Chris Brogan

March 16, 2009

If you don’t read it then you should. It’s Chris Brogan’s blog.

He wrote 2 posts that I thought were particularly interesting and wanted to share with you:


Connecting social media to strategic communications

March 5, 2009

Charlie Melichar who is the VP for Communications at Colgate wrote a blog post the other day that got me thinking. He titled it Social media sustainability and starts to ask some good questions about how you sustain a really good social media program. How do you incorporate that program into an overall strategic communication plan?

For many people just getting up a Facebook page or loading some videos to YouTube might be enough. Your Vice President may not interested in social media and that’s ok because you don’t have the time or the staff for it. I would make an argument to that group that you are really missing opportunities.

But for those of us that have truly invested time, staff, resources into social media Charlie asks some really great questions. How do sustain the program past a student intern or staff members with an interest? I think there is another blog post on that topic but I am interested if people have opionions on the topic? Thoughts, comments, suggestions…

New baby 2.0

February 19, 2009

Last night at 6:31 pm I became a dad for the second time. 

Of course that’s big news for the Redfern family but not necessarily interesting for readers of this blog looking for some type of higher ed web insight.  (Read on the next section is how I tie it back together.)

I was actually quite amazed at how people found out about Kaitlyn. Of course I made some phone calls to my wife’s parents, my parents, and brothers. But that was all I had time for so I posted the news on Twitter which also updates my facebook status. Within minutes hundreds of people from cousins to high school buddies had access to the news. The comments and congratulations started to roll in. I was amazed at how fast the news spread.

My Aunt didn’t hear the news with a phone call from her sister but rather from one of her children (my cousin) who saw it on Facebook. How amazing. I didn’t have to wait and send out an email almost certainly forgetting one or more friends. I could post updates and pictures throughout the evening and the rest of the week.

Clearly I had great content of high interest to my audience. Those two things put together and delivered via social networks made for a fun evening.

cost benefit analysis who is minding the web …

February 10, 2009

It is an interesting time in higher education web communications. The economy is down, endowments have taken a hit, operating budgets are being looked at closer than ever. In the January issue of Campus Technology the lead article is about how to keep your “IT” job.

While all this is happening I have found myself in the interesting dilemma of spending more and more time on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I am spending less time on our insitutional site at a time where we need to make sure our messages are sharp, focused on value, and consistent with our brand? Of course increasing my institutions visibility on these third party sites is important but what is the trade off?

While we are all out trying to figure out how to best take advantage of social media who is at home minding our institutions website? What is the “perfect” balance of time between the .edu site and Facebook?

I am not sure I have figured it out. We are trying to make sure that our insitutional site is on message while promoting and prompting conversation about that message with social media tools. What thoughts do other web professionals have?

Rolling out a new president

February 8, 2009

Over the course of the last week I have been “heads down” as I like to say in a project. I ignored twitter, articles piled up in my Google reader, and some of my on campus constituents heard “we’ll get to that next week”.

Last week I had an opportunity that doesn’t come around every year for a marketing professional in higher education. On Friday Gettysburg College trustees unanimously named Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 our 14th president. It was one of the most interesting and quite frankly fun professional experiences of my career.

Since Dr. Riggs had been presented to campus the week before as a sole finalist we had a about a week to prepare for the announcement roll out but we wanted to think outside the box and incorporate our Web 2.0 and Social Media strategy. We had a detailed plan for the week with assignments so everything was all set to go come Friday morning and all we had to do was push the buttons. (It never quite works out as you plan but Friday was pretty close)

Shortly after the board voted the announcement was made in the following ways:

  • News release posted on website (also pushed to RSS feed and twitter account) Included within the news release was a short video (also posted to YouTube) of  Dr. Riggs which outlined her vision for Gettysburg’s future as well as a flicker photo gallery. Since she graduated from Gettysburg we were able to find historical shots from her yearbooks.
  • Large flash banner on the college homepage changed to reflect the announcement
  • On-campus email
  • Alumni and parent email
  • Text message to those who had signed up
  • Facebook update to fans as well as the fan page photo was updated to reflect the announcement
  • Gettysburg College Linkedin group had the news release posted

We attempted to keep things current throughout the day as well.

  • By around 3:00 pm we had posted a video interview with the chair of the search committee that was done that morning around 7:30 am.
  • We also posted to our flicker photo gallery photos from the different campus events and receptions throughout the day
  • The President’s website was completely updated by the end of the day.

Since we had enabled comments on our news releases in November and sent an update to fans on Facebook we have had quite a response to the announcement. We have received over 30 comments from alumni, parents, and friends on the news story and an additional 5 or 6 posts on the fan page.

As I said at the top of this post this experience the most interesting of my career. How did we do? Could we have taken advantage of Web 2.0 and Social Media tools in different ways? Could we have engaged our audiences better?

Let me know.

Plinky – what do you think?

January 23, 2009

What is Plinky?

According to the email that I received this afternoon

Plinky is a service that makes it easy for you to create inspired content on the web.

Every day we provide a prompt (like a question, or a challenge) and you answer. Depending on the prompt, your answer may contain photos, maps, playlists and more. You can easily share your Plinky answers on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and most other major blogging services.

We know you’ve got something interesting to say. Plinky is here to help you say it in a fun and compelling way.

This intrigued me enough to sign up for an account and try it. They have nice easy ways to post your responses to facebook, twitter, or your blog.Todays questions was:

If you were a famous rapper, who would be in your posse?

Check out the site and see what you think.

Social Networking

January 2, 2009

Is getting involved with social networking sites like Facebook on your New Years resolution list? Here is a great article posted today on titled, Risks of Admissions Marketing on Facebook written by Doug Usher and Barry Reicherter. They do a really nice job of summing up social networking in the article.

Enjoy and Happy New Year welcome 2009!