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Happy Foursquare Day!

Today was Foursquare Day worldwide (get it…April 16 is 4, 4^2!). Foursquare Day started as a grassroots effort in 2010 and quickly spread to communities all over the world. Foursquare Day is celebrated differently everywhere, and at Duke we celebrated it by encouraging more students to use the tool at Duke in new and different ways.

We had a table on the main plaza at Duke staffed by students to celebrate the event.

The students leading the effort were Tre’Ellis Terrell Scott and Yaqi Zhang, both first-year students at Duke. They recruited some other student volunteers and spent the bulk of the day on the plaza talking to their peers about what foursquare is and encouraging others to follow DukeU on foursquare.

We had buttons, stickers, t-shirts and other fun giveaways as part of the event. We also printed out a big map of the campus for students to write out tips and reviews on sticky notes for us to add to the DukeU foursquare venues.

It was good timing that the day corresponded with Blue Devil Days, Duke’s main recruitment event for prospective freshman and their families, and these incoming students were able to learn about a new tool to help them explore Duke during their visit and for when they come to live on campus in the fall. We even created a special Blue Devil Days foursquare list for prospectives to use while they are exploring campus this month.

How are you using foursquare in your efforts? Please leave comments below sharing your thoughts on the application.

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?

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.