Pre IWMW2011 attempt at blogging

OK – so I came away last year all refreshed and guns ablazing for blogging.  Then I got back to the office and reality hit.  It was about this time last year that my workload doubled overnight and as well as managing the Web Team I took on the management of the Marketing Team also.  Great for my career, I am sure, not so good for my stress levels!  Actually, it’s been great and the last year has seen a more integrated approach to projects and I have enjoyed getting back into marketing and all of the frustrations and brick walls that it brings with it! Am sure it’s not like this in the real world – just in HE where most universities simply don’t ‘get marketing.’  But that’s for another time, another post.

In terms of ‘web things’ we continue to do many projects at the same time and we have had some great success this year with our new top level, UG and PG websites.  The next one to do and complete will be a new web presence for our Research and Innovation activities, and this all kicks off on 1 August.  Our ‘digital’ activities are stepping up apace and we have taken on a Digital Editor to concentrate on bringing our activities to life through video.  Our YouTube Channel is coming along nicely and we are about to launch our ‘video channel‘ online for more targeted video offerings at key times of the year.

Social Media is the hot topic at the moment and we are engaging with  a company called Skylab to help us get our head our around the enormity and complexities of social media and how we can best utilise, manage, and measure social media activities across the University.  We are working on developing a social media policy and social media strategy as well as targeted campaigns throughout the year.

As part of this we will be reviewing our Ning network, DevelopMe, which I spoke about at IWMW 2008 in Aberdeen (I think!).  At that time DevelopMe was taking off and was a place for anyone interested in the University, mainly prospective students, to chat online, meet other prospects and also ask questions of the University in an informal, friendly and non-threatening environment.  It seemed to work and activity was, and still is, busy over the summer as students get ready to come to Bradford, and then it does off over the Autumn as the students settle in, make friends and probably head over to Facebook.  We could have done this through Facebook but at the time we wanted a University branded space and Ning provided the perfect solution.  We pay for the ‘non adverts’ version which is around $100 a year – bit of a bargain really.  We are reviewing it now, though, and may move the activities over to Facebook for next year’s intake.  But we need to do some user surveys first as they may prefer the ‘University’ network rather than discussing university business on what they may see as their social/free time network.

Sharing across the web community

As in previous years at IWMW the theme of web community and sharing is at the forefront.  There must be many activities that we are all doing, usually the boring stuff, whereby sharing ideas and resources would benefit us all. Two things spring to mind – the social media policy and the recent review to Privacy Policies that the cookies law brought about.

We had a privacy policy and so amended it to include more info about what cookies we use and why.  I can’t imagine that we are any different to other HEIs but how many institutions had to go round the houses to get something written, agreed and signed off?  All taking us away from doing the fun stuff!  At the moment ours is stuck with our Legal Eagles, and I am well aware of the need to get this online now.

When new policies or guidelines are needed wouldn’t it be better for us to work together as a community to find a shared solution?  The next thing might be the KIS and how institutions publish their data and information externally.  We are hotting up for this here already with a working group (more or less) identified covering Strategic Planning, Academic Admin, Web Team (me!), Marketing (me!), IT, Admissions, Academic Schools, Students’ Union etc.  We’ve done some preliminary work as part of a JISC project, looking at XCRi, so we’ve got a good foundation to start from.

So I guess that’s it for now.  I WILL blog more and generally dump the contents of my addled brain here every now and then.

Do join in – give me your comments – and let’s share what we have.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *