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Harvard, Digital & the Social Web


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From the panel discussion "Where, Why, and How Harvard University Uses Social Media". Delivered by Perry Hewitt, Director of Digital Communications & Communication Services, on November 18th, 2009 in Lamont Library, Forum Room.

Published in: Education, Technology

Harvard, Digital & the Social Web

  1. Harvard, Digital & the Social Web Perry Hewitt
  2. What’s digital communications?   Based in Central Administration, as part of a new integrated emphasis on digital and social communications and outreach housed within Harvard Public Affairs & Communications   Responsible for core web destinations (, Gazette,, and development of outposts   Goals include: − Advance university-wide digital and social initiatives − Provide guidelines, and act as a clearinghouse for best practices and actionable research (subscribe to PFE, not NIH) 2
  3. What are some of the questions informing the evolving digital communications approach?   Who are the audiences we need to reach and how should we think about them?   What is the strategy we’ll pursue to get there?   What are the core properties we can leverage?   What are the vital partnerships for doing this — and how does this re-shape how Harvard has traditionally thought about partnering?   How are social technologies changing traditional digital communications? 3
  4. So, what’s the strategy? 4
  5. What about the social web "I'd just finished curating my brand, so now I have to spend hours repositioning my presence!" 5
  6. We all know the social web is big More than 300M active users; 90M US 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day The fastest growing demographic 35+ Estimated 20M active users; 5B tweets to date Demographic shifting down in age Over 1 billion views a day, or 11,574 views a second Not to mention: etc. 6
  7. And it’s easy to lose perspective plain old email 11.16.09 New Study Reveals Surprises in How People Share Photo credits: Daniel Kronauer, Jim Linwood, The Lizard 7Queen
  8. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. This applies to: websites social accounts pixel measurement (10:90) And let’s clear this up – these tools aren’t free 8
  9. Questions to consider   Where are your potential audiences online? What are your objectives in reaching them?   Engaging in the social web means a significant commitment to contributing content. Are you able and prepared to devote the time?   Given the time required, are there existing social channels within the University you can use to reach these audiences?   Who is tasked with maintaining these conversations, and keeping on top of new conventions? Are there natural adopters you can enlist?   How will your office deal with controversy? Fake accounts? 9
  10. Engagement: Killer app revealed Photo credits: Travis Isaacs 10
  11. Engagement: Trading control for influence 11
  12. Engagement: Trading individuality for reach 17/46 <500 followers 27/46 <1000followers 19/46 >1000 followers *************************** 7/46 listed >100 times Where are we the People’s Front of Judea vs. the Judean People’s Front? 12
  13. Why is reach important? We’re also not page 1 for:   Public policy   High energy physics   Clean energy studies   English literature   Architecture and design   Privacy rights 13
  14. Madison Avenue’s pain is relevant to our communications strategy The Year the Media Died Tech is taking us for a ride… Algorithms got me cross-eyed 14
  15. Parting thoughts   Messages − Are you partnered with your PIO?   Audiences − Where are they? − How are you engaging them?   Reach − Are you too atomized for impact?   Measurement − How much time does it cost? − Are you reaching target audiences? 15
  16. Thank you Find me: @perryhewitt 16