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University Web Developers

I'm trying to compile some info about new media adoption and barriers (IE non-believers) to entry.

I want to pool resources for how we can tackle the problem of adoption of new media. This can be social media, web in general, video or whatever.

* Do you struggle to convince people why something may be better served on the web only to be told of we will just do print?
* Do you hear RSS is pointless because nobody uses it.
* Do you have people telling you we can’t do social media because someone might say something bad?

Tell me your story what did they say, how did you rebut how did you educate them. How did you work to convince them?

If you don’t want to comment send your comment in email mherzberger [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thanks for your help

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Matt, I don't know if I'd call them haters it's more of complete indifference.

They just don't care and don't want to care. In their mind it's not for them and therefore irrelevant. We have huge success in some things that we do and so-so in others.

I will say that I'm completely convinced that the schools that embrace and figure out the optimal mix for using social media in recruitment will not just survive but flourish.

In my guess it would be a combination of Facebook, MySpace (minor role here), RSS, Video, blogs and using email marketing (maybe even txt messaging if they are ready) to tie everything together. Of course the only way to know what is best is to test, test, test.

Besides the acceptance barrier you also have to deal with the financial barrier. Someone has to be hired and trained to do all this and given to budget to market (PPC included) and design these services.

A lot more goes into the equation than blind faith and our gut feeling unfortunately.
Matt, as you know I can talk for hours on this subject :)

In addition to the numerous books and articles on the subject, I use the following story in my presentations about the numbers 131,667 and 266,985.

The first number - 131,667 - represents the number of page views to our Student Response Center Site for June, 2007. The Student Response Center is a combination of the Registrar's Office, Bursar's Office, and Financial Aid Office and the site is traditionally one of the most visited sites here at UB. It doesn't use any emerging technologies.

The second number - 266,985 - represents the traffic to our PreHealth Advising Site for June 2007. This site is for any undergraduate interested in pursuing a career in one of the health professions. It is built using WordPress, and is updated several times a week with new, fresh content.

I use this to illustrate the power of RSS and having fresh content. When a small, niche site is generating twice the traffic as one of the university's main sites, we are on to something.
Mark, great use of research to show a valuable point. Numbers are a non-emotional way to get a point across.

Matt, I think you could look into the reasons behind the resistence and try to address those. Often a fear of new things in general or a fear of looking stupid motivate people to stick to the tried and true. Acknowledge their viewpoints and make small changes where you can. Trust and comfort is built slowly. Baby steps can help people become more comfortable with new technologies and if you can convert them, they will be your greatest supporters.
As we consider this issue, one of the most important things to understand is the culture of the organization. Are they ready to be transparent? Are they ready to relinquish control? What is their reaction when someone says that traditional marketing and advertising no longer works?

Here is a list of books I recommend to help educate the non-believers. (Links go to my Amazon bookstore. This is purely for convenience. Please feel no obligation to purchase items through my store.)

Join the Conversation

Now Is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entrepreneurs

Communities Dominate Brands
Hi Matt
Same as Kyle, I wouldn't call them 'haters', but 'fear-out-of-ignorance', i think -- maybe Kyle's experience with indifference is just that: fear of the unknown expressing itself as indifference

fear is big

in any case

We are in the process of working w/an outside vendor/consultant on a personalized admissoins portal. a nice componeent of that , initialy, was buidling an online community for accepted students on ning. the conversation went from "what is that", "wow, that's cool:", to ":hold up you mean they can just say ANYTHING?" and the whole conversation went downhill from there

for smaller schools like ours, where we are struggling to get out of 3rd 4th tier, it's more difficult to seel admins on social networking, student blogging, etc for fear that unmoderated content can get us bad publicity. basically, a Cornell , Harvard or Yale have established reputations, so no matter who sez what, the perception of those schools isnt affe cted. for us smaller schools, the fear of someone on our side (student, etc) saying something negative sends chills of fear down their spines

i havent found a good way to addrress this, other than to try and implement small things, like blogging, wehre the content is modeerated by the admiss. office..

I can relate with the last part about being against social media (Facebook) because someone might say something bad. I cannot however tell you how I have convinced anyone because I still get shot down.
When I have suggested creating an official Facebook account for the college I can hear the grumblings start. They (the 'powers-that-be') do not want it to be a forum to bash the college.
I also know that the ones that would approve Facebook or MySpace are not in the generation that uses social networking sites, and I don't believe they understand how powerful a tool like this could be for not only recruiting new students but communicating with our current students
I am very interested to see how other schools have handled this problem.

One piece of advise I would say is to just "do it". And here is your justification. If you don't setup a facebook page then someone else can, same for myspace. If you go look on the networks there is probably already one that a student setup and has lots of members out there. It doesn't matter if the school likes it or not it's there. You don't have to tell administrators about it and when they find out, because ultimately they will you justify your move by saying that if we didn't get control of it then someone else would have. The day Facebook opened up Pages last November I set up one for our school. I don't actively promote it, but we have close to 500 fans now. Just like that and at least I'm the admin that has the keys to take something down.

As far as MySpace someone else had created a Wofford College page. At least now someone can say that it's not the official one because we have that also.
Kyle is dead on here. Just get out there and make things happen. After you've built it, then show the administration and show what it's doing to create conversation, and you'll be good to go.
Exactly. If nothing else, just make the page and prevent someone from squatting on it. There will come a day when the winds will change, and who has the keys to the ship?



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