Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I fear that the University of Kentucky's Facebook Places promotion may not end well

I Am Geek shared something that sounded like an eSarcasm headline: "Giant Wooden Pointers at University Remind Students to Check In on Facebook." But the shared post, from ReadWriteWeb, sounds like something that eSarcasm wouldn't conceive in its wildest dreams.

The school has built huge wooden sculptures shaped like Facebook's teardrop pointer and map logo to remind students to check in around campus using the new location feature, Facebook Places. The human-sized signs will inspire more buzz about the school on Facebook, recruiters hope.

A University of Kentucky representative explained the reasoning behind this campaign in an AdAge article:

"We're encouraging students to check in, so when they do, it'll show up in their news feed and maybe their friends still in high school will see it over and over again," said Kelley Bozeman, Big Blue's marketing director, adding that the university's marketing efforts are focused on undergraduate recruitment.

I just have one question for Ms. Bozeman.

What are you smoking?

I suspect that the University of Kentucky marketers envision that their marketing effort will result in a bunch of updates like this:

Heading off to my Marketing 101 class. The prof is fantastic!

Wow, this cafeteria food is swell!

I love attending basketball games here at the University!

Well, I'm going to let the marketers in on a little secret - sometimes university students do things that the university might NOT want to put in its admissions materials. Let me tell a little story about myself. Back when I was in college, Facebook and smart phones didn't exist, but if they did, it's quite possible that I might have shared something like this in my feed:

Cutting across Eastmoreland Golf Course. We're all drunk. I have to pee.

And that was in my first month of my time at Reed College. It might even have been my first week. I don't exactly remember - for some reason my mind is hazy.

Anyone with any amount of sense and any experience at college should realize that encouraging college/university students to check into Facebook Places could potentially be a recipe for disaster.

Oh, and there's always the danger that university faculty and staff may decide to check into Facebook Places, also. Just look at former University of Kentucky staff member Rick Pitino, who by 2003 had ended up at the University of Louisville. Pitino found himself at the Porcini restaurant on the evening of August 1, 2003. If Facebook Places had existed then, Pitino (who had been drinking) might have shared an interesting story about what he was doing with Karen Sypher.

P.S. Incidentally, eSarcasm has shared one bad thing that could happen if someone checked in a little too much. And alcohol wasn't even involved.
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