Great Social Media Idea: Mini-Lectures

As a rule, I try not to get too caught up in the amount of likes/comments/RTs/shares/etc something gets when determining whether or not something is a successful social media idea or not. Yes, those are an indication of interest in what was posted, but there are a lot of other factors to keep in mind, like the versatility and shelf-life of the content, creativity, its use for affinity groups, can it live on the website, and so and and so on. 

Creating great content doesn't always have to be a "viral" hit to be worthwhile or a success.

It's possible this is just a defense mechanism I use to tell myself its OK when a post flops, but even so - if you are creating things that are good, they will be useful for you whether or not a particular item got a bunch of likes or not.

After venturing off to Australia for yesterday's post, I'm keeping this one local, going down the road just a few miles to Newberg, Oregon and George Fox University.

And this quick three-minute philosophy lecture by a George Fox philosophy professor fits into the category of posts I described above. It didn't rocket off the charts when it comes to social media engagement, but I think it's an awesome video (part of a "Fox Talks" series, in fact) and will have a very long life as great content... a slow burn, if you will. 

First off, this video is gorgeously shot and produced... you can just imagine how deadly something like this would be if it was just a crummy camera on a tripod. But in the right hands, something potentially very boring and uninteresting can become captivating. Never, ever, ever underestimate production value for something like this.

Beyond that, one of the things that sticks out to me is that this video is startlingly, gleefully academic. The funny thing about colleges on social media - they don't post much about their core product: classes and teaching. Sure, they will post about some big research finding or maybe a nice photo of a beloved professor, but actually getting into the nitty gritty of what goes on in the classroom? It's a rare day when I see something about that, and an even rarer one when I post something about that myself. 

I really like the idea of highlighting professors like this and letting them do what they do best - lecturing and being passionate about their area of expertise - rather than just using them as glorified props for photo and video shoots. And I love bringing a bit of academia to the social media world, since, you know, we do work in higher ed after all.

A beautiful video like this can live comfortably on a website for both the departmental site and for admissions... this works wonderfully as "meet the faculty" and "here are the types of things you will learn here" pieces for prospective students. It also can work really well for affinity groups and niche markets - I would imagine that a special e-blast to alumni philosophy majors would get a very positive response, because it is about something they are interested in and is coming from a professor they would know.

There is also the "long-tail" benefits of having something like this out there on the web, which will inevitably draw interest from people who aren't even associated with the university just through the power of random searching on philosophy and Plato and triangles and all that fun stuff. 

So thanks neighbors, I mean George Fox, for this great idea!

The Week in Links

Music at Midweek: Lou Reed