This week on Higher Ed Live, Seth Odell spoke with Betsy Soler, Community Manager of Florida International University (FIU) in Miami about how FIU uses Tumblr at her college. Seth had a few challenges with the start of the show (how quickly can Seth untie his tongue?), but recovered quickly and the show took off. Here are my notes:
- TED and DoubleDutch Team Up for Mobile Collaboration App: Location-based company DoubleDutch worked with TED to create a mobile application for this year’s TED 2011 conference in Long Beach. Some amazing stats from people using the application:
- 3300 check-ins
- 50% engagement among iPhone users
- 486 photos uploaded
- 188 accounts connected to Twitter, 108 to Facebook
- 226 ‘likes’, 52 comments
- Big difference in engagement between the mobile application and the public sharing sites
- Seth says the future of location-based apps is not with check-in. Rather it’s the ability to share information with people where you are.
- Little-Known Colleges Exploit Visa Loopholes to Make Millions Off Foreign Students: The Chronicle investigation reveals colleges are taking advantage of foreign students and taking their money; students are not getting their money’s worth of education.
- Geo-Targeting on Facebook: Are you geo-targeting your Facebook posts? When you post your status updates on Facebook, you can target based on time zones, geographic location (country, state/province, city) and language.
- Banned Admissions Videos Go Viral: Tom Ridgewell, a University of Lincoln (in the United Kingdom) student, created a series of admissions video for his school. The videos aren’t “official”, but have taken off virally. The administration have thanked him, and said they appreciate his creativity. (My note: given the videos have zombies, dinosaurs and fire, I’m not surprised they’ve gone viral.)
- The Battle for the Student Experience: Controversial post from Inigral CEO Michael Staton who claims vendors have hijacked the student experience while higher education professionals sit on the sidelines and watch.
Unsolicited Shout-out for the Week
University of Lincoln for not getting upset over the admissions videos
Discussion with Seth Odell and Betsy Soler About Tumblr in Higher Education
Since starting last October in the FIU Department of Marketing and New Media, Betsy has been instrumental in defining the FIU online presence and expanding their audience.
What is Tumblr?
- A micro-blogging platform and social network
- You can upload video, audio, text, photos, quickly and easily.
- Seth described Tumblr as blogs meet Twitter with more multi-media functionality.
- Betsy said Tumblr allows you to follow blogs and subscribe to what you like. You can create a community around the content.
Social Networking and Tumblr
- Once you log in to Tumblr, your dashboard displays a constant update of who you are following, photo stream
- The new “Explore Topics” feature allows you to search by popular tags
- Large community of younger people on Tumblr
- 1.5 billions pages views/month
- 15,000 new users sign up each day
- 2 million posts/day
- 15 new posts and 5 re-blogs every second
- “Like” something in Tumblr (similar to Facebook Like)
- Re-blog (similar to a Twitter retweet)
- Post can spread quickly and go viral
- Can be skinned – customize your own theme (similar to Posterous) – make your Tumblr site look very similar to your higher education website
- Can post your YouTube videos and drive traffic to them
- Submission feature: people can submit posts to you
Difference Between Tumblr and Posterous
- Seth says he doesn’t see the community in Posterous you see in Tumblr
- Betsy says Posterous is more about posting, you need to be on Tumblr to experience it
How FIU Is Using Tumblr
- Tumblr is a very art-driven platform
- Re-blogging what students are writing about
- About 25% of the posts are from students who have just been accepted into the program
- Anonymous Q & A
- Metrics for success:
- We have about 130 followers, but the number of followers is not indicative of engagement
- Added Google Analytics
- One post “Ten Techie Ways to Cut the Cost of College” had 48 likes and reblogs
- Tumblr is not mainstream, the majority of FIU students are on Facebook
- Photos spread very well on Tumblr
Should Tumblr be Your Official Higher Education Blog?
- Betsy says it’s not a content management system (CMS); Tumblr doesn’t have contribute feature that a full CMS does
- With Tumblr going down so often (sigh!), it’s not stable
- Better off using another platform for your online newsroom, like WordPress
Other Brands Using Tumblr
Where Does Tumblr Fit Into Higher Education?
- Seth found over 470,000 examples of Tumblr being mentioned on higher education websites. Many are students talking about Tumblr in the newspapers.
- Mostly being used by student blogs (example: Suffolk University)
- Emerson College uses Tumblr to show off students dress (fashion)
- Consider using it to share a daily photo of your campus
What Else Should You Know About Tumblr
- Before you implement Tumblr, find out if your audience is on Tumblr
- Tumblr is great way to share light-hearted content, build an emotional connection with your brand
- It’s easy to use on mobile
- Tumblr doesn’t offer comments out of the box
- Seth says it does a lot of things well, but nothing perfectly
- Approach the platform, and then figure out the implementations
- Betsy said when FIU first considered Tumblr, they didn’t have an agenda
- Seth says to approach the platform first
- Share photos easily
- Take submissions
- Use Q& A
- Ask your students if they’re on Tumblr – send a survey to see if people on campus are using it
- No matter what you do, Tumblr will be used to share photos
- Visual multimedia components will be popular