CommHive’s goal: Sweeten connections

CommHive blog posts buzz with discussions

Web site aims to give students and alumni, “a vehicle to keep up to date with changes in the field;network with current students for job recruiting, etc.,” said  School of Communications professor Dan Wedemeyer.

By Cynthia Thurlow.

The UH School of Communications wants the communications community to swarm to its CommHive social media Web site. Faculty and alumni from the School discussed how the site must stay relevant, by actively keeping the discussion threads buzzing and by providing fresh information to keep members interested.

CommHive’s foundation

Professor Dan Wedemeyer was the driving force behind the development of CommHive, which he launched last year when he was chair of the School of Communications.

He said his initial vision was for the site to be a colony for current communications students and alumni.

“We wanted to create a presence … a gathering place (hive) that helps focus some of the areas of teaching and research for our students and helps our alums stay up with the field and network with their past network of friends in the major,” Wedemeyer said.

The site, which was launched in April 2010, includes 18 groups and currently has 246 members.

In terms of membership, the more popular groups on the site are Social Media (62 members) and Public Relations (48 members), with Web & Multimedia (41 members) and Organizational Communications (40 members) following close behind. Members can join multiple groups and start and share topics of interests.

“Our past graduates and present majors are estimated at about 6,000,” Wedemeyer said. “That would be an important milestone to meet.”

Wedemeyer credits Viil Lid and Alex Bergo, two Communications and Information Sciences doctoral students, with bringing up the site and maintaining it.

What distinguishes CommHive from similar national sites is that it is a venue for communications professionals, and past and current communications students in Hawaii.

Wedemeyer said the site enables members to “keep up with the field, meet and engage professors and friends, contribute content, etc.” Members can also post resumes and career opportunities.

He said that as more alumni and organizations participate on CommHive, there are also potential opportunities to organize meetings, perhaps even raise financial contributions for student scholarships and faculty travel for research and attending conferences.

The site offers something for all of those interested in Hawai`i’s communications industry.

Assistant Professor Jenifer Winter said, “I use CommHive to engage in discussions with other members and to gain insight into how broader trends and events in the communications industry might impact us here in Hawaii.”

Winter teaches courses related to in information and communication policies and technologies. She frequently launches discussions about topics within these communication areas.

Alumnus Kepano Kekuewa said he was invited by a former professor to join the site, and he was curious to see what other communications and journalism folks were up to.

“I’ll sometimes comment on things I think are worth sharing,” Kekuewa said.

For Kevin Kawamoto, CommHive offers opportunities for him to assist his students in the School of Communications.

“I can get ideas and information from CommHive which I can then share with students,” the associate professor said. “For example, I noticed some job and internship posts that I could mention to students in class or when I advise about internships.”

Growing the CommHive community

Increased membership seems to be key to CommHive being able to stay current and compete with national sites such as the Online News Association for journalism or the Public Relations Society of America site for public relations, that are geared toward specialties within the communication sector.

Wedemeyer said: “The current design is quite good, but membership can and should be improved. Things can always be improved. The Web itself is changing and we have to keep up and even invent new ways to engage.”

Kekuewa discussed how he would like to see the site expand.

“The site format seems fine,” he said. “However, the relatively small community means there isn’t a lot of activity here. More posts by members would be great.”

Kawamoto said he would like to see additional visual and multimedia content such as photographs and short videos.

“We should take advantage of the fact that we can use multiple platforms to engage with each other about journalism and communication,” he said.

Significance to Hawaii’s communications industry

Kawamoto said CommHive could be a link between the professional community and the university.

“We can put information on CommHive that will benefit each other,” he said. “We should use it as a way of saying, ‘Here are some interesting things that we are doing … .’”

“It can further link activities at the School of Communications to the professional community, both enriching the educational experience and enabling the School to further contribute to the community,” Winter said.

The goal for CommHive is to improve the School of Communications’ visibility and to help the Web site’s participants make connections. If the School develops a comprehensive strategy for CommHive’s growth, industry buzz is sure to follow.

Visit the  NeoJourno Web page Get connected! to link to CommHive.

CommHive Groups

Web & Multimedia Organizational Communica… TV, Film & Video

ICT: New and Emerging SE… Intercultural Communicat… Journalism

Health Communication and… Blogging Writing & Editing

Telemedicine / Telecommu… Current School of Commun… Photography

Mobile Communications Social Media Marketing

Alumni: UHM School of C… Information and Communi… Public Relations

Join CommHive by signing up and joining groups on topics that interest you.