Great Social Media Idea: Perls of Knowledge

Oh my goodness gracious Agnes me. You know how sometimes you stumble across something on the internet that is so wonderfully off-the-wall and bizarre that you just can't help but fall in love with it? Usually, this results from me watching Russian dashcam clips on YouTube or some other such nonsense, but today it came from the most pleasant - and pertinent to this blog! - of places: the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Facebook page!

I don't even really know where to begin with this one. Nebraska's chancellor, Harvey Perlman, is featured in a fabulously madcap series of videos called Perls of Knowledge. In a nutshell, they are comedy bits serving as admissions pieces that encourage viewers to "start their own UNL story." They range from an 8-second riff on Instagram to a 70-second gag on Glee and tacos. They are strange. They are irreverent. They are eccentric. They are borderline batshit crazy. And they are truly exceptional.

I can't properly articulate how fabulous I think these are. First of all, they are legit funny. I'm not sure who is writing this material, but it's terrific. If it's chancellor Perlman himself, color me very, very impressed. (I'm guessing he has a lot of input... he recently Tweeted a picture of him from a county fair holding a jumbo-sized dreadlocked banana.) Either way, he's a natural as a comedy straight man, and he's obviously got a tremendous sense of humor to even allow something like this to happen let alone star in them. Scrolling back on the history of these videos, they have very strong view counts and have received very positive engagement rates and responses on social media. Big shocker there.

Not only that, but it has full buy-in from the school... check out this screen shot of UNL's website I took just a few minutes ago.

How  rad  is it that this is a school's front page. Really, really rad.  Rad times !

How rad is it that this is a school's front page. Really, really rad. Rad times!

Right now, they are conducting a contest for people to tag tweets with #PerlStatus for a chance to win a trip to Lincoln to appear in a future Perl of Knowledge video. I'm assuming they will select a prospective student, since from what I can ascertain this is an admissions initiative.

When people much smarter than me blather away about content marketing and how important it is and how it's so key in today's social-media crazed, ADD, information overload world, this is the type of stuff they are talking about. This is what people want to spend their time with, share with their friends, talk about with their families, and enjoy watching multiple times. How do you get noticed and stand out from the crowd? Taking risks, pushing boundaries, being bold... this is what the very best digital marketing does. And this campaign does it in spades.

Endless kudos to Nebraska's marketing team for realizing what a resource they have in chancellor Perlman with his great sense of humor, and putting it to use in an innovative, offbeat, hilarious, memorable way. And props to the whole school for committing to it and making it successful - it's not by accident that this initiative has its own microsite or has top billing on the main university website. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this, but I suppose great digital marketing is like pornography - you know it when you see it.

OK... I'm going to go watch some more Perls of Knowledge videos now. Catch ya'll on the flip side! 


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