Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

A Virtual Week at Summer Camp

camp ondessonk logoSo many of us benefitted from a camp in the summer—whether it was in the woods or in a science lab or in a gym, the events during those camps helped shape who we are today. One of my particular favorites is Camp Ondessonk, a rustic, outdoor Catholic youth camp in Southern Illinois.

So how could you possibly recreate such an experience in the “off season”, if you will, perhaps not exactly but as close as you can get using virtual tools? Camp Ondessonk and Elasticity are making it happen. I am currently participating in Ondessonk Online this week. While I think it is a brilliant idea, I certainly was skeptical of how to transform as much of the experience as possible into virtual activities.

From the Camper Guide we received:

This program takes place entirely within the normal activities of Facebook and Twitter. Campers will only need a basic knowledge of those two channels, as well as the basic ability to navigate the web, to participate.

So far, this has been absolutely true! I am particularly interested in how to effectively utilize social media to energize your passionate base, as well as pull a few folks into the brand experience who would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and experience camp Ondessonk. More interesting though is how you can invoke visceral emotional reactions in the “guests” to this virtual event—so much so that they continue their engagement with Camp after virtual camp is over. Whether volunteering for work days, contributing money for campership and general operating funds, or helping recruit by talking about their great experiences, I truly hope this is one more way to keep our constituents engaged and attract more.

For now, you can watch the event unfold by following @OndessonkGA and the #ondessonk hashtag on Twitter, and the chatter on the Camp Facebook page, facebook.com/CampOndessonk. As with all things, the participants have to put effort forth in order to reap benefits after.  I’ll report back the success when the week is finished.

What other events or experiences are successfully conducted online and utilizing social media? What was effective? What wasn’t?

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February 9, 2012 Posted by | connecting, engaging, marketing, social media | , , , , | Leave a comment

LinkedIn Group Management and Membership

I am debating myself: to restrict membership or allow anyone to join; to require verification if a restriction is in place or just trust.

The context is primarily within LinkedIn groups. I can understand restricting group membership for associations who provide member-only access to content. And to become a member of the association, one must pay dues. The old adage “why buy the cow if the milk is free” certainly applies.

In the case of an institution of higher education, affiliation with the university can take shape many ways:

  • Current student
  • Alumnus
  • Parent
  • Current employees
  • Past employees
  • Took a few courses or continuing education courses
  • And more I’m sure

Do you allow anyone to join the group? Do you ask that they at least express their affiliation with the university on their LinkedIn profile? How do you verify accuracy? Do we even care about accuracy?

Accuracy would be important to the groups providing content as a membership benefit. An interesting side note—I recently requested to join the LinkedIn group for a membership-driven association. I just received a “no thank you” message indicating the group is restricted to association members only. Hmmmm… guess I’ll have to waste some time trying to demonstrate my membership IF I find the content valuable. I likely will waste that time, given my current debate!

Is accuracy really important if you are just trying to build a community and ultimately discussion around a common theme? Verification of the accuracy becomes not as important as asking the members to identify their affiliation to the group or how they fit in with the common theme. It is important to separate what qualifies you to join the group from what you are hoping to accomplish with the group (or hoping DOESN’T happen).

Ground rules (house rules, group expectations, etc.) will help keep the group focused on the common theme and not abuse the privilege of membership. Nearly all of us have experienced the abuse of the communication tools with the group members by that one or two people who spam the list selling their products or services. Reserving the right to delete content and restrict privileges is critical, and must be made clear to the members.

And to those who keep spamming the members with sales pitches—go read up on the importance of engagement and conversation in a community. And there are still only two letters difference between helping and selling.

I’d love to see examples of “ground rules” in groups, and feedback on whether you require members to display their affiliation on their profile before accepting the request to join.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | connecting, engaging, social media | , , , | Leave a comment

New Implications for Your Job Search: 7 Years on File

All Facebook: the unofficial Facebook resource, posted an article recently (ALERT: Job Screening Agency Archiving All Facebook) about Social Intelligence Corp, which offers a background checking/screening service for employers. From their article:

The FTC decided Social Intelligence complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the same set of rules that keeps your bill-payment records on file with the consumer bureaus for seven years, according to Forbes.


That means your antics documented, photographed, posted and tagged on Facebook will be available to your prospective and current employers for 7 years. I have heard comments from folks saying that isn’t it about time we stopped trying to pretend like people we really aren’t in order to get a job? Sure that would be the perfect world. But do you really want to be the trailblazer to set that trend? If so, your job options will be severely limited–best of luck with that.

So if you haven’t already appropriately adjusted your privacy settings and stopped posting the ridiculous and embarrassing photos and status updates, now is the perfect time. Get your head out of the sand! Seems to me given this development and the recent facial recognition technology addition, folks better start thinking more seriously about their online reputation (especially kids getting ready to enter the workforce in the next 7 years.)

June 22, 2011 Posted by | reputation management, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“In God We Trust, All Others Must Bring Data”

I love the quote from W. Edwards Fleming, “In God We Trust, All Others Must Bring Data”. [Excerpt from Wikipedia: William Edwards Fleming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant. He is perhaps best known for his work in Japan. There, from 1950 onward, he taught top management how to improve design (and thus service), product quality, testing and sales (the last through global markets) through various methods, including the application of statistical methods.]

I came across a few blog posts/articles recently addressing marketing trends, stats, etc., that I found interesting. Just sharing light reading to consider as we continue our marketing and advertising efforts!

How are we paying attention to data? How do we have the right blend of data versus instinct? For my job specifically, how is higher education marketing and recruiting adapting to the changing consumer behavior, specifically on the web, and getting away from the direct mail (spray and pray, shotgun method, etc.) strategy? What is a good percentage of your budget to move away from the “tried and true” methods and test in some of the strategies described in the following posts? So much to consider!

June 17, 2011 Posted by | communication, higher education, marketing, social media | , , , , | 2 Comments

Facial Recognition Technology = Creepy

I think I agree the title of the  PC World article: Why Facebook’s Facial Recognition Technology is Creepy. The more photos people tag of you or you load and tag yourself, the better the facial recognition technology gets at recognizing you in photos and making suggestions for folks to tag you. How is this not creepy?? It’s starting with Facebook, but will soon be everywhere. Those photos you thought were innocent of you doing keg stands in college? Even if you’ve untagged yourself, it is still findable online and attributed. And don’t say that you can “opt out” of the service…that just means people cannot automatically tag you. But that isn’t stopping the technology from gathering data and refining the ability to recognize your photo.

In addition to my own privacy, my biggest concern is kids/teenagers/college students who already think they are invincible online, and don’t think the first time (let alone twice) about posting compromising, silly photos of themselves on Facebook and other sites. I spend a lot of time with college students talking to them about how to manage their reputation online and to start thinking very early about what their image is online BEFORE they have to start looking for jobs. This will certainly be a part of my presentation from this point forward, but I am only hitting a small number of kids.

I love the suggestion she has in the article–opt out of the service immediately, and start randomly uploading pictures of inanimate objects and tagging them as yourself to keep Facebook guessing what you really look like!

June 15, 2011 Posted by | reputation management, social media | , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Easy to Ruin Your Credibility on LinkedIn

One wrong tap on the keyboard, one too-fast click on the mouse–that’s all it takes to put a serious dent in your credibility on LinkedIn. Two times in the last week I saw group postings come through LinkedIn groups with substantial misspellings in the headline. And it’s not like they spelled the championship-winning word for the 2010 Spelling Bee wrong.

“Business Journal rolls out redisigned site”

This was my favorite so far. How well is this positioning the person as a credible source for the business journal? How professional is it making the publication itself look? (Note: the individual posting is an official representative of the publication.)

I can’t find the other one…they must have realized the error and fixed it. Are my standards too high? Is it too difficult to proofread your own material? If you are an admittedly bad speller, have someone proofread your work. Or, if you are posting on a site that doesn’t have a spell checker built in, write your content in MS Word FIRST, then paste into the site.

I have misspelled words before. But it usually is a result of working too fast or trying to do too many things at one time. To me, misspellings in the group situation on LinkedIn is saying that you don’t care enough about my time or interest to spell check your work or go through the same process to ensure accuracy as you would on a direct mail piece. Just because the medium of social media/networking is easy, convenient and lightning fast doesn’t mean that my time online is not as valuable as with more traditional media.

I truly do want to know if my standards are too high. Yes, I can claim several spelling bee championship titles and I realize my standards for myself are much higher than others. But I still stick by my statement that your audience’s time is precious and you should treat it as such by not only posting things that are relevant, but making sure you have checked your work!

October 25, 2010 Posted by | marketing, reputation management, social media | , , , , | 1 Comment

I Have Seen It All…Facebook Credits for Sale at Target!

You could have picked my jaw up off the floor in the checkout line at Target. I don’t know why I allow myself to be surprised by things like this anymore, but I am. Right next to the gift cards you could purchase from Applebees, Target, iTunes, etc., was a gift card to purchase Facebook credits. Yep, you could give as a gift more reasons to waste time on the most popular social networking site. Amazing isn’t it that folks now actually spend money on Facebook for their additions to Farmville and other games/applications I routinely block.

So if you were still skeptical that people were spending inordinate amounts of time on Facebook being lured into the games and third-party applications out there, are you convinced now? Are you going to take advantage of their ad-serving platform (remarkably similar to the Google Adwords platform) or perhaps build a third-party application for folks to get addicted to?

October 15, 2010 Posted by | marketing, resources, sales, social media | , , , | Leave a comment

How *NOT* to Ruin Your Reputation Online

I work with the student athletes here on campus to improve their skills in working with the media, but also to help them develop their reputation online. Or more immediately- how not to ruin their reputation online. I am always looking for articles, stories and examples of how social media can negatively impact a career, education or reputation to pass on to them. These are the most recent ones I have added to the list.

Do you have any articles that would be good for me to share with our students?

August 18, 2010 Posted by | higher education, reputation management, resources, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Hard to Find Great Training…But I DID!

Great training/trainers are HARD to find. We have all sat through useless boring training sessions that were great cures for insomnia. Since all can relate I’m sure, I have to share an experience that was fantastic.

Yesterday, we hosted blog development, content development and marketing strategy training for a few groups here on campus. We are working with them to create a strategic communications plan. I brought in social media and blogging expert, Marijean Jaggers, vice president at Standing Partnership.

All I can say is that she was fantastic. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable on the topics, she was able to balance technical detail with the content for the non-technical folks in the group. She is just plain likable and funny to boot!

She is worth following:

And Standing Partnership is one awesome strategic communications firm to work with too!

July 22, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, social media | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few of My Favorite Marketing Resources… What Are Yours?

A friend recently asked me for suggestions of books she could read to help freshen her marketing skills, and bring them up to the bleeding edge of the social media marketing/technology/SEO/SEM world. So I responded to her via email, and then thought I might as well share my thoughts here as well.

My first reaction to that question is that the technology and user interfaces are changing so quickly that books teaching applications almost immediately become obsolete when they are published. There are a few that address theory and approach that are applicable whether there is a shiny new technology object.

My favorite book:
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition by David Meerman Scott (amazon affiliate link). This has helped me re-frame the way I approach marketing drastically.

Next up on my reading list (after the mindless, yet terribly entertaining, crap I am currently reading):

Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture by John Moore (amazon affiliate link). This came highly recommended to me by a new colleague as I am navigating the new waters of radio station management.

Also, blogs I follow include Mashable, Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert, David Meerman Scott’s Web Ink Now, Sysomos for research, Dan Zarella, and Marijean Jaggers.

Google has a whole slew of free training videos for Google Analytics and Google Adwords. The Analytics for Dummies book may still be useful, but they keep changing the interface of both so books quickly become obsolete. I’d use the free online tools.

LinkedIn groups I belong to: Web 2.0 for Higher Education, Marketing Profs, the Social Media Marketing Group, Southern IL Marketing and Communications. Connect with me if we haven’t already: linkedin.com/in/BethKeserauskis.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | engaging, marketing, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment