Scoot over Hoya undergrads, online social networks are going post-graduation.

As Internet social networks grow in popularity, Georgetown has capitalized on the trend, creating an online community specifically for alumni.

Though not a profile-based network akin to Facebook or MySpace , Hoyas Online, managed by the Office of Advancement, offers various resources for alumni to connect with one another.

The Web site includes an alumni directory, class notes and the Career Network, a searchable network comprised of over 1,800 alumni worldwide to share career advice and expertise, according to the Hoyas Online web site.

Georgetown University’s Office of Advancement is hesitant to create its own profile-based alumni networking web site.

“The space is changing really quickly, so we don’t want to make a big investment into something that may be outdated within six or 12 months,” said William O’Leary, associate vice president for marketing and communications in the Office of Advancement.

“I think it will be very difficult for us to create as compelling or vibrant a community as already exists in those places,” he added, referring other networks like Facebook and MySpace.

The Office of Advancement is looking into other ways to reach alumni and allow them to connect with one another online.

“What we’re experimenting with now is the best way to engage our alumni in those communities where they already exist,” O’Leary said.

“It tends to be the younger alumni,” O’Leary said of the Georgetown members of communities like Facebook.

O’Leary reported that the Georgetown University network on Facebook had more than 24,200 members on Dec.1, 2007. Currently, the Office of Communications, Law Center and Alumni Association all have Facebook pages.

The Office of Advancement is also looking into making Georgetown news and updates widgets for Facebook profiles and hopes to work directly with the company to continue to connect with alumni, O’Leary said.

O’Leary also reported that thousands of other Georgetown MBA students and alumni are members of a career and networking site called LinkedIn.

“We are in the process of creating a private group for GU alumni, and the MSB and the Law Center already have alumni groups,” he stated.

O’Leary explained that the Office of Advancement tries to use these social networking sites in different ways to connect with different sorts of alumni groups.

“That’s why it doesn’t necessarily make sense right now to only focus on one of these places, but rather to look at ways to work with each of them in the way that makes the most sense,” O’Leary said.

“This is something that I think we will continue to reassess as we go along. If it becomes clear that there is an excellent solution that we should invest in, then I’m sure that’s what we will do,” he added. “But right now, there’s no killer application, so to speak. And so we’re looking for the best solution, short and long term – they may be different things,” O’Leary said.

Patricia Hayden (COL ’80), an alumni interviewer and parent of a Georgetown undergrad, was in favor of an online social network. If Georgetown were to generate its own social network, or create some sort of social network through Facebook, she would want to explore how to connect with other alumni through it, she said.

“It’s great to continue the process of meeting other Georgetown alums, no matter what year they graduated,” she added.

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