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Alumni Report

Cougar Networking


Matt Balkman reunion

Matt Balkman (right) used Facebook to organize a reunion for a BYU club.

Matthew W. Balkman (BA ’84), of Issaquah, Wash., is a regular user of social networking sites. He updates a Facebook group with pictures and letters from his missionary son. As his ward’s employment specialist, he advocates LinkedIn to job seekers. And when he and BYU friends decided to organize a reunion during Homecoming 2009, they found social media to be a valuable tool.

The Collegiate Development Union (also known as CDU or “Chicks Dig Us”) was known for its elaborate themed parties in the 1980s. When planning their reunion, Balkman and other former CDU leaders found that tracking down club members was challenging. The alumni database had some information, and they generated some on their own, but they didn’t find real success until they employed Facebook.

“It was a bit of an evolution,” Balkman says. “Facebook was one of the ways we thought we might generate some reminiscing. . . . Initially, I posted half a dozen pictures of CDU activities, and it exploded from there—tagging, commenting, posting.”

The reunion was a great success, says Balkman, and about 450 people came. Virtual connections led to in-person reunions. “I reconnected with all kinds of people there,” says Balkman. “I must have seen at least 15 different roommates I had at one time or another.”

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