live-tweeting a joyous day.

On Saturday, SUNY Oswego joined the vanguard of colleges live-tweeting Commencement, as I posted updates and photos throughout the two-ceremony day at our Twitter account twitter.com/sunyoswego.

Fig. A: Graduates gathering.

Fig. A: Graduates gathering.

The good news is that it’s pretty easy to do. Any mobile device with Web access to provide running commentary is all you need. It’s a bonus to have a device that also takes photos, such as my iPhone, to provide the proverbial 1,000 words to followers. Camera phones mean a lack of zoom and depth of field, so you may have to count on panoramic shots or the occasional blur. The ability to get in there for behind-the-scenes views, serendipitous shots and hammy bits of joy — and to communicate instantaneously — is quite the payoff. (You can also collect ’em all into a Facebook photo album later.) Remember that if you’re live-tweeting photos, a short compelling description will let people decide whether to click the image link.

Fig. B: A time to rejoice.

Fig. B: A time to rejoice.

LiveTweet 1 had room for improvement. My Commencement responsibilities include media relations (most notably having C-SPAN in the house!) and managing ushers, so such other duties probably got in the way of posting content. Having the luxury of a person dedicated entirely to live-tweeting probably makes for better output. I also decided late in the game to live-tweet it, which meant we didn’t do a lot of pre-promotion.

Still, I was quite happy with the feedback. Several images/links were retweeted, always a sign of appreciation. Alumni tweeps commented on how much they enjoyed their graduation, current and future students tweeted questions and comments, and @sunyoswego saw a jump in followers. So I definitely think it was worth the effort … but I’d say that even if it helped just one more person enjoy such a glorious, momentous, joyous day.

EDIT/UPDATE: Icing on the cake = Oswego County Today, a local online-only daily, did a story mentioning the live-tweeting and using a couple of the posted photos. Who says social-media projects can’t cultivate positive press coverage?

7 Comments

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7 responses to “live-tweeting a joyous day.

  1. We also live-tweeted from Ithaca College’s commencement yesterday, and it appears that our audience really enjoyed and appreciated it (especially as our webcast quality wasn’t exactly ideal).

    I don’t know if we got a huge bump in followers, but I think at least a dozen people signed up in the last 24 hours. Like Tim, we didn’t decide early enough to do a lot of advance promotion, but we did link to the feed from the official Commencement site. We also advertised it on Thursday and Friday on the @ithacacollege feed, and had our affiliates (such as @icalumni) promote it too.

    Here are some gratifying comments that came through on Twitter during or shortly after the event:

    “I love how my school pride for @ithacacollege is leaps and bounds deeper…”

    “@ithacacollege i remember how proud i am to be an IC grad (1980) every May. reading today’s tweets is fantastic!”

    “@ithacacollege is live tweeting their commencement ceremony and Jim Lovell is the speaker. Great job, IC. I’m proud to be an alumni.”

  2. Pingback: Commencement tweeting wrap up « Higher Ed Web Marketing

  3. Paul Redfern

    Tim – great post and good advice. You inspired me to write a post on the topic as well this morning. http://highedwebmarketing.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/commencement-tweeting-wrap-up/

  4. Pingback: links for 2009-05-18 « innovations in higher education

  5. insidetimshead

    CHRIS: Those are some really great comments. And I think it really points to how social-media can serve as a connective force for institutions. In the grand scheme of things, live-tweeting is fairly easy too … so I can only guess how many more will do it in the future.

    PAUL: Awesome! Always thrilled to inspire!

  6. Pingback: live-tweeting a wedding: risky business? « InsideTimsHead

  7. Pingback: “Live Tweeting” events « @annmwhite

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