Oh No…… Web 3.0.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Higher Education, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts, Web, Web 3.0 | Posted on 10-12-2008-05-2008


It was inevitable.  Web 3.0 had to start rearing its name into the conversation at some point, right? Sorry to drop the bomb so early, but we need to always be looking ahead as well.

This post comes from two things.

  1. A comment left on my last post by Mike.
  2. A post by John Cass, who defines web 3.0.

First, let’s look at John’s post. He writes:

I was recently asked to define web 3.0.

To do so I thought I’d start off by defining web 1.0 and 2.0.

Web 1.0 - Create content on my site for others to read.
Web 2.0 -
Other people come to my website to contribute content, or between sites.
Web 3.0 -
Use content on other websites to create content or collaborate on my site or between sites.


Now, let’s look at Mike’s comment to Kyle this morning on the discussion of social media.


@Kyle- I think the notion of “our content” and using sites like Facebook as a way to drive people to “our content” is a dying strategy. Universities are discussed in many places- collegeclicktv.com, unigo.com, etc.- that a university doesn’t control, can’t control, and, to my thinking, shouldn’t control. Link to these places and let visitors decide whether it’s valuable or not.


Web 3.0 for Universities and Colleges

Web 3.0….. letting go? Ceding control? Pulling content in from sites like Unigo, YouTube, Twitter, all ‘that web 2.0 jazz’ and letting it tell your institution’s story? Creating your content from the content of other sites, and also pushing your content back to those sites?

Just something to think about today. It will be interesting to see how things evolve.  The cool thing is that we, the user, can help define it.

Social Media Strategy in Higher Ed

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Lifecasting, Social Media, Strategy | Posted on 05-12-2008-05-2008


There’s been a lot of talk lately about social media strategy in higher education and more specifically, a strategy/action plan. I’ve bounced back and forth on this topic quite a bit.  I can see value in having a ‘social media plan’, but I know that most plans would be outdated before most schools even get started on it.  Colleagues across the states are short on resources to handle the emerging market and budgets are being cut at many schools, which is creating an interesting situation.

After chatting with several colleagues and administrators this week, I am seeing more and more that there is indeed a need for a plan, a roadmap, of where to go with social media at the 30,000 ft. level campus-wide, as well as how to integrate efforts.

I mentioned on Rachel’s recent post that I have never operated under a defined social media strategy. I have strategy and goals in my mind, I have papers pinned to my board outlining projects I want to do each 4-6 months, but I have never taken the time to put much on paper. But as more and more sites come up, as opportunities to engage and create community and conversation arise, and more importantly, when a job like mine will not be enough to handle all social media communication, there will need to be a strategy in place.

2009 is going to be a very exciting year as the realm of social media continues to develop and mature. If your institution hasn’t jumped on board yet, it’s probably a good idea to start coming up with a strategy before the decade ends. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive, it doesn’t have to detail every single action step, but it does need to start integrating efforts.

On the other hand, having a strategy in place might be good to keep projects on the radar.  When I pitched Lifecasters in June 2007 I was told “let’s try bloggers first and go from there.”  Now, 1.5 years later, I’m still ‘in beta’ and hoping for buy-in before August 2009, over 2 years after the concept was pitched.  I can think of a few other projects on the table that might have benefited from a timeline that was put on paper and agreed upon.

What do you think? Are your schools still dabbling or are you ready to do some serious integrated stuff?

The Good Project Graveyard [Part 1]

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Higher Education, Marketing, Research, Thoughts, Video | Posted on 21-11-2008-05-2008


There is a place on all campuses that good projects go to die.  Usually, a thing called a ‘committee’ swings in, 7-15 people deep, and picks it apart, retweaks it, postpones it, and eventually.. that good project crawls off into a corner to die a slow, painful, uncreative death.

I hate seeing that happen. I also hate sitting on committees. So when at all possible, I just do things myself.

So here’s the precursor to this post: I previously posted about the Butler Blue II missing mascot costume video.  Total time to make it: 1.5 hours of shooting on campus, 5 hours of editing, a few hours to process/upload to YouTube, and it was out of the door by 7am. [Read more about the video here.] [Oh, and for those who thought it was a PR hoax... 4 arrested.]

Last week I was approached by a member of the campus community who had a video idea to promote a contest on campus. He wanted to use Blue II and for it to have a similar feel to the above video. I said I’d love to brainstorm with him, but time to shoot/edit would be more limited since it was an outside project.  Then, I get a meeting request…. to the committee.

Truth be told, the meeting slipped my mind. I got busy (it was a late Friday afternoon meeting) and missed it. But it absolutely killed me when I got the email early this week about the ‘video update from the committee’.
Video Email

NEXT YEAR?!??!?!?!??! I don’t know how the person who organized the meeting took that so well. I feel bad that I was not there to say “we can do this next week, no problem”. But, I don’t know if ‘the committee’ would have allowed it.  Scripts to write, lighting to get set, sound checks, and more…. ridiculous.

Next Monday, Part 2 – Creating a video.. good, cheap and fast [pick 2].

Answer the Four Questions.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Thoughts | Posted on 17-11-2008-05-2008


I was in a comm team meeting last week, and we were reviewing a script of some finely-polished video that is being shot/edited/produced to be played at the beginning of campus visits.

My boss brought up a good point while we were discussing how off the mark and irrelevant the video is.

“Does it answer the four questions?”

  1. Can I get in?
  2. Will I fit in?
  3. Can I pay the bill?
  4. Do you have my major?

Nothing about app requirements.  Not much about current students, just some (hand-picked) student interviews. Totally skipped around the financial aid/what’s it cost to attend Butler section.  And nothing about majors.

Are you answering those four questions with your recruitment efforts?

Keep an eye on Twingr.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 14-11-2008-05-2008


Twingr.com might be to Twitter what Ning.com is to Facebook.

Niche communities. That’s what Ning has accomplished on the larger social media platform.  Will Twingr accomplish this on a microblogging level?  It’s sort of like Yammer.com, but more customizable.

Here’s the 3 minute demo.  Bookmark this one and keep an eye on it. Already have many thoughts going through my head on how this could potentially be used for higher ed recruitment.

It’s NOT what you think.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Thoughts, Usability, Web | Posted on 12-11-2008-05-2008



Directly above my main work computer is a bright yellow sheet of paper.  A printed out slide from one of my presentations.  It has been there for nearly 4 months now.  It’s a paraphrased quote from page 110 of Seth Godin’s book, Meatball Sundae.  And it reads:

It’s not about what you think the students want or want the students to want.  It’s about creating and assembling a collection of tools that captures the attention of people who truly care.

Let me break this down for you as you think of how to apply it to e-based recruiting.

1) It’s not about what you think the students want… I think I know what students want.  A lot. This tool. That site. This email subject line.  The only way to truly know what students want is through research and usability testing. Every school is different. Every funnel contains a different demographic. There is no longer a one size fits all solution.

2)… or want the students to want.  I want students to use our tools and social media. But, they don’t always want it in return.

3) It’s about creating and assembling a collection of tools… Again, there is no longer one way to reach all students.  Think and, not or.  Facebook AND Myspace, etc. For a visual learner, images on Flickr might be the best way to show your campus to that student. For an english major, blogs might be very effective.  Maybe an unpolished YouTube video is what a student really needs to see. Create a set of tools, your swiss army knife of recruiting.

4) that captures the attention of people who truly care. Key words: truly care.  Not every student is going to want to be your friend on Facebook. Or message you through Zinch. Or read about your newest RSS stories. But for those who TRULY CARE, the students who are really pouring time and energy into their relationship with your university….wow.  Get their attention. Focus on them. Make sure they know you appreciate them having the conversation with you.

In order to keep things fresh, I’m replacing that quote this week. Because at this point, I could tell you what I just told you in my sleep. I’ve looked at it every day. I’ve engrained the thought in my mind and apply it.

And I’m asking you for help.  What should my next quote be? What should hang above my work computer for inspiration? Leave a comment.

[Download the quote poster here!]

UPDATE: Here are thoughts on this quote from Kyle Lacy and MrRSmith.

Interview Week: What’s happening?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 17-10-2008-05-2008


This is part 5 of Interview Week at SquaredPeg.  Missed past interviews? Click below.
Interview Week [Part 1]: Jordan Goldman, CEO of Unigo.com
Interview Week [Part 2]: Pauline from “The ‘C’ Word”
Interview Week [Part 3]: Dara Crowfoot, DePaulQuad.com

Interview Week [Part 4]: Ben Jones, Oberlin College

To wrap up Interview Week I wanted to highlight a couple of projects out there that I think are pretty cool.  I hope you’ve found this week to be educational and has opened your eyes to some new ideas.  I’ve got a boat load of content to blog about in the coming weeks, lots of thought and application to some new and old ideas.

TweetChicagoAaron Rester at the University of Chicago is adding some Twitter API to their site to create this initiative. It’s a collection of Law School community members’ messages on Twitter. I love the clean layout, and always enjoy an integration of Twitter without the end user having to sign up or know what Twitter is.

CollegeSearch101.orgMike at Allegheny tipped me to a venture into the online video world in which the school is helping students find the university that’s right for them, even if it’s not Allegheny.  How did I know this concept was big? Listen to this. My co-worker’s Grandma saw the story in the local newspaper about CollegeSearch101.org and thought we at Butler would be interested.  So she hopped on to her WebTV and typed the article from the newspaper into the internets and sent it to us via email.  Transcending generations and going viral.  Nice job, Allegheny. :)

We Are Oberlin – You heard Ben talk about this in the video yesterday, but I just wanted to link it up.  The goal is to collect 1,000 personal stories from the Oberlin community to tell the story of the University through their site. Keep an eye on some of the stories at stories.oberlin.edu.


Keep up the great work, everyone.  You all motivate me to think harder and do better.

Interview Week: Dara Crowfoot, DePaulQuad.com

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Blogging, Concepts, Interview, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 15-10-2008-05-2008


This is part 3 of Interview Week at SquaredPeg.  Missed past interviews? Click below.
Interview Week [Part 1]: Jordan Goldman, CEO of Unigo.com
Interview Week [Part 2]: Pauline from “The ‘C’ Word”

Today we’re talking with Dara Crowfoot from DePaul University about DePaulQuad.com, a social network exclusively for parents of current students.  This hit my radar a while back and it was great to talk with Dara and learn more about the initiative, so I wanted to share it with you.

Dara is the Director of Marketing Strategy at DePaul, and comes from an impressive marketing background including time as the Director of Marketing of Verizon Avenue at Verizon and Assistant Brand Manager at Kraft General Foods.

SquaredPeg.com: When was DePaulQuad.com launched?
Read the rest of this entry »

10 Reasons to Monitor Twitter

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Free, Management, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter | Posted on 23-09-2008-05-2008


I know I talk a lot about Twitter, and I know my research is showing that there are not that many students on it, but I truly believe that Twitter will eventually hit a tipping point with this demographic. It’s encouraging to see so many schools name-saving their accounts or starting to engage with people.

I want to provide you 10 reasons to monitor Twitter as a university or college, all from the past 10 days.

Read the rest of this entry »

10% of Admission Counselors…..

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Ethics, Facebook, Higher Education, Research, Social Media, Thoughts | Posted on 22-09-2008-05-2008


Follow me on a journey… a journey of bad data, stretched conclusions, and mysterious results.

On Sept. 18th, Kaplan released a survey (remember this one?) that “at ‘top schools’, one out of ten admissions officers has visited an applicant’s social networking Web site as part of the admissions decision-making process.” The survey was conducted with a whopping 320 admission counselors.  [Link]

I caught the story on Sept. 19th when the Chronicle Wired Campus posted the results [Link].  They state that “One in 10 admissions officers has looked at an applicant’s social-networking profile”, which is a much broader statement than the original survey. Kaplan notes that they looked at an applicant’s social-networking profile as part of the admissions decision-making process. Reporting Fail #1.

And here’s Reporting Fail #2: The Chronicle article states that “The company surveyed 320 institutions among U.S. News & World Report’s and Barron’s top 500.”  Look back at the Kaplan article to see that the methodology “for the 2008 survey, 320 admissions officers from the nation’s top 500 schools – as compiled from U.S. News & World Report’s “Ultimate College Directory” and Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges – were surveyed by telephone between July-Aug 2008.”

So unless the Chronicle can prove or reasonably assume that they only surveyed 1 worker at each school, this statement is incorrect and unreasonably stretches the data across a wider sample.  We have 10 counselors at Butler. Kaplan could have called 32 schools and interviewed 10 people at each.  We don’t know, because it does not say.  But what we do know is that there is not a possible way to interview someone from all 500 schools when only 320 people were interviewed.

I admit that I should have clicked back to the original Kaplan press release to read more, but I took the Chronicle post for what it was worth, and commented “10% of counselors? Hardly an issue. Most of those who looked were probably only there because the student requested to be their friend.”  I can think of several instances where my co-workers have had prospective students friend them on Facebook, myself included.  And most of the time, I look at their profile to see who they are.

Fast-forward to September 21st on Slashdot, which a member reports “10 Percent of Colleges Check Applicants’ Social Profiles” [Link].  The schools involved are now only “prestigious” ones.  Following this article is a very heated discussion about this, over 300 comments at the time of this writing.

So we’ve gone from 32 out of 320 admission officers saying they have looked at a social networking profile of an applicant as a part of the admissions decision-making process, to 320 institutions being surveyed and 10% saying that they look at social networking profiles, to now…. 10% of colleges checking social profiles.

I’ve given the office a pretty basic explanation of how social media fits into the admission process. If you do it for one, you must do it for all.   And since you can’t do it for all, then just don’t do it.   Seems to work fine so far.  But when a student reaches out to be my friend on Facebook, then I friend them. And they usually ask me questions, because that is how they communicate.   It’s probably easier for me since I don’t read apps or make decisions, but I know our staff does a great job at evaluating the applicant the same as everyone else, and based solely on the materials included in the app.

How does your school handle all of this?