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Wise Words is the newest resource used by the Office of Public Affairs

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Darren Yip – Special to the Southern News

First it was a Facebook page, then it was a Twitter account. On Jan. 4, 2013, the Office of Public Affairs added a WordPress blog to the list of social media tools employed by the university.

Wise Words, the name of the blog, is the brainchild of Joe Musante, who is a former journalist and is in charge of media relations for the university. Musante, 48, said that the idea for this blog started with a call from a reporter from the New Haven Register.

“[The New Haven Register] have a page on their website where people have their blogs posted,” said Musante.  “[The reporter] wanted to know if we had a blog we wanted to do.”

While Facebook and Twitter are heavily used for notifying the Southern community of events and university notices, Wise Words is used as an outlet to share insights and opinions from faculty and staff members on various topics.

“We wanted to do something different, and not something that just says ‘Southern just did this, Southern just did that,’” said Musante. “We really have an outstanding faculty and we want to allow the public to tap into these resources of the faculty and staff.”

Coordinator of Graphic Services Marylou Conley was the designer of the banner art featured on the blog. Conley, 51, said that one of the reasons she found the blog interesting is because it “doesn’t involve the marketing side of things,” which is usually true for most of her work.

“What an interesting idea,” said Conley with a laugh. “Providing something with no strings attached.”

Director of Public Affairs Patrick Dilger oversees the blog’s operation. Dilger, 52, said he believes in always looking out for new ways to “get the word out.”

“The traditional way of getting word out of the university, while it’s still important,” said Dilger, “you really need to diversify your approach to reach the widest possible audience.”

Dilger also commented on the differences between Wise Words and other social media tools currently employed by the university.

“[Facebook and Twitter] are more like short snapshots, if you will,” said Dilger, “while these are longer pieces that are written in an engaging style and conversational tone.”

Wise Words currently has four blog posts, featuring topics such as ‘To Cram or Not To Cram’ and ‘8 Ways to Write a Stronger College Admissions Essay,’ and is mainly geared towards the general public, but there’s a “specific emphasis on parents and potential students, such as high school and transfer students,” Musante said.

Every blog post on Wise Words thus far has enlisted opinions from faculty and staff members of the university.

“The whole idea of everything we do here is to reach out and to make people aware of all the good things that happen,” said Dilger. “I think its another nice way to show the range of our faculty’s expertise and thought, and to tap into certain issues that we can give expert opinions on.”

Regarding how topics are chosen to be featured on the blog, Musante said that it is “a creative process.”

“When we have ideas that we think will appeal to the public,” said Musante, “or when we know a faculty or staff member who’s done research that’s interesting. We want it to be relevant. We want it to be interesting. That’s our goal.”

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