Written by Gabrielle Little
Willimantic, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University is one of only four colleges and universities in a national Honors Program pilot sponsored by readMedia.com, a news distribution company in Albany, NY. The pilot focuses on "readabout.me," a web-based program that promotes students' educational status and achievements.
Eastern uses readabout.me software to publicize student achievements and activities on campus. Such stories as studying abroad, making the dean's list, or winning a scholarship are turned into personalized stories, published online at readabout.me and sent to hometown newspapers. The software makes sure students receive appropriate credit for the good work they do on campus, which helps qualify them for summer jobs, internships, and even job interviews and references after school.
Kate Harner '12 is president of Eastern's chapter of People Helping People.
In a recent U.S. News and World Report article, Eastern student Kate Harner '12 explained how readabout.me presents students in a professional light. "I think this is a great way to organize all the information that I personally would like my future employers to know about me."
According to readMedia, 75 percent of companies research applicants online, and 70 percent have rejected applicants based on what they found about them. Those are statistics of great concern for students seeking to start their careers on a positive note. A readabout.me profile can create a positive online identity for post-graduation success.
Clifford Marrett, interim director of career services. left, helps student career planning.
"In today's economy, our students are finding stiff competition for jobs and internships," said Clifford Marrett, interim director of career services. "Having an online repository where student accomplishments and achievements are archived will give Eastern students a competitive edge and provide them with an easy way to share their achievements with potential employers, as well as family and friends."
"Using social media to market Eastern and to share news about our students and faculty is an increasingly important component of our overall brand communications efforts at Eastern," said Ed Osborn, director of university relations. "Readabout.me and the readMedia platform represent a significant growth opportunity for getting the word out about Eastern. Since this August, we have posted more than 2,500 student profiles to readabout.me. And in the past 12 months, through the distribution of our news stories to hometown newspapers, online publications and social media, we have sent out 72 stories about 5,889 individual student accomplishments ranging from the dean's list to honors society inductions and graduation announcements. These have been sent to 641 media outlets and emailed to 6,400 student and parent emails, viewed online 12,600 times, and posted 610 times to various social media."
Students can claim their personal profiles by visiting www.readabout.me. "Students should log in to readabout.me to manage their profiles," said Chris Herman, a student writer in the Office of University Relations who is serving as coordinator of Eastern's readabout.me initiatives. "Just go to www.readabout.me, log in using Facebook Connect, and find your personalized profile. In addition to the stories generated about you through our office, you can add a photograph and include other elements of your resume."
Readabout.me also allows students to share their profiles and achievement stories with their social networks via sharing functions on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.