Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: May 23, 2014 – 2:04 PM

Congratulations, graduates of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

You’ve earned your degrees and shown some social media savvy. Cap-and-gown selfies with the university provost while on stage? #DragonPride

Officials and students at MSUM embraced social media during their two commencement ceremonies May 16 — and the online buzz was bigger than expected.

“It just took off,” said David Wahlberg, executive director of marketing and communications for the university. “We didn’t expect to see thousands of tweets. We didn’t expect to trend nationally, but we did.”

By the university’s measurement, there were more than 2,500 tweets from 806 contributers using the hashtag #MSUM2014. For a while, Wahlberg said, the commencement chatter was hot enough to best even a Justin Bieber-related hashtag.

The university had advertised the hashtag in a campus newsletter before graduation, and at the commencement ceremony, they handed out cards with the #MSUM2014 hashtag and encouraged people to use it. Select tweets were broadcast on a big screen during commencement.

The university wondered whether people would be offended, given that commencement is a rather traditional affair. But Wahlberg said the social media chatter boosted the excitement. Student, parents, faculty and alumni jumped in.

University Provost and President-Elect Anne Blackhurst said, “Our students had a blast.”

For instance, this encouragement from the student body president:





He later gave a speech and snapped a selfie with University President Edna Szymanski.