Social Media and the Alumni Relations Profession

What does social media mean for the modern alumni relations professional, and the future of the profession itself? Check out my piece in CASE Currents (CASE membership required) for my thoughts, along with insight from Andy Shaindlin, Andrew Gossen and Charlie Melichar.


Making Print and Pixels Play Nice

People often look at electronic communications tools as a great way to save money – get the word out, and save money on ink and paper. Simple, right? But don’t underestimate the opportunity cost of cutting out print communication channels. Social technologies, postcards, web, mobile devices, and publications work well together and make up a cohesive communications strategy. You shouldn’t choose one over the others.

Here are some examples of how ink and paper can work with online media: a few months back, Trident ran a print ad in USA Today featuring tweets about their product, Trident Layers. See Mashable’s writeup here. Esquire magazine ran an augmented reality issue, and piped readers’ tweets into their website. The Detroit Red Wings placed QR codes in their printed programs, and when fans scanned the codes with their mobile devices it launched this YouTube video.

You can do simple things like putting a QR code on your business card, linking to audio and video content online from your print article or ad, using Facebook comments in your annual reports, etc.


The key is understanding how all of these tools work, then coming up with creative ways to make them all work together. You should layer your marketing efforts using print and electronic media. And finally, the people who have the most intimate knowledge of these seemingly disparate channels (printers, publishers, social media managers, etc) need to be advocates for their media of choice and be willing to play well with others. The collective knowledge and collaborative spirit will make the best use of the strengths of each platform.

Alumni Networks and Twitter: A White Paper

I’ve co-authored a white paper with Andy Shaindlin of Alumni Futures: Alumni Networks and Twitter: An Update. This white paper represents a fresh look at content we produced a year ago analyzing alumni networks and Twitter. When we wrote the first paper in January 2009, Twitter was very new and hadn’t gained much penetration in higher ed (or elsewhere). As you are likely aware, Twitter grew exponentially in the past 12 months and underwent some changes – this new, updated white paper reflects on those changes and poses some questions for the future.

The white paper also compares data from a survey we conducted back in 2009 with one we conducted last month,  which takes a look at the ways in which alumni associations have implemented Twitter, including lists, a recently introduced feature.

Download Alumni Networks and Twitter: An Update (705kb PDF) >>

Tweet about the White Paper and share this info with your followers >>

Please leave your comments here, or post them to Andy’s blog. We hope you find it useful!

A Twitter Survey: Your Input Needed

It’s been one year since Andrew Shaindlin of Alumni Futures and I published a white paper on Twitter and Alumni Relations. What’s changed? You tell us.

Last year, we conducted a survey to find out more about those in the world of education, alumni relations and advancement: who is using Twitter, how often, and for what purpose. We’re polling folks again to see how things have changed.

Please take a moment to fill out the survey by clicking this link >>

I’ll post the new white paper, Alumni Networks and Twitter –An Update, on this blog in February.