Social media Analytics in Higher Education

Educational institutions are generally slower to adapt technologies than the general public and businesses. One reason is that it's hard to measure the return on investment (ROI, to use business talk).

That is especially true of using social media - Facebook, Twitter et al.

analyze68% of the respondents to the second CASE survey on social media practices in higher education think measuring the ROI of their social media initiatives is tough, but not impossible.
Enter social media analytics.

Stephane Hamel teaches the art and science of online analytics at the University of British Columbia and the University of Laval. As one of the rare university instructors in this specific area in North America, he has a very different perspective on social media ROI than most in higher education.
He will be teaching a master class on social media analytics in higher education on June 21st, 2011 for Higher Ed Experts.

In an interview, Hamel was asked about schools using Klout scores to measure their social media activities. He answered that "Klout and other tools are a starting point but they measure the microcosm of social media. They certainly don’t measure the real business outcomes such as enrolling new students and making sure they are satisfied—just like any other business in fact!"

He was also asked what is one thing institutions can do to better measure the results of their social media activities. He responded" "Very simple: define your social media objectives. Do they align with your core strategies and values? It’s amazing the number of organizations that are jumping on the social media band wagon because they’ve been told they need to be there, but have absolutely no clue as to why, exactly, they are doing it. It is fine to experiment and make the jump, but it’s much better to define clear objectives. And no, having thousands of followers or doing it only for “brand awareness” aren’t good objectives in themselves. Social media marketing needs to lead to something else!"

National Jukebox

Teachers can now listen to more than 10,000 historical sound recordings using the Library of Congress' new National Jukebox. From ragtime to novelty songs to opera, these songs are now available in an easy-to-use player that lets users create and manage their own playlists. More songs will become available over time, so please visit and explore often.

The Library of Congress makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives.

Try out the National Jukebox Sampler which has 14 selections representing the diversity of repertoire to be found in this repository. These performances were recorded between 1901 and 1912.

Download Your Facebook Life


Did you know that you can download your Facebook online life? I did it it recently and it was revelatory just how much I have put there since I started using the service five years ago.

Why would you want to do it? Well, it's yours. Having a copy of your information (from Facebook or any other web service) is part of controlling what you share. It may be a good backup for photos (especially mobile uploads) and things you haven't saved in other places. It's also a little time capsule of part of your online life. It might surprise or even disturb you to realize how much you have shared with the world. If you're considering purging your account of some things (maybe you just graduated and are wondering about potential employers finding things there), you should archive it. Same thing if you're considering deleting your account entirely.

How do you download your information from Facebook? To begin this process, go to your Account Settings page, then click the "learn more" link beside "Download Your Information." From there, click the "Download" button.

Your file will be pretty thorough and include the following information organized into folders:
Your profile information (contact information, interests, groups)
Wall posts and content that you and your friends have posted to your profile
Photos and videos that you have uploaded to your account
Your friend list
Notes you have created
Events to which you have RSVP’d
Your sent and received messages
Any comments that you and your friends have made on your Wall posts, photos, and other profile content

This is sensitive material and Facebook asks for authentication to confirm your identity before you can complete the download process. They will send an email to the email listed on your Facebook account to confirm that you initiated the process. Once you receive the email, you will have to re-enter your password and if you are using a public computer or one you do not use regularly. You may also have to solve a friend photo captcha (those jumbled letter images) or an SMS captcha via your mobile phone.

I recommend you do this for all of the reasons mentioned. I find it encouraging that the walled garden of Facebook has opened up to allow you to do this.

Support MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare's spring fundraiser has begun. You can support their OpenCourseWare initiative with a gift in whatever amount.

They are marking ten years of providing free educational opportunities.Your support helps meet their ambitious goals for the next decade and ensure that millions around the world continue to benefit from open access to MIT's educational assets.

Visit to make your donation now.(You can make your donation count event more with a matching gift from your company. To find out whether your company has a matching gift policy, please enter your employer's name in the MIT matching gifts page.)

And if you have never looked at the free courseware that they have available, check out

Microsoft Buys Skype and Then What?

The big tech buzz this past week has been that Microsoft is going to buy Skype for $8.5 billion. That's the most Microsoft has ever paid for anything. I feel about the same as David Pogue in a recent column:

Every time some big clumsy corporate behemoth buys a popular consumer-tech product, I cringe. It almost never works out. The purchased company’s executives take a huge payday; promises are made all around that they’ll be allowed to continue operating independently; and then, within a couple of years, the product disappears altogether. A little star of the tech sky is snuffed out, for absolutely no good reason.
Pogue points out that although some analysts have said that the purchase is a good idea in order to include Skype’s voice and video technology into its products, that Microsoft already has NetMeeting and Windows Live Messenger - two similar services that never really caught on.

Skype did catch on. To the tune of 170 million people who it every month. 9 million of them are even willing to pay for the ability to make voice calls to telephone numbers, rather than just other computers or phones.

Let's hope that Microsoft doesn't kill it or change it so radically that its faithful users drop away.