Organizing Your Institution To Engage Through Social Media

I’ve got a conversation in a bit with some folks to talk about using social media in an institutional setting. The organization sees itself as a neophyte when it comes to social media, and is a little timid about going whole-hog.

I think that pretty much describes most larger institutions (and some small ones).

In preaparation for the conversation, I cut this video to get a point across to my colleagues and jump start our conversation. I thought it might be interesting to you, too:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5634103&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1

The focus of the video is not on actually using social media. I believe that the key thing many institutions need to think about is how to organize their work to best engage with social media. Many institutions are poorly structured to do that.

The good news is that structuring your content creation and communications properly really just involves streamlining what you do and collecting all content into one stream that you can then pull from.

There’s lots more detail in the video (and I apologize that at some points the audio and video get slightly out of sync, grr) but that’s the basic idea.

Please add your own thoughts in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Organizing Your Institution To Engage Through Social Media”

  1. Brad,
    Appreciate the internal architecture (maybe Intranet blog) as way to get organization ready for blogging to external publics. Good tips for FB and Twitter. A challenge I see is for staff to have the time for the internal blog. Thoughts?

  2. Thanks Sylvia. Just a few thoughts:

    The best technique I have found to help me find time to blog is to put a limit on the amount of time that is allowed, yet also have a requirement that I do it daily. You’d be amazed at how much you can get done if you start a timer.

    Another good technique is to require a four-paragraph (no more) overview for any report that is developed. That becomes the blog post.

    It is not for everybody. Some will take to it — they should be encouraged. Others won’t — they shouldn’t be forced.

    This is really a way to think about gathering an already-existing content stream so it can be a resource (as opposed to having bits and pieces all over).

  3. Interesting vlog. My question, though, is what happens to the departmental people who are already running FB and twitter streams? Since you suggest that a Communicators Officer provides all “official” information where does that leave advising offices, libraries, and other campus entities who tweet their own information? Should they be discouraged?

  4. Hi Jillian thanks for the comment.

    My answer: Not at all! In fact, the opposite. The departments and individuals who are Tweeting, etc., should be encouraged. It all should be collected via rss feeds, etc. and should be available as part of the Stream — the main blog. Some may be included, some may not be but it needs to be known about.

    Done right, this is the opposite of command-and-control (which of course would never work in a distributed and highly autonomous university setting). The key to this whole thing is to create a mechanism where the people who are responsible for outward-facing activities know what’s available.

    Does that make sense?

  5. That makes tons of sense. I just wasn’t sure because it didn’t really seem to be mentioned anywhere in the video (perhaps the “team” you refer to?). I love the idea of having a stream on a university’s main page where all of the information is aggregated. I think the strategy presented here is very sound and hopefully universities will begin to embrace it.

    Adding your blog to my reader! Thanks!

  6. Thanks so much Jillian!

    Do bear in mind this was just a quick video. I am working on a more precise presentation that is more readily accessible.

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