Hello,I’d like to go ahead and get started. Just to make sure we are all in the right place, this presentation is entitled Wish You Were Here, Experiments on telling your campus story from abroad.Everyone in the right place? Okay, let’s begin.
My name is Kirsten McKinney. I am the web and graphic coordinator for the University of Richmond’s School of Arts and Sciences located in Richmond, VA. UR is a private liberal arts college which enrolls approximately 4,100 students each year in five different schools.
The purpose of this presentation will make the case that social media is a powerful story sharing platform.I’ll walk you through how we leveraged social media at UR to capture and share a student experience story in real time by Reviewing current practices in story telling, how universities are using the web to tell their stories Talking about a new approach you could consider Share our experiment is using this new approach at UR Then I’ll review our results And share how you can incorporate what we did for your institution.
Storytelling is an ancient but very powerful means of communication. As public relations, communications, marketing and web professionals, our job is essentially to tell powerful stories about our institutions; stories that people want to share with family, friends, and colleagues. These stories share the mission and the messages of our institutions. You know how it feels after you see a really good movie –you kind of feel like you were immersed in the storyline and you leave the theatre thinking about it, and if it was really good that feeling kind of sticks with you and makes an impression maybe even changes your opinion.That is the kind of experience we can give our audiences by story telling on our websites.
The notion to use our websites to tell stories is not a new concept and we are all doing it in pretty much the same way. Let’s quickly look at some examples.MSUUses features in a scroll here, uses video in their MSUView section and has a place where their campus community can submit story ideas, right on their homepage.
UCLAHas two areas for features – a spotlight section, which on the day I did this screen captures was featuring some sad news, and then a small feature section here.They also have a headlines or news section. News and Headlines differ from features in that they are simply facts – more reporting style than editorial. Feature stories on the other hand, communicate color, emotion, opinion, and allow the reader the opportunity to step inside the story and get that “good movie” feeling I was talking about earlier.
UVAUVA tells stories with photos as well as using a scrolling feature box. Images are a powerful way to communicate and should not be left out of storytelling.
VCU is doing the same feature box with scroll and then photo essays here.
University of RichmondAt the University of Richmond, we share our stories using the web and social media in a variety of ways. This is the School of Arts & Sciences homepage.Of course, we have featuresYouTube videosSlideshowsFacebook pages for each of the UR schools and some departments.Feature stories appear on each school page and then in a side box on each department page. Feature stories on each page are researched and written by our staff in the Dean’s office for the School of Arts & Sciences. Each School at UR has some communications staff that fulfill this role. University Communications has several writers and we all share our work and cross-tag features.So everyone is already doing a great job of collecting, writing and telling stories. This is not a new idea – what is new is our approach.Which simply stated, was to tell a story in real time.
So, the big idea. Our Director of Communications for the School of Arts & Sciences had the idea to embed a staff person on a student trip, namely the UR Jazz Combo’s annual trip abroad. In the past, the Combo has traveled to Australia which was cost prohibitive for this type of embedding experiment. For once, the poor economy actually worked in our favor since this years jazz trip was planned for Costa Rica.The idea of the experiment was to embed a staff person who, ideally, would blog, take video, tweet about the trip, interview students and other participants, update a trip website, post on a special facebook page and be the trip photographer.Rachel pitched the idea to our Dean, who agreed to allow me to travel with the UR Jazz Combo on their 10 day trip in Costa Rica. In the six months we had to plan, whenever the trip was mentioned he was quick to call it “This years big boondoggle!” And even though we know he has faith in us, that gave us something to prove.
Our goals were to thenTell the story in real time using social media toolsEncourage the sharing of the story by the campus communityAnd then to really experiment with different types of tools – what would work best, what would be best left out?Our primary audiences were prospective students and then accepted students. At the University of Richmond, all first year students matriculate through the School of Arts and Sciences, declaring their major in their sophomore or junior year. Overall, we wanted to communicate to these students that this trip to Costa Rica is indicative of the types of learning experiences you’ll have in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Richmond. We also wanted to do a bit of advertising for the music department. Currently, the music department at UR has a high rate of involvement. Students participate in ensembles, combos, and private lessons. However, most students do this as either work towards a minor in music or as an elective. The music department graduated five students this year and would like to see that number increase. But whether you as a new student choose to be a music major or not, travel, study abroad, and submersion experiences are all a part of education at UR.Secondary audiences were parents of these students, as well as parents of currents students, the university community and of course, alumni.
Tom Foremski of the blog Silocone Valley Watcher coined the phrase EC=MC, standing for Every Company is a Media Company. He calls this the “transformative equation for business” explaining that successful companies are not only producing their products, they are producing content that their customers gravitate too. Holds true for higher education – our websites are now sharing faculty insight (blogs), lectures and events (YouTube) and up-to-the-minute news (Twitter) –all encouraging our consumers (students, prospective students, parents, and alumni) to join in (via Facebook, etc.)In the business world, EC=MC has driven companies to pay more attention to the content they create. Some companies have started to hire and embed experienced journalists within their organizations. These folks then write, tweet, etc stories about the company out to their respective industries.
As an example, we can look at Keith Childs, who calls himself a “Digital Communications professional” and works for Opel Europe. Keith and a colleague were embedded at a major car show in Geneva where they integrated social and new media into “traditional” communication strategies. His blog looks at the changing role of communicatorsis an in-depth look at this new approach and on it he shares talks a bit about the experience of being embedded where he says: Instead of repurposing press material I was part of team creating content. Writing text. Taking pictures. Making videos. And it made me think about the changing role of communicators.We were thinking like reporters. What is going to make an interesting story? … And we were thinking like editors. Making sure we were scheduling our posts and not having long gaps of silence… As communicators we assumed the role of reporter, film maker, photographer, editor and publisher. Gone were the multi-approval steps. The responsibility was in our hands. Create, publish- and hope you don't make any mistakes.From experience, this is exactly what it is like.
Naturally, we think of the military when we talk about embedded reporters. I did do some research on being embedded before my trip to Costa Rica and without going too far into the history of this practice, the agreement between the military, who knew they had a war to sell, and the media, who was eager to tell the story, resulted in a policy now practiced regularly.Bob Steele, from the Poynter Institute, an organization for journalists, says that this embedded access (quote) "has allowed reporters and photographers to get closer to understanding (the complexities of war), to tell the stories of fear and competence, to tell the stories of skill and confusion. I think that's healthy.” (end quote)So while feature stories on our website are very researched and controlled, reporting or story telling “live” can show a very real side of a story. The benefit to telling out stories in real time is they get at the very real experience and allow our audiences to better understand what it is like to attend our institutions.The agreement document between the press and the military is available online and it is a very interesting read. http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/dod/embed.htmlThe general approach is much more open than you would think. In this document, there is a list of “releasable information” and “not releasable” information. However, approach is “why not release” as opposed to “why release”. So its more open to releasing then holding back. The list of non-releasable information is exactly what you would think:THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION ARE NOT RELEASABLE SINCE THEIR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST COULD JEOPARDIZE OPERATIONS AND ENDANGER LIVES. 4.G.1. SPECIFIC NUMBER OF TROOPS IN UNITS BELOW CORPSLEVEL. 4.G.2. SPECIFIC NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT IN UNITS AT OR BELOW THE AIR EXPEDITIONARY WING LEVEL. 4.G.3. SPECIFIC NUMBERS REGARDING OTHER EQUIPMENT OR CRITICAL SUPPLIES (E.G. ARTILLERY, TANKS, LANDING CRAFT, RADARS, TRUCKS, WATER, ETC.). 4.G.4. SPECIFIC NUMBERS OF SHIPS IN UNITS BELOW THE CARRIER BATTLE GROUP LEVEL. 4.G.5. NAMES OF MILITARY INSTALLATIONS OR SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS OF MILITARY UNITS IN THE CENTCOM AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY RELEASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OR AUTHORIZED BY THE CENTCOM COMMANDER. NEWS AND IMAGERY PRODUCTS THAT IDENTIFY OR INCLUDE IDENTIFIABLE FEATURES OF THESE LOCATIONS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED FOR RELEASE. 4.G.6. INFORMATION REGARDING FUTURE OPERATIONS. While our national safety is not on the line, our institutions reputation is – when telling a story in real time, you have to be aware of your “releasable” and “non-releasable” content.
Why not just ask the students to blog and tweet and share video? It comes down to quality and control. To us professionals, releasable and non-releasable information is pretty clear cut. But from the students POV things differ. Wouldn’t ask a soldier to take a camera to the front lines while in battle, students are also involved in their work/study/performance and not as tuned into recording the moment but are living in the moment.Sometimes “the moment” isn’t what you’d like to share about your institutionFor example, many years ago when I was working at another institution and we had a female championship billiards player going to ACUI Nationals in California. This was an exciting story that we wanted to share since she was our first champ heading to nationals. This was back when digital cameras cost an arm and a leg, so I sent the student off to California with several disposable cameras and asked her to take photos of her experience that we could use in a story when she returned.I was hoping to get something like thisOr maybe even this, a picture of her with a big trophy.Upon our champs return, (she came in second) of the several cameras that flew to the west cost, the two that returned were basically two rolls of this.Whether it was my lack of communication on the part of expectations for the photos or the student simply misunderstanding the deliverables, I don’t know. But coming up with a list of deliverables and expected information to be released is a good idea.
So lets take a look at the deliverables for the Costa Rica trip.We planned to have a video feed, photo feed, daily facebook posts.We were hoping to encourage students to blog , and I would blog as well while on the trip. We would also send out tweets about the trip. Upon return, I would edit interviews and performance video into a final video that we can share with Admissions and the like.There was some discussion early on about doing a live video performance but since we had never done this before, let alone in Central America, there were too many unknowns and we tabled that idea.
While the School of Arts and Sciences has a Facebook page and active Twitter account, we wanted to create these specifically for the trip.Using the handle UR JAZZ, I createdA UR Jazz page on FacebookA UR Jazz blog on TumblerA UR Jazz page on Twitter, which was intended to be fed by TumblerWe already have a Flickr account for A&S as well as a YouTube channel for the university. I used sets and galleries in Flickr and tags in YouTube to differentiate the content.
So the next step was to create a landing page for the trip. The page was set up in our CMS (Cascade) in what our web crew calls a “Showcase template”. This template differs from standard templates in that it is meant to be lighter and more short term.CLICK TO WEB PAGEOn the page we hadFeeds from Twitter and YouTubeLinked out to Facebook and TumblrWe have a slideshow codedin Cascade already so we used thatAs I mentioned, this is supposed to be light so there are only three additional pages, one for bios of the students on the trip, one About the trip and then one showing a simple verison of the trip ItineraryCLICK BACK TO PRESENTATION
The equipment I took on the trip:Macbook ProHD video cameraAn SLR cameraTwo flip cameras which we intended to have the students useMy iPhone for tweeting and quick photosAnd then various cables, back up batteries, etc.I had raingear for the equipment as well, since May in Costa Rica is the beginning of the rainy seasonAll of this was in one bag – one fantastic bag from Crumpler. I check the tripod but the equipment bag was my carry on and stayed with me at all times while I was on the trip.
Professor Mike Davison who started the jazz program at UR loved the idea from the start. In preparation, I was able to attend two rehearsals before the trip. From that very first rehearsal I saw a bonded group – they call Mike “Doc” and have a very laid back but effective style of getting things done.Ideally, it would have been better to have spent more time with the students prior to the trip – so that I had more time to establish my role in the group , but with their schedules and Mike’s schedule I ended up doing a lot of the pre-trip leg work via email. Students signed releases and send me their bios for the website over email and I did my best to explain to them what I would be doing on the trip in a blanket email requesting that information.About a week before the trip we started promoting the landing website page to the campus community through SpiderBytes, which is on daily email messaging system. A SpiderByte went out the first two days of the trip as well. I also started doing a count down on Twitter and Facebook, reminding folks to check in with us on the trip and I posted a rehearsal video to kind of whet the appetites of our followers.Also before the trip we established our back up plans. What would I do if I didn’t have internet? What is the camera broke? Etc. There was always the understanding that this was an experiment and to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, that I would do the best I could, with what I had, where I was.
The TripOriginal plan was pitched to me as: set up the video camera, grab a beer…upload during the day, film gigs at night. Spend some time by the pool.I never really fully believed that scenario but the actual trip could not have been more different. We were the guests of a cultural center in San Jose for the first four days of the trip. The schedule was packed with performances, master classes, and glad-handing lunches. Every minute was scheduled, usually up until about 10:30 at night.
There were some opportunities for the students to meet locals and talk about music, but much of their social time was spent out very late at night.
Given the speed of the wi-fi at the hotel, I spent my nights uploading and editing. Things were faster at nights since the other guests were not on the lobby computers or their laptops. For the first three nights, I was up until about 2:30 just uploading video. In the morning, I would try and do updates or upload Flickr images.A couple of times I was able to get over to the cultural center early and use their internet which was much faster. Flickr uploads were a beast, so I tried to save them for the cultural center.
These images are from the first concert our first morning in San Jose. The group played the Teatro National which is the National Theater of Costa Rica in San Jose. The theater was built in the 1890’s and is the pride of Costa Rica. Each Tuesday the theater hosts a free concert for the public and the concerts are very well attended. The following is the final number from that concert and went live on our YouTube channel late that evening.
So this was really exciting stuff! But it wasn’t until the third day that there started to be a buzz in the group about what I was doing.Students were starting to receive Facebook and email messages from friends and family commenting on the trip. I decided to bring the lap top down to breakfast to show students some of the video’s I had uploaded and one of them commented, “Wow. This is legit!” After that, I typically saw them gathered around a lobby computer at one time or another watching the latest posts and I think they felt a little bit like rock stars.
On the fifth day, we headed south west for a long weekend in Pochote, just south of TamborWe were to be staying at a school for music called the Harmony SchoolThe school is basically a camp, on the beach. There was no air-conditioning, no screens on the windows, barely electricity and you guessed it, no internet. The closest town was about a mile away. The only public venues there were the store, which was a shed tended by an old woman who sold goods to customers through the shed window and a bar.This is a picture of our bunk house. Everyone stayed here, four to a room. I bunked with the girls. I couldn’t tell you the actual temperature but I know that none of us ever stopped sweating, ever. So, what does an embedded reporter do without internet?
I concentrated on gathering footage and images of the students working with the kids. The Harmony School is funded by the government but run by a nonprofit organization. The instruments the students play were purchased by the government. Many of the students walk up to eight miles to get to the school. There are only two teachers who are only there once a week, so there was a lot of time when things seemed to not be very well organized. Many of the kids didn’t play an instrument but came to the Harmony School because it was really the only social place to go. Our students really took advantage of that time to get to know the local children.
They started an impromptu art class with the pens and post-it notes that were donated to us to use as gifts on the trip. Doc gave a quick private lesson by request, the student just walked up to him and started asking questions.And Parker, the bass player, gave a quick tour of the bass guitar.
Jesse, the violin player, was very popular since most of the kids play string instruments.The schedule was always in flux in Pochote. This is an image of Doc and Jesse doing a master class for the students which was kind of done on the fly. Jesse demonstrated the differences between playing classical violin and jazz violin.
Since so many of the students played classical instruments that are not typically used in jazz, Doc chose instead to teach the students about rhythm and phrasing found in jazz and here he demonstrates that by holding a “scatting” contest.
We returned to San Jose for one day before flying back to the states.This return trip is when I ended up doing most of the interviews – getting the students to talk a bit about their experiences.When we landed at Dulles I was surprised and pleased that some of the parents sought me out to thank me for the work I had done on the trip. Seems that the parents were our biggest Facebook fans.
Post trip we did a quick survey on SurveyMonkey asking our followers about the project.When asked which tools they found the most useful, the majority used Facebook and YouTube. The least used tool was Tumbler.
ResultsFirst Facebook Ad ran for the first two days of the trip.We targeted people who live in the United Statesage 18 and olderwho like costarica, jazz, jazz band, latin jazz, music, richmondvirginia or university .richmondwho are not already connected to UR Jazzwhose friends are already connected to University of Richmond School of Arts &SciencesWe had 42 clicks and 93,731 impressions.
A second ad was taken out by the home base team for the remainder of the trip.This ad had more specific targets, as you can see students on the east coast, residents of richmond, UR Alumni, etc. The ad was successful with 538 clicks and over a million and a half impressions.
In addition, the home crew worked with Admissions to send out an email to accepted students, encouraging them to follow along.By the end of the trip we had 252 fans or followers of the page, which was more than the School of Arts and Sciences page.Of our followers, there is an even split between Men (49%) and Women(50%) Most of our followers are from the US, but the majority are not in RichmondIt seems that we are also reaching the prospective students, since about 55% of our followers fall between the ages of 13 – 24.
Long TermUse facebook page to stay connected to local jazz and interested students. Holding at 242 fans.Did this raise awareness of the music department and its programs? Will we see a rise in students declaring as music majors? Will this help with admissions?Would like to try this again with other groups – archeological digs in the state
Let’s go back and take a look at our deliverables to see how we did.Video Feed: Successfully posted one to two videos a day to YouTube while in San Jose. Photo Feed: Posted images to Flickr and the home base team was able to use those images to upload updates to the website slide show.Facebook posts: Very successful here, think that this was our most effective toolBlogging by students: Did not happen – possibly on future trips now that there is an understanding of the process, students might be more willing.Blogging by Reporter: I also, was a little overwhelmed and did not blog too much during the trip. My blog became more about prep for the experiment and them post-trip processing.Tweets – However, did happen thanks to Erika back at home. She took my Facebook and YouTube posts and repurposed them into Tweets.Final Video – I’m still working on this, we are in editing, so I’m going to give myself a smile for that.
Macro vs. MicroUR did this on a very macro basis - total costFlight: $350Hotel: $200Reimbursed: $175Equipment: $2270Facebook Ads: $309Grand Total: $3,304Equipment was the largest expense. Quick look up on Expedia, average round trip ticket to Australia is about $3,600 so this trip really was a bargain.You can do it in a micro fashionEmbed someone with your habitat for humanity crew – going out into the communityAlternative spring breakEmbed someone at an event on campus – tweeting live, posting to a blog (much like what happens when Apple releases a new product – the Gizmodolight upHave a popular band coming to campus? Put someone with them for the day or back stage at the showWhat story do you want to tell?
One purpose – don’t make this person also in charge of swinging a hammer or picking up the opening act.Technology first – make sure you have the equipment to get the quality of content that you want. Choose only the tools you can keep up with – our blog fell off, home base updated our Twitter feed based on my Facebook and YouTube posts.Build excitement for your trip and try and get your university communications and admissions folks on board.Sent out a message about the trip on SpiderBytes the week before and then for the first two days of the trip.Asked students on the trip to “like” the page and tell their friends and family about it.Back-up plans and home base crew – have someone in the office and communicate with them daily.
Assimilate – rode the van up to Dulles at 5 am with the band, where ever they went, I went…what they ate, I ate. The only special privilege I had was a room to myself in San JoseWatch your emotional attachment, try and stay objectiveI became the Den Mother almost instantly…I had the answersGet help where you can – ZiplinePost TripHave a plan for follow up after the trip with your fans – post interviews, additional photos and videosConsider a survey – how can you do better next time?We tried tshirt sales through Café Press with proceeds going to Harmony SchoolKeep folks interested – we’ve lost 10 followers since May and are trying to keep them engaged
To reviewSocial media is a powerful story sharing platformMost of us are telling our stories – how can you use social media to expand the reach of those stories? Consider making those stories come alive by telling them in real time.If you choose to do that, think back to the quote by Keith Childs and keep thinking about the best way to tell the story. Keep thinking like a reporter.Above all – have fun, because your excitement for the project will come through in your reporting.
Wish You Were Here - Experiments on telling your campus story from abroad
Wish You Were Here<br />Experiments on telling your campus story from abroad<br />
Web & Graphic Coordinator<br />University of Richmond’s School of Arts & Sciences<br />Kirsten<br />McKinney<br />
Purpose Statement<br />Social Media is a powerful sharing platform<br />How we leveraged social media to capture and share a student experience story in real time<br />Review current practices<br />Talk about the new approach<br />Share our experiment<br />Review results <br />Share tips on how you can incorporate what we did for your institution<br />
Sharing our Stories<br />As public relations, communications, marketing and web professionals, our job is to tell powerful stories about our institutions; stories that people want to share with family, friends, and colleagues. <br />
How we share our stories<br />Feature Stories<br />Story Collection<br />
How we share our stories<br />Feature Stories<br />
How we share our stories<br />Feature Stories<br />
How we share our stories<br />Feature Stories<br />
The big idea<br />Facebook<br />Interviews<br />Twitter<br />Website<br />Video<br />Blog<br />Photography<br />
Goals<br />Goals<br />Tell the story in real time<br />Encourage sharing the story<br />Experiment – what works?<br />Audiences<br />Prospective Students<br />Accepted Students<br />Parents <br />University community<br />Alumni<br />
EC=MC<br />Every Company is a Media Company. <br />The transformative equation for business. <br />Holds true for higher ed:<br /><ul><li> Faculty insight (blogs)
Join in! (Facebook)</li></li></ul><li>Changing Role of Communicators<br />Keith Childs and a colleague were embedded by his company at the Geneva motor show:<br />Instead of repurposing press material I was part of team creating content. Writing text. Taking pictures. Making videos. And it made me think about the changing role of communicators.<br />We were thinking like reporters. What is going to make an interesting story? … And we were thinking like editors. Making sure we were scheduling our posts and not having long gaps of silence… As communicators we assumed the role of reporter, film maker, photographer, editor and publisher. Gone were the multi-approval steps. The responsibility was in our hands. Create, publish- and hope you don't make any mistakes.<br />http://www.keithchilds.com/the-changing-role-of-communicators<br />
Long-term Results<br />Plan to use the Facebook page as a way to keep the program connected to local jazz and interested students. <br />Take the trip again in the spring, then track awareness – are we seeing a rise in students declaring as music majors?<br />Currently looking at other groups/experiences where we could try embedding staff again.<br />
Issues<br />Power and Internet Access – what does a social media reporter do without an internet connection?<br />Editing and uploading happened at night – better to be out capturing the moment than holed up in the hotel editing.<br />Schedule kept shifting slightly – had to stay flexible<br />Dark theaters not always great for video – tried not to be intrusive during performances.<br />Could have used a microphone for interviews<br />
Micro vs. Macro<br />Total Cost<br />Grand Total: $3,304<br />
Follow up with fans post-trip</li></li></ul><li>Conclusion<br />Social Media is a powerful sharing platform<br />Most of us are telling our stories – how can you use social media to expand the reach of those stories?<br />Think like a reporter – what would make a good story? What’s the best way to tell the story?<br />Have fun!<br />
Questions?<br />Kirsten McKinneyUniversity of Richmondkmckinne@richmond.edu<br />www.slideshare.net/kamckinney<br />kirstenmckinney.com/blog<br />