#heymac: Mac Social’s first year in review

#heymac, it’s Mac Social’s one-year anniversary! Started in July 2014 by Macalester Communications and Public Relations, Mac Social is an online hub that aggregates social media content mentioning or tagging Macalester. Rachel Peterson, Social Media and E-Communications Specialist, runs all of Macalester College’s main social media accounts and curates posts for Mac Social. She said, “Mac Social has grown to really be a reflection of the college.”

The hashtag #heymac has become a widespread way of letting the Macalester community know what is happening on and off campus. The hashtag was created by Communications and Public Relations in order to collect Mac Social content. Although there were a few other options, “#heymac” was chosen because it was unique and short. David Warch, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Relations, likes the saying. “It has a double meaning. ‘Hey, Mac, look at this.’ Or, ‘Hey, Mac, I want to tell you something.’”

Many academic and non-academic departments, student organizations and campus programs use Mac Social and #heymac to promote various activities, gatherings or speakers. For example, last year’s Founder’s Day Scavenger Hunt, put on by the Annual Fund, used Mac Social extensively. Taren Kingser ’11, Assistant Director of the Annual Fund, said, “We used Mac Social to raise awareness of the Annual Fund among students, beyond the teams that were competing. We wanted to let students know about the thousands of alumni who are supporting their experience at Mac… Over the two-day competition, the forty-four teams posted 839 photos and videos to Mac Social on Instagram and Twitter using #WeFoundMac. Having all the excitement shared on Mac Social played a big part in the success of the Scavenger Hunt.” However, Mac Social may not work well for promoting all campus events. Blaise Yokoyama ʼ17, Program Board Chair, said, “I don’t think that we use Mac Social for any sort of our Program Board events because many of our events don’t lend themselves to [being] interactive on social media.”

He said that Mac Social works well for reporting about events, but unlike Facebook, is less geared toward promoting or affecting the turnout of events. “We’ve been planning to incorporate social media into our events more, especially Mac Social. I’m not sure that using Mac Social will improve our turnout to events, but it may increase overall campus awareness of what Program Board is and what we do.”

Overall, Mac Social is a great way for students, parents and alumni to see what is going on at Macalester. According to Maya Swope ʼ18, “It’s a good tool for people that aren’t on campus, like parents or students studying away, to see what’s happening.”

“Mac Social is my mom’s favorite website.” Holley Carlson-Riddle ʼ18 said. Along with photos from campus events and student organizations, current students use #heymac to celebrate their everyday college life at Macalester; pictures of campus and outings with friends are always present on the website.

According to Peterson, “It’s become so established that we even had students #heymac-ing photos of their acceptance letters.”

She said the great thing about Mac Social is that “the community decides to inform the community… Whatever you care about, post about it.”

Tips for using Mac Social

  • Instagram and Twitter accounts must be public for posts with #heymac to show up on Mac Social.
  • #heymac does not work with Facebook posts.
  • No event gets more support than another event on Mac Social. It may seem like one activity is more prevalent on Mac Social than another if a higher number of people post about it.
  • Want your event covered by Mac Social?
    Questions about social media? Contact Rachel Peterson at [email protected]