Communication junior Steven Masso is an avid Snapchat user.
“[Snapchat] is a place where you can send pictures and videos back and forth to your friends,” Masso said. “I use it every day. I send lots of pictures to my friends.
On March 4, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Social Media Manager Josse Garrido asked the campus community to send emails and testimonials to prove the efficiency of the university’s Snapchat account.
“Snapchat is a social media tool that allows people to stay connected, similar to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms,” Garrido said. “What makes Snapchat so unique is that it is a more personal relationship that you can build, and it is a different kind of engagement than the ones you can get from other social media platforms.”
The application does not have a web-friendly interface, which makes it unavailable online via computer, but is available on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and can be downloaded on the App and Google Play stores.
“It is a great tool for near-real time communication and is growing significantly in popularity,” he said.
A survey conducted in Fall 2015 by the University Marketing and Communication department found about 65 percent of freshmen use the application.
“Snapchat is more geared towards a younger generation, at least right now,” Garrido said. “Maybe it will expand in the future.”
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat does not offer analytics that helps the University Marketing and Communication department determine its efficiency and student use. This pushed Garrido to question Snapchat as a valid tool in promoting campus life and student involvement.
Shortly after Garrido’s message on the UTRGV Snapchat, he received emails and Snapchat videos of students explaining how the application had a positive impact on their campus life.
“We are still going to continue using it. I just wanted to see if the students really valued it and if they found it useful,” he said. “That is why we wanted to evaluate its usefulness. The response was very positive. We had students say that it helped connect with other students, make new friends and promote campus events.”
Garrido said his team might post several testimonials online at www.utrgv.com this month.
UTRGV has a program called Vaquero Connection that allowed Garrido and his team to visit local high schools to find out the best methods to communicate with future students.
“Eighty percent of high school seniors that we visited would raise their hands when I asked if they used Snapchat,”
Garrido said. “My role is to find ways to talk and engage with the students.”
UTRGV originally wanted to create a Snapchat account in September 2015, but immediately faced a slight problem.
A group of students had already created an account under the university’s name.
“We spoke to those students and after that, we got access to the account,” Garrido said. “That is actually very common on other social media platforms.”
Asked if he would follow UTRGV on Snapchat, Masso said, “I didn’t even know [UTRGV] had a Snapchat, but now it’s something I definitely want to look into.”
The university’s Snapchat has 4,000 followers and continues to grow.
Students interested in following UTRGV on Snapchat can do so by searching for UT Rio Grande Valley on the application.