Best Post I Ever Wrote: Thom Atkinson, Indiana University

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For those of us in the social world, nothing is more satisfying than seeing a post you wrote, or helped create, connect with your audience. Maybe it was perfect timing, maybe it was the sentiment, the voice, the humor, or the iconic image that made people pause mid-scroll and take a longer look at what you had to say.

It’s these social moments we’re capturing in our series: “Best Post I Ever Wrote.” We’re taking a look at what went on behind the scenes of these universities’ social accounts, and how these posts came to be. In the process, we’re celebrating the people behind the handle whose hard work makes these social communities come alive.


Kicking off the inaugural “Best Post I Ever Wrote” column is Thom Atkinson (@ThomAtHome), social strategist at Indiana University (@IndianaUniversity). Earlier this year, I asked Thom about his favorite posts. Anyone in the social world can relate to Thom telling me he couldn’t pick just one. Like your kids, they’re all special in their own way.

While fully admit my bias being an IU alum, I have to say that Thom and his team at IU have done an incredible job of reconnecting me to my alma matter and making me nostalgic for the beauty of the cream and crimson campus (and those chubby squirrels featured below).

As of this writing, Indiana University Bloomington is currently ranked the fifth most influential university on Instagram.

From Thom Atkinson [TA]

Favorite Photos

[TA]: I have so many favorites for so many different reasons: One of the few photos we’ve ever posted that wasn’t taken on campus. This is such a simple, unassuming image, but I planned this photo for months (maybe years) to get the timing just right. Timing is so important. And knowing what will tug on the audience’s heart strings, of course.

Photo technique

[TA] Our first attempt at video on Instagram using (new at the time) slow motion. I got lucky and it turned out really nice.


[TA] This is one by our student intern, Alex. He’s got a great eye and has done lots of really good work for us. He’s also our resident “squirrel whisperer”…

… which is a helpful skill of course, when you pull off an April Fool’s Day takeover that made people take notice. Just take a look at everyone tagging their friends in the comments.

Having Fun

[TA] Of course, there was the infamous squirrel take-over from April Fool’s Day 2014. Just a spur-of-the-moment idea that really took off and got lots of engagement.

Squirrel takeover! #indianauniversity #iu #squirrel #aprilfoolsday #reallife #nofilter

A photo posted by Indiana University (@iubloomington) on


[TA] Another example of the importance of timing and luck. So much of success is being in the right place at the right time. AND being prepared to take advantage of good luck when it happens.

So many others. Instagram is really a labor of love for me.

If there is someone that you’d like to see featured in “The Best Post I ever Wrote,” share their name and university in the comments below.

For more insight on Thom’s social strategy for Indiana University’s Instagram account, read his full interview here.

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