Great Social Media Idea: Open Office Hours Videos

The calendar keeps telling me otherwise, but I still am not buying that today is only Tuesday. Go sell that stuff elsewhere, bottom-right-corner of my screen.

My regular readers (maybe) know that social media is actually just a side-gig for me... the bulk of my time is spent on video production and media relations, and today was not the best day in the world to be a PR flack for UP.

But ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, nobody'd gonna slow me down - oh no! (Side note: I think I've linked to this song more than any other - save for possibly Pump Up the Jam. I can offer no explanation.)

ANYWAY... today's great idea in higher ed social media comes from none other than Stanford University. And - shocking - it's a great idea that highlights faculty and academics in a really neat way:

In Stanford's Open Office Hours video series (which is really cool, and really popular), they solicit questions for faculty members through social media and then have said faculty member answer those questions on video. It was launched in 2009, which makes it practically ancient if you're counting in social media years. It was successful enough that it was opened up to various guest speakers who visited campus as well, with Bill and Melinda Gates as one very notable example.

I love this for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it's always challenging to connect academics with social media in a compelling way. Most successful are announcements or blog posts about research, but even then - unless it's really exciting or interesting, it doesn't really resonate too much.

Videos like this, where you can highlight your most engaging faculty members in a setting that is very comfortable for them - they can pontificate about their area of expertise for as long as you want them to - while providing your followers with something interesting and something they can learn from. Sure, not everyone wants to watch a mini-lecture, but those that do will really enjoy it... I bet the "attention minutes" on these videos is through the roof.

And, of course, it makes for great content on departmental websites, with the added benefit of helping the academic side feel like marketing is actually doing something for them.  :)

So, big props to Stanford for coming up with a great idea way back when and sticking with it all these years. This is one we can all learn from!


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