BU Connects Brings Terriers Together for Personal, Professional Networking

The new social network provides tools for the entire BU community

BU has created a new social network that offers tools to the entire University community: job seekers, hiring managers, recent grads in search of advice, late-career alums with wisdom to share and former classmates who simply want to stay in touch. 

BU Connects, a social network launched at the start of the fall 2020 semester, is open to the University’s alumni, students, faculty and staff. Members of the COM community have been among its earliest and most enthusiastic adopters. In the first six months, nearly 10,000 users joined BU Connects. The college made up 20–25 percent of the early users, according to Patrick Nelson, COM director of career services. The COM Connects subgroup already boasts more than 1,800 members. Other groups include the Media & Communications Network and the Entertainment, Film & TV Network.

“BU Connects takes a lot of what LinkedIn does well and expands on it,” Nelson says. Users can even log in via their LinkedIn accounts if they want to use their preexisting profiles. Once registered, they can then join industry- and interest-based groups, solicit and share advice, post and search job listings, or catch up with old friends. 

One tool that differentiates BU Connects from other social networks is a mentor/mentee matching algorithm. Users can advertise their willingness to help out in a variety of ways—from one-time conversations to job shadowing—and the algorithm will recommend them to mentees. A “Willing to Help” flag above user photos also highlights those eager to assist other Terriers.

“When I speak with alumni or students, the two things I keep hearing are that alumni want to meet the students and students, the alumni,” says Mariette DiChristina (’86), dean of COM. “BU Connects is a one-stop shop for everything COM and BU. I really hope people can use it to help turn their passions about communication into reality.” 

“Gone are the days that you can just fire off a job application and hope for the best,” says Nelson. “You have to follow up, you have to build relationships with folks at companies. BU Connects is a great way to do that.”