NACAC ’09 has arrived!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education | Posted on 23-09-2009-05-2008


I’ve arrived in Baltimore, MD for NACAC 09! In my wrapup post of NACAC ’08 last year, I talked about the difference between this conference audience and the crowd at a conference such as EduWeb or HighEdWeb. It looks like this year there will be two or three presentations regarding the web in admissions, which is good progress.   NACAC has done a great job integrating the usage of Twitter, Facebook and blogs into the pre-conference experience (both on the attendee side and the vendor side) and I’m excited to see how this continues through the conference.  It’s been pretty apparent so far that there won’t be much activity from non-vendors on the Twitter side, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Thoughts on Conference Communication

The more conferences I attend and present at, the more of a shift I see in audiences.  It was very interesting a few weeks ago when I was in Sydney, Australia to deliver the international keynote at the Marketing Higher Ed Symposium.  I asked how many in the room were on Twitter.  Over half of the 150 in attendance raised their hand.  Then, throughout the conference, I caught about 5-10 tweets through relating to the conference.  Most of those were from the same handful of people.  Instead, this audience was using good ol’ pad and pen.  And during the morning and afternoon tea breaks, conversation flowed on each topic. (By the way, I love tea breaks at international conferences!!)

Which one is better?  The non-stop Twitter backstream that almost overwhelms you with a mix of great content and meaningless updates, or the conference of non-tweeters where the interaction happens face-to-face, over a cup of tea or a drink at the end of the day?

For every person who prefers the ‘EduWeb’ style, there is another who prefers the ‘NACAC’ style.  Who’s right? Who’s wrong?  It doesn’t really matter, and that’s not what I’m really here to debate.   I just have found the differences very interesting, and I’m leaning towards one of the two as my preferred type of conference. :)

Final Thoughts

I posted another blog during NACAC ’08 that I am constantly revisiting (and a thought that is a large part of the foundation of BlueFuego). It’s on the thought of resistance, relating to a quote from Seth Godin. And really, that’s what NACAC is all about for me.  Educate and inform. What can you do to help with this in your office?


Are you at NACAC????? Let me know! Would love to meet you.  Stop by Booth #1234.

Want to learn more about the Social Web for Admissions?  Join me at 8:30am in Room 314 on Friday!

The BLINDYs are here!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Speaking, Thoughts | Posted on 10-08-2009-05-2008


As we approach this week’s Blog Indiana conference, the voting ballot for the BLINDYs has been released, and I am a finalist for the Social Media Superstar of Indiana!

There are a lot of great people and blogs on this list, so check them all out and you might find a new blog or two to subscribe to!

Here’s my only request:  If you have ever gotten anything out of what I’ve shared on this blog, if any of these posts have helped you with your social media presence and your SM efforts, if you have ever had a takeaway from one of my presentations or webinars that has helped you do something better or try something new…. then would you mind voting for me? :)

Click here to vote in the BLINDYs!

Thanks for reading SquaredPeg.  I appreciate you all. :)

10 days until BlogIndiana!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education, Speaking | Posted on 04-08-2009-05-2008


Hey Higher Ed Folks! If you’re in the Indianapolis/Midwest area, make sure you check out BlogIndiana, happening at IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis next week!

The cool thing about the 2nd annual BlogIndiana is that there is a Higher Ed Symposium as a part of the session list!  I’ll be giving one of the four keynote presentations along with Chris Brogan, Jason Falls and Chris Baggott.  I’ll be talking about marketing in higher education during the Higher Ed Symposium on Thursday. Also looking forward to ‘Chancellor 2.0′ by John Dalton and Rob Zinkan from Indiana University East.

You can register for the Higher Ed Symposium for only $79, or register for the whole conference for $249! What a great deal to hear national and local experts on a wide range of topics.

Will you be there?  Send me a message (@bradjward) on Twitter and I’ll be sure we meet!

Presentations: Who do you design for?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Conferences, Speaking, Technology, Thoughts, Viral | Posted on 21-05-2009-05-2008


As I prepare for a 4-hour social web workshop at OACUHO in Toronto this weekend, I find myself asking this question….

Should I be designing my slides more for the people who are there, or for the people who aren’t there?

Here’s where the thought came from.  I was browsing through my old presentations on SlideShare and realized that I’m reaching a much wider audience post-presentation. We’ve all been in this stage of ‘Presentation Zen’  and ‘Slideology‘ for many months as everyone tries to make their slides more simplistic, but are they still able to tell the story to the casual viewer online, and do they still reflect the message enough?  In other words, is there enough meat on the bones of your slides to transcend into the online world effectively?

See what I mean?

How to Recruit Students using New Media Outlets – MACAC 2009
Presentation: 40 people
Online: 930 views in 2 weeks

FacebookGate – Online Webinar
Presentation: 2 webinars, 20 people each
Online: 1,085 views in 4 months

Rock Enroll: Integrating Social Media into your Recruitment Strategy – MPSEOC
Presentation: 60 people
Online: 1,636 views in 9 months

The Recruitment Long Tail – Stamats 08  (Slidecast – Audio + Slides to tell the story)
Presentation: 150 people
Online: 1020 views in 6 months

After these presentations happened in real life, they reached an audience on average 15 x’s larger on the web.  Surely not all visitors viewed the whole thing, not all of them stayed after the first 5 slides, but they all came across the content. And if was easier to follow, would they stick around longer?

Which leads me to think: How can I create engaging presentation slides that capture the needs of both my live audience and my online audience? The live audience ALWAYS comes first. Bottom line. But would a little more clarification on a slide hurt for when you post it online later? Will it ruin your presentation? If you’re engaging, lively and captivating, does it even matter?

I’ll talk for several minutes this weekend on this slide:


But I wouldn’t expect someone on Slideshare to spend more than several seconds on it. On the other hand, you don’t want your slides to end up on the other extreme:

Just something to think about as you prepare for your next presentation. Be remarkable, be rememberable, and be aware of your post-presentation audience.  See you on the stage!

Do your homework after the conference.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education, Recruitment, Research, Speaking, Thoughts | Posted on 19-11-2008-05-2008


I was fortunate enough to hit up seven conferences and several more webinars in 2008. I met a ton of great people, was filled with many ideas, and really never got off ‘the conference high’ because of the timing of them all.  2008 has been a great year for me professionally.

But there is one thing I continue to see at conference after conference.

Someone stands up to present, gives fact/stats/thoughts/theory, and people write it down and take it for what it is.

Don’t do that!!!

Yes, conferences are GREAT opportunities to learn, and there has to be some data/research/basis behind the presentation. But, there is not a ‘one solution fits all’ out there.  What works for me at Butler might not work for you at your school.  The methods that they are having success with might not be your best option.  Their failures might be your greatest decision ever.

Conferences are great places to get ideas, but please… do your homework.  Take the time to get to know your students. Your recruiting region. Do a survey. Ask students when they visit.

You’ll be much better off, and your efforts will be more fruitful.

Stamats08…. now what?!?!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education, Social Media, Speaking, Thoughts | Posted on 11-11-2008-05-2008


[This post is similar to my eduWeb2008 afterthoughts, but still very applicable for all subscribers, old and new.]

You’re back from Stamats08.  Florida was great, you’ve met tons of new people, and the trip home went fairly smooth. So today you’re getting settled into your desk, fresh with ideas and energized to change the world. You’ve got notes, resources, new connections at universities and colleges across the map, and you’re ready to rock.

So where do you go from here? Most of the time, someone who attends a conference follows a graph like this:

You get really excited at the conference. Your enthusiasm for your job is renewed. You have faith that things can be changed. But as soon as you get back to your office, confidence starts going down. Things start to return to business as normal, and before you know it you’re right back where you were before the conference.

Let’s do better than that.

Here is a quick 10-step plan to help you get the most out of your conference experience from Stamats08 if you’re just getting your feet wet in a lot of the topics you heard about this week.

10 Steps to Maximize Your Conference Experience

  1. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor/boss/direct reports/team. Right now. Come prepared with a short and sweet summary (no more than 1 page) of key takeaways and implementations that you want to move towards. Have a discussion about each, and what steps you can take to get it done. Proceed.
  2. Reflect on resources other than yours. Use this post of Stamats08 content that we have all created to refresh your mind or to catch up on sessions you might have missed.
    1. Did you notice that this post was compiled by Jacob, who works at Central College and was not even at the conference? Chew on that for a second…
  3. Watch presentations again, or share them with your co-workers. Point out specific segments they should watch. All presentations and videos are linked here.
  4. Join Twitter! Stay connected with others that you have met and continue to have conversations revolving around what you’re doing at work and the trending topics in higher ed. [Follow Me!]
  5. Start using RSS. A few months back I did a quick how-to on getting started with RSS. Watch it and begin subscribing to blogs so that you can keep up with the information better.
  6. Start a blog. Head over to WordPress and start to type out some thoughts about what you’re working on. Be sure to email me your link at bradjward(at)gmail(dot)com so that I can add you to my RSS feeds.
  7. Try something new.  I personally am going to play with analytics more and try some of Kyle’s tricks and tips.  Think of one thing from the conference you’ve never heard about or used, and try it out.
  8. Book another conference for yourself or a co-worker. Karine Joly has an event calendar of upcoming conferences.
  9. Read a book.  Check out my list of eduWeb 2008 Book Titles here, which are all great choices.
  10. Join the Conversation. Start commenting on blogs or posting in the uwebd forums. is also a great place to start, but there are many more great blogs out there. Check blogrolls of others to find many more quality blogs in higher ed.

I hope that you can take a few of these steps to get started towards better work and amazing projects. You can do it; be persistent and make change happen in your organization.

Stamats08 was awesome. The conversations and connections that took place both in and outside of the conference room stimulated me and gave me some great ideas.

I was glad to be a part of the event, and look forward to keeping in touch with all of you.

If this is your first time to SquaredPeg, subscribe to our RSS!

Stamats08 Conference

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education, Speaking, Technology, Web | Posted on 07-10-2008-05-2008


Remember when I told you to keep an eye on the HighEdWeb backchannel?  I hope you have been this week.

And like me, you’ve 1) probably felt a little left out, and 2) had no clue what some of the presentations were about.  I’m more of a front-end technology guy.  You all build the tools, I’ll figure out awesome ways to use them. :) Thanks, web geeks!

SO, are you ready to 1) experience an awesome conference, and 2) learn about the front end of technology such as analytics, social media, ROI, creating a web 2.0 plan, and more?

Well, my dear subscribers, I hope you’ll join me and many others at the Stamats Integrated Marketing Conference in St. Petersburg, FL from November 5-8, 2008.   Speakers include myself, Chris Brogan, Karlyn Morissette, Kyle James, Matt Herzberger, and several others. We wil discuss many of the hot topics in higher education, and you don’t want to miss out.

My presentation is titled ‘The Recruitment Long Tail’, and is shaping up to be my favorite presentation out of the ones I have put together.  While The Long Tail by Chris Anderson is certainly not required reading to come to the session, I certainly would encourage you to read the book for professional growth. The presentation stems from a post I did earlier in the year.  The good folks at Stamats asked me to come present it, and I’m looking forward to it.

It was at the Stamats 2006 conference, my first conference as a higher ed professional, where my eyes were opened to a world of possibilities in higher ed recruitment.  This will be my 3rd Stamats conference.

Budgets might be tight, and the economy might be down, but now is the time to start preparing your 2009-2010 recruitment plans and the Stamats Conference will provide you plenty of material to learn where to get started, how to do it, and how to measure the success of your campaigns. My personal goal is to give you your money’s worth in my allotted 1 hour of speaking, and I know others will not disappoint either.

Click here to register for Stamats08 for only $499!!

NACAC08 in Review

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 30-09-2008-05-2008


I am back from NACAC08 in Seattle and have had a lot of time to reflect on the previous week.

First, it’s amazing to see the difference between a conference of ‘techies’ and a conference of ‘suits’.  Absolutely night and day.   No user-generated content.  The twitter backchannel was… well, it wasn’t. Blog… what’s that again?  There was one presentation on social media.  Did I mention there were nearly 6,000 people in attendance?

If you went to NACAC and have no clue what I’m talking about, keep an eye on HighEdWeb this coming week and watch the quality of content and connections made.   That is the future of web and conversation.   And that is the future of how you are going to need to have conversations with prospective students.

We had something great going at eduWeb08, and the HighEdWeb planning team has been smart enough to catch on and begin providing those avenues for discussion before, during, and after the conference.

I got so much more out of eduWeb due to social media because I could essentially ‘listen in’ to 2 other presentations while sitting in a 3rd, and still digest it all.  I could read many blog posts reviewing the events of the day and catch up on what I missed.

I just feel empty about the content on NACAC because the only way to consume it was to be in the session. My knowledge and learning was limited to what I could personally attend and sit in on. Nothing more.  I felt so out of touch with everything that was happening around me.

Oh well.  At least the scenery was great.

View the full set here.

NACAC08: Day 1

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Recruitment, Social Media, Web, Zinch | Posted on 24-09-2008-05-2008


I have arrived in Seattle for NACAC08, and while I feel like I should be heading to bed soon, we’re going out to eat and then head to Safeco Field for a Mariners game.

Today was essentially travel + meeting the team and helping them set up their booth.  I also ran in to Steve Kappler who is now with ACT, and also chatted with the YouniversityTV and FireEngineRed crews.

YouniversityTV gave me a sneak peek of their new site, which they will soft launch tomorrow and go public with next week.  The facelift is a great change from the current site, although still flash based for the most part.  There will be additional features such as user generated content, submitted videos by students and schools, ratings and comments, and more.  It’ll be good.  Another site to monitor, but the more the merrier.. right? :)

Monster also announced today a revamp of  It gets a big FAIL so far from me since the comment feature is broken. NRCCUA has something up their sleeve in the admissions/high school student world as well, and I’ll share what I find out about their revamped site.

Big shout-out to Pauline from The C-Word, who I linked in this post. She’s a student at a college in the area and emailed me, so we’re going to get together and pick each other’s brains and learn more from each other.  Very excited about that.

Here are some pics from the trip so far.  To see them all, check out my Flickr group and submit yours too!

See you in Seattle! NACAC08

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences | Posted on 22-09-2008-05-2008


In 2 days I’ll be flying out to Seattle for NACAC08.  Thanks to the awesome team at, I will be joining them and my Butler colleagues for the conference.  As a member of the Zinch Advisory Board I’ll be spending lots of time with the crew and getting to know them better, and helping out with a training session as an admission officer who uses the site.

Are you going to be in Seattle for NACAC08?  Let’s meet up!! Email me (bradjward at gmail dot com) or @bradjward me on Twitter.

If you’ll be there and you use Twitter, tag your tweets with #nacac08 and I will compile them at

If you’ll be there and you use Flickr, add your pictures to the NACAC08 Pool at

If you’ll be there and you’re in the Exhibitor Hall, stop by Booth 133 or 1309, where I’ll be hanging out a lot.

I’ve got a good list going already of people I hope to meet up with, including

  • @brianwmniles from TargetX
  • @kathrynspruill and @jbrower514 from Stein Communications
  • @tom8williams from Innogage
  • @krommenhoek, @mickhagen, @bradhagen and the others from Zinch
  • @donna_bowling from Mindpower, Inc.
  • The folks from Stamats, FireEngineRed and YouniversityTV
  • … and YOU! If you’re there, I want to meet you.

On the list for presentations I’m heading to include:

  • Meetings — Bane of your Existence?
  • Time to Talk: Current Trends in College Admission
  • Admission Best Practices: Perspectives from Around the World
  • Using Blogging and IM in Public and Private Universities
  • Enjoy the Green Pastures You Have: How to Develop Professionally in an Office You Love
  • Student Views on Technology in the College Admission Process

See you in Seattle!