Monthly Archives: February 2012

comings, goings and the circle of life.

Within an hour last Friday, I called my mom to let her know I was going to be a father and found myself staring at the desk of a college employee who passed away earlier in the week. Those minutes, so close together, give a real perspective on the circle of life.

***

I met Amy (aka Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em) through the crazy world of roller derby. A smart, beautiful lady who can converse on science and literature one moment and lay out opposing blockers the next, she and I dated for a while last year, broke up, grew up and got back together. We’ve communicated better the second go-round and generally have been much happier. (While I work in and teach communication for a living, I don’t always use this ability in my personal life.) Then, Thursday evening, she came over with a bit of news to share.

“We’re going to have a baby!” she said, before I could even close the door after letting her in. I could have thought a thousand things at that moment, but joy was the first emotion to leap forward. Many others have shared that joy, including family members. My mother, who may have wondered why both her twin sons took until this year to have children, was pleasantly surprised and thrilled at the news when I called, and giving her a grandchild in October is one of the best parts of this experience. Plus the child will have a whole family of crazy derby aunts and uncles who can’t wait to spoil the future derby girl or ref, depending on gender.

Lots of challenges await all of us on this road, but as I walk around in this daze, I am happy.

***

I didn’t know Tracy beyond that she would smile and say hello to whomever passed and that she worked in my building. We were all stunned to learn she passed away last week, way too suddenly and way too young. I wrote an In Memoriam piece to email faculty and staff, and talked to one of her Student Accounts co-workers and friends, Debbie. “She was such a giving person,” Debbie said of Tracy. “She was always asking if there was any way she could help. She will really be missed.”

Debbie took me into Tracy’s office area, marked by a tidy and organized desk surrounded by photos of her family. She shied away from public recognition, remaining an unsung hero. And, from talking to Debbie and looking at a desk Tracy would never revisit, the clear picture formed someone who focused on her children and grandchildren. In a world where way too many people obsess over fairly meaningless stats like number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers or Klout scores, here was someone who placed her priorities on a very logical and loving place: her family.

I have a feeling I’m going to start understanding that much more in the days ahead.

***

Sorry if there’s no profound lesson in social media or the web or management to take away from this entry. Only things like: Life is precious. Life is unpredictable. Life is a gift to be enjoyed and celebrated every day.

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blizzard of #ozwhiteout.

The biggest event on campus (outside of graduation) is when Oswego hosts our archrivals Plattsburgh in men’s hockey. Oswego was ranked #1 in the country coming into the weekend; Plattsburgh #4. Posts on our Facebook page on the topic often earn more than 100 likes, comments on past contests and “Go Lakers!” cheers, so it’s a good time to promote a hashtag. With our usual constraints (zero budget, staffing of just me and any available interns), we picked up the banner of #ozwhiteout and ran with it.

Quick take (if you don’t want to read the whole Storify below): We were able to get the support of student TV station WTOP early, which was big. What worked best for our main Twitter outlet, @sunyoswego, was posting quality content — video, photos, score updates — others were likely to retweet. We drew a prediction from one of our most famous alums, ESPN’s Steve Levy, into the stream. And a quick raw video I hurriedly shot, edited and uploaded to our YouTube channel picked up hundreds of hits almost instantaneously. Oh, and Oswego won 3-0. Go Lakers!

  1. Promotion of the hashtag started early, as I reached out to WTOP Sports Editor Justin Andrews, who took my class last semester.
  2. Share
    @jandrews89 Ha! Also, I kind of favor #ozwhiteout cuz it’s shorter.

    Wed, Feb 15 2012 12:37:13
  3. Share
    @TimNekritz noted for this weekend. #ozwhiteout will be the official @wtop10 tag for the game.

    Wed, Feb 15 2012 12:39:52
  4. Once WTOP was on board, and with the @sunyoswego account putting out regular content — often retweeted — the hashtag was up and running.
  5. Share
    The campus is abuzz over tomorrow night’s #ozwhiteout game between Oswego, #1 in the nation, and Plattsburgh, #4 nationally. Go Lakers!

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 11:10:35
  6. Share
    RT @sunyoswego: The campus is abuzz over tomorrow night’s #ozwhiteout game between Oswego, #1 in the nation, and Plattsburgh, #4 nationally. Go Lakers!

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 11:14:14
  7. Share
    First of all thank you @TimNekritz for letting/creating the official #ozwhiteout hash tag. Now T minus 20 hours till game time.

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 23:37:44
  8. Share
    It’s the final countdown! #1 @sunyoswego Lakers vs. #4 Plattsburg Cardinals! Puck drops tonight at 7pm #whiteoutweekend #ozwhiteout #getsome

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 23:46:04
  9. Then a fan asked for a prediction from ESPN’s Steve Levy, one of our most famous alumni.
  10. Share
    @espnSteveLevy can we get your prediction for the big Oswego v. Plattsburgh #whiteout game tongiht? #golakers

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 12:54:49
  11. Steve responded, full of Laker pride.
  12. Share
    Either 9-0 or 4-2, OZ wins either way RT @TheBillReese: can we get your prediction for Oswego/Plattsburgh #whiteout game tongiht? #golakers”

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 14:20:34
  13. Of course we’re going to share it, adding a hashtag to pull it into the conversation.
  14. Share
    🙂 RT @espnSteveLevy: Either 9-0 or 4-2, OZ wins either way RT @TheBillReese: can we get prediction for Oswego/Plattsburgh game? #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 14:30:16
  15. Yet more alums chime in, including one with an interesting story.
  16. Share
    RT @wtop10: Watch the #ozwhiteout game on WTOP10 tonight! Go Lakers!

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 14:40:12
  17. Share
    I will be listening to the game while working on an ambulance in Rochester tonight…LET’S GO OZ!!! #ozwhiteout @sunyoswego

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 15:00:45
  18. Thanks to a tip from prominent alum/Laker fan Lou Borrelli, I received word the line for admission (slated to start at 4; it went a bit early) was hitting critical mass, even tho doors weren’t slated to open until 5:45. I walked the line and took a quick raw video, which I quickly ran through iMovie (for a title) and posted to our YouTube page.
  19. Share
    Walking the Line for #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:08:44
  20. Which we then posted (and saw many folks share).
  21. Share
    Quick video look at students lined up for the #ozwhiteout game … this line will get much longer! youtu.be/j2AiD4vpjow

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:14:50
  22. Even Mother Nature wanted in on the action …
  23. Share
    Just started snowing.. maybe it really will be an #ozwhiteout ??

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:15:48
  24. Share
    Off to Oswego for the white out hockey game and see my brother @jandrews89 #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 16:27:14
  25. Fans even provided their own photos on the tag … the line is getting really long at this point.
  26. Share

    Happy whiteout 2012! #ozwhiteout http://instagr.am/p/HH3ep7Azi6/

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 17:07:00
  27. And I received a photo contribution from a dean! Dean Fritz Messere of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts, to be exact.
  28. Share

    http://yfrog.com/kiiasaqj Dean Messere sent along this photo of the first students in line for the #ozwhiteout.

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 17:12:30
  29. Share
    Go LAKERS!! #ozwhiteout 2012

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 17:35:26
  30. Share
    At the whiteout game? Come say hi at camera two next to the @espnstevelevy pressbox! #ozwhiteout #puckflattsburg

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:05:07
  31. Share
    White out game! Let’s go #oswego #ozwhiteout with my favorites @ericasuzan24 #Sam

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:16:29
  32. Share
    Oh, just #1 and #4 in the country, Oswego vs. Plattsburgh, sold out. NBD. #ozwhiteout (@ Campus Center Arena) 4sq.com/yUKlep

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:21:50
  33. Share
    10 mins til puck drop. This is sure to be a great one! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 18:51:21
  34. During the game, we provided scoring updates, sometimes reposted by official media! And fans contributed their perspectives.
  35. Share
    First goal of that game is a slap shot by Oswego’s #28 Jesse McConney from #21 Tyler Leimbrock! Way to go Lakers! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 19:14:13
  36. Share
    I believe we are already in funkytown #ozwhiteout #JustSayin

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 19:15:27
  37. Share
    RT @sunyoswego: Slap shot by Jon Whitelaw! 2-0 Oswego. #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 19:30:38
  38. Share
    Lakers still lead 2-0 after 2 but will start the 3rd at a 5-on-3 disadvantage. #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:20:21
  39. Share
    This is uncomfortable. RT @sunyoswego: Lakers still lead 2-0 after 2 but will start the 3rd at a 5-on-3 disadvantage. #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:24:24
  40. New media professor Gary Ritzenthaler chipped in his view … literally.
  41. Share

    Nice view! RT @gritz99: Seats right on the ice for #ozwhiteout game! Go Lakers! http://yfrog.com/esd9ladj

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:30:19
  42. Share
    Chris Ayotte’s one timer puts Oswego up 3-0 over Plattsburgh! 12:00 to go! #ozwhiteout #LetsGoLakers

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:43:43
  43. Share
    Power play goal by Chris Ayotte! 3-0 Oswego! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:43:58
  44. Share
    We’re okay. Puck just flew over us! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 20:54:52
  45. And, at last, tales of victory rang throughout the land.
  46. Share

    Victory! #ozwhiteout http://yfrog.com/h0do5ecj

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 21:14:10
  47. Share
    Oswego hangs on for the 3-0 win! Lakers are your SUNYAC regular-season champs! #ozwhiteout

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 21:09:30
  48. Share
    RT @sunyoswego: Oswego hangs on for the 3-0 win! Lakers are your SUNYAC regular-season champs! #ozwhiteout

    Sat, Feb 18 2012 06:57:27

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social media may be sexy, but email is still important.

As a profession, we seem to spend so much time concentrating on monitoring and responding via social media that we forget for much of our audience — especially our institution’s alumni — email is still a medium of choice. And that sometimes the informative, upbeat response with a smile can mean a lot.

Consider the following email from an alum, sparked by our Sesquicentennial history activities, that seems to come with a side of snark:


Industrial arts has long been one of our signature programs, but the alum did not know it is now known as technology education. So his very real concern about a program near and dear to his heart deserves an answer in a positive tone. Thus:

Succinct, smiling and with a link for more information. How did the alum like the response? Very well!


From worrying about the direction of his alma mater back to a proud alum just like that. Not the hardest thing I had to do that day, but still pretty important — because every person who has a valued connection with our institution is important.

I also want to address this topic because I’ve seen companies and colleges that throw a lot of their resources into social media but do a poor job of responding to email — which may not be as “sexy” as Facebook or Twitter but is still a very vital medium. Whether it’s not acknowledging an email at all, not replying in a timely manner, giving an insufficient answer or firing back something terse as if our email is a bother, many entities have room for improvement in the email department. And that’s too bad, because there are no character limits and an opportunity to craft something thoughtful.

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building a student social media team? look in social media.

If you work at a college, chances are you have more needs in social media than you have resources. As I’ve said before, building a student team is a great way to bridge the gap: you can build a productive presence, the students can receive hands-on training and you have a key target market involved in the creative process.

Where do you look for students for a social media team? In social media, of course. This sounds like it should be obvious, but even I forget sometimes. Most of my effort to assemble this semester’s team came through social media. I now have two students concentrating on web video, two on community management and one working both areas.

The first video recruit came after I stumbled across this YouTube clip on Riggs Hall:

OK, it’s a bit cheesy, but I enjoyed it and, more importantly, saw that students reacted positively. So I tracked down Ray, who made the video and appears with the Ahnold accent, and talked to him about putting his skills to work. He probably will do more videos in that general flavor, which is great: They are fun, fast-moving and informative. In our Facebook Class of 2016 community, we saw many students taking an interest in staying in Riggs, because the video makes it look awesome.

Then, while I had one social media intern lined up, that doesn’t exactly constitute a team. So I posted that I was looking for team members on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and had eight inquiries within 24 hours. By the end of the week, I had filled up the team.

In the first week, we already have two video projects cooking (not counting Ray’s next project), the start of a special event tied to our big hockey rivalry White Out game vs. Plattsburgh (#ozwhiteout) and the beginning of transitioning in community managers for our main Facebook page, Class of 2016 page and @sunyoswego account. We’ll see how things evolve, but so far I’m pleased they know their way around social media.

The corollary lesson to all this is that if you work in higher education, especially in higher ed social media, you shouldn’t be afraid to connect with students. Yet I (all too) frequently see people who categorically say they will not friend students on Facebook or interact with them via social media. (I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a misguided college out there trying to write that into a social media policy.) If you work in social media and you have no intention on knowing what your students think or do, you simply shouldn’t work in social media. I accept friend requests from students regularly (although I generally don’t initiate requests out of respect for their privacy) and follow them back on Twitter. That alone is educational. And making those connections mean that when I have openings for a social media team, I already have connections and know if they are using this medium well.

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