BVU’s President Creates Strong Twitter Presence


Jack Johnson, Staff Writer

I love Twitter. It’s awesome and by far my favorite social media app. When I wake up in the morning, it is the first app I check, and I can honestly say there are very few tweets that go through my timeline that I don’t see and read throughout the day. So yeah, I love Twitter. You know who else loves Twitter? Our President. Very rarely do I go an entire day without seeing one of his posts. He is very active on the platform, and no, I am not referring to that babbling orange idiot in Washington D.C. I am speaking of our very own Dr. Joshua Merchant (@BVUPres).

Fred Moore, who was the president of BVU for the previous 21 years, was probably a good guy. I say probably because in my three years here with him as our president, I never had one conversation with him; I didn’t know the man. Very rarely did I see him anywhere but running on the elliptical in the weight room. I even served as an office assistant my freshman year in his office, and I do not think he remembered me or knew my name. Which is fine; he had much bigger issues to worry about than me, but I don’t think it’s crazy to say there existed a distance between him and the BVU student body.

In the relatively short time that President Merchant has been the head honcho here at BV, his presence and involvement in campus life cannot be overstated. Taking a quick scroll through his Twitter, you can see him congratulating an ROTC student on her scholarship, playing Humans vs. Zombies with students, and a picture of him wearing a dress as he was Dorothy from Wizard of Oz for Halloween. He is active and attempting to make connections with BV students and is using technology and social media to accomplish those goals. I have not had a conversation with him, still 0/2 with BV presidents in that regard, but I have seen his activity on Twitter. Social media as a platform is great for introducing people together, sharing our thoughts, opinions, and spreading news. President Merchant is attempting to capitalize the potential that social media offers.

I will be honest: President Merchant followed me this summer and I did not follow him back. I probably had a too-cool-for-school mindset, and I will admit young Jack cared much more about his follower-to-following ratio than he does now. But I found myself seeing his tweets pop up on my timeline from Retweets (RT) and favorites (Favs), so I decided I could give him the follow back. He won me over, but is he winning over undecided high school students who are considering BVU?

Millennials, the very students that BVU is so earnestly attempting to attract to its campus, spend more time on social media and their phones than any other generation. One only needs to glance at the Alumni Lounge during a weekday to see this in action. I would take a guess that roughly 90% of the students who are sitting there at any given moment are on their phones. I would take another guess that high school students use their phones and social media at a similar rate as college students.

Will President Merchant’s strategy of being an active and vocal participant through Twitter work? Who knows, but one could argue that our current U.S. President won his election primarily from Twitter. If that can be done, surely high school students can be persuaded to look at Buena Vista University more closely through our very own “tweeting president.”