You Should Probably Read This.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Free, Higher Education, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Web | Posted on 31-07-2008-05-2008


My favorite part about higher education is the willingness of individuals to share information between universities. And that’s what this post is all about.

Karen Sines Rudolph, Coordinator of Public Information at McLennan Community College emailed me her 121 page thesis titled “Recruiting Millennials: How Official Admission Blogs Depict Colleges and Universities From a Public Relations Perspective“. It is full of great information and research, so I asked her if I could share it with my readers and she agreed.

Karen looked at 2,471 blog posts from 349 individual bloggers at 92 institutions and researched the posts on a multitude of factors during the 2005-2006 school year. (Was your school involved? Check out page 98-100 of the thesis). The research is extensive, and some quotes even come from Karine Joly.

Some gems and stats that I have pulled out of the research so far:

  • Less than 20% of bloggers (n=463) acknowledged the specific audience they were blogging for – prospective students. This does not mean to tell student bloggers what to write, but rather to remind them of their audience, suggest topics, and encourage quick and helpful responses to comments.
  • This study suggested that blogs lose their effectiveness when bloggers post more than once or twice a week.
  • Only 4.7% of bloggers (n=117) were identified as transfer students, while 30.3% of bloggers are freshmen.
  • 60% of photos on blog posts captured the student’s social life. 41.31% of photos were taken at a campus location.
  • Only 2.6% of blog posts (n=64) were about academics and with a negative frame.
  • Junior year bloggers were most likely to speak on academics.
  • When it came to blog posts about academic reputation of the school (n=13), none were negative.
  • When speaking about costs associated with attending the institution (n=36), 69.4% of blog posts were negative.
  • And so much more. I’ll leave the rest of it for you to read!

I just keep going through all of this and keep thinking of new ways to apply this info for the upcoming year with my new Bloggers.

Kudos to Karen for releasing this wonderful research. I was completely awestruck when she sent it to me out of the blue. Please join me in thanking her by leaving a comment below. I don’t mind all of the subscribers who lurk and don’t comment [who know who you are :) ], but please do take the time to show Karen your appreciation for this download. She really does deserve a big pat on the back from the community. Also, please note the Creative Commons license on her work and give credit where credit is due.

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Facebook Class of 2012: 6 Months Later

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Facebook, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 03-07-2008-05-2008


I have now been tracking the Butler Class of 2012 Facebook Group for 6 months. For more background, check these posts:

I have also set up a new page that will dynamically refresh as the weeks continue, and include more in-depth charts by month. You can find the Class of 2012 Research page here.

Here’s the chart after 6 months, which is tracking Members, Wall Posts, and Discussion Posts:

Read the rest of this entry »

Want $100 in free Facebook Ads?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Facebook, Free, Higher Education, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 30-06-2008-05-2008


Last week my good friend Brad sent me along this story on BBC about a new partnership between Visa and Facebook, which starts out:

The company is giving $100 (£51) advertising credits to the first 20,000 US business start-ups that download its service via Facebook.

My first thought was “Where do I sign up?”, and now I know. This morning I was shown an ad on Facebook for The Visa Business Network. I added it to my account and within a minute I had a $100 credit code for Facebook Ads in my inbox. So just head to and register today.

Make sure you read the Privacy Policy/Terms and Conditions (as always) to make sure that nothing conflicts with your institution’s regulations. It seems like a good deal for sure, and if you’ve been nervous about getting your feet wet in Facebook Ads, this is a great way to see how it all works!

Here is more from the email they sent me:

Dear Brad:

Thank you for joining the Visa Business Network! To help you grow your business,
we’re giving you a $100 coupon good towards Facebook advertising credit. Your
coupon must be redeemed and used by 9/28/2008.

Your coupon code is: ****-****-****-****

If this is your first time advertising with us, you can create your first ad and redeem your coupon at:****-****-****-****

If you are a returning advertiser, you can redeem your coupon by the following:
1. Log into your Facebook Ads account.
2. Click on the “Billing” at the top of the Ads Manager.
3. Click on the “Funding Sources” tab on the Billing Summary page.
4. Click on “Enter Coupon Code” and enter your code as shown above.

Thanks for joining The Visa Business Network!


The Facebook Ads Team

PROMOTIONAL TERMS: The promotional coupon code and the advertising credits are
valid only for purchase of advertising through Facebook’s online advertising
system. May only be redeemed by Facebook users who add the Visa Application.
Advertisers will be charged for advertising that exceeds the promotional credit.
Advertisers will need to suspend their ads if they do not wish to receive
additional charges beyond the free credit amount. Subject to ad approval, valid
registration and acceptance of the generally applicable Facebook Advertising
Terms and Conditions. The promotional coupon code and advertising credits are
non-transferable and may not be sold or bartered. Offer may be revoked at any
time for any reason by Facebook. One promotional coupon code per individual.
Promotional coupon code equals $100.00 USD which can be applied to the purchase
of advertising through Facebook’s online advertising system. Offer valid only
for sign ups using the coupon code or URL link received upon adding the Visa
Application. Expires 90 days from date the Visa Application is added to the
Facebook account.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Email, Facebook, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web | Posted on 24-06-2008-05-2008


With all of the tools readily available at your fingertips, how could you afford to not use them?

Yesterday I had a meeting with BUMegan about some communication for incoming freshman. Previously, the ‘welcome week newsletter’ has been a word document around 5 pages long. Gross. So we started brainstorming about what to do this year. Email? eNewsletter? Welcome Week Blog? Post the info to the Facebook Class of 2012 group and the BUForums?

So I went to my network of higher ed professionals on Twitter for advice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Conference Wrap-Up

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Conferences, Flip Ultra, Free, Google, Higher Education, Social Media, Speaking, Thoughts | Posted on 19-06-2008-05-2008


The Innovative Educators Conference, which wraps up tomorrow with a presentation by Brian Niles of TargetX fame, has been a great one. Val, Erin and Pam from IE did a great job putting the conference together and keeping everything rolling. The food was the best conference food I’ve had. A night out to the Reds/Dodgers game with all you can eat food and drinks was a nice touch too.

Here are the links I went through for those of you that were in my 2 presentations on Wednesday. Again, if you have any questions, please email me at bradjward(at)gmail(dot)com.

I Can Do THAT With Google?:

Blogging 201: Taking It To The Next Level: and

Also, here is the image used during the Social Media Roundtable with Brad and Matt:

(Click Image to Enlarge)

It’s always great to connect with new people. I also got to catch up with Mark, Matt, and Brian and we had several really great conversations about a huge range of topics. I’ve always been big on the value of face time, and this event has not disappointed. I was also able to line up a webinar on this coming Tuesday night with an MBA class at Morehead State University, so it’s time to start on that slide deck.

One month until eduWeb! Who all is going to be there? I’d love to meet more of you.

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Hobsons will soon own the world.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Thoughts | Posted on 05-06-2008-05-2008


Just had a Google Alert come across that Hobsons has acquired, which has thought to have been a fairly reliable and unbiased source for high school students and parents everywhere. How will the community change as a result of this acquistion?

I’d expect to see turn into a paid forum registration for ‘premium content’ soon. Either that or Hobsons just wants to do a little datamining and pimp their products. They will figure out some sort of revenue stream though, and I’d guess that it’ll put the user experience at risk.

I am trying to get out of their ‘Chat’ solution right now, and looking at a few options that I have heard many good things about. Chat University is an absolute joke. Look at this. Or any ChatU site really. Appealing? Not a bit.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread to see how the community reacts.

Free is here to stay? I guess I’ll hold on to that thought. Economics and a little $$ can do some crazy things.

[Press Release: Hobsons Acquires College Confidential]

Using Twitter for Student Bloggers

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Concepts, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter | Posted on 15-05-2008-05-2008


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about uses for Twitter in Higher Ed. I’ve said before (here):

[...] having the kids sign up for Twitter is just another barrier to communication. While I am typically an advocate for universities using services rather than reinventing the wheel, Twitter has yet to prove its stability to me.

There has also been a lot of talk about Twitter, how to use it in Higher Ed, what might be effective, what might not be, etc. I’ve sort of sat back and soaked this all in, watching developments at other universities and trying to think of how I can use Twitter to enhance a student’s experience on our site.

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‘Free’ is here to stay.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Free, Google, Higher Education, Recruitment, Social Media, Speaking, Technology, Twitter, Web | Posted on 25-03-2008-05-2008


There is one question I typically get when I present a viable option/solution that happens to utilize a 3rd party website/web2.0 tool.
“What do they [the company who's providing the service for free] get out of it?”

It’s a great question, and should definitely be considered. What are we, the University, giving them, the person behind the curtain, in return for their services? What personal information will they collect? What advertisements come along with the product/solution? What if the product later goes to a paid service and all of our data/information that we have built up over the months and years now costs to use?

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