Barry Corey reaches Facebook's 5,000 friend limit
Brian Bowman, Biola University's marketing research manager, hands out promotional plastic fans to students after Monday's chapel. Students were told of President Barry Corey's new Facebook fan page. | Job Ang/THE CHIMES
Biola University president Barry Corey hit 5,000 Facebook friends last week, prompting University Communications & Marketing to run a promotion on Monday after chapel for his new fan page.
The promotion entailed handing out handheld, see-through plastic fans emblazoned with the Facebook logo, encouraging those with Facebook accounts to “like” Corey’s new Facebook page. Students could be seen waving their fans around as they exited Chase Gymnasium.
Senior Emily Prosser said she was happy to receive a fan and thought the UCM promotion was “cute.”
DBC tops out on Facebook friends
Corey, who is affectionately known as DBC, hit the limit for friends on Facebook early last week and has since then set up a fan page, which has the capacity for more Facebook friends and has already generated more than 700 user “likes.”
The aim of Monday's promotion was to prompt users to switch over to the new page in order to stay connected and maintain the personal connection the president shares with students, said Brenda Velasco, manager of public relations and internal communications for UCM. She said Corey’s Facebook page started taking off about a year and a half ago.
“Students obviously saw it as important to connect with him on a social level and to learn more about him through Facebook,” Velasco said. “It humanizes him, to be able to have a platform where he can just socialize with students and interact with them where they’re at.”
DBC admits to pleading for friends
"The Facebook journey for me began as I was trying to figure out how to stay in touch with Biola's amazing students,” Corey said in the statement. “The president of APU [Azusa Pacific University] told me to use Facebook, which helped him communicate. Then my competitive side kicked in, and I wanted to have lots of friends like Jim Wallace did. That's when I started pleading with Biola students in chapel to ‘friend’ me.”
Students responded to his appeals, and Velasco said that, though it is just an estimation, Corey’s Facebook profile seems to be one of most popular among Council for Christian Colleges and Universities presidents. President Jon Wallace of APU, also a member of CCCU, uses Facebook as well to communicate with students, but so far, he has not yet hit the friend limit.
“The fact that I have 5,000 friends speaks well of Biola’s impact through social media and the interest of this community in remaining well-connected, not just with me but with the pulse of all that is happening on campus and beyond,” Corey said in his statement.
Corey's social media presence a healthy sign
Velasco stressed the point that Corey’s Facebook makes him more accessible to the Biola community and helps others see him as not only university president, but also as a brother in Christ.
“This new fan page helps push beyond the 5,000-person limit, so I’m happy to do whatever I can to facilitate greater connection and timely communication," Corey said.
Velasco described interaction between parties as one of the beauties of social media, calling it a conversation that involves being actively engaged.
“I think the reason why it’s been effective in the last year is because there has been a two-way conversation,” she said. “That might be why it’s being an effective tool –– because he’s actually using it the way social media was meant to be used.”
Prosser is one of DBC’s 5,000 Facebook friends, but has yet to “like” his fan page, though she said she does plan to click the “like” button sometime soon.
DBC's fan page will replace profile
Velasco said that UCM is pushing people to “like” the new Barry Corey fan page because it will eventually replace Corey’s profile page. She said that in the future, Corey’s friend account might not be updated at all. To avoid confusion among students, UCM is hoping to raise awareness now.
Prosser twirled the fan she received from the promo as she voiced her opinion on interacting with Biola’s president through Facebook.
“It’s really important to be a part of his life, since he really supports and puts a lot into ours,” Prosser said.