social media may be sexy, but email is still important.

As a profession, we seem to spend so much time concentrating on monitoring and responding via social media that we forget for much of our audience — especially our institution’s alumni — email is still a medium of choice. And that sometimes the informative, upbeat response with a smile can mean a lot.

Consider the following email from an alum, sparked by our Sesquicentennial history activities, that seems to come with a side of snark:


Industrial arts has long been one of our signature programs, but the alum did not know it is now known as technology education. So his very real concern about a program near and dear to his heart deserves an answer in a positive tone. Thus:

Succinct, smiling and with a link for more information. How did the alum like the response? Very well!


From worrying about the direction of his alma mater back to a proud alum just like that. Not the hardest thing I had to do that day, but still pretty important — because every person who has a valued connection with our institution is important.

I also want to address this topic because I’ve seen companies and colleges that throw a lot of their resources into social media but do a poor job of responding to email — which may not be as “sexy” as Facebook or Twitter but is still a very vital medium. Whether it’s not acknowledging an email at all, not replying in a timely manner, giving an insufficient answer or firing back something terse as if our email is a bother, many entities have room for improvement in the email department. And that’s too bad, because there are no character limits and an opportunity to craft something thoughtful.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “social media may be sexy, but email is still important.

  1. Hear hear, Tim! Very rarely does a new technology mean the death of an old one. Different audiences require different channels. It seems we’ll never lose Shiny Object Syndrome.

  2. Very well said! I have been to several Marketing conferences/seminars that hype about social media necessity and ‘don’t miss the boat’ mentality. It was enlightening at one seminar to hear two self proclaimed millennials tell us that they don’t want to be communicated with on their ‘social channels’ from the university, that email is their channel of choice for conversation, communication and reception of information…as well as a tangible piece of paper! So thank you for your reminder that although ‘sexy’ each has a place in an integrated plan and not one can stand alone as a main source of communication. My contribution…know your audience and use the appropriate channel for them. Thanks Tim!

  3. And video didn’t kill the radio star, did it? Though it took Steve Jobs to re-invent music delivery. Excellent reminder, Tim, know thine audience. And now, the integrated marketer in me asks if the development office is queuing up the alum to support the Technology Education program.

  4. Tim Nekritz

    TALMADGE: I, for one, wonder if Shiny Object Syndrome has always been with us. Did cavemen discontinue hunts when an object gleaned in the distance, drawing their curiosity? It’s possible.

    MICHELE: Well said. While we do have incoming students communicate with us via social media, having the confirmation emails for them — and, moreover, their parents! — is still critical. Knowing audiences and their desired channels will never go out of style!

    DAMIAN: Excellent figures. How soon we forget. Cheers!

    JOSANNE: They could if they so desired, and I thought about that after the fact. At the time, my main focus was customer service!

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