eduwebliveblog - User Generated Content

By Billy Adams - Tue, Jul 21-->



User Generated Content - Tapping into the Power!

by Tom Williams, Innogage - Ohio Room

Starts off with an Animoto video from WSC -link

Video was done in less than 30 minutes and no video was used. It was all still imagery. You can do really cool stuff with video with the mountains of pictures that you have.

What is User Generated Content?

  • Social Networks
  • Video
  • Photos
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Discussion Boards

Problems with UGC

  • Students are controlling the content
  • You can’t stop it
  • You must walk the line between influence and control

You can’t control your message anymore. Too much influence is deemed as trying to control, you have to walk that line between too much control and sticking your head in the sand.

Benefits of UGC

  • Users are more creative than you
  • Much is practically free
  • It’s REAL
  • It’s GENUINE
  • Credibility more Important than “Quality”

People say that they want the professional stuff, but credibly is definitely prized over quality.

Social Networks

Facebook - No Brainer

MySpace - younger, kind of creepy

Ning - personalized social networks

You have to have a reason to be there, and there has to be a reason for your users to come back.

Case in point - Team Sugar Victoria’s Secret Network

DePaul Quad & Cafe New Paltz

DePaul Quad

  • Parents of first year students
  • scared, nervous, looking for support
  • astounding success
  • helped keep helicopter moms at bay

The parents were the ones most nervous. People want to feel that they are being supported, that’s what this offered the parents.

Cafe New Paltz

  • Social Network for accepted first year students
  • highly successful model

Still a closed network


  • Photos (1,063)
  • Videos (19)
  • Groups (20)
  • Discussion Forum (98)
  • Members (563) - high churn since it’s only accepted coming students

Social Network recap

  • Have a reason for the community - on that makes sense
  • Set ground rules, light the fire & step back
  • Enable/encourage users to invite friends
  • Highlight, promote, inspire and let it happen
  • Participate but be explicit about your identity


DePaul University - Launch a Video Contest

  • 120 Days conception to Launch
  • Prize $$
  • Approx. 250 hours
  • Channel: YouTube
  • promoted heavily on Facebook and Twitter and other networks.

This is DePaul video contest

You can’t buy content like this.

  • Voting 1,2,3 closed
  • people’s choice
  • 19 videos submitted
  • Traffic: 10,000 views

The Ah Ha’s!

  • Most waited until last minute
  • negative voting
  • negative comments

The person who won the people’s choice video was the first one out there to get the votes.

They set rules that required specific things being in the video so they could influence the content.

Illinois Institute of Technology

  • First prize contest ever in Higher Ed.
  • Prize $$
  • Provided equipment, stock footage
  • Provided Music (eliminated copyright risk)
  • Channel:
  • Promoted online, print, email



  • Very successful
  • Supported rebranding
  • Repurposed the video
  • Total Cost $1,750
  • Voting required custom development

Contest recap

  • Define contest clearly - Video length, info inclusion, ground rules
  • Clearly defined rewards
  • provide equip (level the playing field)
  • use formal voting
  • promote!!!
  • get creative - Animoto!


O-H-I-O Campaign

  • Fell into it - just started getting OHIO photos
  • Provided a channel
  • Promoted It
  • 3.047 photos
  • Used content for TV commercials - link - didn’t pay a dime for the commercial
  • Got worldwide licenses

Photo Recap

  • Keep your eyes open - what are student and alum already doing?
  • Catalogue as you go
  • Use Keywords
  • Capture stories behind the photos - key!
  • Get rights if you can

Student Blogs - Cornerstone of your Social Media

Blogs: Value is ??

  • What is your school getting out of this?
  • Your brand or the bloggers?
  • Reporting?
  • Metrics?

Formula for Success

  • Plan Plan Plan - give them direction, but also freedom
  • Tie in SEO
  • Pick Bloggers carefully - get a good mix of students
  • Engage audience - Write an open ended blog, get comments and interaction
  • Don’t get stale - 95% of blogs on Technorati are stale, not updated in 6 months. Have fresh content
  • External Analytics - Google Analytics
  • Internal Analytics


  • Social media policy
  • Blogger agreement
  • Restrict live posting
  • Moderate Comments
  • reCAPTCHA - some tool for keeping SPAM out


Social Media Policy Examples






Q: Copyright risk for music?

A: Had to sign an agreement about not using copyrighted music, could pull down when a problem arises.

Q: What about paying student bloggers?

A: Half the school’s are paying their bloggers. Going rate is $5 a blog. Set parameters for what is considered a blog, how often, minimum word requirements, scheduled blog works great.

Q: What are you criteria to gauge success of Cafe New Paltz and DePaul Quad

A: Quantitative and Qualitative using Google Analytics. Biggest sign is are people coming back. Cafe New Paltz has had people asking about leaving it open all year, they want it up longer. This is success.

Q: What about work study or stipend or something?

A: Those are great. Get creative. You just want to stay away from the idea of control.

This post was written by:

Billy Adams - who has written 4 posts on .eduGuru

6 Responses to “eduwebliveblog - User Generated Content”

  1. Says:

    I’m really enjoying the blog posts. I think the idea of a parents network is a great idea. Do you know if the creator(s) of the DePaul Quad are on Twitter and what their twitter names are? Or do you have contact information for them? I’m hoping to pick their brains a little to get some more information to pitch a parents network to my team.

    Thanks! And keep up the Live Blogging!


  2. Says:

    Billy, it’s a well-written post, but how about the Twitter? Isn’t it should be there as Facebook, Myspace and Ning did?

  3. Says:

    this is a GREAT post. Thanks for the links.

  4. Says:

    @Lane the main person in charge of the DePaul Quad is Dara Crowfoot. You can reach her at DCROWFOO [at]

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