Purdue Profiles: Tanner Lipsett
October 14, 2014
Tanner Lipsett, associate athletics communications director and social media specialist for Intercollegiate Athletics. (Purdue University photo/Charles Jischke)
Tanner Lipsett has spent the past eight years using his people skills and Internet savvy to create and maintain the professional image of Purdue Athletics.
Lipsett treats every Internet interaction as an opportunity to grow Purdue's social networking presence. As the associate athletics communications director and social media specialist for Intercollegiate Athletics, Lipsett views every comment, post and message as coming from an influential person with the ability to promote Purdue.
What are your job responsibilities, and what does a typical day consist of?
My responsibilities consist of serving as the primary media contact for the Purdue women's basketball and women's golf teams, in addition to supervising the content and strategy of the main Purdue Athletics social media accounts. The best part about my job is that I don't have many typical days. There is always something different happening and I'm constantly changing gears to keep up with the content.
What are some of the most effective ways that you have found to expand Purdue Athletics' social media presence?
It's a lot like a garden. You have to nurture it and work on it consistently. You also have to understand that it's all about people. Every person is important and they have the ability to affect others on your behalf, positively or negatively, so you have to give them that attention and provide content that they want to interact with.
What are some examples of things you have done to help grow Purdue Athletics social media presence?
Things have changed drastically since my involvement with our social media accounts. Through partnerships with a variety of companies, our Facebook account has grown by almost 100,000 followers. We've also created Facebook and Twitter accounts for every team in the department. We've incorporated social media into the game-day experience of a variety of sports, including tweet-to-screen ability at football and basketball games and social media day celebrations for a variety of sports.
What challenges are posed by your position?
The constant changes are the biggest challenge. My role has changed drastically in the past few years and it will continue to change. I can't ever be satisfied with how things are. Something new will come out every day and I need to be able to assess which ideas can help us and which are just "one more thing."
I think my role keeps changing because social media continues to change. One of the main differences has become the immediacy of social interaction. If you don't act in real time on many events and subjects, you've already missed the boat. The way that people consume social media has become a constant flow of information. In order to be relevant, you have to be part of that flow.
Where did you attend college and what is your degree in? What about communications and social media initially attracted you?
I graduated from Grinnell College in 2002 with my bachelor's degree in English. I played basketball at Grinnell and wanted the opportunity to continue working in college athletics. Communications gave me that opportunity and I've really enjoyed it. As for social media, it's just the way it allows you to interact with people all over the world. Its power and reach are immeasurable and give us ways to reach people that we've never been able to before.
What brought you to Purdue and what do you enjoy most about working at the University?
It was always my childhood dream to be a Boilermaker. While I grew up in California, both of my parents are natives of the Greater Lafayette area and I was a Purdue fan from birth.
I love working at Purdue and being able to interact with the student-athletes. We have some amazing young people that come through Purdue and I'm incredibly blessed to have the chance to get to know them.
Writer: Emily Sigg, firstname.lastname@example.org