Social Web Callouts: Research from BlueFuego!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Callouts, Facebook, Flickr, Higher Education, Research, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, YouTube | Posted on 03-08-2009-05-2008


SquaredPeg is back with a new design and ready for another academic year! After a few months off from blogging I’ve had some time to get re-energized about this site and am looking forward to the coming months!

We released our initial BlueFuego research on Social Web Callouts on SquaredPeg 6 months ago and figured that the numbers were going to quickly grow. Now that we’ve compiled and crunched the numbers again, we’re excited to share some of our findings with you. Please feel free to pass this along to your co-workers and colleagues, especially if you are trying to make the case for your institution!

Social Web Callouts in Higher Ed

Of the 1,387 four year schools researched on August 1, 2009:
562 schools (40.5%) had one or more Social Web Callouts (SWC’s) within the criteria.
54 schools (3.9%) had SWC’s on all three criteria (Main, Admission, Alumni).
161 schools (11.6%) had SWC’s on 2 of the 3 criteria.

Of the 1,387 schools, 247 (17.8%) had SWC’s or links on the main .edu homepage. Of these 247 schools:
78.1% linked to Facebook
64.4% linked to Twitter
44.5% linked to YouTube
21.0% linked to Flickr
12.2% linked to MySpace
9.3% linked to LinkedIn
6.1% linked to YouTube (Embed)

Of the 1,387 schools, 235 (16.9%) had SWC’s or links on the main Admissions site. Of these 235 schools:
80.9% linked to Facebook
45.6% linked to Twitter
29.8% linked to YouTube
12.3% linked to Flickr
10.2% linked to MySpace
9.9% linked to YouTube (Embed)
3.4% linked to LinkedIn

Of the 1,387 schools, 282 (20.3%) had SWC’s or links from main Alumni site. Of these 282 schools:
87.23% linked to Facebook
42.20% linked to LinkedIn
40.78% linked to Twitter
18.44% linked to YouTube
12.06% linked to Flickr
11.77% linked to MySpace
5.32% linked to YouTube (Embed)

MiFi… WiFi for me.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Flickr, Higher Education, Lifecasting, Marketing, Photos, Recruitment, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts, Web, YouTube | Posted on 03-06-2009-05-2008


If you haven’t heard yet about the awesomeness of the MiFi and how it’s going to change the way you think about media, allow me to explain.

The MiFi (available through Verizon and Sprint) calls itself the ‘intelligent mobile hotspot’.

Thinner and shorter than an iPhone, and as simple to use as pressing an on/off button, the MiFi is essentially a router in your pocket.  You’re able to connect up to 5 devices to it and use the signal.  On Verizon, I typically am on a 3G network and have averaged a 2.0mpbs download speed.  I rarely notice a lag in page loads.

At last check, the price of the MiFi was $99 with a $50 rebate. A $40/month subscription gets you a measly 250mb of data.  Upgrade to the $60/month package and get 5GB of data.

So how does this affect my job?

Two words: Streamlined Media.

With a MiFi, you have internet whereever you go, for whatever device you need (as long as Verizon really is everywhere they say they are!) To explain streamlined media and how you can take advantage of it, let me offer a few examples.

1) Event Photos live to the web

Go pick up an Eye Fi 4GB Explore Video SD Card for $99 and put it in your camera.  The Eye Fi allows you to upload photos as soon as you hit a pre-registered wi-fi network.  With the MiFi, you no longer need to wait to get back to the office to send photos. Do it on the fly, right from the event!!

Here’s what you can do with the Eye Fi:

1) Set the card to instantly upload photos to Flickr with a tag for the event.  We’ll pretend it’s Commencement. So we set up the Eye Fi to upload each photo taken to Flickr with the tag commencement2009.

2) Set up a page on your .edu website that will show all of the photos taken.  Link to it from your social web efforts, the home page, the commencement page, the live video streaming page, and more.

3) Put some simple code on it that will pull in photos from Flickr. (Put your username where the red is.  Find it here.) Use the API to create something like:

<iframe align="center" src="
frameBorder="0" width="750" scrolling="no" height="750"></iframe>

4) Go wild!  Take photos and they’ll automatically be put on your .edu website.  No need to get back to a computer and get them uploaded, have someone resizing images and putting them on the web.  Streamlined.

2) Live Video anywhere on campus

If you haven’t realized that it’s time to get serious about video, wake up.  Video is becoming increasingly important and with the MiFi you can provide it.  Whether it’s using the same steps above to do YouTube videos on the fly or have a uStream feed from anywhere you have a signal.

And remember this that I talked about last January?? Next week, it will be 2 years to the day since I put together the plan for it at Butler.  With the MiFi, it just became that much easier. And yes, it’s coming to a campus near you very soon.

3) Campus Tour Enhancement!

This one comes from Adam Epstein at WPI (@epsteada on Twitter, blogs at, and some discussion we had while I was at NEACAC last week. (If you want to see the slidecast of my presentation, it’s over here.) Adam talked about the possibilities of photos during the campus tour, and when the students arrive back to the Admissions office…. BOOM!  They’re already on the screen as they walk back in.  For a tech-savvy campus like WPI, that’s pretty cool stuff to show off.

So what can you think of?

There are probably 101 other ways to use this new technology, what do you have in mind? Where are we going from here as we get one step closer to an internet chip in our skin? :)   Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and next time you’re at a conference, look for the BlueFuego connection.  And if you need an internet fix, come find me for the password. :)


Define your Efforts: Social Web Recruitment Funnel

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Facebook, Flickr, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web, YouTube, Zinch | Posted on 13-05-2009-05-2008


I’ve had this thought bouncing around in my head that came out of a client visit/strategy session… a visualization of the traditional recruitment funnel in terms of the social web.  This is what I came up with.

(Click Photo to Enlarge)

*NOTE* –   This chart is by no means inclusive of all sites or tools available. This chart is meant as a visualization of strategy to help you think about a framework for your recruitment efforts.  This chart is meant to be thought about, modified to fit, and executed as resources are available.

The Social Web Recruitment Funnel

The Funnel resembles a traditional recruitment funnel (suspects -> prospects -> applicants -> admits -> enrolled), and is designed to dissect 3 areas of recruitment:  Seek, Engage and Retain.


The students are not always going to look for you.  Traditional methods such as name buys, print and email still hold a place in your marketing/recruitment arsenal.  But take a good look at web-based tools and sites, for example: Zinch, CollegeBoard and Cappex. Facebook might also be a method of seeking potential applicants and this platform can be leveraged as a great place for prospective student Q&A.  Use email and print to reinforce your message and to drive students to your social web efforts. Your .edu website is still important and things such as ‘Get more info’ need to be prominent and easy to find/fill out.


This is where it gets fun.  Build your social web presence to start engaging and interacting with these prospective students.  Think outside of the box. Never before have we had access to so many opportunities to connect and utilize free tools, but approach with caution and don’t overwhelm your audience.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  It’s easier to make your web presence bigger. It’s much harder to shrink your web presence and cut connections and friendships with others on a platform you decide to no longer utilize or maintain. Allow them the opportunity to engage with you from the moment they show interest to the moment they step on campus.


After the applications come in, your pool has decreased significantly in size.  Take the opportunity to create community with these students and allow them to interact with each other.  Host the conversation or set up a Facebook group for them to interact.  Promote it heavily through traditional methods such as email and print, but drive them to the conversation. If possible, scale back your efforts to a smaller collection of tools for this select group and focus on community management and getting them excited about your school and brand. Outside of the social web, continue interactions via yielding events and personal phone calls.  Use the web to enhance these connections and to network the students together.

Final Thoughts

These thoughts are from the 30,000 ft. view and hundreds of other decisions and ideas would go into each effort. A well-defined strategy would incorporate many, but not all, of these social web tools.  The most important thing is to know where your audience is and cater to them.

If you have any thoughts or comments, leave a message below or shoot me a message on Twitter (@bradjward).

Are you ready to Ignite the Fuego and work with BlueFuego on your strategy? Contact us today.
Twitter for Higher Ed Webinar: Back by popular demand!  June 10th, only $99.  Click to Register.

Who’s Linking? Research on Social Web Callouts.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Analytics, Callouts, Embedding, Facebook, Flickr, Higher Education, Integration Week, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web, YouTube | Posted on 13-03-2009-05-2008


This post wraps up Integration Week at SquaredPeg.  Be sure to check out the posts from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!

Today I’m lending the platform over to my partner and co-founder of BlueFuego, Joe Gaylor. Joe has spent the last week working on some very interesting research.  Over the past several months we have noticed that some schools are very up front with their social media efforts, other bury their hard work deep in a 3rd level text link.

While we don’t have specific research on this, we can tell you one thing:  To your target audience, the Facebook ‘F’ is probably just as familiar as other ‘brand name’ logos. So why not put it where they can see it? If you have a great Facebook page with tons of quality content and engagement, brag about it!

BlueFuegoAnalysis of Social Web Callouts on .edu Sites

Read the rest of this entry »

eduWeb Conference 2008 is underway!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Flickr, Social Media, Speaking, Twitter | Posted on 21-07-2008-05-2008


I made it to Atlantic City and things are going great.  I met up at the Philadelphia airport with Karine Joly and Mike Richwalsky and we cruised the expressway down to the coast.  Last night I met up with Kyle James and Nick Catto and we drove to the beach and checked out the area.

Mark and I gave our 3-hour pre-conference workshop titled ‘Join the Conversation’ this morning, which went well. We streamed some of our presentation, but not the whole thing.. you gotta pay to see that! :)   You can check some of that out on uStream, cue to the 11 minute mark. My Mac was on the podium, so it’s not the greatest view.  We hope to stream some more sessions later, at a better vantage point obviously. We just wanted to use the site a bit to show people more about it. There was some twitter backchannel chat from Melissa Cheater, which was always fun to watch evolve while Mark was talking.

Lunch was great.  Had a chance to sit down with Billy Adams and Jacob Oyen from Twitter, as well as several others from our session to chat more about higher ed. Even bumped in to Rachel Reuben as I was leaving.

I love conferences, what a great networking opportunity.  If you see me around in the lobby, eating, between sessions, or gambling my savings away at the casino, stop me and say hi! I’d love to meet you all.

I started a Flickr group for eduWeb 2008 photos, so please feel free to add yours!

You can also find me on Twitter or keep track of all the eduWeb buzz on Twitter.

Don’t forget about tonight’s Meetup, located at the Poolside Cafe by… the pool. It’s tonight from 7-9pm. Hope to see you there!

And if this is your first time on SquaredPeg, please subscribe via email or RSS.

Flickr, your electronic photo database?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Flickr, Higher Education, Management, Marketing, Photos, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology | Posted on 24-04-2008-05-2008


(Updated 7/31/2009)

It’s no secret that I love Flickr. It’s a perfect blend of community and functionality in the web 2.0 world, and it’s an extremely powerful tool.

Could it also be your solution for an electronic photo database management system?

Let’s take a walk at what Flickr has to offer you, and how it can help you organize your campus photos and provide some additional value to your workflow. We’re going to get pretty in-depth here, so buckle up and refer back often.

Read the rest of this entry »

Flickr, now with video goodness!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Flickr, YouTube | Posted on 08-04-2008-05-2008


While you were sleeping, Flickr unveiled what has been largely speculated recently: Video. But why? Isn’t Flickr a photo site? Well, yeah.

Here’s the scoop, from the Flickr Blog: Videos can only be 90 seconds that are smaller than 150mb and uploaded by pro members. There is a ton of great info in their Help section as well, basically all affirming that they don’t intend to compete with YouTube, etc.

In addition, they raised the size of an uploadable photo from 10mb to 20mb. Must be preparing for the new 22.1mp Canon 1Ds Mk 3 and Nikon D3.

Here’s an embed sample, or check it out on Flickr.

Don’t really see much use for this in higher ed, especially given the restrictions. So why did I post it? I’m a Flickr fanatic. :) Enjoy!

Building Community with Social Media

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Facebook, Flickr, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 20-03-2008-05-2008


One thing that I have always been big on is ‘community‘. I love community, the feeling of being surrounded by others to share ideas with, have a good time with, and relate to. Community can build great connection with others, and it can make others proud to be a part of something. It is a big part of the vision that Matt and I have for BlogHighEd. So when an incoming link from a blog post titled “Discovering Community” linked to us, I felt a certain sense of accomplishment in that goal.

Then I got to thinking back to my early days of ‘community building’, in college as an RA, and remembered a presentation that I gave at a conference more than 3 years ago. So I dug it up last night and went through it, and found some slides that could relate to my job now. So I’m going to go through some of that, and make a few modifications as well.

The presentation is directly below, but it might make more sense if you follow along with me below it. At the end we’ll get into some direct implications for community in social media. Brace yourself, this will probably be the longest post in SquaredPeg history. What a great way to celebrate 100 posts! :) Stick with me, I think you will get something out of this.

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Flickr Pro accounts free for nonprofits

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Flickr, Photos | Posted on 06-03-2008-05-2008


TechSoup is giving away free 1-year Flickr Pro accounts to nonprofits.  There is a minimal $3 administrative fee, but still much smaller than the usual $25/year fee.      I know most schools are considered nonprofit, so hopefully someone can benefit from this.

You can buy two 1-year memberships for $6 or five for $15.

Here’s the link: TechSoup