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UMBC wants students to just Be

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) has launched a new web site that designers hope will enable the university's students to give prospective Retrievers a sense of what its really like to go to school there. "College.Be" came out of creative meetings between Ed Neenan, marketing director, Dept of Information Systems, Mark Neustadt, Neustadt Creative Marketing and UMBC's Creative Director, Jim Lord.

"Once we had the concept…the vibe…what we thought would communicate to and resonate with the prospective and current, new undergraduate college audience. The idea to build a unique, proprietary website specifically to support our radio and outdoor advertising campaign came about. Mark brought his colleagues Tracey and Amy at Fastspot into the mix. They had a methodology of using a social web aggregator—lots of behind the scenes function, with a branded screen face that is purely "College. Be." and UMBC,"explains Ed Neenan.

The first of its kind sites works as an aggregator for a bevy of social media websites, including Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Last.fm and Twitter. Once students sign up for the site, any photos, video, Tweets, blog posts, and music lists that they've posted on other social media sites will be streamed to College.Be.Through the posted pictures, videos, Tweets, etc., potential students are able to get a feel for what current students think about UMBC and do when they aren't in class.

"Essentially, our purpose for going in to this was marketing. This site was developed primarily to appeal to prospective students and we needed to find a way to communicate the social world of UMBC. With the new technologies availabile in this day and age, it just made sense to try and use social media as a way to convey what life is like on UMBC's campus," says Mark Neustadt.

The site started with 20 students who "seeded" the site, but has grown to over 100 users in the week or more since it launched. The university plans to drive traffic to the site via a multi-pronged marketing campaign that will include radio, billboard and other outdoor advertising in the DC Metro area.

Source: Ed Neena, UMBC
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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