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QR codes in the wild- redux

December 8, 2010

I don’t like anecdotal evidence when presented as statistical evidence, so let me be clear that I realize this is anecdotal evidence. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week I took down the old QR codes and put up new ones in different places, specifically along the hall where students line up in hoards to go to the cafeteria. I also put up a few little signs under some of them that said, “There’s an app for that! RedLaser.” This time I linked the QR codes to Christmas videos.

IF I WERE SMART (ugh), I would have use links. Of course I remembered this AFTER making and printing all the codes, so I counted it but loss.

But anyway, I hung them up. Then as we were going to lunch, my co-workers and I were looking at them in the hall when a student came by and started scanning! We smiled at her and then she went on to explain to us what the codes were and how to use them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ha! Too cute.

So there’s my anecdotal experience with QR codes. Hoping to use them this week in a contest. I’ll keep you posted!

QR codes in the wild

December 1, 2010

Last night we had a big Christmas campus event. It was a lot of fun and tons of students and alumni were here. So I decided to take the opportunity to see how QR codes might fare in the wild, with no explanation or help from me.

I used a QR code generator to make several text-based QR codes. They were all just silly quotes from Christmas movies or other Christmas themed ideas. I taped them up around the student center with no instruction or explanation.I thought perhaps the fact that we are an Apple campus, where every student is issued an iPhone or an iPod touch would increase the likelihood of our students having a clue.

This wasn’t a perfect experiment. ๐Ÿ™‚ If I really wanted to get measurable results, I would have embedded a URL to open on their phone that I could track. And I might still do that at some point. But this was just testing the waters for future ideas.

I’d like to think I’m a fairly tech savvy person, but my own history with QR codes made me wary. I didn’t realize til last week that I could read QR codes with the google app on my phone.

So anyway, I was kind of hoping that if someone realized what it was, they would tweet about it. In the grand venn diagram of demographics, I figured those who knew what to do with a QR code and those who tweet would likely overlap.

Friend and recent alum Spencer G sent this to me last night via twitter– “I saw your QR codes! ๐Ÿ™‚ Sadly I had nothing to scan them with… No QR app on my phone right now.”

Now, Spencer is quintessentially my target audience. VERY tech savvy, young, engaged with our brand, so that was very telling to me. Then he later said, “Yeah, I saw some people pointing at them and talking about them… but I’m not sure they knew why or what to do.”

And that sums up what I was kind of anticipating. My thoughts are still tumbling around, and I haven’t given up on QR codes yet. They’re still up, and I have some plans to put more up. We’ll see- I’ll keep you updated!

1 year look at social media callout button analytics

August 12, 2010

It’s been a year! Wow. Seems like it was the fresh, new thing to do back then, but now it’s standard. Here are the numeros!

button graph

These are all unique visitor counts. Front page measures from www.oc/edu, while “interior” measures from all other


  • Facebook is HUGE.
  • INTERIOR pages are important too! So many schools just throw buttons on the front page… but interior pages count too!
  • Each one counts! 2900 clicks!

Not quite the worst case scenario

May 4, 2010

So. The last week and a half has been pretty stressful.

It started when I read Mark Greenfield’s post asking about the worst social media crisis in higher ed. That led me to Jeremiah Owyang’s post about how to prepare for a crisis– specifically an organized protest.

Then things started going crazy on our own Facebook fanpage.

A little exposition. Our university has a strong relationship with another country. I’m going to avoid using the name of the country and politician because 1- it’s not relevant to my purposes here and 2- I don’t want any Google alerts directing traffic here. The head of state (henceforth HOS) of this country was coming to speak at our graduation this year. We have 50+ students from this country studying here now, and 10 were graduating this year.

What happened

So the day after I read Mark’s post, I check our FB fanpage after lunch and noticed suddenly we were being baraged with comments protesting HOS. Comments ranged from what I’d classify as hate-speech to addressing our university president and board, asking them to rescind the offer to have HOS on campus, saying that a Christian institution wouldn’t host HOS on campus.

This actually happened once in an isolated incident a week prior to the coordinated attack. At that time I contacted out PR office and they told me that in the future, because this is a HOS visiting, I would have to report any comments to the local FBI so they could document them before I deleted them.

This was a coordinated attack. They all became fans and left comments immediately, and at the same time. There were probably about 15 comments left within that first hour. Then it went on for the next 10 days.

So… when I realized what was happening, I kind of panicked. ๐Ÿ™‚ I called my good friend and higher ed genius Rachel Reuben, because I knew what my first impulses were, but I wasn’t sure what was best to do. She was very kind to listen to me and encourage me and help me think through different options.

What I did

For every comment, I first of course reported it to the FBI, then they let me decide what I wanted to do after they finished their documentation. I first looked at the commenter’s profile. I noted if they had just become a fan of our page (if they did, that indicated to me that they became a fan just to protest). I looked on their profile to see if they had any affiliation with our school. If they didn’t, and I thought there was a very good chance they were only interacting on our page to protest, I deleted their comment and banned them.

I don’t know if I did the right thing or not. Those who are all about transparency in social media would probably disagree, but I did the best I could at the time.

I will say that everything I did was in accordance with the “community guidelines” I had posted on our fan page about 6 months ago. I felt like that was more than sufficient justification to delete them.

To me, at the end of the day, my job as a community manager is to keep the space safe. Sometimes that means I have to be a bouncer. And most importantly to me- I did not want to detract from or mar the memory of this very special day in our students’ lives. I am so proud of them and their accomplishments, that I did not want these folks to divert attention from them on *our* fan site.

Assorted thoughts

The day after this started I was on the verge of a meltdown. I just felt overwhelmed and frustrated. What frustrated me more is that the protesters were using our own tools against us. Like most schools, at the end of the year we have a lot of really great activities that I was excited about using social media to leverage.

For example, we had 500+ people running in the OKC marathon and were using a specific hash tag, that lots of people were getting into using. Well, these folks started posting their protests with our hash tag! Oh I was going nuts. ๐Ÿ™‚

I will also say that about day 3 into this, I started trying to figure out if this was *the worst case scenario*.ย  I ultimately decided it wasn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚ To me, it would have been much harder to manage if our own community members (those affiliated with the school) were posting comments.

But, for the 10 days until graduation, it was a constant stress of checking our page, reporting to the FBI, then deleting comments. Ugh!

Such is the world of social media! I’m just thankful that graduation came and went, and our graduates were celebrated and honored by having HOS come to speak.

I’d be interested in hearing your take!

UPDATE 5-4-2010

So, after I wrote this post yesterday, I was at home surfing Facebook and what ad popped up?

What the what! They’re apparently targeting our university community somehow through this ad. Good news is that no one has responded in a positive way to this event request. It probably helps that our university is in Oklahoma and this event is in Minnesota. This is just another way that people can use your tools against you- so be aware!

April Fools Fun

April 6, 2010

Fun or die! That’s my motto. Not really. But kinda. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here were our social media April Fools jokes. I decided to go the strictly silly route, and people responded really well. I posted them both to twitter and to our Facebook Fanpage. Full disclosure- these were the funny ideas from our brilliant marketing team,ย  not me. I am not a good prankster.

1300 views between Twitter and Facebook… and many “likes” and comments.

BREAKING- Unidentified craft seen hovering over Dean Arter’s office. Witnesses say “this explains so much.”


Red dirt blamed for structural insecurity of the OC clocktower. As a precaution, admire tower from the west today.

Yeti spotted headed towards cafeteria. Says, “How did I just find out there was an Icee machine here?!”

Keep it simple; keep it fun!

FB fanpage demographic changes over 1 year

March 17, 2010

Today I’ve been crunching numbers (crunch) on our Facebook fan page and thought I’d share some nuggets of info.ย  I’m guessing this is more or less consistent with many other pages, given the increases in different age groups on Facebook.

What I didn’t expect was the differences in male and female, even though I guess it’s common knowledge women are more active on Facebook than men. Strange since I feel like my male friends on twitter far outnumber my female friends!

April 2009 – March 2010

Anyone want to compare stats? Let me know what you find!

Six months of Social Media Buttons

February 16, 2010

If they were babies, they’d be able to sit up and roll from its back to its stomach by itself.

Here is a basic chart over the past six months, broken down by medium and source of the click.

This is pretty interesting to me. The vast majority of our clicks on these buttons come from the front page of Vast, vast majority. Next comes the www interior pages (i.e.,ย  What really surprises me is how low the clicks are on the blog server. The blog server contains our dynamic content- news stories, calendar events, and of course- student blogs.ย  That’s why I’m so surprised. It seems like the pre-cursor to social media as we know it now should give some love to the current manifestations, doesn’t it?ย  Oh well.

And here is another chart of totals from all servers:

Hmm, think Facebook is dominating much?

Over the past six months the click rates have held pretty steady. They’re not extremely high, but they’re still valuable in my opinion. It gives a chance for content generated for Twitter/Facebook to be seen by people who may not be connected there, otherwise.

Referrals from SM- Redux

January 6, 2010

Now that the year is officially ended I wanted to add some updated charts from the earlier post on driving traffic.

For what it’s worth- Facebook is the # 7 referring site to our .edu site and Twitter is no 20, #s 6 and 8 (respectively) to our blog server.

Our “blog server” contains most of our dynamic content- news stories, bloggers, calendars, etc.

And our .edu site is a lot of the more static info- academic departments, administration, etc.

And here is how they compare in receiving referrals. I was a little surprised because I *feel* like I link more to the blog server than the .edu site (news stories, etc), but most of the SM hits go to the .edu site. This makes me wonder if people click the link in the profiles of Facebook and Twitter. Hmm.

Being a community manager in a firestorm- TTU as a case study

December 31, 2009

My interest

Maybe you don’t follow college football, but I’m from Texas and in the Big 12 region, so it’s in my blood. Since I work at a very small private school without a football team, I have missed out on this part of college marketing. Stats say that schools with football teams have greater alumni loyalty, and I will admit I have been jealous. Until now!

The situation

In an extremely controversial move, days before their bowl game, the Texas Tech University has fired head football coach Mike Leach, who has been there for ten years. I’m not going to outline the controversy or issues people are debating. That’s for other people on channels like ESPN. ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to talk about how it’s playing out in social media.

When these types challenges happen to other schools, I use it as an opportunity to think through how I would respond in that situation.

The response

I went to their Facebook fan site. Well, first to say, I was accidentally not on their official page, even though it has more members and uses their university logo. I’m sure that’s annoying for the marketing office there. :-/ Anyway, obviously people are hacked off. Andย  talking about it. Threats, vulgarities, links, etc. Not good. No official university presence.

But let’s go to the TTU official Facebook fan page to see how they’re handling it. I have to say when I looked yesterday, it was bad. Again, so many vulgarities, threats, links to expose stories, listing personal email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, and all kinds of info for the parties involved. It was bad. There were probably hundreds of comments yesterday alone (the story officially broke yesterday morning).

The point

I really thought the community manager (I don’t know who it is- but whoever you are, God bless you!) was doing the best thing possible. The administration of the school made an extremely unpopular decision (whether right or wrong), and people were guaranteed to lash out. And of course they went to social media to express their opinions. So I think all you really can do at that point is make your official statement, then ride it out. You can’t make people happy when they’re in a mob-mentalitied frenzy.

Today their manager came on and said this:

Texas Tech Facebook community: Your passion and dedication is what makes Texas Tech THE BEST! It is amazing to see all of your posts and comments. We want to maintain a constructive forum for you to share your views on this page, but please refrain from using vulgar language and attacking other fans with viewpoints different from your own. Those types of entries will be deleted. Now, let’s beat Michigan State!

Wow, I love that. Starts out being complimentary. Then goes to affirming freedom to express opinions. Then states an obvious point of being respectful. Ends with a unifying call to win the bowl game. And people, by and large, really responded well to that comment. Way to go, Tech!

I’d also message the entire faculty/staff/administration to not comment on Facebook about it. There are several comments about what their director of marketing has said about the alumni response, and it ain’t pretty.

So… if this were playing out on your page… what would you do?

Note- I just talked about the University’s official fan page, not the university’s official athletic page.

Finals week fun

December 17, 2009

It’seagle clock the end of the semester. I think the mood for most of campus can accurately be described as BLAH.

So I decided to have a little fun with our school Twitter account. I ran around town and bought gift cards to different coffee shops, a bag full of candy bars, and got some admissions paraphernalia and my trusty eagle clock.

So the basic idea was to take pictures of people on campus with the eagle clock, tweet it out, and the first three people there and who executed the tell-tale action got prizes.

It was fun! Students would race across campus. One dedicated soul ran across campus in what I can only imagine are his sleep clothes- sans shoes- in 20 degree weather. Crazy! But it was fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great response.

It’s the little things, ya know? Stop over-thinking and start having fun. ๐Ÿ™‚