On Thursday, July 29th, the Social Media Communicators met to share success stories, as well as to discuss developments in WordPress, use of video content, and QR codes.
Video Content, Flip Cameras & Video Editing
Lauren Davalla and Kira Jastive of Public Relations presented a handful of videos, produced by the department using Flip video cameras and shared using BUniverse and the BU Now blog. Public Relations is now using Flip video to respond to breaking news and build a library of content around evergreen topics. One video interview with Cutler Cleveland on the oil spill was later repurposed in a BU Today story. Kira and Lauren emphasized one of the main benefits of creating your own video content: it can be repurposed across many social channels (blogs, Facebook, BUniverse, Twitter) and help to promote experts outside of the university.
Jean Connaughton (CFA) explained that she had been playing with an HD Flip video camera at the Tanglewood Institute, and said that Flip video is a good way to share an event without having to rely on an external crew — a new way to showcase events that would otherwise go uncovered. The group also discussed the quality and options available when comparing Flip-type quickcams to more expensive digital video cameras (optical versus digital zoom, software for editing, etc.)
Kim Cornuelle of BU Today offered her suggestions on video editing: the staff uses Final Cut or Avid for videos and iMovie for slideshows. They also use a conversion tool, MPEG Streamclip, to convert videos for iMovie. She offered that while videos edited using Windows Movie Maker and iMovie will not be as clean looking as Final Cut videos, they’re a fine (much more affordable) standby.
To conclude the discussion on video, Mary Tunney offered to look into scheduling a workshop with a freelance video editor to go over filming and editing techniques. She will have more details on this in the fall.
Susan Lebovits of Sustainability presented briefly on her investigation of QR Codes with an outside vendor. She explained them as a type of barcode that can be added to posters or other print media, and then scanned by smartphones to bring users to specific websites. They are looking to try the technology in the fall for Sustainability promotions. Specific websites/tools discussed included ScanLife and Stickybits.
WordPress Upgrades & Facebook Integration
Scott Dasse of New Media came by to answer questions related to WordPress. Many groups are migrating their websites over to WordPress in the near future. Scott explained that many “shiny” widgets (such as Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr stream tools) are not currently able to be added directly to sites because they require editing of the theme, while others can simply be embedded right into a WordPress “text” widget. He emphasized that many of these “shiny” tools will actually hold up load time of the page, which is why they have not yet allowed them. As a workaround, they could investigate building something custom in WordPress (as part of the theme) that would be allowed for general use.
CFA said they use social media (mainly Facebook) often to announce changes to events, which is easier to update than the website itself. SMG also asked about inclusion of the “Like” button, which Scott said made sense to include. He also mentioned that a gallery widget is in the works, and should be available soon. Corinne Steinbrenner pointed us to the Collegian current issue on the CGS website, and their use of AddThis on individual stories (example). The tool can be directly added to the story without the need for a widget request.
Mary opened up the floor for event announcements which might require some coordination from the Social Media Communicators. We’ve compiled the list, including applicable hashtags and web addresses, and placed them in the “Communicators” section of the blog (Kerberos login required). If you are a Social Media Communicator and are unable to access this section, please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Image courtesy Damon Duncan on Flickr.)