Archive | Duke Communicators

RSS feed for this section

Talking Duke Mobility

Responsive design. Mobile apps. Optimized for mobile devices.

Our most recent event of the Duke Communicators Network covered the topic of mobility. There’s a lot to talk about on the subject, and Blyth Morrell with the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications gave a brief overview of the history of Duke mobile, trends in mobile usage and an update on where Duke is headed with our mobile strategy. Here is a copy of her Prezi from the event.

Next, a few Duke communicators and web developers updated the group on their most recent project. Brett Walters with the Duke Alumni Association covered recent projects with Duke Magazine, alumni and reunions. Sean Aery with Duke Libraries covered some of the most recent work they have done in responsive design and Will McCreery highlighted some recent project done by Duke Web Services including the new Duke Chapel site that is optimized for mobile.

Next up on our agenda of meetings for Duke Communicators is a social at Tylers Taproom in American Tobacco on Tuesday, December 18th starting at 4p.m. We hope to see you there!

Searching for Answers with Duke Communicators

In our most recent Duke Communicators meeting, we talked search. I presented with Leon Malahias and Blyth Morrell on search engine optimization and we talked about ways we can build Duke websites to get the most eyeballs on our content.

We provided an overview of search engines, described what affects search results, clarified paid versus “organic” searches and shared tips about how to improve rankings for Duke sites. The presentation was more show than tell, and featured a hands-on session where we went over how to build Google Authorship and identify the best keywords for content.

Here’s a link to our presentation with all of the code and resources we covered in the program. Save the date for our next program on mobile technology on December 11 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. The location will be Westbrook 0014 and we look forward to a great conversation and an update on Duke’s mobile landscape.

Talk Energy with Duke Experts on Twitter

Over the past year, our news and communications team has been exploring different ways to use social media to connect Duke researchers and faculty with larger audiences. One of the more successful experiments are Twitter chats – conversations on Twitter using a hashtag around a topic and/or event. Twitter chats are a great way for Duke experts to weigh in on a topic and engage in public education.

One example of a Duke Twitter chat was when we had faculty, post-docs and students tweeting during the 2012 State of the Union using the hashtag #DukeChat with #SOTU, the main hashtag for the event. We ended up with a total of 45 people tweeting 250+ times with the hashtag, creating some good conversation around the opinions of Duke experts.

Duke’s next Twitter chat  is hosted by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and follows the release of two new case studies exploring the opportunities and barriers associated with clean energy, using solar water heating and combined heat and power as examples. On August 21 from 2-3 p.m. EST, two study authors will lead a conversation about the case study projects and an overview of the state of renewable energy in the southeast U.S. To participate in the chat, send your questions and comments on Twitter using the hashtag #seenergytalk, or post them early to Facebook. We hope to meet you there!

Duke Admissions Launches New Site, New Mobile Platform

Last Wednesday, the university’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions launched a colorful new website and mobile platform that place students front and center. Social media plays an elegant role in the site. Tweets, bloggers and video are integrated throughout the site, which pays close attention to the student voice and student-to-student interactions. This follows the themes of storytelling and relationship building that we have focused on in our admissions communications strategy over the past year.

Read more here…

Are you a new grad looking for a job? I’m hiring!

I’ve been the social media manager at Duke for a little over a year now and constantly tell people that I have the best job at the university. I get to work with a stellar peer group of communicators and marketers, I am constantly challenged by new projects and I have a number of mentors across campus. The work is interesting and I wear many hats including admissions marketer, content manager, and university consultant.

All of this keeps me pretty busy. As part of an expanded social media and video production capacity at Duke, I’m looking for a social media fellow to support our good work in the Office of News and Communications. I promise it will be the second-best job at Duke.

Below is a short description of what we’re looking for.

The Office of News and Communications is hiring a full-time Social and Digital Media Fellow to support social media operations, reach out to target audiences through social media and produce short videos for news and other institutional purposes.

The position requires a proven record of being able to identify and report on stories, independently produce news-style reports within a few hours and use social-media tools effectively. This is a one-year fellowship with the option for ONC to extend the position for an additional year.

Strong journalistic writing skills, enthusiasm for new media, a collaborative spirit and a demonstrated ability to produce high-quality news material under tight deadlines required.   To apply, please send your resume, three published story URLs and links to any online video publications to

A refresh for Duke’s social media website

Students, alumni and other members of the Duke community can now browse a social media directory and extensive other material thanks to an update of Duke’s social media website.

Duke originally launched the site in 2010 as one of the first university “aggregation sites.” Because of the quickly changing social media landscape and Duke’s expanding online presence, I recently worked with the Office of News and Communications and the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications to refresh the site, Social Media at Duke, which is at

The site features a directory that tracks how Duke’s schools and departments are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. It also highlights the latest tweets from official Duke Twitter accounts, a stream of videos from Duke on Demand, a connect tool for Duke’s main Facebook page and a stream of the most recent posts from this blog.

Duke University Social Media Website

Duke University Social Media Website

This project reflects a push to deepen social and digital media efforts at Duke and to better integrate tools such as Facebook and Twitter with the university’s wider news, communications and marketing efforts. In addition to using these tools to reach larger audiences, Duke is also active  on niche social networks such as Pinterest and foursquare.

This blog will showcase Duke’s growing social media presence. Its purpose is to communicate how people are using these new tools across campus. I hope you’ll browse previous posts, contribute with comments and return often.

You can post your own thoughts about social media at Duke in the comments section of this post or send your questions to


Join a Hangout with Duke

April is here, and as this is a very important month for undergraduate admissions, Duke is trying out new ways to connect prospective and current students using social media.

One of the new ways our admissions office is connecting students is through a new Google technology, Google+ Hangouts On Air. We are using Hangouts On Air to host eight student video chats during the month of April about different themes that prospective students are interested in learning more about. These themes include academics, spirit and the first-year experience on East Campus – all important considerations for students making the difficult decision about where to attend college.

We’re excited to try out this new platform and partner with Google on beta testing this new technology. So far, we’ve had two very successful chats with dozens of questions asked by prospective students. We feel like it’s really important to utilize new technologies to let Duke students talk about their real-life stories and build relationships with incoming students.

In addition to streaming all of the video chats live on our Duke Undergraduate Admissions Google+ Page, we’ll be archiving the videos on our YouTube channel and Duke’s video site, Duke On Demand.

How else could we be using this technology for events and conversations across campus?

Getting Some PR For Duke

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at a meeting of the North Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of American (PRSA). Joining me were Jill Carlson, marketing manager with Argyle Social, and James Wong, former marketing communications marketer with iContact. Our PRSA panel covered “A Digital Dive: What’s New and Hot Right Now” as a topic and we each offered our observations and examples of where digital and social media are headed.

For my part of the talk, I shared what Duke University is doing in the established social networks (Facebook and Twitter) and our involvement in niche communities (Pinterest, foursquare and Tumblr). I quickly covered our social media networks in China (Sina Weibo is the main one right now) and ways for brands to utilize internal resources and brand ambassadors. We finished with a quick highlight of the 903 and Counting campaign Duke ran this past winter. There was a bit of Twitter chatter during the panel.

After the talks, we had some rich Q&A and I met a number of the association members one-on-one after the program. Thanks to the NC PRSA for hosting a great event!

Please click on the slide below to view my entire presentation.

Training the Duke Trainers’ Group in Social Media

The Center for Instructional Training (CIT) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at Duke are phenomenal resources. One of their many collaborative roles is to support the academic mission at Duke by helping instructors and faculty figure out what technologies to use in their classrooms – and how to use it.

In order to provide training effectively, we actually have a Duke Trainers’ Group – an informal working group of trainers throughout the university including staff from CIT, OIT, Student Affairs, Human Resources – Learning & Organization Development, Health Systems and more – who hold regular training sessions and workshops available free of charge to the Duke community.

In order to stay on top of their game, the Duke Trainers’ Group meets monthly for professional development and also share resources on their blog. I was invited to be the guest at their regular trainers meeting for the month of February. At the meeting, we discussed the social media tools and resources Duke is active in and talked through some ideas for ways to present social media resources as tools for faculty use.

One of the interesting topics we covered was how faculty and staff are blending their personal and professional presence on social media accounts and ways to use privacy settings to make this easier. It seems to vary based on the individual, but there is general concern among faculty and students on this topic. They want to know who is viewing their profiles and how the content they share reflects their own belief systems. There is no blanket recommendation to make in this area, but we discussed how privacy settings are critical for blending personal and professional use of social media tools.

Somewhat related to the conversation around privacy and social media, my friend and colleague recently wrote a post on his personal blog about awareness of situational conversations I highly recommend reading.Talking through social media with Duke instructional trainers

Thanks to the Duke Trainers’ Group for hosting me! My presentation from the meeting is available on slideshare.


Duke Faculty ‘Live Tweet’ Obama’s State of the Union Speech

Earlier this week, Duke University held our first Twitter chat during President Obama’s State of the Union speech. We came up with the idea in a brainstorming session about getting faculty to try new tools and use social networking to amplify their voices. The concept was to assemble a handful of faculty and post-doc students who are already on Twitter – or just interested in trying Twitter – to have a sidebar conversation during a larger conversation on the social network.

The result was the creation of the hashtag #DukeChat, linking to broader international discussion about the speech at #SOTU.

Terrorism expert David Schanzer, religion professor Ebrahim Moosa, Maurice Wallace of AAAS and other Duke faculty also participated in the Twitter conversation, which included about 250 posts. Others watching the conversation online Internet added their own comments. A complete transcript is available.

“As a ‘Twitter newbie,” I found the experience interesting and enlightening,” said political science professor Paula McClain, whose comments ranged from Obama’s “tough talk on China” to how House Speaker John Boehner was reacting to the speech. “It was interesting to see how my view sometimes corresponded with those of my colleagues and at other times differed. I am definitely up for this again.”

A Storify round-up of the Twitter conversation can be found here.