CORRECTION: The following article has been updated to reflect that Donna Talarico taught at Wilkes University after receiving her M.F.A., not while attending the University, like the printed version incorrectly stated. We apologize for the error.
Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are some of the latest social media sites that millions of people utilize every day. Ever wanted to have a job that consists of updating a social media page? Donna Talarico, Elizabethtown College’s integrated marketing manager, does just that.
Since she started working for the Office of Marketing and Communications in August 2010, Talarico updates the College’s social media accounts, is a web content editor for the College’s website and assists people who want to understand how social media works.
Last Tuesday, students, faculty and staff attended Talarico’s seminar on social media. She explained how social media has increased with the technology at our disposal and how social media has been able to increase communication between the College and its students as well as prospective students who wish to learn more about Etown.
Before the presentation began, Talarico stated that statistically, people check their phones every few minutes for updates or text messages.
During the presentation, attendees seemed surprised by the extent at which social media has taken over some forms of communication. At the end of the presentation, some of the questions that were asked were how Facebook’s timeline and privacy settings work so users can enjoy some of the benefits that social media offers.
Talarico attended Wilkes University but left to pursue other opportunities in radio. During her time working, she realized she enjoyed writing, technology and higher education. Talarico currently runs her own online literary magazine, Hippocampus, which is a medium for creative nonfiction.
Talarico later returned to Wilkes to finish her undergraduate degree in communication studies. She obtained an M.F.A. in creative writing, and later worked as an adjunct professor at the school.
Talarico was searching for a job that would give her something “different everyday,” and the position of integrating marketing manager does just that. “Selling Elizabethtown” is what Talarico does and she has been successful in doing so, as evidenced by the growing popularity of the College’s social media. Since her arrival, the College’s Facebook page has increased from 2,000 likes to over 5,100.
This creates more conversation and allows people to talk about the College in a way that attracts prospective students. “It is about making the College comfortable,” Talarico said.
With social media, there is praise as well as criticism, and Talarico explained that, when answering complaints or questions, the most important part is to take a step back from negative comments because emotions may play a role in a quick response. Talarico advises “not responding immediately.”
She acknowledges the complaint, does some investigating and then brings the complaint to the attention of the department that has the most knowledge of the situation at hand. Once she obtains the information, she then responds so that the complaint or query is taken care of in the quickest and most efficient manner.
Talarico also believes that the members of a page serve as individual ambassadors and defend the reputation of the College if someone has a problem or complaint. “The page polices itself,” Talarico said.
Talarico enjoys the interaction that social media brings. Although some people think that social media has constricted real conversation, she believes that social media has brought us closer. An example would be an incoming class using social media to meet one another so that once they come to school, the process of interaction has already started and face-to-face interaction makes the experience complete.
Talarico enjoys Etown because of the feel the community brings. “I love the community,” Talarico said. She likes the fact that people are passionate about the school, which makes her job fun and exciting. With Etown being a smaller school, there is more interaction between the students, faculty and professors, and they take an ownership in the College community.
Although working with social media is a job that requires constant updating, Talarico feels that finding a balance between using social media and face-to-face interaction is important. She understands the importance of the Internet and social media use for school; however, multi-tasking with social media may not be as productive as focusing on one task. “It is about finding [your] comfort level,” Talarico said.