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Live Video: Higher Ed and Beyond

2016 was undoubtedly the year of live video. Although YouTube was one of the first social media platforms to introduce live video in 2011, Facebook’s introduction of Facebook Live at the end of 2015 was the catalyst that sparked the beginning of the live video movement. It didn’t take long for this new broadcasting medium to catch on with viewers, leading Instagram and Twitter to follow suit with their own live features a year later.

Live video is authentic, engaging, and powerful, demonstrated by its quick rise to popularity and high engagement rates among viewers and broadcasters alike. Compared to 2014, 81% of internet and mobile users watched more live video in 2015. Out of all of the social media platforms that currently have a live video feature, Facebook Live sees the most traffic of live video viewers. On average, viewers comment 10 times more on Facebook live videos than on regular videos. Viewers’ attention spans are also longer during live videos, with the average viewer watching a live video 3 times longer than a typical video.

How are people using this new portable broadcasting medium? Companies and organizations may broadcast live during news announcements, performances, behind the scenes tours, demos, interviews, and more – the possibilities are endless. Those that come to mind for many social media users are live videos by individuals that document their personal experiences, whether in a serious or casual setting. My personal favorite is Candace Payne’s Chewbacca Mask video, which holds the current record for the most viewed Facebook Live video at 160 million views.

While it may be obvious for some individuals and organizations of what they should use live video to broadcast to users, higher education institutions have differed in their experimentation with live video. The most popular live video platform used by universities remains Facebook Live – although many have not yet stepped into the realm of live video at all. However, over 85% of universities have a presence on YouTube, demonstrating that the vast majority of universities understand the importance of video in engaging their audiences. It’s exciting to see more and more institutions use live videos on social media to reach new audiences and provide a different and immediate digital experience for their viewers. The majority of higher education institutions use Facebook Live in a way that reflects the type of content they publish. This is frequently demonstrated by live streaming of lectures, speeches, and notable events on campus. Duke recently streamed it’s 2017 commencement ceremonies (above) and the first press conference by Duke President-Elect Vincent Price.

During these videos, many of the videographers utilize Facebook Live API, allowing them to broadcast using a professional camera rather than through a mobile device. While using live video for these types of events can be effective, live video provides an avenue to do something different than what might normally be done through video. Since live videos in essence become regular videos once the live stream has ended, live videos should sometimes take the opportunity to distinguish themselves through content and style. Broadcasting live events can draw an audience, depending on the anticipation of said event and whether it is time-sensitive or crisis related. However, in order to truly make the most of what live video has to offer, making use of all of its features, such as live chat, will be vital.

Live videos can be used to allow social media users across the globe to glean an intimate and personal experience of life at the university. Social media is increasingly becoming a space where brands are expected to be authentic and expressive, while social media in and of itself is a place where corporations and individuals alike can let their personalities shine. I hope that universities will be at the forefront of using live video in creative and innovative ways to captivate their audiences. Vanderbilt has used live video to bring prospective students on virtual tours on campus while fielding questions using live chat. Here at Duke we have used live video to allow online viewers to ask questions to professor and author Dan Ariely during a Q&A with students in Perkins library.

Watch live: Duke professor Dan Ariely runs a demonstration of his new book, "Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations." The book reveals insights into motivation and what drives people — how it works and how we can use this knowledge to approach important choices in our own lives.In this Facebook Live, Ariely is asking students to participate in solving a puzzle for money … or pizza, demonstrating the complexity of what motivates people.Leave questions for Dan in the comments.

Posted by Duke University on Sunday, November 20, 2016


The world of live video combines the immediacy of live TV with its ability to immerse millions into the same place and moment, the omnipresent and immediate nature of social media and mobile phones, and the ever-transforming landscape of technology. With live video, the sky’s the limit and you’re the director. I’m looking forward to seeing how this versatile and immersive tool will empower higher education institutions and individuals alike to create, engage, and connect.






Duke University Hashtags

For the social media-inclined, here is a comprehensive list of Duke’s most popular hashtags.


#DukeUniversity, #PictureDuke


#BlueDevilLove, #Duke360, #MyDukeRoom #DukeEverywhere


#GoDuke #DukeNation, #CoachK, #Coach1K,#DukeBasketball, #DukeBasketballNeverStops, #HereComesDuke #BleedBlue #OurBlueIsBest #BlueDevils #DukeGang


#Duke2015, #Duke2016, #Duke2017, #Duke2018, #Duke2019 #DukeStudents

#DukeSnowDay #DukeFall #DukeSpring




Nerdy Holidays For Higher Education

calendar_january_joelanmanSocial media managers are all too familiar with obscure holidays like “Speak Like a Pirate Day” or “National High Five Day.” These dates offer a great opportunity to connect with audiences around a dynamic concept. However, these holidays don’t always mesh with content from colleges and universities. For higher education communicators, I’ve created an intellectual and scholarly (read: nerdy) list of holidays and anniversaries that tap into our expertise.

Let the Duke social media team know how you celebrate these days and suggest additions to the list in the comments section.



January 2nd:  Science Fiction Day

January 7th: Zora Neale Hurston’s birthday

January 9: Simone de Beauvoir’s birthday

January 13: “International” Skeptics Day

January 15th: Wikipedia Day

January 18: Thesaurus Day

January 25: Opposite Day



February 1: Langston Hughes’s birthday

February 7: Charles Dickens’s birthday

February 12: Charles Darwin’s birthday

February 22: World Thinking Day

February 24-28: Fair Use Week (changes every year)

February 27th: John Steinbeck’s birthday



March 2: Dr. Seuss’s 110th birthday

March 6: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s birthday

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 11: Douglas Adams’ birthday

March 14: Pi Day

March 15: Ides of March

March 25: Tolkien Reading Day

March 31: 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening



April 3: Tweed Day

April 13: Scrabble Day

April 16: National Librarian Day (Library Week is April 13-19)

April 22: Earth Day

April 22: Vladimir Nabokov’s 115th birthday

April 25th: DNA day

April 27th: Morse Code Day and Samuel Morse’s birthday



May 5: Soren Kierkegaard’s birthday

May 5: Karl Marx’s birthday

May 6: National Teacher Appreciation Day

May 11: Salvadore Dali’s 110th birthday

May 18: International Museum Day

May 25: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birthday

May 27: 70th anniversary of first performance of “No Exit”

May 30: Walt Whitman’s birthday



June 5: Frederico Garcia Lorca’s birthday

June 6: 30th Anniversary of the release of Tetris

June 8: 65th Anniversary publishing of “1984”

June 16: Bloomsday / Celebration of James Joyce

June 28: Tau Day (for detractors of Pi Day)



July 3: Franz Kafka’s birthday

July 3: Li Shizhen’s birthday

July 4: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthday

July 10: Nikola Tesla’s birthday

July 12: Henry David Thoreau’s birthday

July 12: Pablo Neruda’s birthday

July 21: Ernest Hemingway’s 115th birthday

July 29: 60th Anniversary of publication of Lord of the Rings



August: National Inventors month

August 1: Anniversary of the first Comic-Con

August 9: P.L. Travers’s birthday (And 2014 is the 80th Anniversary of Mary Poppins)

August 12: Erwin Schrodinger’s birthday

August 13: International Left Handers Day

August 25: 405th anniversary of Galileo’s first telescope demonstration



September 13: Programmers Day

September 13: Roald Dahl’s birthday

September 17: 60th Anniversary of publication of Lord of the Flies

September 17th: Constitution Day

September 22: 50th Anniversary of Opening of Fiddler on the Roof

September 24: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday

September 25: Shel Silverstein’s birthday

September 28: Ask a Stupid Question Day



October 7: Anniversary of the invention (patent) of the bar code

October 13: “International” Skeptics Day

October 15: Friedrich Nietzsche’s Birthday

October 16: Dictionary Day,  Noah Webster’s birthday

October 16: Oscar Wilde’s Birthday

October 24: United Nations Day

October 28: 100th birthday of Jonas Salk, inventor of Polio vaccine

October 18: Anniversary of the publication of Moby Dick



November 6: Chinua Achebe’s birthday

November 7: Albert Camus’s birthday

November 8: Bram Stoker’s birthday

November 9: 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

November 10: 45th anniversary of Sesame Street

November 11: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s birthday

November 13: 5th Anniversary of the discovery of water on the moon

November 22: Evolution Day

November 26: Anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland

November 30: Mark Twain’s birthday



December 1: Anniversary of the first business school (ESCP Europe was established)

December 10: Human Rights Day

December 21: Anniversary of the first crossword puzzle

December 7: Letter Writing Day

December 9: Grace Hopper’s birthday


TIP: In addition to these, we suggest asking professors with specific expertise if there are any important dates their fields that they could speak to.

Photo: Creative Commons / joelanman.