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Duke Plays 2048

2048 challengeFew things hold a captive audience for more than a few minutes in our busy media environment. That’s why the viral “2048” game stood out to me. After seeing a few hilarious examples using the 2048 game template around the web, our digital team brainstormed how we could make a Duke version.

We decided to reward those who played our version by offering prizes to whomever reached the coveted “2048” tile. We used photos from our @dukeuniversity Instagram account so when they reached the “2048” tile they could find the corresponding Instagram photo and comment on it to win. This also gave us the opportunity to show off beautiful parts of campus and the student experience to players.

The game was a big success! Not only did we have our two winners within minutes, but community members continued to play and post comments on the winning photo for days.

We knew the game was especially popular with younger audiences so we then made another customized version for admitted #Duke2018 students. We shared a link to this version via email communication from Duke’s undergraduate admissions office and saw immediate success again. Dozens of admitted students commented on the winning Instagram photo and even followed our account as a result. During Blue Devil Days (our recruiting events for admitted students) students and parents commented again and again how much fun they had playing Duke’s 2048 game. One parent even told us how her daughter saw a beautiful red bridge in on one of the game tiles that led her to search for the real bridge in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens when she visited campus! It was great to see our digital efforts pay off in real life.

We tracked over 2,400 clicks to both of the games over the course of our campaign. This was more than just a high click-through rate. It represented hours spent playing the games and getting glimpses of the Duke experience through our Instagram photos. We learned that it pays off to keep your finger on the pulse in order to latch on to larger cultural moments. By adding a Duke flavor to this one, we were able to connect to key audiences in an unexpected way.

Remembering a Duke fan on Twitter

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Grieving via Twitter. Maybe your knee-jerk reaction to the thought is confusion. Usually, people ask to be left alone to grieve in private. But not everyone. And public grieving—even on Twitter— can actually be touching.

Take what happened to me a couple of weeks ago: The account I help manage (@DukeU) was suddenly barraged by tweets of a kind usually reserved for celebrities and way-too-famous people. A twitter campaign had been started by a girl named Brooke begging us to mention Duke fan Dylan Coen. It turns out that earlier that week, Dylan had died. And high school girlfriend Brooke decided she could honor him by bringing together her small Brunswick, Georgia community around a tweet.

@DukeU please mention Dylan Coen tonight!!!! He was a #1 fan. We had his funeral today. We was 18 years old!! #sadday

“please RT this too show brunswick some support!”

“We. Will. Not. Stop. @DukeU

“it would mean the world to us if you could RT @broookayee ‘s tweet. We are fighting for our angel”

At first I was shocked (and impressed with Brooke’s dedication). We don’t really consider the Duke twitter account to be highly in-demand. But there are many fans out there who feel extremely connected to Duke because of the powerhouse Duke basketball program. And ultimately, fans just want to be recognized for their dedication. I think this drove Brooke to seek that recognition that Dylan would have enjoyed so much, as a way to honor him. One last big romantic gesture.

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We were glad to be able to play a role in the town’s grieving process.

Twitter for non-communicators (Hint: you can tweet the same thing twice.)

Duke Twitter Profile
Twitter can seem overwhelming when you are strapped for time with other obligations. And the fact that the university’s @DukeU account tweets between 10-30 times in per day is probably pretty intimidating.


But Twitter might still be worth pursuing. The truth is you won’t offend your audiences or lose your followers because you haven’t tweeted in the last hour (or even the last couple of days).


Although it is acceptable to tweet dozens of times a day like the New York Times, it is definitely not a requirement. In fact, it’s better to tweet just a couple of interesting pieces of content than to bombard your followers with content they don’t want to see. (That’s when you may be unfollowed.)


For those of you who are still testing the waters, you should know another tip: you can tweet the same thing more than once. In fact, if your content is interesting and relevant, you should tweet it multiple times because it’s likely that not all of your followers will see it the first or second time around.


A couple of ways to make sure followers don’t tire of seeing the same thing over and over again:

  • Frame the content in different ways. Maybe you cite an interesting quote in one tweet. Maybe you deliver the salient takeaway the next time. Maybe you include an image in another tweet.
  • Try the tweet at different times during the day. Different people tend to be online at 7:30 am versus at 9:00 pm.


You can use this as an opportunity to test the way you present your content. You may see patterns emerge that teach you what your followers like the most. For example, they may be more responsive to tweets with images, or tweets framed as questions. Let us know what you find out!


Remember that you can always tweet us your questions at @DukeU or using #DukeSocial.

Five Things to Know About Duke’s Social Media Fellow


As your new Social Media Fellow, I’ll be tweeting, instagramming, and sharing news and content through Duke’s social media channels. I am a recent December 2012 graduate, and as a student I was involved in campus leadership through Amnesty International and Duke Student Government’s Intellectual Climate Committee. Now I’m ready to build on that passion by growing Duke’s social media presence to the next level. But first, here are five important things to know about me so you can get acquainted with the person behind the tweets:

  1. I love beautiful things. Like my predecessor and colleague Jonathan Lee, I really enjoy design, photography, typography, you name it. When you share a beautiful Duke photo with us using #pictureduke, I’ll be happy to repost your contribution and share it with the rest of our community.
  2. I follow pop culture. Television, film, and what is going on in pop culture says a lot about our society. I’m excited to be an advocate for professors who can speak to these phenomenon through the lens of their academic fields.
  3. Conversation is key. My favorite kind of night ends in a great conversation with an old or new friend. I love one-on-one connection, and social media makes this possible across all kinds of barriers. I’m looking forward to engaging in conversations with Dukies who talk to @DukeU on Twitter, and through our “Join the Discussion” feature.
  4.  I can’t get enough of Durham. The more I learn, the more I love. The amazing growth of the arts, culture and food scene in Durham over the past few years has made this city a great selling point for Duke. I’m excited to share this with the new and prospective members of our community.
  5. I welcome feedback. Whether you’re a student, faculty member, staff, or other member of the Duke community I welcome your thoughts on our social media presence. Do you find our content useful or engaging? Want us to try something new? Send me an email at and let’s talk.


Thanks for staying connected to Duke!

Amanda Peralta