SxSW has several styles of presentations. This session was the first "Core Conversation" I attended. A core conversation is just what it sounds like. The moderators pick a topic, give some set up and lead a discussion with whomever shows up.
This session was a little short on set up and the questions were a bit basic for a really exciting discussion. The one question I thought had real potential, no one tackled. I was really cool to get in the same room with so many higher ed folks, though. I actually sat down and had some great talks with several of them afterward.
- What are the unique challenges of creating an integrated social media presence in a higher education institution?
The biggest challenge (in my opinion) for OSU seemed echoed by others there. Higher Ed is set up to work in silos. It's very departmentalized and it's easy to get tunnel vision.
- How do you get senior leadership as well as members of your department on board?
I've had no problem getting my leadership on board. Maybe I'm lucky in that way. I think it helps that OSU puts such a focus on creativity and innovation. If I want to try a new way of doing things, it's pretty easy to get approval as long as I can justify why I want to try it. Being at a university, "It's an experiment and I want to learn X..." is often a valid justification.
- How do you get colleges and divisions and departments working together?
It's funny, but those who answered this question (and it's true for OSU, too) said the best SM collaboration happens off line. Getting people in a room and talking out strategy, tactics and timelines is the best way to get it together.
- What are the best social media tactics to reach prospective students?
No one touched this, and I think it is unanswerable on the scale we were discussing. I think the answer is, "It depends." It depends on who your prospective students are, where they are, how old they are (are they prospective at age 10? 15? 17?), and when it is (next year's answer will be different than last year's answer. It's a moving target.)
- What are the innovative things universities are doing with social media?
This is where things could have gotten really interesting, but no one touched this question. In a way I feel like I'm too close to the issue to answer it. What I'm doing myself never seems all that innovative until someone points out I'm doing something no one else is doing yet. What do you think? What have you seen that innovative in higher ed social media?