What is Twitter?
Wikipedia defines Twitter as a “social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as ‘tweets’), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.”
Another way to look at Twitter is that it functions as an interactive, personalized news feed that anyone can contribute to. You decide whose feed you want to “follow”, and whether you want them to follow you.
What are the pros and cons of using it?
Pros: You can establish an ongoing, yet relatively unobtrusive presence in a Twitter “follower’s” routine. A typical Twitter user will monitor their feed for updates on a daily, hourly or real-time basis. For example, you can be in a restaurant and send a tweet on your mobile phone telling your followers in real time what you think of the place. Your followers reciprocate (a best practice), and the twitter cycle is complete. New tweets are seamlessly integrated into the flow.
Cons: “Tweets” are limited to 140 characters, which can be challenging. Detailed announcements must be truncated or linked to a more comprehensive new release, Web page or blog post for further elaboration. Additionally, your tweets compete for attention with potentially hundreds of other tweets in a user’s feed.
How do you get started?
Simply go to http://twitter.com and create an account. There are options under “settings” that allow users to customize the look and feel of their profile page. One best practice is to create a background image that conveys a user or organization’s visual identity and/or brand, rather than using the stock backgrounds offered by Twitter.
When should Twitter be used?
Twitter is best for organizations that can provide a steady stream of content, including (but not limited to) news and events. While you want to avoid overwhelming or “spamming” your followers with dozens of updates a day (unless they are warranted and interesting), tweeting daily builds familiarity with your organization and brand.
Another common use is to provide “play-by-play” updates throughout conferences, important lectures, sporting events, etc. This allows your followers to participate vicariously and helps to build community around your organization.
In either case it’s important to remember that engaging and interacting with your followers creates a richer face for your organization. Twitter is much more than one-way publishing and doesn’t realize its full potential when solely used in that manner.
Examples of some good tweeting going on out there:
Henry Art Gallery: http://twitter.com/henryartgallery
UW School of Public Health: http://twitter.com/sphcm
UW Law School : http://twitter.com/slireton
Pacific Science Center: http://twitter.com/pacsci
Comcast Customer Service: http://twitter.com/comcastcares
NPR News: http://twitter.com/nprnews
What is Flickr?
Flickr is a Web site where you can easily and quickly post and share photos and videos – up to 20 MB a month for free. You simply create a profile, upload photos and video and tag the content (add a caption, for example). You can also connect with other users and share your content on services like Facebook.
Your free account includes three photosets, photostream views limited to the 200 most recent images and storage of smaller (resized) images. Flickr also offers a Pro Account for $25 a year, featuring 2 GB monthly upload allotment, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited photosets, permanent archiving of high-resolution original images, the ability to replace a photo and ad-free browsing and sharing.
What are the pluses and minuses for using it?
Pros - Flickr offers several choices to upload a single image or series of photos (batch photos). The interface is intuitive and relatively easy to use. There are multiple options for uploading and organizing content. Advanced users have the opportunity to program widgets to display content on their own Web sites.
Cons – The free account offers a limited feature set – only shows the last 200 images you have uploaded, limited uploads per month and limited options for organizing the content. But for many uses, 200 photos is plenty.
How do you get started using it?
Visit http://flickr.com to create an account. Then you can upload photos through a Web browser or by downloading the desktop uploader tool (http://www.flickr.com/tools/). Photos can be tagged, added to Flickr user groups, organized into themed sets and linked to from anywhere once uploaded.
What are your recommendations for when this vehicle should be used?
A service like Flickr is a good option if you need to store/display photos online and there are limited technical resources available to accomplish this task.
Who are some of the leaders at UW using this tool effectively?
Foster School of Business – http://www.flickr.com/photos/fostermeansbusiness/
Are there any Web sites that have good information about the use of it?
CNET – http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-9703620-2.html
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flickr
Flickr Blog – http://blog.flickr.net/en
Video Content in Online Marketing and Communications at the UW
Across all three campuses, units have found that the use of video content enhances their teaching, online marketing and Web experience. Use of video content ranges widely in subject matter, production value and channels of distribution.
Use of Video at the UW
The desire to use video and the ability to quickly and cheaply produce video is increasing throughout the university community. Video is currently being used in the classroom to preserve lectures and guest speakers. Special events, like public lecture series, symposia and topical panel discussions, are also captured for broadcast or streaming video on demand. Video is being used for holiday greetings, newsletter features and short interviews with UW experts. Media Relations and Communications produced a large collection of campus scenes, including aerial views, for use in enriching other video productions. They are currently available through UWTV, but may be available on the Web in the future. MR&C also produces a quarterly video message titled “Office Hours” for President Emmert; worked with Provost Wise on a series of six videos explaining the UW’s mission, vision and values; and produced a compilation to welcome new employees.
Distribution channels are widely varied. UWTV and the Research Channel produce and distribute lectures, special events like the Dalai Lama’s visit and original programming for UW Medicine. Content from UWTV and multiple units is shared with the public through the UW’s iTunes U site and a YouTube channel. Many units also have their own YouTube channels. Video clips are gaining popularity in departmental online newsletters and e-mail promotions. Video clips are used in training and distance learning by facilities, educational outreach and other central units. Video clips are also used on the UW and President Emmert Facebook pages.
Production values and producers
Production values for video created at the UW and the costs of production cover quiet a wide range. UWTV produces high-definition, TV quality productions. At the other end of the spectrum are short low-definition clips done with pocket video cameras and cell phones. Output forms include: Quicktime, Flash and Windows Media Player. Video producers include UWTV professionals, hired agencies and production companies, UW staff with production backgrounds, student producers and editors. Among the UW leaders in producing video are UWTV Production, dxarts and the Master of Communications in Digital Media program.
Equipment and post-production facilities
UWTV has four professional editing suites, talented editors and production crews, and a complete soundstage with lighting grid www.washington.edu/uwtv/production/
dx arts has several Final Cut Pro editing stations, available to students www.washington.edu/cartah/equipment_list.php
Editing stations and a sound mixing facility are available in Odegaard Library and Mary Gates Hall, managed by Catalyst catalyst.washington.edu/learning_spaces/digital_audio_workstation.html
Catalyst also provides training in audio and video production
Video cameras, tripods and sound equipment are available to students at Classroom Support Services www.css.washington.edu/STFEquipment
MCDM provides graduate-level instruction in digital media production and the business of filmmaking mcdm.washington.edu
Positives and negatives
Video is a rich storytelling medium. The popularity of video in Web applications and marketing is expanding rapidly, and it is getting easier to do without specialized skills. It also is becoming more and more accepted, especially when the content is “user generated” or looks like it.
However, it is not for everyone, and has little application for the blind and deaf. Closed captioning and screen readers can provide some enhancements to the experience, but it is clearly a visual medium. Video files can be very large and hard to download for people with dialup modems and slow computers.
Recommendations for use
Video can be used in many kinds of situations to enhance the viewer’s experience. Short news clips, interviews with experts, lectures and other events and campus life scenes are just a few opportunities. The barriers to entry are low – newsletter editors can add video to electronic publications without a large capital outlay and with desktop editing software. Consider video when the subject of the interview is photogenic and has something interesting to say that will be stronger in visual form than in print.
So, you want to get started?
- Take time to carefully define the project, the audience and the distribution medium – is this for broadcast, Web site, YouTube?
- Write a brief description of the project, including locations, talent and the creative tone of the production.
- Contact UWTV Production if the project involves broadcast, live streaming or high-level production values and complexity.
- If the production is a lecture or event, will you need to record speakers at the lectern? If so, work with Classroom Support for connections to the sound system in the auditorium.
- If your production is for the Web or digital distribution, grab your movie camera and script and get going!
- Editing the video you have captured is possible on a number of software platforms like Windows Moviemaker and Apple iMovie. Follow the program instructions to make your movie. If you get stuck, ask one of the Catalyst digital gurus at Mary Gates Hall or Odegaard Library.
Director of Electronic Media and Special Programs
E-mail | 206-685-2647
Should your unit have its own Facebook page? This checklist will help you decide:
- Is your target audience primarily students or young alumni?
- Do you have the resources to monitor the page daily, answer fan questions and update it at least monthly?
- Do you have content that is specific to your unit and doesn’t duplicate content on the UW page?
- Do you have Facebook friends who will become fans of the page and help promote it?
Do you have a strategy for addressing controversies or crises related to your unit that might lead to increased activity on your page? For an example of what can happen, see: http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i22/22a00104.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
How can you use Facebook? Here are some reasons UWAA, for example, might use Facebook:
- Connect current honors students with mentors.
- Provide a network for honors alumni.
- Alert students to upcoming events and deadlines.
- Foster a more personalized community for students in a place where they’re already spending a lot of time.
- Enhance minority recruitment.
- Drive traffic to key pages on the UWAA Web site.
- Give students another outlet for getting answers to their questions.
OK, I’m in, now what?
- If you aren’t already signed up, join Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
- Take a look at the UW page to see what types of things you can do: http://www.facebook.com/UofWA
- Create a new Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/create.php
- Also consider sharing content with the UW page (such as videos, photos, events and Facebook applications).
Questions or more info:
The following downloadable documents offer guidance to help your unit create and maintain an effective and successful e-communications strategy—or revamp any existing e-communications that aren’t meeting your marketing or communications goals.
Note: These guidelines are a work in progress. So, if you have a suggestion for information that needs to be added, corrected, or updated, please send an e-mail message to Elise Daniel at: email@example.com
Guidelines and How-Tos
How to Create an E-newsletter: From Beginning to Send: a step-by-step guide to creating an e-newsletter from scratch
Glossary: definitions of commonly used terms (including technical terms) related to sending they many not know what HTML means newsletters through e-mail
Best Practices for Developing Effective E-communications Content: guidance for planning and composing a compelling e-newsletter
Best Practices for E-communications Design: guidance for planning and designing an attractive and effective e-newsletter
Sample Schedule: an Excel document that outlines the typical steps and deadlines for producing a quarterly is it just monthly or do we have quarterly or other timeframes? Is recurrence the issue? e-newsletter, which will be the most sustainable frequency for under-resourced units
Sample Performance Report: an example of how to present to a nontechnical audience information (such as open rates and click-through rates) about how subscribers have responded to and used your e-newsletter
Sample Presentation: a PowerPoint deck you can use to introduce your e-newsletter to stakeholders and other interested parties who are not on your core e-newsletter team. Topics covered include goals, audience, process, and timeline.
E-communications Marketing Manager
E-mail | 206-616-8923