Social Media is a powerful tool for reaching out to like-minded individuals. As alumni leader for the Japan chapter of UCSD, I use Facebook as one way of connecting with other alumni. Up until now, it has been difficult to find people affiliated with the school here in Japan, even though there are so many of us here. With the recent improvements to Facebook Search, finding people is now easy. But, connecting with people has not changed since the days of before the internet- it requires a personal touch.
The following are some simple instructions for finding people affiliated with your school by region, and then some related pointers I’ve learned about Facebook groups and mailing lists.
I will use my school (UCSD) as an example, but feel free to substitute your own.
1. In the Search bar at the top, type UCSD and press enter.
2. Do not press Enter. Instead, click on the magnifying glass icon on the right.
3. On the left side of the screen, you will see Search Filters. Choose People.
4. A new option will show up called Search Tools, allowing you to choose more filters. The default is Location. Type your region, city, state, etc. here. (Note: you will get a pop down menu to choose more specific locations. You don’t have to choose any; whatever you type is fine.
5. Click “Add another filter”.
6. Education will be the next filter option. Type “University California” and choose University of California, San Diego when it appears in the pull down menu. (you don’t need to choose year unless you want a specific grad year)
7. The results you will see are only your friends. Not so interesting, so scroll down to the bottom to “See More Results”. Click.
8. If you are like me, you may need repeat step 7 a few times until you get to people you are not FB buds with yet. Once you see “Add friend”, then you have hit the jackpot. Check the profile of each person before adding (the search engine makes mistakes sometimes), and if their profile matches what you are looking for go ahead and add them.
1. Personally, I don’t add people to the group myself. I hate it when people do the same to me (thank you Gary Bremermann for noticing this early on). That is why I friend them first, and if they accept, I explain in my welcome email about our UCSD Facebook group and I give them the link, asking them to join if they like. This way I am not pressuring anyone and you only get people on the list that want to be there. Depending on their privacy preferences, you can often email them even if they don’t friend you and invite them to the list. Friending is best because it is more personal, and you are networking. Isn’t that what it is all about anyway?
2. I also have a separate UCSD Japan Facebook list that I add people to so I can follow their updates as a group. It makes it much easier to keep up with everyone, especially if you have a high number of Facebook friends like me.
3. I started keeping an excel file based on the Facebook information. People tend to provide a lot of useful info in their fb pages, but fb is not a database. With my excel list, I can easily filter for UCSD grads, 2009, living in Tokyo, working in Finance. Plus, I can add people who are not part of the fb group, or not even on fb at all (maybe a little strange in the US, but common overseas). Eventually, I would like to make it in to an “opt-in” mailing list, where I send one or two emails out requiring people to respond in order to be included on the list (again, less pressure). Then, I will use the list to send out recent UCSD updates about events, info, volunteer ops, etc.
4. Some people don’t like being friended by people they don’t know. They need an affiliation. My profile is very clear at first glance that I have something to do with UCSD. I believe this increases the number of people willing to connect with me (and not block me!).
If you have some other tips that you would like to share, please let me know.