumni tie-in.

What’s most challenging about managing social media for your department?

It’s challenging to decide what to post and what not to. MIT alumni are doing amazing things all over the world, but we can’t possibly cover everything out there. I have to sort and share content to learn what will resonate with our audience.

How would you describe the content that does well with your audience? 

I’ve found that content that resonates with our audience represents what people love most about MIT: it’s unique, it produces leading research and technology, and it’s a place where alumni came of age.

Sometimes this content is as simple as a photo of the Student Center shared on Facebook that conjures up memories. Other times it’s more complex, like sharing the news of recent research findings related to epigenomic modifications. In the retweets of that story, it seemed that alumni were excited by both the research finding and the fact that it came out of MIT. Lastly, content that is quirky and unique resonates. Nothing brings out MIT pride like geeky pick-up lines or hacks found around campus.

What is a piece of content you published that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m proud of a post I wrote for the Alumni Assocation blog Slice of MIT called MIT’s Wettest Test. This post went into the details of MIT’s swim requirement.

I got the idea for this post from digging into old comments left on Slice. I noticed people mentioned the test and memories of it on a few old posts that weren’t even about the requirement. From these comments, it was obvious this is something that struck a chord with alumni, so I reached out to a few people for their memories and learned more about the test from people at DAPER. When I shared the completed blog post on Facebook and Twitter, more alumni shared memories of their test.

This felt like a success for a few reasons. First, I crowdsourced the material for the blog posts—it’s easy to identify what your audience is interested in when you ask them! Secondly, this post hit on one of those special MIT things that people remember and it got alumni to engage on Facebook and connect with one another as they shared their stories. Lastly, as long as MIT has this requirement, this story is evergreen, which is great for social.

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Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Former MIT Social Media Strategist

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