Belated Notes from Join the Conversation/Eduweb2008:

Here are my brief notes from the Eduweb pre-conference session given by Mark Greenfield and Brad J. Ward:

This session was a great start to the conference! By chance, I happened to sit next to representatives from one of SkoolPool’s original subscribers and we got to chat a bit about how it was working for them.

Brad got things started by filling the presentation screen with photos and information nuggets about the attending delegates, all gathered from public social media accounts. One of the conference tweeters called this a “reverse-introduction” of sorts … it definitely drove home the power of social media and just how much information even us professionals are putting out there for all to see (although Brad did sneak some stuff from my private twitter stream, all in good taste of course!)

Some points made during the talk:

  • 100% of kids are on YouTube / MySpace (?)
  • 40% of kids want more YouTube (use YouTube to show off your campus)
  • Students remember 10% of what they read, and 30% of what they see. Use visuals to your advantage.
  • You cannot force content to go viral
  • Third-party sites are trusted more for information to make decisions. Official homepages are used for facts, contact information etc.
  • “Fish where the fish are!” If you want all the fish, you need to be in more than one place (Phone + Email + Facebook + MySpace + YouTube)
  • Humans are social animals and we don’t have as much time to be social anymore — technology enters with tools to meet this need.
  • A section of Mark’s school website received double the traffic, by having “dynamic content” (blogs, rss). Dynamic content also catches Google’s eye and gets you into Page 1.
  • “If you have disabled comments, it is no longer a blog. It is just another news site.”
    (Note: One of the presenters’ school website blogs didn’t catch on with students. Engagement jumped when moderation of posts was removed. There have only been 2 issues since and these were only with language.)
  • Students LOVE course reviews
  • Free your content!
  • Dialogue, not monologue. Audience has been replaced with community.
  • Consider a separate .com for your UGC (user-generated content) projects, so that user content is not directly on your .edu site. Gives you more freedom with language and design.

What if you don’t have the money for professional video content?

  • Professional video is actually a negative!
  • Be authentic
  • Professional video still holds value for “official” situations

Tips for building community:

  • emails
  • prizes (huge traffic drive)
  • quick answers (expected within 1 hour)
  • real student interaction is a site/technology born because of flood of multiple social sites. “Lifestreaming” aggregates content from multiple accounts into a single place – one stop, check it all.

SecondLife has a learning curve … can be clunky & slow. Consider Teen SecondLife, which is populated exclusively by 13- to 17-year-olds. pushes new RSS entries through a account. i.e. Brad set one up for one of Butler University’s RSS feeds and now has a lively, up-to-date twitter account to which students can subscribe (and all with only the 5 minutes it took to register — there is no ongoing maintenance). To see a personal website fueled with Friendfeed, take a look.

Case Study: Butler Bloggers

  • Recruited bloggers via Facebook — received 50 responses with a $6 spend.

Case Study: Butler Forums

  • registration dissuaded a lot of students (even though it only took 30 seconds)
  • more found through search rather than through mailers
  • 50% of students did not register because they did not know about it
  • people are not coming in via the homepage, therefore don’t put all your energy there (news, events, calls to action, interactivity — need to be throughout the site, not just on homepage)

Class of 2012 survey: 15% are using MySpace; 4.06 out of 5 for “helpful to have questions answered through social media”; 35% wanted more Facebook (10% of all); 4 of 5 happy to have admissions rep on the Facebook 2012 group.

Ning vs Facebook:

  • Ning allows you to use a single login to manage profiles and activities across multiple niche networks
  • Ning gives you control over the look, feel & page design
  • Ning intergates with external sites
  • Ning allows you to choose features
  • Ning gives you full access to member data!
  • Banner ads:
  • Ning allows custom registration questions


  • Higher Ed Social Media @ PBWiki
  • “A University for the 21st Century” (book)
  • “Now is Gone” (book)
  • “Groundswell” (book) – #1 crash course in the new way of communicating.
    P.O.S.T method (Although, I would say O.P.S.T …) This is a must-read book!

Mark Greenfield’s Top 10 Web Trends for 2008:

  1. The end of print (Academic Calendar is always changing)
  2. The World Network
  3. Virtual Reality
  4. Email is sooooo dead
  5. The Read/Write Web
  6. Information Overload
  7. Redefining Time
  8. End of Walled Gardens
  9. Community
  10. The Mobile Web

Check out Mark’s complete keynote presentation, given in July at Eduweb 2008.

Thanks for reading,

Melissa Cheater
eStrategy Consultant, Education Marketing

Academica Group Inc.
Full Cycle Marketing for Higher Education™

email | web | blog | facebook | twitter | | skype: MelissaAcademica

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