Posts Tagged ‘Communications’

CANCELED: Community Colleges and the Impact of Social Media Webinar

May 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Perhaps summer isn’t the best time to schedule a learning opportunity for education professionals.  Unfortunately the Paperclip Webinar on Community Colleges and the Impact of Social Media has been canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date.

As soon as we have a new date, I’ll post it here.


Community colleges across the country are finding ways to teach, market and communicate using various forms of social media. In this rapidly changing environment it is challenging for professionals to stay up to date on the latest trends and functions of a social media landscape.

In many cases, higher education has led in the adoption of these new tools and technologies. Much more can be done, however, both inside the classroom and outside the college engaging publics.

Join me for an interactive webinar where you will learn how to develop a greater awareness of hot trends in social media as they relate to community colleges and begin the process of creating an effective social media marketing plan.

Register Here:

Too Legit to Quit QR Codes (Don’t do it Just to do it)

May 10, 2011 Leave a comment

[This post is featured at Grand Rapids Social Diary as a guest editorial for May 24, 2011!]

Hammer ... err ... QR Code Time!

QR or “Quick Response” codes have been around Asia since 1994, and a few years ago they finally started to pop up in the US.  There was a brief period a couple of years ago where they were a fad (a way for the tech savvy to show off).

Sadly, just like the ascot or Hammer Pants, that time has passed.  If you want to use QR codes now, you’ll want to have a very specific, well-defined strategy that makes use of their unique properties.

Here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself: Read more…

A Case of Semantics: #GRtweetElite Frackus a Textbook Example of “Bypassing”

September 8, 2010 2 comments

[Updated] A seemingly-innocuous social media event in Grand Rapids raised a few hackles last night:

There was a great late-night convening of the Communications Majors to discuss the philosophical underpinnings of the frackus (thanks to @seelowitz and @ekuhn for the fun discussion; it brought me back to grad school).  One of the concepts my Interpersonal Communication students cover is “bypassing”:

Bypassing: Confusion caused by the same words’ meaning different things to different people.”
(Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J. & Redmond, M. V. (2008). Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others, 5th Edition, Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.)

There are a few likely reasons for the hurt feelings:

  1. Terminology: The term “elite” (or “3l33t“) has a very specific connotation online, and the way in which it was used was a challenge to the discourse community that typically uses the term (ie tech-savvy types like hackers and gamers).  In attempting to craft a clever name that used alliteration, “Experience GR” (the organization formerly known as the Convention and Visitors Bureau) tripped into that domain.  (My vote would have gone for “GRTweetRetreat”).  It doesn’t help that the people who use the term 3l33t tend to be those who were excluded socially during their formative years (which is often what drove them online to find a sense of community).
  2. Ownership: Social media isn’t owned by anyone.  The democratized nature of the medium means that to co-opt its status as a media darling buzz word for the purposes of an unveiling event rubs some people the wrong way.  Similarly, inviting only certain people to an event belies the inclusive nature of Web 2.0 technologies (as does classifying anything as “elite”).
  3. Personal Pride: As the traditional media declines, many communications professionals are jockeying for position in the social media world, and their professional reputation depends on being plugged in to the various communities that are thriving online.  Whether or not ExperienceGR/CVB intended to do so, the result of the event was to ascribe “elite” status to the attendees that they may not have earned – and simultaneously to exclude a broad swath of the social media pros online from claiming that status.  To wit – that’s exactly how the event is now being portrayed by those that covered the event:“Yesterday the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention unveiled their new name … Experience Grand Rapids.  Experience Grand Rapids unveiled its name and logo Tuesday night with an invite-only party called the ‘GR Tweet Elite’.” (via GR Social Diary’s Facebook page)

Hopefully other organizations will be able to learn from this experience in planning future social media events.

UPDATE: As a PR pro, it strikes me that if you’re going to host a Twitter event to announce a new name for an organization, you might want to own the Twitter account for that new organization name and have it active (right now “@experiencegr” is an account with zero followers that has its tweets protected):

Screen capture of the @experiencegr Twitter Account

Screen capture of the @experiencegr Twitter Account


Get Over Yourself: Your Org Chart is Irrelevant to the Public

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

A huge impediment to communicating with people is assuming/expecting they understand all of the nuances about how your organization is structured.  No one cares who reports to whom or what your strategic plan says about why this department reports to this one.

All they care about is what they’re looking for.

Miles Davis - Kind of BlueExperiment:  if you’re looking for Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album – how do you find it?

  • What you probably WILL do is search for “Miles Davis” or “Kind of Blue.”
  • What you probably WON’T do is start at the top of the org chart and work down: the vast majority of sentient beings won’t go looking for it under “Sony Corporation” because they  don’t know that “Kind of Blue” was produced on the Columbia Jazz label, a division of the Columbia record label which is held by Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment which is a holding of Sony Corporation.  None of that matters.

Fortunately technology has been helping users navigate the institutional morasse for years (ie a search engine makes clear what your navigation menu does not), however organizations that are blind to this problem can still do untold damage to themselves by structuring their communication around these bureaucratic irrelevancies.

To this end, analytical data (everything from the search terms used to the path followed in browsing for information) from an organization’s website can be immensely valuable in understanding how the public thinks about that organization.  Best of all it’s free.   Use it.