• Issue #39

Existential Threads Dread in Higher Ed

A man looks scared as he holds a needle, thread, and some yarn.

I might’ve overdone it with the puns in the title of this hot take, but just so you know, I feel no shame whatsoever. So let’s recap. In the last week, we’ve gone from knowing next to nothing about Meta’s new “Twitter Killer” to being part of a Threads community with over 100 million users.

But if the first seven days were spent gleefully basking in the glow of Threads’ newness, these last few have felt like the Brand Hell version of Frogger, where we’re all trying to cross the interstate without getting struck by corporations sending thirst trap emojis to each other.

And rightfully so, social media managers are a little on edge. And for the ones in Higher Ed, where do they even start?

I propose the following.

  1. Relax - We’re on week two. No one expects your institution to have a fully-realized social media strategy for Threads yet, and if they do, kindly remind them to chill.
  2. Find out who’s listening - Not sure which of your target audience groups are following your school on Threads? Ask! There’s nothing wrong with starting with an introductory post aimed at gathering information.
  3. Engage with Alumni - Call it a hunch, but my feeling is that the biggest population of active Threads users for a given institution will be alumni. Use this opportunity to tap into their nostalgia and create a fun experience.
  4. Experiment - We’re firmly in the “throw pasta at the wall to see what sticks” phase of Threads, so as long as it’s within the bounds of what’s acceptable for your school, by all means, try it! This is a time for fun. The worst that can happen is a post gets low engagement—no big deal.
  5. Look at what others are doing - If you’re a social media manager at a smaller school or on a team of one, don’t be ashamed to look at what’s resonating for other institutions. Jot down a few ideas that you enjoyed, and get to work.

Remember, no one has it all figured out yet, and if that’s true, maybe your best course is to THREAD LIGHTLY.

- Carl Gratiot