Monthly Archives: August 2012

crowd-sourced event coverage, next level: engaging the crowd.

Getting students involved on our (or any) campus is mission-critical. Reasons include the personal — students’ sense of fulfillment, friendships and fun are important to their success — to the institutional, as conventional wisdom says involved students are more likely to stay in school and on track. So our Student Involvement Fair, the first week of classes, is kind of a big deal … and this year, for the first time, it made a big splash in social media thanks to more crowd-sourced event coverage.

When the fair unfolded on Wednesday, our campus-wide social media staff (all one of me) was stuck in the office dealing with news releases (a 20th century paradigm?), but students started carrying the banner for involvement. Representatives of various clubs and organizations tweeted invitations for any followers to come to the Student Involvement Fair, which we saw via our search columns for “sunyoswego” and “suny oswego” on Tweetdeck, so the @sunyoswego account amplified these invitations by retweeting. And then I realized just doing that was a missed opportunity.

So @sunyoswego not only posted a message for student organizations to tweet us pics of their setups, but we @ replied to all the organizations who had sent tweets asking students to come to the involvement fair. Responses from the @ had a 100 percent success rate — a perfect 10 out of 10, which isn’t huge but it’s 10 photos we didn’t have, and we collected a couple more.

In addition to RTing everything we received on Twitter, we posted the neat dozen photos as a Student Involvement Fair gallery on Facebook, which immediately drew a lot of attention, including 73 total likes, 14 comments and two shares with the first day. A picture of Alpha Phi Omega (above), our national service fraternity, even brought nice testimonials including “Yay!!! APO!!! One of the best decisions of my college years!” and “Great times with great friends. Met my best friends and my wonderful husband in APO. … Glad to see APO is still active.”

Our posting also drew at least one happy Twitter comment:

And, working in social media, we should all be very happy when we can build excitement and engagement. Or, rather, when our bright and involved students do it.

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new to working in social media? 5 common mistakes to avoid.

It’s the time of year when many places have new people working in social media management, whether interns for colleges or other accounts or new hires ready to roll in this field. Which is exciting. And yet. I look at my Twitter ticker or Facebook feed and see so many people making simple mistakes that make me weep a little. So here are five common mistakes in social media you’ll want to avoid to make it all easier.

Watch your @. If you are replying to another Twitter account, an @ is entirely appropriate. If you’re trying to promote something and start with an @, you’re restricting your audience to only those following both accounts. If you want this message to reach your full audience, the answer is simple: Don’t start with an @! If you work in social media, you should be clever enough to know how to reword it.

Avoid the horse latitudesDifferent studies say different things about when is the best time to post in social media, but what generally matters most is the content. After all, our most popular Facebook post ever went up on a Friday evening, which many self-styled “social media gurus” would advise against. That said, you should examine when your target market is active and when it’s not. When I see accounts post things appealing to students at 4:30 a.m., that doesn’t seem very wise. Lazy Sunday afternoons are also not the ideal time to try to engage a wide conversation with a general (not necessarily inspiring) question. And if there’s a much-tweeted event (Super Bowl™, award shows, “Walking Dead” season finale, etc.), any tweets — especially off topic — will drown in the flood.

Don’t be a robot. A friend of mine who just assumed greater social media responsibility announced she was unhooking the auto-feed that blasted her school’s Facebook and Twitter accounts simultaneously. And there was much rejoicing. A tweet that is awkwardly cut off in the middle and sports a Facebook link is essentially saying: “I really don’t care about Twitter.” Twitter and Facebook are two distinctly different media with different strengths and different audiences. You don’t run a TV ad on the radio or vice versa. Your social media outlets — while they should be integrated — also should have their own lives. If you can’t find 15 seconds to post something separately in Twitter and Facebook, you really don’t care about your audience.

Have conversations. Social media is not a bullhorn; it’s a conversation. Or a series of conversations. If your Facebook account is just your news releases with hardly any comments or likes, or if your Twitter account is just your posts with no @s or RTs, then it’s not very social. Also, when you post, don’t throw out lame marketing taglines. Sound like a human (see above), as if you were having a conversation with friends. Because even if you’re working social media for a brand, you ARE having a conversation with friends.

Know which account you’re in. Yes, at some point or another, we’ve probably posted something from the wrong account in haste. This is usually harmless, like when I answered a question last week from @TimNekritz via Tweetdeck forgetting to switch over to @sunyoswego. But there’s always the famous “#gettngslizzerd” example where a Red Cross employee accidentally posted about drinking exploits under the official account. To their credit, the Red Cross responded magnificently so the story had a happy ending. In terms of mobile posting, I make sure my personal Twitter account and any professional accounts are on different apps so I don’t have to worry about signing in or out. Whatever method you use, check what you’re doing so you don’t become a social media case study.

All that said, if you’re new to the field of social media management: Congratulations! It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s very fulfilling to help others and make connections. And know that there’s a massive support group of others working in this area on Twitter and elsewhere always willing to help with advice and feedback. After all, social media is about humans being social and helpful, and it really is a great job and community.

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a man who wasn’t there: adventures in crowd-sourced live-tweeting.

If you work in social media in higher ed, you love the opportunity to live-tweet an exciting occasion like Move-In Day. But when social media is just one of your many duties — and you can’t get around on such a busy day — where do you turn?

Students, of course. In our case, we had a community of social-media-savvy incoming students moving in at SUNY Oswego on Friday — and it just so happened they were already live-tweeting. We just amplified their efforts, highlighted great content and enabled them — through things like promoting a #welcome2oswego hashtag — to build their own community and story.

While I did get out just long enough for a quick photo album of students moving in, helped by our awesome Red Carpet Crew, this Storify shows that the students themselves did most of the commentary on the day. Since Move-In Day is about them, that seems appropriate.

  1. This was our favorite tweet of the day …
  2. Jared_Lahm
    I would hate to be the guy/girl in charge of the @sunyoswego twitter lol.. Its gunna be a long day for them. #QuickShoutOut
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 05:17:36
  3. … but truth be told, Move-In Day was so much fun on Twitter! It started early and ran late. Here are just a few highlights.
  4. MommaDiBo
    On our way to drop my baby girls off at #SUNYOSWEGO #bittersweet �
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 02:48:38
  5. sunyoswego
    We’re ready for you! RT @Cmerc29: All packed and ready to be @sunyoswego bound in the AM! #letsgo #soexcited #newstart #welcome2oswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 04:40:04
  6. sunyoswego
    Great idea! RT @taylormachin: @KatieRussell8 bringing biking back to SUNY Oswego #letsgo bringing my blades too 😉 #welcome2oswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 05:07:01
  7. sunyoswego
    Beautiful morning so far! RT @MommaDiBo: On our way to drop my baby girls off at #SUNYOSWEGO #bittersweet #welcome2oswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 05:09:07
  8. sunyoswego
    We’ll have people waiting to help you move in. Seriously! RT @melissavasti: Off to @sunyoswego !!! #welcome2oswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 05:13:25
  9. DerekGoodroe
    Welcome Class of 2016 to @sunyoswego! Wish I could rewind time and be moving in today and experiencing #welcome2oswego all over again.
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 05:23:49
  10. julia_heck16
    So this is it?! #packingthecar #welcome2oswego �☺
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 06:10:39
  11. mcgnotes
    Can’t believe it’s move-in day already @sunyoswego! Dropping off my freshman… So exciting
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 06:14:19
  12. 24KathyB
    its move in day at @sunyoswego ….. I sooooo miss school, the lake and Daga living =( awesome 4 yrs in the land of Oz =)
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 07:18:18
  13. LifesLike_THIS
    You’re almost here hun! RT @fancett_rae: Everyone is moving in. I just want to be at @sunyoswego already! #notfair #twodays
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 07:20:18
  14. sunyoswego
    Check out our early photo album of new students moving in with our awesome Red Carpet Crew! http://on.fb.me/R79zoM #welcome2oswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 07:44:31
  15. sunyoswego
    Hooray for our Red Carpet Crew! RT @jessiknewso: Helping freshman move into @sunyoswego today! #welcome2oswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 08:14:32
  16. dougyorks
    All moved in up at Suny Oswego @lindacohn @espnSteveLevy #sophomoreyear #letsgo
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 08:41:09
  17. OmyMelo
    Lots of excited first year students and transfers in Scales Hall! #welcome2oswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 09:06:32
  18. AntonioCaban10
    Long day ahead. So happy for my sister who’s continuing the rest of her education @ SUNY Oswego!
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 09:23:27
  19. danielleworkit
    All moved into my dorm room! So much change in just a few hours.. but I’m ready 🙂 #sunyoswego #freshmanyear
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 10:23:12
  20. Julirex_rae_psm
    You’re going to love it here!!!! 🙂 “@sunyoswego: Woohoo! RT @yazelroque: Im at #Oswego State!!! #welcome2oswego”
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 10:39:36
  21. LeAnneStGelais
    The arena all set up for Welcoming Torchlight for new @sunyoswego students! #welcome2oswego http://instagr.am/p/OuG4NjNTO-/
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 11:38:03
  22. Maggidy_
    @sunyoswego Back from moving new students in and completely wiped, great job red carpet crew! Only three more events to attend today.
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 14:31:41
  23. mattfeeney29
    walking SUNY Oswego campus right now. hopefully a fun night to come…
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 17:48:41
  24. zbpolin
    Getting ready for @sunyoswego Torchlight Ceremony!! #welcome2oswego http://pic.twitter.com/Hc8IH53q
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 17:51:40
  25. OMAdriana
    @sunyoswego To all my residents and to all new to Oswego, welcome! #welcome2oswego http://pic.twitter.com/y14vwfKE
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 17:57:11
  26. Taylor_AB
    My resident hall’s theme is Harry Potter #awyeah #win #sunyoswego
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 18:13:41
  27. SUNYOswegoFANs
    We know how to throw a party at @sunyoswego #welcome2oswego #OswegoPride http://pic.twitter.com/ZWtMCS9p
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 19:01:32
  28. ludnut23
    I’ve only been in SUNY Oswego for 1 day and I’m already loving it
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 19:06:49
  29. r2rDSexton
    holy cow, the college life is for real at @sunyoswego. let’s see how this goes
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 19:17:07
  30. Brandatello
    #welcome2oswego all moved in and relaxing before my roommate comes tomorrow
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 19:53:24
  31. sunyoswego
    To everyone who moved in today, #welcome2oswego! And remember, the journey is just beginning …
    Fri, Aug 24 2012 20:20:15

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Welcome2Oswego

  1. This was our favorite tweet of the day …
  2. Jared_Lahm
    I would hate to be the guy/girl in charge of the @sunyoswego twitter lol.. Its gunna be a long day for them. #QuickShoutOut
  3. … but truth be told, Move-In Day was so much fun on Twitter! It started early and ran late. Here are just a few highlights.
  4. sunyoswego
    We’re ready for you! RT @Cmerc29: All packed and ready to be @sunyoswego bound in the AM! #letsgo #soexcited #newstart #welcome2oswego
  5. sunyoswego
    Great idea! RT @taylormachin: @KatieRussell8 bringing biking back to SUNY Oswego #letsgo bringing my blades too 😉 #welcome2oswego
  6. sunyoswego
    Beautiful morning so far! RT @MommaDiBo: On our way to drop my baby girls off at #SUNYOSWEGO #bittersweet #welcome2oswego
  7. sunyoswego
    We’ll have people waiting to help you move in. Seriously! RT @melissavasti: Off to @sunyoswego !!! #welcome2oswego
  8. DerekGoodroe
    Welcome Class of 2016 to @sunyoswego! Wish I could rewind time and be moving in today and experiencing #welcome2oswego all over again.
  9. mcgnotes
    Can’t believe it’s move-in day already @sunyoswego! Dropping off my freshman… So exciting
  10. 24KathyB
    its move in day at @sunyoswego ….. I sooooo miss school, the lake and Daga living =( awesome 4 yrs in the land of Oz =)
  11. LifesLike_THIS
    You’re almost here hun! RT @fancett_rae: Everyone is moving in. I just want to be at @sunyoswego already! #notfair #twodays
  12. sunyoswego
    Check out our early photo album of new students moving in with our awesome Red Carpet Crew! http://on.fb.me/R79zoM #welcome2oswego
  13. sunyoswego
    Hooray for our Red Carpet Crew! RT @jessiknewso: Helping freshman move into @sunyoswego today! #welcome2oswego
  14. AntonioCaban10
    Long day ahead. So happy for my sister who’s continuing the rest of her education @ SUNY Oswego!
  15. danielleworkit
    All moved into my dorm room! So much change in just a few hours.. but I’m ready 🙂 #sunyoswego #freshmanyear
  16. Julirex_rae_psm
    You’re going to love it here!!!! 🙂 “@sunyoswego: Woohoo! RT @yazelroque: Im at #Oswego State!!! #welcome2oswego”
  17. Maggidy_
    @sunyoswego Back from moving new students in and completely wiped, great job red carpet crew! Only three more events to attend today.
  18. sunyoswego
    To everyone who moved in today, #welcome2oswego! And remember, the journey is just beginning …

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on curiosity, real-time web and shared experiences.

Millions of people around the world just gathered on their computers, tablets and mobile devices to share an amazing event, for many of them in the wee hours of the night. That it was not a sporting event, award show or tragedy but instead the triumph of science — the landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars — is heartening to those who wonder about the human condition. But it was significant also in how NASA presented it and we consumed it.

If the event represented a test of how to use the real-time web and social media, NASA passed with flying colors. Their main webstream at nasa.gov functioned well and was filled with interesting content. No babbling talking heads or ads interrupted a flow of informed, yet accessible, commentary on the project, the science involved, the goals of the mission and every step as Curiosity approached the surface of Mars. The page featured an embedded social media feed for additional context. And the @CuriosityRover Twitter feed was friendly, funny and engaging. Perhaps even a bit cheeky, judging by the tweet that marked it landing on the surface:

And yes, even though it happened at an hour many reasonable people are in bed (around 1:30 a.m. Eastern), as of this morning it had 61,046 retweets and 10,582 folks favorited it. Its use of the “I am in you” meme and the first images being sent with cute notes like “You asked for pics from my trip. Here you go!” gave it more personality than most brands even develop in social media.

Its juxtaposition against NBC’s disastrous delayed-broadcasting Olympics coverage and resistance to use adequate webstream resources was best summed up, just before the landing, when the satirical @NBCDelayed account Tweeted: PROGRAMMING NOTE: We’ll be showing the @MarsCuriosity landing on Tuesday at 8PM local. The real network had time-shifted the opening ceremony well into the night (refusing to webstream it) and faced criticism for its announcers making derogatory comments during the Parade of Nations. It doesn’t take, well, a rocket scientist to see how much better NASA’s execution was than NBC’s hamhanded, outmoded coverage.

The idea of a shared experience — such as Neil Armstrong walking on the moon or our communal horror at the Challenger explosion — seems almost outdated because the content we consume and the distribution channels are more diverse than ever. Between all the cable channels, web pages and gaming systems, audiences are increasingly fragmented. And yet to check out Facebook or Twitter during this time was to see a robust community celebrating this momentous achievement through observations ranging from snarky to sublime.

With the Curiosity landing, the shared social element added so much to its appeal. My two brothers and I, three space geeks separated by the miles, all watched, interacted and reminisced about launching Estes rockets in our neighbors’ field. Whatever your adult responsibilities, it’s hard to watch this and not feel like an 8-year-old with wide-eyed wonder and a sense that anything is possible.

For all the technology involved, the sights many will remember involve humans — all the scientists hugging, cheering and exchanging high-fives. Victory is not confined to the sporting arenas by any means, and the authentic emotion washing over these people, seeing years of work come to fruition, was beyond heartwarning. If that can convince more youngsters to go into the sciences, to pursue and achieve even more ambitious dreams, that will be a true win for us all.

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