Tag Archives: oswego

What’s there to do in Oswego? Kwame Belle’s Bucket List has answers.

Student-produced, student-focused web video has long been a goal of ours, and this year we’re thrilled to have not one but two hit video serials. In addition to the previously-mentioned freshman advice series Alyssa Explains It All, we have Kwame Belle’s Bucket List, which introduces viewers to interesting facets of our campus and community.

Kwame has been one of my best bloggers and this year stepped up to a social media internship, which requires producing some major work or works. One day he mentioned an idea he had of a bucket list where he solicited things to do before he graduated– in the Oswego community as well as around campus — and blog about doing them. I suggested a video series directed by talented graduate assistant Kevin Graham, and subsequently learned we’re all fans of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation series, which influenced the project.

In “Hitting the Ice,” Kwame gets skating tips from Olivia Boersen, captain of the Laker women’s hockey team.

Thus Kwame Belle’s Bucket List unfolds as a bit of a travelogue (minus Bourdain’s excessive drinking and swearing), as Kwame pursues each episode in a journalistic vein. He’ll interview fellow students partaking in a polar plunge, locals learning how to rock-climb or the captain of the women’s hockey team showing him skating tips. Kwame himself is a character, an engaging host and eager participant, never afraid of how foolish he may look in the process. He also brings intellectual heft to the proceedings: During an apple-picking episode, he juxtaposed the freshman and senior experience, discussed Sir Isaac Newton and pondered the anthropology of dating.

Since our major social media efforts should meet a goal, the bucket list answers one of the biggest questions from prospective and current students: What’s there to do in Oswego? We’re a small city on Lake Ontario and while scenery and a charming downtown are draws, we’re far from a metropolitan or cosmopolitan area. Students considering Oswego wonder if they’ll find anything to do and frequently ask the question.

We’ve focused on things to do that characterize the campus, town and region. For example, Kwame went fishing from the banks of the Oswego River for a recent episode; to send him on a chartered boat trip would have made for good video but would have represented something not affordable to most students. That he spent one episode soliciting opinions from students, which led to some subsequent shows, and seeks feedback via social media makes it interactive and somewhat user-driven.

The series draws respectable numbers — not as high as Alyssa’s, but constantly building — and has developed an ardent following among members of the campus community and alumni. The episodes are longer than I generally recommend for web video, but they create a compelling tale with the help of other characters and guides, so watching a whole episode is worth it. With he and Kevin working hard from a meaty roster of ideas, the main challenge will be when Kwame fulfills the ultimate item on his bucket list … and graduates from Oswego. Wherever he goes from here, it’s good to know his video adventures will live on.

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seek and ye shall find: thoughts on content and serendipity.

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” — Thomas Jefferson

Some folks would tell you an immense amount of planning and work should have to go into a Facebook wall post with 275 likes, 48 shares and 28 comments. But it’s also possible to find that kind of content just walking out your door.

Or at least that’s what happened last Friday when I left work to find a brilliant sunset overspreading our campus. I took a simple iPhone photo and posted it on the SUNY Oswego Facebook page shortly after I got home. Oswego is known for its spectacular sunsets, so I figured maybe (if we’re lucky) a few dozen folks would like it and others may mention missing the sunset.

But never, ever underestimate the power of good content.

The most impressive figure in there, I think, is the 48 shares. I consider a share by far a better metric of engagement than likes or comments, because it means someone has found a piece of your content they like enough to “buy” it and make it their own. Also interesting that some alumni began reminiscing about a fellow student who used to play the bagpipes (!) at sunset every night.

It’s good that the photo speaks for itself. You don’t need a caption to explain what a beautiful sunset is, and it’s an arresting image to see on your Facebook feed, one that makes you stop and take notice.

Is finding this kind of content serendipity? Yes. And no. If you make a determined effort to seek out and document images, stories and links that are compelling content, you’ll have a better chance of finding it. This purposeful process has helped our Facebook page over recent weeks.

The reaction to this post does not exist in a vacuum. Thursday I posted a link to a story about SUNY Oswego meteorology graduate Thomas Niziol being named the primary winter weather expert for the Weather Channel (47 likes, 11 comments, 2 shares). Wednesday featured a story from the Oneonta Daily Star on a local student on our 23-member team climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (45 likes, 7 comments, 2 shares).

Which leads to the following observations on posting quality content to Facebook:

Be curious and be prepared. The Wednesday and Thursday articles came via Addictomatic, which I check regularly with a bookmark for references to SUNY Oswego. And while photographic skill is not required (obviously!) to get the sunset shot, it comes from recognizing quality content when you see it and being ready to act.

Build quality content and they will come. If our Facebook page was just spouting drivel or posting advertising taglines (I’ve seen this elsewhere, and it’s cringeworthy), no one would pay attention … or they may unlike the page and/or hide it on the feed. Our fan count of 10,663 is not large compared to many institutions, true, but we seem to have a very high level of engagement. One reason: Once you begin providing interesting content on a regular basis, audiences are more likely to stay tuned.

Content calendars can be overrated. OK, maybe a bit harsh, but when I hear consultants and agencies describe meticulously planned social media content calendars, this is ignoring how life really works. Yes, you should plan content around key events and dates (admissions deadlines or cycles, for example), but there are more things in heaven and earth than are in our content calendars, Horatio. Last week, our most popular Facebook content ever literally came out of the sky. We should recognize this possibility and remain flexible. (And those who fret over finding the ideal time, like 9:02 a.m. Thursday, to post things: Note this was posted at a “down time,” 5:21 p.m. Friday.)

Finding great content can involve serendipity, but it involves looking in the first place. Thomas Jefferson would have never even dreamed of Facebook, but he certainly had the right idea.

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social media for a very special birthday.

[Charles Wainwright photo]

We celebrated a very special birthday last week to mark the Oct. 4 birthday of our institution’s founder, Edward Austin Sheldon, in the middle of our sesquicentennial celebration.

How does one celebrate such a momentous milestone? With a large group picture where hundreds of people detail the year of our founding, 1861. With free food. And cupcakes. And, of course, social media.

I posted several photos live via our official accounts through Instagram onto Twitter. We have many, many more followers on Twitter than Instagram at this point, but each photo filtered onto Twitter makes more of our connections aware of this service and our presence on it, as we picked up some new Instagram followers. Our posts drew a lot of retweets as well, which garnered an appreciable amount of new Twitter followers.

In addition, viewing our Twitpics gives a quick look at major components of the celebration …

You could say the reaction was pretty good on Facebook when we posted up the main 1861 photo. At least that seems a reasonable assumption with 121 Likes, 26 comments and 31 shares. That people started tagging themselves and their friends greatly extended the image’s shelf life. This is what I mean by quality content with high sharability.

I also borrowed our office’s small video camera and took snippets as the event came together. I then went into iMovie and spliced together a quick take video. [View video]

Last and not least, we had the opportunity to deliver some happiness to one of our students who missed out on getting a free T-shirt. This thread, which also is my first attempt to use Storify, shows how that took place.

Thanks for all the free food! @sunyoswego http://t.co/XLJJZ3MF
yuhhboiii
October 4, 2011
@yuhhboiii Bon appetit!
sunyoswego
October 4, 2011
@sunyoswego any way to still get a t-shirt?! I didn’t get one 😦
yuhhboiii
October 4, 2011
@yuhhboiii Uh oh. We saw some boxes headed in the direction of the alumni office, but don’t know if they had shirts in them. : /
sunyoswego
October 4, 2011
This was actually an incorrect assumption on my part. I later learned Auxiliary Services, which runs our bookstores and other entities, had them. So I put a quick request into the person in charge of Auxiliary Services, who came through. (Thank you, Mike!)
@sunyoswego Mail me one!
yuhhboiii
October 4, 2011
@yuhhboiii We’ll check and get back to you! : )
sunyoswego
October 4, 2011
@yuhhboiii We have something for you! What do you want us to do with it? http://t.co/k53HvL0X
sunyoswego
October 4, 2011
@sunyoswego name the place and time!
yuhhboiii
October 4, 2011
I sent him a DM of the time and place, lest others descend upon our office to claim the shirt. And, after the hectic day, failed to realize our @sunyoswego account wasn’t following him back yet, i.e. couldn’t receive his DM. D’oh! We worked it out.
@yuhhboiii This is waiting for you! http://t.co/Tn7tECji
sunyoswego
October 5, 2011
RT @sunyoswego: Here is how our giant 1861 photo came out. Thanks to all who made it happen! http://t.co/jQB6PUmj
yuhhboiii
October 5, 2011

Was it all a bit more work? Sure. But hey, you only get once chance to celebrate your founder’s birthday during your 150th anniversary … so we may as well find as many ways to tell the story as possible!

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who are the people in your twitterhood?

I always find interesting the way we make friends — in real life, as well as cyberspace. In either realm, I’ve noticed friends rarely fall into one encompassing group but instead spheres that only occasionally overlap.

I’ve noticed this on Twitter, where my Tweeps tend to fall into three different, almost entirely exclusive groups.

1) The Higher Ed Social Media Circle. Many are thanks to @rachelreuben, who metaphorically took my coat, handed me a drink and dragged me into the Twitter living room. Most work in higher education in various forms of Web 2.0; many are experts and bloggers and excellent resources. This is the busiest and largest group of Tweeps, where I interact with the likes of @andrewcareaga, @bradjward, @circa1978, @debrouillard, @donnajlehman, @fienen, @girlmeetsweb, @jesskry, @karinejoly, @KarlynM, @lyuda, @mherzber, @tsand and many more. I know Rachel and Donna and Lyudmilla from annual conferences, and briefly met Matt Herzberger (@mherzber) and Karine Joly at UWebD, but most I only know online. I’d like to meet more of these interesting folks, and have booked some of them to speak at this year’s SUNY CUAD conference.

2) The Xanga Group. These I know from my other blog, including @ailec, @bastetmax, @danrapp, @dianeharrington, @fern_forest, @itsjenjen, @laurakins, @Lenore_Happenstance, @mydogischelsea, @rowdeezy227, @sapphire769, @scifiknitter, @shahrazad1973, @tarkka and @thinlizzy. I’ve only met Laura (@mydogischelsea) and Naomi (@shahrazad1973) in real life, but from reading blogs and interacting, I really feel like I know many of them well. Weird, eh?

3) The Real-Life Peeps. People I made friends with from Central New York, many of whom I’ve known since before Twitter existed. Most I know through SUNY Oswego in some way, including @jlongley, @mjoyner, @phred6179, @river868, @sliebler and @tjsoundguy. This is the smallest and least active group of friends. Maybe Twitter just isn’t that big here yet?

(Granted, I also follow the likes of @BarackObama, @JohnCleese, @PeteYorn and @ZeFrank, but don’t interact with them enough to have a fourth celebrity circle. And if you read this and weren’t mentioned: Sorry, but I follow nearly 150 peeps.)

Intriguing that these groups have almost no overlapping relationships, with the exception of fellow Oswego employee @sliebler who follows many social media types. While things like Twitter can build communities where anybody can meet anyone, lots of people still stay within their own tribes. Some things never change.

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