Tag Archives: Online Communities

Beyond Blogging, #heweb11

As promised, here are my slides for my 9:30 AM (CT) presentation of Beyond Blogging: Create an Integrated Online Student Ambassador program.

If you can’t attend HighEdWeb this year, I hope that you will follow along with the hashtags #heweb11 and #soc2 this morning. Leave any questions or comments you have as a comment and I’ll be sure to respond!


Inspiration for Facebook tabs from outside .edu (Part 1 of 4)

Note: I will be a regular contributor to mStoner’s blog.  This is a cross-post from my recent entry there.

It is important to provide your audience with a cohesive web experience. Customized tabs on Facebook can help achieve that goal, but they can do so much more! In the coming weeks I will highlight examples of compelling Facebook tabs from outside .edu that encourage your audience to “like” your Page and will keep them coming back.

Barack Obama – Are You In?

Obama Facebook tab

No surprise here, the Obama campaign is well-respected for using social media in new ways to inspire supporters.

Obama Facebook tab

I love the idea behind the “Are You In?” tab. First, you show your support by clicking “I’m in!” (simple, quick, and really what could be easier?) and then you are given the option to connect your Facebook account to see if your friends are in too. You are prompted to share that you “are in” on your wall and encouraged to invite your friends to join. Obama wants his supporters to spread the word for him, clearly aware that Americans trust friends and online recommendations far more than advertising messages.

Obama Facebook tab

How could this apply to .edu?
Envision “Are You In” as “Are You Applying?” Once you click “I’m Applying” the tab allows you to connect your Facebook account so you can share the good news with your friends. The tab then morphs into a place where you can invite your friends to join and interact with others who are also applying. Keep it social by giving prospective students a place to offer each other essay writing tips or ask current students questions about campus life.

Is your institution doing something new or different with Facebook tabs? We’d love to hear from you.

Next up: A favorite cartoon.


Formspring vs. Quora

Today Formspring announced that it received $11.5M in funding from Redpoint Ventures.

This announcement comes at a time when Quora, another Q&A site, has been making waves in the social networking world.

Formspring also made a few changes on their site.  They changed the language from “Ask Anonymously” to “Hide My Name.”  They also added a “Respond” button which is available for any Formspring user to place directly on their website.  You can use this to increase comments on news articles, videos, photos, and more and then have those responses shared within the Formpsring community.  Like Quora, you can push your answers to other social networking sites.

New screen shot of formspring

Many people know that I am a big fan of Formspring, having been one of the first to use the service in higher education to connect with prospective students.  My interview on Higher Ed Live regarding Formspring has over 1000 hits, making it the most viewed episode to date.

Yesterday Patrick Powers wrote a great blog post on Quora which highlighted how your institution’s faculty could use the tool. 

Who is going to win the Q&A site battle?

I think the tool that you ultimately decide to use should be based largely on your goals.  Quora appears to be a great Q&A site for one to use personally, you can show how you are an expert on different subjects or get expert opinions on questions that you have.  I have never used Formspring as a personal account and do not have plans to do so in the future.  For me, Formspring is a better tool to use as a business or for a higher ed insitution.  Formspring, much like Twitter, allows you to customize the look and feel to your profile.  It allows you to provide your customers with a safe place to ask their questions.

So what do you think?  Formspring vs. Quora?


Free professional development, a click away

I’m hooked on TED

“Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.”  I can’t argue with that!  These videos of interesting and often jaw-dropping presentations are truly “ideas worth spreading.”

I’d like to share with you some of the TEDs that I have recently found inspiring.  I hope that you will share links to your favorites with me.

Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media

Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us

Jonathan Harris: The Web’s secret stories

Chris Anderson: How YouTube is driving innovation

Bobby McFerrin hacks your brain with music


Should your bloggers be tweeters too?

Got Student Bloggers?

What else are you using them for?  Not to brag, but my SMC Bloggers are an impressive bunch and they’re doing a lot more than just blogging.  They are the face of St. Mike’s online recruitment efforts.  They manage Formspring accounts, participate in live chats with prospective students, film campus events, create videos, connect with prospects on Facebook and NING, and they tweet. I feel like a proud mom.

The hope is that you’ll meet them in one space and then recognize them in another.  When high-schooler Suzie is chillin in the Class of 2015 Facebook group, I want her to feel comfortable.  Hopefully she’ll be more apt to engage because she’s been reading Gabbi and Dan’s blogs and now she sees them answering questions and starting conversations on Facebook.

With that thinking in mind, this academic year I made it a requirement of the SMC Bloggers to use twitter.  (It was “highly encouraged” in years prior.)   Now I know there’s plenty of talk out there that says students under 18 aren’t tweeting.  Yes, I read  The Chronicle article and I saw the results of Noel-Levitz E-Expectations survey.   So am I wasting their time?

Nope.

During the 2009-2010 school year on SMCBlogs the 9 bloggers who were tweeting were by far the most “popular” bloggers.  During the year their blogs received about 550 visits/month.  The non-tweeters?  Only about 230 visits/month.

The most active tweeters continue to see the highest traffic to their blogs.
Over the past month the 5 most active students on twitter received an average of 347.2 blog visits.

We can compare this to:
5 students who do not use twitter* received an average of 167.5 blog visits.
5 “less-active” twitter users received an average of 114.2 blog visits.

Of course, there are many more factors going into why these students are (or are not) seeing traffic to their blogs and I know that twitter usage is not the only one.  Yet, I don’t think you can fight these numbers.  The active tweeters have more traffic to their blogs.  Plain and simple.

I want to hear from you.  I think there is a lot to talk about here.

Should your student bloggers be tweeters too?

*The 5 students not using twitter are volunteer blogging and are not paid, thus are not required to use twitter.  The SMC Bloggers that are contracted and paid are required to tweet.


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