No snow job: Celebrate who you are.

We get snow in Oswego. Sometimes a lot of snow. That’s just a fact. It’s also the subject of fake photos, fiction and folklore. But it defines our part of the Upstate New York experience. The story goes that the massive 2007 blizzard in Oswego County making national headlines attracted many passionate meteorology students. (Did I mention have our own lake-effect snow research center?)

But how do you handle this from an admissions standpoint? If you pretend it doesn’t exist, it would shift from a recruitment to a retention issue after a bad winter. So we’re pretty up front about it, including our winters in everything from our admissions video to a Pinterest board.

To a degree, it all involves accepting, sometimes even celebrating, who we are. As the only U.S. campus directly on the shore of Lake Ontario, we take the ups and the downs. Snow pictures can be beautiful too, so toward the end of my lunch hour on Tuesday, I trekked to take some iPhone photos of our statue of founder Edward Austin Sheldon in front of our signature building, Sheldon Hall. Since we adopt a “been there, done that” attitude with the snow I put on a caption of “A snowy day in Oswego? We get the feeling Edward Austin Sheldon has seen this before.”

Was by no means an award-winning photo, but figured it would provide some fresh Facebook and web content, maybe get a few likes or comments. I had no idea.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 11.21.58 PMNo idea, that is, it would become our most-shared photo ever. With a Tuesday afternoon posting, at last glance it had 70 shares, plus 319 likes and 24 comments. The shares, as I’ve said before, are valuable because it shows someone likes your content enough to “buy” it in a sense and pass along to their friends, as it eclipsed the record of the sunset shot mentioned in this blog entry about content and serendipity.

Were all the comments positive? Not really, as some did talk about not missing the snow at all. But others yearned for their snowy fun with friends, and one alum provided one of the more interesting testimonials ever: “I visited Oswego in a snowstorm and knew it was where I wanted to be. Miss the snowball fights.” (Note: We don’t officially condone snowball fights. Just saying.)

Snow is part of the Oswego family fabric. Our winters build character, and surviving and thriving in them become a badge of honor. So even if we don’t enjoy all that shoveling, the cold, having to wear layer after layer, we can still embrace opportunities to show how this makes us special. Judging by the numbers of likes and shares, many many members of our extended campus family would agree.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “No snow job: Celebrate who you are.

  1. E. Dougherty

    I posted a snowy photo on our FB page recently (same philosophy – it’s a pain, yes, but it’s lovely and our campus is beautiful so we may as well play it up) and it, too, received an amazing amount of comments. I love the surprise of seeing what posts do well.

  2. Great post Tim. And it reminded me of the impromptu snowball fight I had with over 1,000 people my freshman year at Cortland, one of my favorite college memories.

  3. Tim

    E: The fact that we’re never really sure what will pop is why I poo-poo the idea of people calling themselves “social media gurus.” If we’re honest, we’re really just social media students always learning and discovering. Props to your community for recognizing and appreciating your effort.

    MARK: Yowza! That sounds amazing, and decidedly memorable!

  4. Awesome! I RT’d a few alums who lamented about being prepared for the worst due to their time at Hamilton and many told current students to ‘suck it up’. Some said it was an ‘interesting’ marketing tactic, being that no one could love a harsh winter. But, like you said, you are who you are. No reason to hide it: it’ll come out sooner or later!

  5. Anyone who has spent any time in Oz reads this with a smile and fond memories…

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