social coverage of commencement: an evolving process.

Higher-ed web types everywhere have been discussing who’s doing what to cover commencement. Streaming it live? Making it social? Turning it into a real-time multimedia production?

At SUNY Oswego, we similarly discussed options, and chose to keep moving forward and evolving. Thanks to some outstanding work by our web developer, Rick Buck, and some folks in Campus Technology Services, we greatly upgraded our Commencement webcast. Not every user would have noticed a change in quality, but many viewers — especially those on Macs and most mobile devices — may have had their first chance to actually watch. We moved to a transcoder that exported H264 … a fancy way of saying we broadcast in a format used widely in those devices.

Was that important? Consider the following: 22% of our Commencement viewers did so on mobile devices. This is a huge figure, compared to 11% of hits last year (many of those visitors unable to fully view the broadcast). This continued to underscore our current priority of thinking more and more about mobile in all web projects.

The Facebook plugin collected some nice tales of congratulations, and the interns we had monitoring the feed reported no issues. While we did not assemble a post-graduation Storify or comprehensive multimedia wrapup as some other schools did, we saw a huge amount of activity when we posted a Commencement photo gallery to our Facebook page.

A whole HigherEdLive program last week explored what institutions are doing, and other colleges had their tales of success and woe. The latter includes one university that had an f-bomb show up in its Commencement Twitter feed that caused some stress. But almost anyone who made their ceremonies widely accessible and social had few regrets.

Graduation is a happy culmination of an arduous process and — for the grads and their families — one of the happiest days of their lives. Sharing the joy, in any way possible, ultimately is a good thing.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “social coverage of commencement: an evolving process.

  1. lpacker28

    Tim — that mobile number is huge! You bet I will be referencing your experience at our commencement post-mortem. Our webcast is still accessible on mobile devices, but we are waaaay beyond the tipping point here. Next year, baby.

  2. Above comment is me — I have no idea who lpacker28 is.

  3. Ha! All good, Lori. I know our percentage of mobile traffic overall has more than tripled in a year, but that was an astonishing figure. And great for guiding future decisions.

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