How about that, we’re A THIRD of the way through 2016 already – that’s a bit bonkers, isn’t it? Particularly when, despite the fact that it should definitely be Spring by now, it snowed last week. This year is a bit crazy.
Anyway, I digress…it’s time for my monthly roundup of great articles that I’ve enjoyed reading. I found so many this month that I’ve had to increase my list to 15, as I simply couldn’t get it down to 10. In fact, I’ve actually cheated and referenced a few extras in this list, so you’re actually getting 20. You’re welcome.
Oh and before we get into the list, I should probably give you another guinea pig update; our last piggie standing Lizzie is now very happy as we went and got her a new cage mate. His name is Angus and he’s settling in really well. There’s a photo of him over on my Instagram.
Right, on with the list – as always, do click through and read the full things, they’re all awesome.
When it comes to Yik Yak, there’s an increasingly used, shoot-from-the-hip reaction that a lot of institutions are turning to – banning the platform. Now, aside from the fact that this simply doesn’t work, this feels like a somewhat pointless exercise. Just have a look at my recent case study from Warwick for an example of the lesser-reported positive side of the Yak. Anyway, Lincoln University recently tried to ban the Yak on University wireless networks and it was all a bit flawed. This post from Lincoln’s Marcus Elliott does a really good job of explaining why banning isn’t the good option.
Yik Yak is just a tool. A tool that allows society to play out its activities in a slightly different way, but a tool nonetheless. It is a mirror or facsimile of our society, but the use of that technology does not define us.
For another example of what happens when an institution tires to band Yik Yak, check out this piece on the Chronicle of Higher Education.
With the rise of smartphones, we’re now essentially never offline – so it’s more important than ever to know how and when to switch off. This is underlined by this article on the Independent, whichs stats that seven million Britons are left depressed after using social media, thanks to the pressure of keeping up appearances and comparing their lives with others. Scary stuff.
More than one in three people say they are under pressure to like content posted by their friends, while 22 per cent feel they have to accept friend requests from people they work with. And more than one in five (23 per cent) of younger users, aged 18-34, have argued with others while online.
Perhaps more than any area of higher education marketing and communications, social media has vastly changed the rules of the game for alumni engagement. Having spent the last year becoming more and more with the alumni team at Warwick, I’ve seen this first hand so this Pulse post from Dan Klamm really struck some chords with me. Whoever you work for, your alumni are an incredible audience that offer so much potential – the challenge is how best you connect with them.
Alumni offices need to be aware that their alumni have more access to specialized networks than ever before, so the programs and events that schools offer need to be sophisticated and full of value. Of course everyone loves to root for their alma mater’s sports teams at a tailgate (Go Orange!)—or occasionally get together for a happy hour reunion—but what else is there? What would compel busy, well-networked alumni to spare their time? What’s in it for them? What does your alumni network offer that they can’t get anywhere else?
Making a welcome return to my monthly ‘best of’ roundups is my friend Eric Stoller, with an incredibly useful and pretty darned inspiring roundup of institutions that have taken the plunge and allowed takeovers of their official social media accounts. Why do takeovers work so well? Because they put real people in charge instead of a faceless organisation. And social media is all about connecting people with people. Simple really!
There are countless examples of universities who are giving students, staff, and faculty the chance to share their photographic abilities. One of my favorites has long been the Instagram account from St. Lawrence University. The account has always had a terrific diversity of images and energy. In a marketing environment that likes to showcase blue skies regardless of actual climate, it’s refreshing to see the “real” that comes from Instagram takeovers.
After five years of steady decline, my football team finally broke my heart this season. Yep, Aston Villa capped off an awful season by having their relegation confirmed earlier this month. I’ve tried not to read too many pieces about my club’s demise if I’m being honest, but when this one from Dan Slee – someone I respect an awful lot (even if he is a Stoke fan!) – I took the time to read it, and you should too. Dan’s objective post picks through what has been not only a season of own goals on the pitch but, when it comes to the club’s PR department, off it too. It’s a totally fair write up, and covers being humble, having common sense and spelling your new manager’s name correctly – all of which Villa have failed to do this season.
Eyebrows were raised when Frenchman Remi Garde was plucked from the French league to become the man who was going to save Aston Villa from a spiral of despair. In fine tradition the club took to the internet to orchestrate a welcome campaign.#welcomeremy the image on the club website read. Perfect. But his name was spelt wrong. It was Remi.
While I’m on the subject of Aston Villa, this piece from Creative Review about the club’s terribly timed rebranding is also a great read – having gone through a rebrand at Warwick last year I know what a tough experience this can be.
One final football-related piece before we move on – the Guardian reported that footballers are now having their social media vetted before transfers – I wonder how long before an industry of consultants training footballers on how not to be idiots on social media crops up?
Call me a glutton for punishment, but I quite like a bit of crisis communications every now and then. With that in mind, this piece about a University of Washington study was really rather enjoyable, and underlined that, in a crisis, being an ostrich is not an option. Even a simple statement from an your organisation can make a massive difference in quashing rumours.
When faced with an information gap, the public will move to fill it.
In the age of social media and constant access to information, the once complacent populace — who in years prior might have waited for the nightly news for the latest on an major crisis event — is becoming more proactive in sorting through and distributing information. The trouble is that sometimes that information is wrong.
I don’t know about you, but I really like retweets. They’re such a simple way of sharing something you find interesting, giving credit to the person who has sent that interesting nugget your way and still giving you distance from the original post. All that from a single click – not bad. Also, I think they carry far more significance that a throwaway like.
Retweets are expensive. They are hard to come by. What’s critical though, is that they mean so much more than a like. By broadcasting another entity’s message to your own followers, you’re effectively publicly championing that content.
This year I’ve gone from hating to almost starting to like LinkedIn – I’ve certainly realised that, more than any other social network, the more you put into LinkedIn the more you get back from it. This piece from the WSJ gives real weight to getting people taking LinkedIn seriously, and not just using it to hunt for a job. Have you given LinkedIn more thought recently? I’ve been finding it increasingly hard to ignore.
I was the same, avoiding LinkedIn’s baffling design and incessant nagging. But a few weeks ago, when I decided to give it a real varsity tryout, I realized LinkedIn deserves a place on my phone’s home screen. I now check it a couple of times a week to find out what’s happening in my industry. Use it right and you’ll get ideas on how to improve your business, find new leads—and maybe land a job you didn’t even know you wanted.
Keeping with LinkedIn for a moment, in April I was asked by LinkedIn to help facilitate the #LinkedIn3D non-conference for higher ed folk – you can read my write up here. It was a great day and has really helped shift how I think about the network. One of my other facilitators was the excellent Joe Field, who also put together a cracking write up of the day.
A lot of people still use discussion groups to broadcast. At Sheffield Hallam we haven’t cracked that nut either.
The best advice came from Charles Hardy, who said that “groups need watering”. Online conversations take place between a number of people, so if you’re relying on one person opening the door to a group once a week and shouting into an empty room, you’re doing it wrong.
While there is so much about social media and the modern web that I love, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that it also brings with it a much darker side. The comments section at the bottom of an article can be a potential hotspot for abuse and general horrible behaviour that you simply wouldn’t experience in real life, and this lengthy but excellent piece from the Guardian digs deeper into the matter. Spoiler alert, it’s not pretty!
The Guardian was not the only news site to turn comments on, nor has it been the only one to find that some of what is written “below the line” is crude, bigoted or just vile. On all news sites where comments appear, too often things are said to journalists and other readers that would be unimaginable face to face – the Guardian is no exception.
New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.
We all love a good bit of knowledge sharing and learning, and there’s plenty of excellent insights from Aston University’s Andra Groza in this generous and brilliant write-up. Whether it’s coming up with shareable content, harnessing your advocates or just staying on top of new channels, this article covers plenty and is peppered with some great, real-life examples. If you’re involved in social media for HE you should definitely give this a read!
The fast-moving evolution of social media has changed the way we look for information and make decisions in all areas of life and this new digital landscape has had a significant impact on the way students assess and compare educational options.
Looking at the huge number of active social media accounts and the importance of social media in the decision making process, it is only normal that schools and universities invest resources and time in building a strong online presence.
Enjoy that? Part II is also excellent!
The social media offering from Warwick’s Library is brilliant – it is always the go-to example I pull out of how an individual bit of campus can totally nail using this technology to build community. Not only is their twitter feed excellent, their study blog is also brilliant too, as this post shows. We’re now in exam term at Warwick, so the Library is open 24/7. The caring and thoughtful piece not only has some good study tips for our students but also looks out for their health and wellbeing too. It’s all part of a fabulous social media offering from the Library that our students really love. I’ve included this as a great piece of content that really shows an understanding of its audience and the needs of that audience.
24/7 opening can help you be more flexible in where and when you revise, just be careful not to push yourself too hard! Good luck with your exams!
Verity Milligan is a completely brilliant photographer from Birmingham and, I’m very pleased to say, a friend of mine who I’ve got to know through being part of the second city’s awesome Instagram community. In this piece for The Drum, Verity perfectly articulates the power of Instagram in giving you inspiration and giving your new friends too. Yes, I’m biased because I know Verity and I love Instagram, but it’s still a brilliant article.
Instagram has designs beyond the mere collaboration of individuals, and as a platform it of course has a commercial edge, both from a business and individual perspective. However, the by-product of this is the ability to find other likeminded creatives, and the impact of such a collective reaches far beyond the initial participants. A few years ago I struggled to find contemporaries and now I’m lucky to have numerous. It’s made me a better photographer, contributor and, most importantly, a better person.
If you’re interested, I also put together a feature about Instagram and Instameets for Olympus Magazine this month – do check it out!
Snapchat seems to be getting more influential by the week, and writers are falling over themselves to pull together useful articles. This piece about how colleges are not just using Snapchat for recruitment, but creating specific geofilters to hook potential students was really great. Snapchat really is becoming very difficult to ignore.
Universities are pretty much like any marketer, albeit one peddling a product with a very high price point. Snapchat’s popularity among youngsters is no secret. The app has a nearly 70 percent reach among the 18-24 demographic, according to comScore, and colleges are increasingly beginning to take note.
While we’re on the topic of Snapchat, this piece about how Boston University uses the platform to engage with prospective students is also very much worth a look
Oh look, another month and another tweak from Facebook – make sure you keep up! The latest is that the social media giant is updating its news feed to highlight links to sites it thinks you’ll spend the most time looking at, and this piece from Tech Crunch gives a decent overview.
So now when you click on a mobile link to an Instant Article or open a page in its internal browser window, Facebook will calculate how much time you spend there after the content stops loading, controlled for content length. Sites and articles where people spend more time will be shown higher and more frequently in the News Feed, while those they quickly ditch will be demoted.
There you go, hope they were of use – what did you enjoy reading in April? Leave me some links in the comments!
*Image sourced via Flickr’s Commons