We will return to our regularly scheduled programming...

Hello wonderful readers!

Apologies for the posting hiatus the past month... the end-of-quarter grad school crunch got in the way.

But I have now officially completed my coursework (thesis project still to come), so I'll be returning to regular blogging shortly.

Of course, wedding planning will also likely get in the way (the big day is now officially less than two months away.... AHH!!!), but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.  :)

Friday Five: College Marketing Is All the Same edition

Friday Five's back, alright!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Quick reminder: You can follow this blog on Facebook, and - if you are so inclined - me on Twitter.

OK, let's get right to it!

1. College marketing: A whole lotta sameness

Lots of things to think about and consider after reading this article about the plague of sameness that infects college marketing by Ellen Wexler on Inside Higher Ed. And in what is sure to be a rare recommendation, be sure to read the comments section - I particularly love this gem: "Oddly, we encourage students to take risks but institutions themselves are risk averse which is why would could blank out the name on these materials and substitute 50 or more colleges. Being bold and creative and innovative and distinctive seems too hard for most places." Once your done with the comments, check out this thoughtful response from Eric Sickler, also on IHE.

2. Student social media use survey

Many thanks to the talented and brilliant Jason Boucher of University of New Hampshire for creating and sharing this great survey UNH did of their students' social media use. (Wow those Snapchat numbers!!!) Come for the great data and insights, stay for the awesome infographic!

3. Facebook video view numbers are a complete joke

After reading this diatribe from Gawker's Kevin Draper about the ludicrousness of Facebook's video view metrics, all I could say was PREACH!!!!!!!!!! Quick story - a few weeks ago, I had the chance to meet with the former video director of a large digital publisher. He was boasting pretty hard about getting 100 million video views a month, which I thought was super impressive. But then I asked how many of those views were of the Facebook 3-second variety. He equivocated a bit, but ultimately said about 90%. Yeesh. That type of vanity metric peacocking makes everyone working in social media look bad. Please - don't use FB's sham view stats. (The public number which counts 3-second views, that is. Their more in-depth metrics are OK.) 

4. Reaching the right people

Really, really enjoyed this article by Joshua Topolsky about "the Problem" of digital media. Super smart stuff. My favorite part: "The truth is that the best and most important things the media (let’s say specifically the news media) has ever made were not made to reach the most people — they were made to reach the right people. Because human beings exist, and we are not content consumption machines. What will save the media industry — or at least the part worth saving — is when we start making Real Things for people again, instead of programming for algorithms or New Things."

5. The failure of influencer marketing

Loved this Digiday interview about influencer marketing with an anonymous social media exec. This part rang particularly true to me: "...usually it’s a CEO or CMO or whoever saying, “Oh, my kid likes this guy.” At this major car brand I worked for, we paid $300,000 for a few photographs because the CEO’s kid liked someone."

That's all I've got. Take it away, obscure shoe-gazery band from Detroit! (aka Slumber Party)



Great Social Media Idea: DIY Grad Cap Decoration Video

Greetings loyal readers!

Apologies for the lack of posts lately - grad school deadlines and wedding planning take precedence over the blog. And my damn hand is still in a cast.

But what I have I give to you, dear readers, so here I am with a new idea to share. Which, truth be told, I only have thanks to the wonderful and talented Rebekah Winkler from the University of Tennessee.

Decorating graduation caps has become a total thing in recent years (or at least, become a lot more of a thing - I blame Pinterest), and students fill graduation hashtags with hundreds upon hundreds of photos of their awesome cap decorations. As such, UT-Knoxville stepped in and made an awesome - and glittery! - video:

Take it away, Rebekeh:

It's still early in the commencement cycle, but we had so much fun making this video for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's social channels, that I wanted to share. We made a DIY-style video of quick-and-easy UT-inspired grad cap decorations. Of course, I'm happy any time my job allows me to play with so much glitter, but we tried to focus on supplies that were easy to come across if a student doesn't already have them. And we supplied a template for one of the designs. You can see the full video on our Facebook page. We also posted a shorter cut of it on Twitter and Instagram... I can't wait to see how everyone else is celebrating their graduates.

Totally love it, especially the part about being thoughtful about what supplies students have access to and providing a template for the not-so-artistically inclined.

 Also, I can't wait to see what everyone else is doing too! (Hint, hint... send me some ideas using the suggestion box!)

What to Do When Most People Watch Your Videos with No Sound

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I have a friend from college, the lovely Holly Westerfield, who has made a cottage industry of celebrating Wednesdays, which are so often dismissed and derided as Hump Day or some other such slander. She bakes cookies, pies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes... really anything that is baked and delicious... and shares them with the world to celebrate Happy Wednesdays, and I know that as a fellow lover of the March 4th holiday (the only day whose name is also a command!), I am quite sure she is thrilled today's Wednesday lands on the Star Wars holiday May the 4th (be with you). All this to say, while I haven't baked anything for you, I am happy to share a half-baked blog post with you. (ZING! Though that joke took a bit too much set up, didn't it? Sigh.)

Mobile video viewing presents a lot of challenges for videographers. Not only do most people not bother to turn their phones 90 degrees to match the aspect ratio (often because they have their screen orientation locked), they also often have the sound disabled. What's a videographer to do? Check out this example from Boston University:

Joe Chan, a videographer at Boston University, recently shared this with the excellent University Video Producers Facebook group, which you should join immediately.

Wanted to share an experiment we're doing where we're looking to make specific content for FB and Youtube - we found 80% of our audience was watching without sound, so we did a re-cut to share a single beat of the story that you could understand without sound (similar to Now This or other FB content you've seen around). Hope you enjoy!

Super smart, right? Not only does this video work even without the sound, but it also has an aspect ratio that works better for people who are watching it with their phones in the "upright" position. And it's shocking that such a large percentage of people were watching videos without sound... if there were ever any question as to whether or not mobile has completely taken over social media browsing, there's your answer.

Definitely something to consider for your video projects going forward. I have always known that platforms like Snapchat and Instagram require their own unique video edits, but it definitely makes sense that mobile-optimized videos for Facebook also require their own special edit too. Now if only we had endless time and staff to make bespoke edits for every social platform!  :)

Friday Five: Broken Hand Edition

After suffering through lingering pain in my right hand for nearly two weeks, I finally sucked it up and went to the hospital. A few x-rays later, broken fifth metacarpal confirmed. I now have a snazzy purple cast. Typing is difficult, and yet I soldier on. You're welcome.  :)

Now, onto the links!

1. Joshua Topolsky, co-founder of The Verge, writes about why media business fail... and how they can succeed. 

Your problem is that you make shit. A lot of shit. Cheap shit. And no one cares about you or your cheap shit. And an increasingly aware, connected, and mutable audience is onto your cheap shit. They don’t want your cheap shit. They want the good shit. And they will go to find it somewhere.

2. Kristen Taylor, former community editor for Serial podcast, writes about her strategies in engaging the community during Season 2.

What you’re always looking for with an audience are their universals — what connects them to each other, what unites them. Understanding why they are listening, or what they are listening for, is a good way to research their universals (I’d say their ‘globals’ like in programming, but fandoms work in universes).

3. Slate's Will Oremus on Facebook's transformation from social network to personalized portal.

The company has reinvented itself in two distinct ways. First, Facebook as a platform has been quietly evolving into something different than a social network—something less personal, but no less useful. Second, Facebook as a company has been furiously hedging its bets on the future of technology and social media, to the point that it is no longer properly described as merely a social network—no more than Alphabet (né Google) is properly described as a search website.

4. Gawker's Hamilton Nolen on the brutal struggles of adjunct professors.

Higher education is an industry with a two-tier employment system: the full time and tenured professors and the administrators with well-compensated, stable jobs, and the adjunct professors who have no guarantee of job stability and pay near poverty levels.

5. Jason Boucher on using Snapchat Geofilters at University of New Hampshire.

Still not sure what a geo-filter is exactly? Think of it as a digital sticker or a badge you can add to each snap you take with most only available is specific geolocations. It's also a form of marketing based on your locale or region where segmented audiences can be reached. Snapchat users are able to share your logo or event info without having any contact or interference from the sponsor.

Still reeling from Prince's untimely death, but as the proud owner of something like 30 of his CDs and records, I sure have been listening to some great music this past week and reminded of why I have long considered him my favorite artist.

He wrote this song when he was 21, he played every instrument on it, and it's better than anything I'll ever do in my life. Sigh...

Great Social Media Idea: Iconic Building Picture Listicle

Sometimes I feature high-brow ideas and elaborate campaigns/videos on this blog, and sometimes I feature (no less important, mind you!) workman-like ideas that provide high-engaging grist for the all-consuming content mill. Today is an idea of the latter variety.

If there's one truth in online content, it's that (despite what they may say) people never, ever seem to get tired of clicking lists. And while they can definitely be overdone, you should never feel hesitant to put one together when you need some fun "snackable" content for your social channels. Because never forget - your continuing mission should always be to post things that your followers actually want to see in their feeds. (Side note: Props to all the nerds who caught the TNG reference.)

Which brings me to this fun listicle from Cal Berkeley, highlighting 11 Times the Campanile Looked Flawless.

I mean... featuring 11 lovely photos of the most iconic building on your campus and putting them together with some sassy headlines on a Medium post? Pretty much guaranteed to generate great engagement, which of course this Cal post did. (Addendum to that FB link - I really like how they posted this in the evening. Seems like the perfect time for light-hearted content like this, when people are relaxing at home and checking Facebook more for fun than for news.)

This is a perfect idea to steal when you are having one of those days where you can't think of anything to post!