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An Emojional Connection
CURRENTS Article In 2017, school spirit is spelled out in emojis. As alumni's relationships with their alma maters go digital, institutions have started branding their own emoji keyboards. Emojis, GIFs, and stickers that come in keyboard packs are great for repping an institution on Facebook, Twitter, and via text messages. But having branded emojis doesn't mean spamming the internet with icons of your mascot making goofy faces. Institutions have to be strategic about their icon designs and rollout to get the most out of their media.

Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article A time portal that allows prospective students to glimpse their future at the U.K.'s University of Huddersfield drives this entertaining yet informative five-minute video; the University of Chicago's Short List email newsletter offers one-stop shopping for news, job listings, events, and stories ranging from the enlightening to the offbeat; and Towson's Presidential Ambassadors expanded their mission of educating peers about the importance of philanthropy by creating the university's first student-giving campaign.

Listen Up
CURRENTS Article Longwood University's Day After Graduation podcast, launched in February 2017, gets real with advice for navigating life after commencement. Alumni recall their own experiences during those first few years after leaving the Virginia institution.

Voices:
CURRENTS Article Advice on handling an advancement colleague's inappropriate relationship with a donor; Colorado State's lessons on making a recipe video; and how to avoid errors in your database's list of deceased alumni.

GIFs that Keep on Giving
CURRENTS Article If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what's the value of a shareworthy GIF? On social platforms, visual assets can attract, inform, and connect with audiences while also driving engagement. People recall more information when a picture accompanies text, neuroscience research shows, and tweets with images receive more clicks, favorites, and retweets than posts without images, according to Buffer, a social media management company. Tweets that incorporate GIFs earn 25 times the number of views and three to five times the number of likes than those without them, says the video-hosting and analytics firm Wistia. Take a look at some ways institutions are using GIFS to connect with their audiences.

Catch the Conversation
CURRENTS Article Social listening involves searching the never-ending stream of online conversations for comments that relate to your brand. A social listening operation encompasses much more than Twitter, Facebook, and your institution's other social accounts. According to Sprout Social, 30 percent of tweets that mention a brand don't include its Twitter handle, and only 9 percent of tweets are directed at brands. Yet many institutions are not equipped to catch the conversation beyond what's happening on their own social channels. There's a much wider world of social conversation on blogs, discussion forums, and websites such as Reddit. Many campuses have invested in social media management tools such as Sprout Social because they recognize the importance of monitoring social conversations. But many institutions are typically grabbing just the low-hanging fruit.

Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article Lawrence University aims to entice potential applicants is with a 10-page square mailer, which gives students a taste of life at the Wisconsin institution as well as an idea of what life might look like after graduation; a charming and authoritative third-grader leads "Today's Lesson: The Pennfield Fund," a five-minute video set up as a class about the importance of the Rhode Island independent school's annual fund; and during Alumni Weekend 2015, Imperial College London reveled in its graduates' proclivity for pranks.

Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary helps prospective students envision their place at the Kentucky institution; the University of Melbourne's advancement staff members create short, informal messages to prompt alumni recipients to update their contact information; and Miami University's Snapchat newsletter releases a Snapchat story filled with images of event fliers and details for activities happening on the Ohio campus each day.

Talking Shop: We’re All Ducks
CURRENTS Article Vu Le is the brains and comedic voice behind the Nonprofit with Balls blog. As an executive director of a nonprofit, Le often writes from the perspective of a grantee, producing no-nonsense articles such as “9 annoying nonprofit trends that need to die.” His Seattle-based organization, Rainier Valley Corps, trains people of color for nonprofit leadership positions, so he has lots to say about improving diversity.

Time for a Buzzword Diet
CURRENTS Article Every industry has its jargon. Advancement professionals are known offenders, using not only the words listed above but also many more. Leverage and impact, anyone? To help decrease the jargon in your office, the Kentucky-based creative agency Cornett has gone super-meta with the Marketing Buzzword Jar—a playful creation designed to make professionals think about the language they use.

How Well Do You Know PHIL?
CURRENTS Article North Carolina Wilmington’s PHIL Text Trivia puts information about the importance of giving right into students’ hands. Students opt in to the bimonthly quiz for the chance to score prizes, and advancement staff hope that the quiz inspires students to give as alumni.

Talking Shop: Social Strategist
CURRENTS Article To Nikki Sunstrum, director of social media at the University of Michigan, social media channels shouldn't be viewed as "shiny" but rather as strategic communications platforms. Since Sunstrum joined U-M in January 2014, the university has become a leader in using Snapchat to engage with prospective and current students as well as young alumni. "If you're not going to put the most valuable content in that space, it's a missed opportunity," she says. Sunstrum will chair the 2017 CASE Social Media and Community Conference, which will be held March 13–15 in Los Angeles.

Grand Gold Rush
CURRENTS Article Inspired design, storytelling, ingenuity, humor, and brevity were hallmarks of this year's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Grand Gold winners, the highest prize bestowed by the program. Whether attracting international applicants with an ambitious contest, sharing advice through campus fun facts and pride points, demonstrating that campus quirks will garner attention and gifts, or redesigning a magazine in a way that makes class notes inviting and (gasp!) readable, institutions relied on research, knowledge, and creative skill to push boundaries and deliver inspired work—much of it produced in-house.

How Well Do You Know Your Alumni?
CURRENTS Article Schools and universities are harvesting information alumni self-report or using behavioral analytics—how people react to content—to drive communications, engagement, and fundraising strategies. Social media insights allow institutions to identify prospects and volunteers and better understand existing ones. Much of the innovation is coming from companies with proprietary software, such as EverTrue, Cerkl, IBM, and QuadWrangle, as many colleges and universities lack the bandwidth to constantly monitor social media. But monitor they must. One recent survey found that 72 percent of people who complain to a company via Twitter expect a reply—within the hour.

Voices
CURRENTS Article Advice on handling donor information learned during a previous position, and members share what app changed their life.

Copy And Share Everything
CURRENTS Article Ideas we love from institutions everywhere: University College Dublin's September 2015 Woodland Walkies event brought alumni and community members to campus for a day of guided walks, animal behavior talks, pet care tips from practitioners and students at UCD's School of Veterinary Medicine; Wake Forest University's June 2015 "52 Hours of Giving" annual fund campaign challenge spurred excitement with a limited edition deck of playing cards; and Imperial College London's October 2015 Imperial Apocalypse social media campaign encouraged students to submit scientific tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

Talking Shop: Raising Gifts, Sharing GIFs
CURRENTS Article Rory Green is a second-generation development officer—both of her parents were fundraisers—and the founder of Fundraiser Grrl, a cheeky crowdsourced blog about the rewarding, frustrating, and downright outlandish things fundraisers experience. Through the GIF-driven posts, fundraisers both celebrate and gripe about their professional lives. Face palms, snark, and funny tales abound.

When ‘Like’ Meets Loss
CURRENTS Article An institution's crisis communication plan should include social media. It's important to discuss how these platforms may be used before a situation occurs. Twitter, Facebook, and other channels should not, for instance, be the primary source of information, but they are useful for providing updates and spreading news, such as communicating whether the campus is safe and directing people to a university website to learn more about unfolding events. Brief messages like these assure people that more information is coming. They can also reassure friends and family members who do not receive the campus's emergency notifications.

Copy And Share Everything
CURRENTS Article Bow Valley College's regional advertising campaign; the University of Leicester's video to raise awareness for its participation in the United Nations' HeForShe campaign for gender equality; and the University of Missouri creative team's helpful and entertaining online news article "Emailing Your Professor: You're Doing It Wrong."

Setting a Social Tone
CURRENTS Article To help members of Boston University's social media communicators' group envision the institution's tone on different social channels, BU's digital engagement associate started using emojis as a kind of visual shorthand. The icons helped jump-start conversations about content challenges and encouraged people to think creatively.

By the Numbers: Post Modern
CURRENTS Article How do you connect thoroughly wired students to an ancient art form? With technology, of course. Located within the Coast Salish Nation, the British Columbia Institute of Technology commissioned a totem-like house post for the atrium of its Gateway building. The house post is a tribute to the Coast Salish people and part of an effort to recruit more aboriginal students, who make up just 7 percent of the student body. An etched copper QR code is attached to the post, which is a stop on campus tours. Scanning the QR code—one of only a few forms of technology that can be handmade to connect to digital space—opens a website that serves as digital storytelling for prospective students.

A Star Graduates
CURRENTS Article Alyssa Levenberg isn't just a student at the State University of New York at Oswego: She's a video star. As the producer, editor, and host of the popular campus series Alyssa Explains It All, this video blogger—or vlogger—chats about navigating college life, covering topics such as interacting with roommates and professors to coping with dining hall food and stress. Her 50-plus episodes, primarily geared toward prospective and incoming students, have racked up more than 40,000 views on YouTube alone. CURRENTS spoke with Levenberg, who will graduate in May 2016, and Tim Nekritz, associate director of communications and marketing and director of digital communications at SUNY Oswego. They talked about what they've learned from producing the series—and how it all started in 2012 with a tweet from the then-freshman offering to make videos.

Advance Work
CURRENTS Article CURRENTS April 2016 Advance Work stories: MIT students continue the tradition of a piano plunge during class drop day; a recent poll gives insight into why alumni don't give; Princeton University social media staff use a game to streghthen skills and teamwork; Lakefield College School boosts giving through an alumni challenge campaign; and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, students place apples at the feet of a statute of Minerva for luck during finals.

Flipping the Conversation on Yik Yak
CURRENTS Article Keele University used Yik Yak, a geo-social app popular among college students, to generate positive engagement between students and the university and raise awareness of the institution's social channels.

Does Your Institution Have a Social Media Transition Plan?
CURRENTS Article An institution's communications strategy should include social media management, but too often the protocols, processes, and permissions essential for overseeing social channels aren't well documented or communicated, particularly in smaller shops. During a staff turnover, such a lack of forethought can harm an institution's brand and reputation, compromise data security, and, in extreme cases, attract unwanted attention and headlines. With proper planning and governance, you can provide a smooth changing of the social guard, whether during planned departures, re-assignments, extended leaves, or, yes, even dismissals.

The Mane Event
CURRENTS Article In July 2015, the host of the late-night television show Jimmy Kimmel Live! ranted to viewers about the death of Cecil, a beloved lion shot in Zimbabwe by an American hunter. The comedian shared the website for the University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), which had tracked Cecil, and encouraged viewers to give. In 10 days, WildCRU received £547,147 from nearly 13,000 donors. Here are some of the successes and challenges WildCRU faced.

Snap Into Snapchat
CURRENTS Article Princeton University started a Snapchat account in April 2014 to share photos, text, and video in story form and to reach current and prospective students. Is the app right for your institution?

The Write Kind of Love
CURRENTS Article At the website MoreLoveLetters.com, people can request love letter bundles for people in need or volunteer to write them. More than 20,000 volunteers—including students belonging to the site's 60-plus Campus Cursive chapters—have helped send more than 100,000 letters to people around the world. Founder Hannah Brencher's memoir, If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers, comes out in paperback in spring 2016.

Save Prospective Applicants from Hitting a Wall
CURRENTS Article How a website looks and functions affects how people perceive and interact with businesses and organizations. User experience matters. Here's how Friends' Central School in Pennsylvania became more responsive to prospective families' needs by focusing on how those families interacted with the school's website.

Do Traditions Matter?
CURRENTS Article Illinois State University's traditions website features 15 traditions that combine the best of the 159-year-old university's history, student life, academics, and athletics. The goal is to improve alumni engagement, encourage philanthropy, and "reflect what ISU strives to be" by identifying the university's traditions, which include places, activities, and historical events, and making them a core part of ISU's culture.

Yep, This Is a Virtual Event
CURRENTS Article From class reunions to networking, more and more universities are getting savvy at hosting virtual events. Here's how eight institutions are doing it right.

2015 Circle of Excellence Grand Gold Winners
CURRENTS Article Emotion and connection were major themes among 2015's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Grand Gold winners. Whether communicating about a deadly virus, cultivating entrepreneurs, engaging alumni with advanced degrees, or sharing the inspiring story of a college student whose life was cut short by illness, institutions dug deeply into their creative toolboxes-though not necessarily into their budgets. They also had fun courting prospective students and welcoming new admits to the family.

Snap Into It
CURRENTS Article Snapchat use among teens and traditional college-age students is exploding, and colleges and universities report that students have embraced their institution's use of the app. Should your institution be on Snapchat too? Here are some insights social media pros shared during a July 2015 #casesmc Twitter chat on Snapchat basics.

Odds and Ends: When Tweets Attack
CURRENTS Article Journalist Jon Ronson's latest book explores why people shame others on social media and what happens to those whose lives get crushed online because of a clumsily worded joke or poorly expressed comment.

Live from Campus
CURRENTS Article Video drives engagement and can help institutions reach key populations. Colleges and universities are using Google Hang­outs, which can be archived on their YouTube channels, to broadcast everything from Q&A sessions for prospective students to discussions of newsworthy issues that highlight faculty members' expertise.

What’s the Idea?
CURRENTS Article A student advisory committee helps the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign assess ideas for planning and promoting online and in-person campus events.

Tweet Threads
CURRENTS Article One of Augustana College's oldest living alumni uses Twitter to receive a free "ugly holiday sweater" from the institution.

Odds and Ends: On a Path to Giving Better
CURRENTS Article New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof discusses philanthropic giving and empathy.

Winning Shares
CURRENTS Article West Virginia University and the University of Melbourne have awarded prizes in contests encouraging graduates to share photos and content on commencement-related hashtags.

Fool-ish Fun That’s True to the Brand
CURRENTS Article If Legoland had a university, it would look a lot like the one depicted on the University of Rochester's website on April 1, 2014.

Talking Points: The Bandwidth Battle
CURRENTS Article Net neutrality will only become more important as new technologies transform education and the economy. Higher education institutions and libraries must remain vigilant and defend the need for an open and neutral Internet. We can do this individually or through our professional organizations and by reaching out to our members of Congress and the FCC. Preserving the free flow of information over the Internet is critical to our educational purpose and mission.

Office Space: Planning for Diversity
CURRENTS Article By thinking broadly about key dates, events, traditions, and themes, you can go beyond the diversity people see and incorporate what they don't see: diversity of geography, backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, abilities, accomplishments, opinions, ideas, interests, and thought. The content we produce should reflect the people who make our institutional communities what they are.

Sowing Skills, Reaping Content
CURRENTS Article A year after CASE’s 2014 Multimedia Workshop, participants reflect on their successes and lessons learned—from the intricacies of on-camera interviews to growing audiences.

Resolve to Connect
CURRENTS Article How campus leaders can make time for Twitter

Next-Generation Networking
CURRENTS Article A growing number of institutions are adopting Switchboard, an online bulleting board, as an alumni and student benefit. The site was created in 2012 by two Reed College alumni as a volunteer project: a way to connect the Oregon institution's alumni, students, faculty, and parents. Now it's a business. The model is also expanding to communities beyond universities, from women bicyclists to meat sellers.

Greeting the Season
CURRENTS Article Four institutions get creative with their digital holiday messages.

Stepping Out of Chuck’s Corner
CURRENTS Article After spending 15 years building a blog with 75,000-plus readers, Chuck Will retired in June from Proctor Academy, the New Hampshire independent boarding and day school where he worked for 38 years. Before his final post, he shared some lessons he's learned while writing and taking pictures for the quirky, photo-driven blog Chuck's Corner.

Buzzword Alert
CURRENTS Article "Instaception" is the act of taking an Instagram photo of other people taking Instagram photos, as attendees of the HighEdWeb 2012 conference did.

Been There, Done That, Made the Video
CURRENTS Article A marketing and communications professional at an independent school details his learning curve and growing pains as he implemented a multimedia plan.

Office Space: Social Skills for Social Media
CURRENTS Article What and how we share online is an important life skill and an essential part of our personal and professional development—particularly as digital communication skills become a factor in how we're evaluated for jobs and other opportunities. Helping students, faculty, staff, and other constituents understand and develop their digital identities should be an institutional priority and a part of the educational experience. It should also be an important aspect of our work in advancement.

Social Standing
CURRENTS Article Highlights from the fifth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey of nearly 2,000 CASE members, conducted in January 2014

The Hashtag Heard ’Round the World
CURRENTS Article One of the most visible and successful examples of student activists advocating causes and issues on social media is #BBUM (Being Black at the University of Michigan), a Twitter campaign launched by U-M's Black Student Union in November 2013. In this article, CURRENTS interviews a communications vice president at U-M about the lessons that she and the institution learned.

Outlook: Develop Social Media Rules—and a Spine
CURRENTS Article Professors use social media too, and sometimes their posts can create controversy for their institutions, causing some colleges and universities to adopt policies to regulate the use of social media. But what should those policies look like?

Glass on Campus
CURRENTS Article Yeshiva University's president is wearing Google Glass as part of an experiment to share the campus CEO's perspective in a new way.

Odds and Ends: Generational App-titudes
CURRENTS Article In this Q-and-A, author Katie Davis discusses her book, The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World.

Engaging Race
CURRENTS Article Iowa's Drake University explains its strategy behind live-streaming the Beautiful Bulldog Contest, the much-anticipated kickoff for the Drake Relays, the institution's track and field competition.

Content Marketing in Focus
CURRENTS Article This article clears up the confusion about content marketing and explains how it works versus traditional advertising. Oregon State University integrated video content marketing into its recent “Powered by Orange” campaign, and the university’s web communications director explains that it’s possible to create effective content marketing in house, but it’s not simple or cheap—two common misconceptions.

Dropping Pearls
CURRENTS Article This short story provides information about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's social media campaign called "Harvey's Perls of Knowledge," which features UNL's Chancellor Harvey Perlman in 17 videos that target prospective and current students.

Go Viral
CURRENTS Article Zookeepers post a YouTube video of a baby panda sneezing, and it goes viral. But what does “going viral” mean, and how can educational institutions produce viral content? Griffith University recently conducted a survey on viral marketing and communications practices in higher education that addresses those questions. One of the study’s administrators highlights results from the survey, clears up misconceptions about viral content, and offers tips on how institutions can create compelling content.

Connecting Communicators
CURRENTS Article How do on-campus communicators stay connected at large decentralized universities? Many are developing a communicators network. CURRENTS explores the makeup of these networks (Hint: Social media plays a role.) and how they enhance institutions’ communications and marketing efforts.

Seeing the Bigger Picture
CURRENTS Article As social media proliferate and grow in popularity, schools, colleges, and universities want to capture and capitalize on their audiences' real-time conversations across these channels. This short article explores how several institutions are using some of the newer sites.

Office Space: Connecting Past, Present, and Future
CURRENTS Article As library archives have gone digital in recent years, many institutional treasures are now publicly accessible online, making them a place alumni can visit anytime, anywhere to recollect and reconnect. The material inside also offers new opportunities for engaging your institution's audiences—and it can even make your job as an advancement professional a little bit easier.

Odds and Ends: Card Snark
CURRENTS Article This article is a Q-and-A with Someecards co-founder brook Lundy. Since the unconventional e-card site launched in 2007, it's become the sarcastic, witty voice for the frustrations and passive-aggressive urges of everyday life, especially in the workplace. The site sinks its teeth into college life too.

Office Space: Growing Content Is Everyone’s Job
CURRENTS Article Creating engaging social media content isn't the job of just one person: Everyone has a part to play in that endeavor.

Social Media by the Numbers
CURRENTS Article Fifty-seven percent of all social media account holders followed at least one nonprofit in 2013, up from 43 percent in 2011.

Rescuing the Annual Fund from the Ho-Hum
CURRENTS Article The typical annual fund message about closing the budget gap is boring and confusing. So the Powhatan School injected some creativity, in the form of playfully kitschy videos, into explaining why the fund is important.

LinkedIn to the Rescue
CURRENTS Article Alumni relations professionals share tips for using LinkedIn to provide graduates enhanced career services and opportunities to engage with their alma maters.

Office Space: On Media and Mentoring
CURRENTS Article This column examines the lessons one communications professional learned about collegiality while building a campus news operation that recruited campus colleagues without a journalism background to contribute to the institution's news website.

Looking Back at the Boston Bombings
CURRENTS Article Six months after the Boston Marathon bombings and the five-day manhunt that followed, five officials from area universities reflect on how they and their institutions dealt with the events that unfolded that week.

Odds and Ends: View Master
CURRENTS Article In this Q-and-A interview, Kevin Allocca, trends manager at YouTube, discusses the emerging art and science behind growing audiences for YouTube channels, the popularity of educational video content, the ability to track the impact of cultural trends, and misconceptions about what different generations are really watching on YouTube.

All in the Hamily
CURRENTS Article This feature article looks at how Hamilton College developed its own moderated social media platform, The Scroll, which relies heavily on user-generated content to engage its audiences in authentic, lively, and uncensored conversations that represent and embolden the New York institution's brand.

Building Community Five Minutes at a Time
CURRENTS Article Students, alumni, faculty, even parents, at Viewpoint School in California come together at lunch a few times each year to present TED-style talks—known as 5Ups—with the goal of inspiring, igniting, and informing the community. The talks, which are recorded and made available on the school's YouTube channel, are intended to demonstrate Viewpoint's values, vision, and commitment to lifelong learning.

Communication Revolution
CURRENTS Article This article highlights findings from CASE's first survey on communications and marketing trends, which was conducted in February and March 2013. The senior-most communications and marketing professionals at CASE member institutions responded to the survey, which is slated to be conducted every two years in order to track trends over time.

The China Connection
CURRENTS Article This article explores how and why institutions are using Sina Weibo and other Chinese social media platforms to recruit prospective students and engage alumni.

Where Younger Donors Go for Data
CURRENTS Article Young major donors research causes on the web, according to new research noting the importance of donor-friendly websites.

Weathering the Superstorm
CURRENTS Article This article looks at how some colleges and universities in New York and New Jersey communicated with its stakeholders during and after Hurricane Sandy in late 2012 and briefly discusses some of the advancement issues they had to address as communities dealt with the superstorm's aftereffects.

Tackling Social Media
CURRENTS Article Communications consultant Chris Syme writes about the results of a recent social media training program she conducted for student athletes. She also discusses how college and university athletic departments are addressing the issue of social media training and provides examples from institutions that are guiding their student athletes in the responsible use of social media.

Managing Content, Managing Change
CURRENTS Article This article explores the importance of an institutional content strategy and how institutions can develop cross-platform strategies and repurpose content. What is content strategy, and how are institutions approaching it? How is this changing the role of higher education communications professionals?

Trading Places
CURRENTS Article This article highlights a contest that Canada's York University began in 2012. A York undergraduate student won the right to switch places with the institution's president for a day while the president took on the student's classes and schedule for the day.

Office Space: Social Connection
CURRENTS Article In this column, a young social media coordinator discusses the mistaken notion that age should be a factor when it comes to working in social media and offers advice to people working in the field and the people who manage them.

Odds and Ends: Talkin’ ’Bout Their Generations
CURRENTS Article Jane Buckingham, CEO of the market research and trend forecasting firm Trendera, discusses generational differences and how they relate to students belonging to Generations Y and V (her term for the latest generation because so much of their experience will happen virally). In this Q-and-A, Buckingham talks about marketing to these age groups, how institutions are doing communicating with them, and how to teach young people about using social media responsibly, among other issues.

What to Ponder Before You Pin
CURRENTS Article This article discusses the criteria that the social media staff at Marquette University developed to help them decide whether to devote time and resources to new social media platforms. It also looks at how Marquette University and advancement professionals at other institutions use social media channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Office Space: A Resolution for the Digital Revolution
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the effect that email and other forms of electronic communication have had on how people communicate inside and outside the workplace, particularly how they have shifted people's expectations of appropriate response times, following up, and relationship building.

Artistic Statement
CURRENTS Article Simon Fraser University brings its strategic vision statement to life with a graphic animation video that illustrates its priorities and brand attributes.

Hail to the Tweeps
CURRENTS Article This article looks at how college and university presidents and chancellors are using social media channels, particularly Twitter, to communicate and engage with students, faculty, staff, parents, and the campus community.

Odds and Ends: Online Life Is a Virtual Cafe
CURRENTS Article In this Q-and-A with Jonah Peretti, CEO of BuzzFeed, he discusses virality, social readers, and how people portray themselves on social media, and likens how people use social media and the Internet to time spent in a Paris cafe.

Keeping Pace
CURRENTS Article This article looks at how the continuous change in technology and communications tools—particularly social media—are changing the way advancement communications offices operate.

Say What?
CURRENTS Article Middlebury alumni and students have recorded memories, or Murmurs, to engage alumni and prospective students.

How Permissive Are You?
CURRENTS Article Manage the permissions of your social media accounts through the website mypermissions.org.

Did You See That?
CURRENTS Article Part art and part science, a good video can be an incredibly powerful tool to connect with your audiences.

Atrévete a Ser el Primero [Dare to Be First]
CURRENTS Article The University of Delaware launched a website in Spanish in November 2011. This online foray into another language is an important step in the institution's continuing globalization and its goal to develop a more diverse campus community.

Outlook: Just Do It
CURRENTS Article Social media is a tool in an organization's communications arsenal, not the sole means of disseminating a message.

Give Them What They Want
CURRENTS Article The University of Connecticut is devising new communications strategies, including experimenting with email segmentation, to make its philanthropic messaging relevant.

Fast, Broad, and Frequent
CURRENTS Article Social media tools (now used in some form by 100 percent of all four-year universities in the United States as a way to reach students, according to a 2011 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth study) have become essential for university communication departments, and they take on even more importance during emergencies.

Odds and Ends: Device Daze
CURRENTS Article CURRENTS talks to MIT professor and author Sherry Turkle about the adverse effects of our digital dependence.

The Move to Mobile
CURRENTS Article It’s clear that students, not to mention higher education’s other audiences, are in the mobile space. So now what? This article explores how colleges and universities are forging ahead with mobile strategies and learning from one another.

Good Question
CURRENTS Article Does CASE have any recommendations or best practices for developing a mobile website and samples from institutions that have already done so?

On the Blog
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the positive effects having faculty members blog for your institution can have in terms of attracting and recruiting students, providing information to parents, giving people a window into what life at the institution is like, and getting your institution's name out on the web in a different way that is still allied with generating positive attention for your institution.

Plus One More?
CURRENTS Article This article looks at Google's latest foray into social networking, Google+, a tool that debuted in summer 2011. Higher education social media and communications professionals discuss the potential of the new tool and its uses and implications for higher education institutions, particularly in terms of its brand pages, which were released in early November 2011.

Crème de la Crème
CURRENTS Article In 2011, 268 bronze, silver, gold, and grand gold Circle of Excellence awards went to 171 colleges, universities, independent schools, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. Eight of those grand gold and gold award winners are profiled here.

All Together Now
CURRENTS Article This article looks at how the public affairs department and admissions office at the College of the Holy Cross collaborated to overhaul and update the college's admissions recruitment materials, print and online, and how the process not only improved the products but also improved the working relationship between the departments and set an example for the campus. The authors discuss the lessons they learned from the process and the importance of some of the choices they made along the way.

Annual Report Angst?
CURRENTS Article A chart shows different formats for foundations' annual reports and what percentage of foundations are using each format.

Office Space: Wiki Wisdom
CURRENTS Article This column discusses why Wikipedia and higher education have a natural relationship; why understanding how Wikipedia works is an important media literacy skills for students, faculty, and staff in higher education; offers brief explanations about the Wikipedia editing process; provides some do's and don'ts; and highlights the recently expanded Global Education Program, which encourages faculty to include Wikipedia editing in course curricula.

Prepare to Engage
CURRENTS Article This article discusses the importance of focusing on building community and creating a two-way social media conversation with your institution's constituents. Experts advise that institutions using social media should be less concerned with the tools they're using and more concerned with whether and how they're engaging their alumni, students, and other constituencies. In addition, rather than jumping into using several tools, it's more important to first use a tool well before moving on to add another tool. The article also discusses some of the findings from the 2011 CASE/mStoner/Slover Linett social media survey.

Use Them … or Lose Them?
CURRENTS Article This short feature article offers a point-counterpoint view on using quick-response codes, known as QR codes. Chuck Cunningham of the University of Guelph in Canada advocates for using them, citing his institution's positive experience including them in Guelph's viewbook and other admissions marketing materials. Meanwhile, Cassie Dull of Park Tudor School in Indiana argues that QR codes are more of a trend than a useful marketing innovation, suggesting that those who use them may be suffering from shiny object syndrome.

Tiempo en pantalla
CURRENTS Article Con el lanzamiento y popularidad the iPad y otras tablets así como el Kindle, una gran cantidad de revistas de exalumnos de Universidades han dado un giro experimentando con nuevos formatos electrónicos.

Screen Time
CURRENTS Article With the release and growing popularity of the iPad and other tablets as well as the Kindle and other e-readers among alumni, a handful of college and university alumni magazines have taken the leap into experimenting with these new electronic formats.

Odds and Ends: Eyes on the Hill
CURRENTS Article In this interview, Brian Lamb, the founder and CEO of the cable public affairs television network C-SPAN, discusses the renaming of Purdue University's college of communication after him, why he doesn't use social media, and why he prefers nonfiction over fiction.

These Gowns Are Made for Walking
CURRENTS Article This article discusses Brigham Young University's "Walk" campaign, the centerpiece of which was a lighthearted yet sentimental YouTube video designed to encourage students to participate in commencement.

Behind the Numbers
CURRENTS Article This article by Web strategist Shelby Thayer looks at the importance of applying Web analytics to higher education websites and discusses how the data from analytics can inform and improve strategy for admissions efforts and marketing campaigns and help drive traffic to a website. The article delves into why website managers and higher education leaders should be interested in this data, particularly as it relates to outcomes or conversions.

Worldwide Connections
CURRENTS Article A chart shows social networking usage data by country.

Virtual History
CURRENTS Article This brief article discusses the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Digital UMass project, which has digitized documents, papers, other materials, and more than 13,000 photos that trace the history of the college and placed them online for the public and researchers to access and explore.

Outlook: New Directions
CURRENTS Article As education and advancement leaders are exhorted to be more open, they fret about letting go of control. What leaders need to accept to succeed in today's social media landscape is that they are no longer in control (and probably never really were to the degree they thought).

Global Greetings
CURRENTS Article This article discusses Mount Holyoke College's efforts to involve its international alumnae and other audiences to make the inauguration of its 18th president a global event. The communications team leveraged the Web and social media, in addition to traditional communications tactics and tools, to reach out to its constituents. The article also discusses how the team measured and followed up on its efforts, from thanking staff to increasing its use of video to communicate with alumnae and other audiences.

Detrás de los Números
CURRENTS Article En este artículo, la estratega web Shelby Thayer de Penn State expone el caso por lo que una institución debe contar con una analítica web.

Building Something More
CURRENTS Article The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign uses a website, social media, video, and photography to highlight the facelift of an institutional landmark while investing in the future with a scholarship program for its students.

Homing in on Hits
CURRENTS Article A flash mob at The Ohio State University's student union that went viral got a campus communicator thinking about what makes some videos popular, which has led to some experimenting and strategizing to develop ideas that elicit what may be the key: authentic, happy reactions.

Office Space: Asset Management
CURRENTS Article Today's students are naturals when it comes to creating content for the Web and social media. This article discusses how to involve them in telling the story of your institution and things to consider when working with these content creators.

Core Communications
CURRENTS Article In this article, three communications professionals from San Diego State University, Hamilton College, and Michigan State University, respectively, describe the processes their campuses went through in redesigning their websites and the issues they had to address, including content management systems, accessibility for people with disabilities, what should be included on the home page and why, and training campus site editors to maintain site consistency as well as ease of use.

Hacer contacto
CURRENTS Article Este artículo habla sobre cómo las instituciones están utilizando, mensajes de texto, video, correos electrónicos, blogs, foros de discusión en línea, redes sociales y aplicaciones para el teléfono celular como medios de mercadotecnia para alcanzar a futuros y actuales estudiantes que consideran que el correo electrónico es un medio lento y pasado de moda.

Top 10 Global Markets for Twitter
CURRENTS Article A bar chart showing the top 10 global markets for Twitter.

Office Space: Strategic View
CURRENTS Article This article discusses who at an institution, depending on the campus, may be involved in devising social media strategy but makes it clear that partnerships across departments are essential. It also provides examples based on the experience of a few institutions and offers a sample social media brief that helped guide the author in discussions with colleagues who requested a separate social media presence for their group, office, or department.

Making Contact
CURRENTS Article This article discusses how institutions are using texting, video e-mail, marketing techniques, student blogs, private social networks, mobile applications, and more to try to reach prospective and currents students at a time when e-mail is viewed as old-fashioned and slow.

Location, Location, Location
CURRENTS Article This article discusses several location-based social networking services (also known as geosocial networking), including Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Whrrl, and Facebook Places, and provides information about how some institutions are experimenting with them to connect and engage with campus constituencies.

Medios combinados
CURRENTS Article Manejar el fragmentado entorno mediático actual y aprovechar las redes sociales son acciones críticas para el éxito de la prensa.

Social Experiments
CURRENTS Article This article presents results from CASE's first social media survey. Nearly 1,000 advancement professionals responded to the survey, which asked them, for example, who managed social media activities in their office, how successful were their social media efforts, which platforms did they use the most, which barriers to social media success were most common, and much more.

Rising Above
CURRENTS Article This article highlights eight of the 2010 Circle of Excellence Award winners. Each year the awards recognize the best programs and products in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, marketing, and fundraising.

Opinionated Tweets
CURRENTS Article Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found that Twitter messages are capable of capturing "important large-scale trends" in much the same way as public opinion polls do.

The Future Is Here
CURRENTS Article Research universities have banded together to create Futurity.org, a website that aggregates their research in the form of accessible, engaging news stories.

Office Space: A New Breed
CURRENTS Article The role of the social media community manager is not just about technology or updating content. It is about engaging various constituencies in thoughtful, strategic ways.

Mixed Media
CURRENTS Article Successful media relations in today’s world require institutions to communicate their message online and across several social media platforms as well as to traditional media. The article discusses institutions’ use of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and distinct distribution channels to disseminate stories to their various audiences and constituents.

Odds and Ends: Where the President Knows Your Name
CURRENTS Article In this interview, Walter Kimbrough, president of Philander Smith College, talks to CURRENTS about his use of social media, as well as the impact philanthropy can have on historically black colleges and universities.

Sizing Up Social Media
CURRENTS Article As institutions increasingly engage in social media, it’s important to understand what effect these efforts are having on your different constituencies. Jerold Pearson, of the firm eAdvancement and director of market research for the Stanford Alumni Association, looks at the findings of a survey about the social media usage of Stanford alumni as well as surveys of how alumni of other institutions use social networks, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn.

Following the Threads
CURRENTS Article In early 2009, Oregon State University halted all of its print publications and focused its communication and marketing resources online by diving into social media. While Oregon State’s "Powered by Orange" is among the most respected social media campaigns in higher education, it is also an anomaly. Most institutions enter into social media by dipping one toe in the water. This article discusses how different institutions have approached various social media platforms; such as Facebook and Twitter, the role that campus leadership plays in their success; and the financial investment and staffing adjustments involved in these efforts.

News That Woos
CURRENTS Article Bowdoin College offers alumni, students, and friends an online news website, the Bowdoin Daily Sun, that keeps them up-to-date about campus happenings as well as aggregates news clips from other, national publications about what's going on in the world.

Holiday Hijinks
CURRENTS Article During the holiday season of 2009, marketing staff at the University of North Carolina used UNC School of Medicine faculty to create a humorous video in which psychology experts discussed the cantankerous nature of Dr. Suess' the Grinch. The video led to many hits on YouTube and was picked up by several news outlets.

Bird on a Wire
CURRENTS Article New social media platforms are emerging, but how do you know what is best for your institution? Author Brad Ward examines the landscape of Twitter in higher education and looks at its positives and negatives.

Virtually Yours
CURRENTS Article Technology is providing alumni relations professionals with a new way to organize events and engage more alumni, but it also offers us the opportunity to look at our field through a new lens. For example, using webcams and digital recorders, brick-and-mortar events can be retooled to reach more than just those people who attend. Alumni leaders now have the ability to engage their entire database worldwide without being limited to a particular venue, region, or timeframe.

Virtualmente suyo
CURRENTS Article La tecnología ofrece a los profesionales de la vinculación con exalumnos un nuevo prisma para ver los eventos. Es el fin de una era en las relaciones con los exalumnos. Las evidencias están a la vista, y la mayoría de nosotros no las hemos visto o no estamos dispuestos a aceptarlas. Para muchas asociaciones de exalumnos, la asistencia y la participación en eventos y programas siguen disminuyendo mientras los costos que conllevan siguen aumentando. Los sitios de redes sociales, y otras herramientas web 2.0 ofrecen nuevas formas de comunicarse con los egresados, sin mencionar que son nuevas formas para que éstos se comuniquen entre sí sin la participación de las asociaciones de exalumnos.

Office Space: The 10 Laws of Storytelling
CURRENTS Article To keep someone clicking on your site, give them quality content.

Advance Work: Tweet and Greet
CURRENTS Article The University of Leeds uses Twitter to communicate about its annual fund drive. Student phonathon callers tweet about the nightly results and other information of note.

Advance Work: Word Play
CURRENTS Article Educational institutions should consider adding video captioning to their online multimedia content. Captioning not only helps users who are hard of hearing, but it also increases Web searchability.

Advance Work: Not the Same Song and Dance
CURRENTS Article While poking fun at themselves, the University of Delaware admissions department might have shown potential students the lighter side of the institution.

Security Locks
CURRENTS Article Institutions should create a communications policy that reaches anyone with access to data.

In Full Bloom
CURRENTS Article The digital age is upon us, with technology reshaping the way institutions interact with students, faculty, alumni, and donors. Find out how this new age is changing the world of communications and marketing, alumni relations, and development.

Advance Work: Optimize Primer
CURRENTS Article As SEO becomes a larger part of communications and marketing, institutions need to reevaluate their own Web sites.

Recetas para Alcanzar el Éxito
CURRENTS Article Las redes sociales están cambiando la forma como interactúan las instituciones con los estudiantes, los profesores, los ex alumnos y los donadores. Debido a su tamaño, las escuelas independientes se encuentran, a menudo, a la vanguardia de la tecnología. Descubra cómo se comunican de forma más eficiente las escuelas a través de las redes sociales.

Office Space: Show Don't Tell
CURRENTS Article In such a crowded digital world, institutions' Web pages need to be the providers of fresh and interesting content.

Recipes for Success
CURRENTS Article Social media is changing the way institutions interact with students, faculty, alumni, and donors. Because of their size, many times independent schools are on the bleeding edge of technology. Find out how schools are communicating more efficiently through social media.

Advance Work: Talking Through Twitter
CURRENTS Article Though Twitter is becoming more mainstream, university and college faculty are still slow to adopt this new media tool.

The Sea of Social Media
CURRENTS Article As social media grows in use, institutions need to look closely at how they are using these new tools in communications and marketing. Some institutions are charting a course by using different mediums to meet its strategic goals.

Advance Work: News at Your Fingertips
CURRENTS Article The University of Waterloo is offering its iPhone- and BlackBerry-wielding alumni the option of receiving school news on their mobile devices.

Reunion Is in Hand
CURRENTS Article For its 150th anniversary of class-based reunions, Princeton University created Reunions Mobile, a mobile Web site that provides a portable way to communicate maps, schedules, and important messages to thousands of returning alumni.

Operation Reputation
CURRENTS Article In today's world of social media, users can post their own thoughts, comments, and content, and readers can take it as fact. So how do institutions navigate the networks and find fact rather than fiction? Take a look at how you can police the posts and still maintain credibility.

Tech Support: The E-mail Manifesto
CURRENTS Article It may seem mundane compared with a whiz-bang Web site, but e-mail works

Office Space: Found in Translation
CURRENTS Article Knowing how to navigate the wild frontier of Web 2.0

Streaming Media
CURRENTS Article In today's changing digital landscape, marketing and communications professionals need to develop a strategy for how to integrate the new media with the old.

Advance Work: All a Twitter
CURRENTS Article A recent look at college and university Twitter accounts reveals that many institutions are not exactly "tweeting" up a storm.

Yes, You Can
CURRENTS Article This article takes a close look at the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, which merged old-fashioned grass-roots politics with new technology, shattered fundraising records, and energized millions of people, and explores the ways in which its lessons can be used by advancement professionals.

Advance Work: Podcast Pushers
CURRENTS Article The use of podcasts is steadily growing, according to a May 2008 survey, and higher education is helping this growth.

Advance Work: Map Attack
CURRENTS Article Dickinson College is using Google Maps to put a new spin on the alumni directory.

Advance Work: Work with What You’ve Got
CURRENTS Article Live video of a robin's nest with eggs drew an unexpected following for Duke University's Web site and underscored the power of social networking.

Advance Work: Facebook or Bust
CURRENTS Article A survey of 18- to 24-year-olds found that lack of access to Facebook or YouTube at work would cause some to quit.

Advance Work: YouTube to the Rescue
CURRENTS Article When California State University, Fresno, wanted to take the focus off some questionable student content on YouTube, officials decided to use the online video site to the university's advantage.

Talking Points: Text Vexed
CURRENTS Article In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, campuses are looking for ways to communicate more quickly and effectively during a crisis. Many institutions are exploring Short Message Service, also known as text messaging, a technology that sends short messages to and from cell phones. This article explains what SMS is, why it is useful, how it works, and more.

Advance Work: Get a Life
CURRENTS Article Case Western Reserve University allows prospective students to tour the campus from the comfort of their bedrooms via Second Life.

Fear and Loathing in Web 2.0
CURRENTS Article This feature explores the challenges and opportunities at the heart of the struggle taking place as campuses get on board (or not) with Web 2.0 technologies. What's at issue is not necessarily the technology, but the idea of giving up control of the message.

Ground Control
CURRENTS Article This article takes a close look at one campus's process for developing a policy and guidelines for faculty and staff blogs. Included are what led to the development of an official policy, how the conversation began on campus, what administrators hoped to accomplish, who was involved in the discussion, and what issues (legal and otherwise) were considered.

Hiding in Plain Sight
CURRENTS Article This article, a complement to "User Generation," examines how, with the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, crises can blow out of proportions in a matter of minutes. The author outlines strategies for preparing, managing, and surviving a crisis in a hyper-connected, always-on news world.

User Generation
CURRENTS Article Web 2.0 might sound like tech jargon or just another buzzword, but it's more than that--it's a paradigm shift in communications that is greatly affecting education. This article defines the term and offers some background, describes how it relates to technology, outlines how and why Web 2.0 affects education, and offers a detailed description of the new mix of marketing and communications channels campuses should consider as part of a strategic communications plan. A sidebar, "Steps to You 2.0," outlines practical recommendations to get advancement/marketing professionals up to speed with Web 2.0. A complementary article, "Hiding in Plain Sight," explores effective crisis communications in a Web 2.0 world.

Advance Work: Chalk Talk
CURRENTS Article This article highlights one institution's efforts to publicize a new campus service.

Click This Way
CURRENTS Article Campus Web sites are the first place most people turn for information of all kinds about an institution—admissions requirements, program details, course descriptions—but they probably aren't the first place people turn to learn about a particular subject or topic. But they can be. This article describes how to market campus Web sites that aren’t admissions-related—institution sites with more of a specialized appeal: an online gallery of comics, a database about classical music, library special collections, art exhibits, etc. This article describes Duke University's experience with such sites and its strategies to get news outlets, blogs, and other online publications to link to and cover them.

Advance Work: Virtual Security Blanket
CURRENTS Article Eckerd College launched an online community to help incoming students get to know each other--and the college--before they arrive on campus. Eckerd was looking for an inexpensive way to reach out to admitted students and reduce the number who send in a deposit but don’t end up attending the institution.

Advance Work: The Future's in the Palm of Their Hands
CURRENTS Article To show that it understands how today's students like to get their news and information, Fitchburg State College is using podcast technology to send its acceptance letters. But mom and dad can still expect to receive the old-fashioned paper version in the mail.

Web Usability
CURRENTS Article Now that campuses have sophisticated web sites and are using content management systems, are Web sites doing what campuses want them to do? Does the site work? This seeks to answer these questions by examining examines the concept of Web usability. It describes a quick and easy exercise for testing and evaluation and why and how it works. It also looks at the advancement-IT relationship and how communications and marketing professionals can and should be a part of Web usability tests.

Web Sight
CURRENTS Article Writing for the Web is not just a matter of writing shorter--it’s more than just "write short heads and get to the point." People who know the technology aren't familiar with some useful design/editorial principles that are print-based but still applicable to the Web. People who know print don't think much of it is transferable to the Web or they get at it from one angle and don't see the communications gestalt. This article explores these ideas and describes how to use marketing, cognitive, and linguistic strategies to produce text, which is different from just "writing copy."

Mass Produced
CURRENTS Article In the often harried world of institution advancement, e-communications can easily become a victim of project complacency, with e-mail appeals and newsletters turning into just-get-it-out-before-deadline pieces of communications collateral. But with rapidly improving technology and audiences that are increasingly becoming moving targets, it is essential for campus communicators to discover new ways to use e-mail, the Web and dynamic content to appeal to our constituents, and to embrace the notion that integrating technology is an investment, not an expense. Using examples from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, this article addresses ways to ensure e-mail appeals stay fresh and effective and discusses reassessing content and ideas prior to hitting the send button.

Changing Lanes
CURRENTS Article Aided by advances in Internet and cell phone technology, "citizen" journalists are shaping the news like never before. But this new brand of journalism isn't dependent on tragic events or breaking news--blogs, podcasts, and more affect the gathering, transmission, and shaping of the news. This article examines these and other trends in journalism, including information on demand and audience fragmentation, and how they might affect education. This article does not include case studies or tips for navigating this new media landscape, but rather offers campus communications professionals serious food for thought.

AdvanceWork: Black and White and Raspberry All Over
CURRENTS Article Campus designers should consider color trends when looking to update campus logos or create publications. Using a new generation of colors can help communicate to younger students and even help attract enrollees. Hot colors include lime green and retro shades such as pink and turquoise. Designers can tone them down for other audiences.

Talking Points: Pod on the Quad
CURRENTS Article As campuses continue to explore ways to communicate with constituents, many are embracing new technologies such as podcasting. Podcasting allows users to download various types of audio content, including newscasts, speeches, and more to their computers and MP3 players so they can listen to it whenever they want. Many mainstream media outlets offer podcasts, and their uses for campuses are plentiful. This article explains what podcasting is, why it's useful, and how to use it. It also offers an inside look at how the University of Florida News Bureau is already putting this technology to good use and how it plans to use it in the future.

The Real World
CURRENTS Article Blogs began as something quite different than what they are now, and although they’ve lost some of their grassroots quality as more mainstream outlets embrace them, they are becoming a vital communications tool. They enable organizations of all kinds--including education institutions--to reach out to constituents in a simple and direct way. And as institutions continue to fine tune their marketing efforts, blogs can become an important and effective communications tool, particularly for student recruitment. This article explores important issues for campus communications professionals to consider, including the pros and cons of blogging, authenticity, and control.

Advance Work: Up Close and Personal
CURRENTS Article A new video magazine is bringing the University of Texas football program into the homes of alumni and fans. The Texas V-Mag delivers full-screen, broadcast-quality video stories to paid subscribers.

Talking Points: Paying Complements
CURRENTS Article Microsites, also known as landing pages, are powerful tools that allow audiences to respond to an appeal without having to navigate a main Web site. Institutions can use microsites to communicate personalized, focused marketing messages to specific target audiences. This article outlines some of the ways in which campuses and other organizations are using microsites, including handling such tasks as registrations and online ordering, and the benefits of using them, such as that they create more interest, more interaction, and greater measurement opportunities.

AdvanceWork: Spamalot?
CURRENTS Article Communicating with constituents via e-mail has gotten harder now that so many e-mail users have installed spam-filtering programs on their computers. Experts cite several strategies advancement officers can use to strengthen the legitimacy of their electronic messages.

Second Site
CURRENTS Article Campus Web sites are most effective when they're well-organized, easy-to-use tools with a consistent look and feel. Content management systems help campuses to create and maintain effective Web sites and offer a checks-and-balances approach that allows people from all parts of the institution to contribute. This article describes St. Boanventure University's decision to redesign its Web site using a CMS and the process the campus went through to implement the system. A related sidebar ("Look Before You Leap") contains additional advice to consider before investing in a CMS.

Talking Points: Pick and Choose
CURRENTS Article RSS, which stands for really simple syndication or rich site summary, is a new tool used to collect news feeds from various Web sites through software called a news reader or news aggregator. This article gives an overview of the technology--how it works, why it's important--and its implications for marketing and education. It also includes examples from campuses already using RSS.

AdvanceWork: Caging the Cardinal
CURRENTS Article Stanford University constituents seeking information about campus activities need look no further than the Web, thanks to the efforts of several Office of Communications staffers. In May 2003, these campus communicators launched events.stanford.edu, an online events calendar that details campus activities in more than a dozen categories. The site is the winner of a 2004 CASE Circle of Excellence Silver Award.

Talking Points: Net Assets
CURRENTS Article More than 200 academic institutions, 60 corporations, and 40 research and education organizations are part of Internet2, a member-based, nonprofit corporation working to develop a faster, more reliable, private, and more secure Internet. Building on the partnership that developed the original Internet, Internet2 seeks to contribute to the next wave of advanced networking.

Talking Points: Canning Spam
CURRENTS Article With campuses increasingly relying on e-mail to reach constituents, advancement officers should be familiar with the 2003 CAN-SPAM legislation. This article explains the new U.S. law, including why it was passed and what it seeks to do, as well as specifics about how to comply and penalties for not doing so. Although the legislation doesn't apply specifically to nonprofits, the author recommends that all organizations adhere to well-defined best e-mail practices.

A More Perfect Union
CURRENTS Article Although communications and IT departments on many campuses may still be battling about who should own and maintain the Web site, it's important for the two offices to develop and maintain a good working relationship. In this article, the author--who previously worked in PR but now works in IT--offers an inside look at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County's successful PR/IT partnership and how to better manage the relationship for results that benefit the campus, such as a better Web site or better communication about technology issues.

AdvanceWork: Sorry, Charlie!
CURRENTS Article Web site error messages don't have to be unfriendly and ugly. Savvy Web designers and editors will replace "404: Not Found" with text that helps Web site users find what they're looking for and an appearance that resembles the rest of the site.

AdvanceWork: Dear Diary
CURRENTS Article Campuses including Proctor Academy and Furman University are using Web logs, or blogs, to bring personality and encourage repeat visits to their institutions' Web sites.

Making the Right Connections
CURRENTS Article Six senior advancement practitioners, including consultant Michael Stoner and ProfNet founder Dan Forbush, discuss how technologies such as databases, the Internet (both Web sites and e-mail), and cell phones have affected campuses' relationships with their constituents and the work of advancement. Part of the issue focus on five forces shaping advancement.

From Traffic Jam to Easy Street
CURRENTS Article To do a better job of maintaining an institutional Web site’s appearance, speed, comprehensiveness, and accuracy, campuses might want to consider installing a content management system. A CMS is a back-end database combined with a suite of software tools that give staff without programming expertise the ability to manage, maintain, and change a Web site’s content. This article outlines the typical features of a good CMS, how to assess readiness to install a system, the pros and cons of building from scratch or buying ready-made, typical costs, and questions to help select a vendor. Also included is a list of 12 CMS vendors. The article is of interest to communications staff who work with campus Web sites and advancement managers concerned about technology.

AdvanceWork: Big News From Small Colleges
CURRENTS Article New Web site draws attention to liberal arts institutions

Tech Support: Click to Proceed
CURRENTS Article Event planners and Web staff should ensure that online registration forms for advancement events are as simple, easy to use, and interactive as possible.

AdvanceWork: Drawing Attention
CURRENTS Article An idea of interest to Web and design staff comes from Simon Fraser University, where the external relations office has made its Web site more appealing and personal by including watercolor sketches of each staff member.

Closing Remarks: Spider or Fly?
CURRENTS Article CEOs must be attentive to an institution’s Web presence, since it is becoming the most important means of advancement. Prospective students will compare campus sites to commercial sites, so consistency, ease of use, and carefully designed e-commerce capabilities are important. Web sites are an ongoing financial commitment and should be part of an overall marketing and communications strategy. The Internet will also lead to new constituent demands for involvement

AdvanceWork: A Fun(d) List
CURRENTS Article This AdvanceWork item notes the retirement of Steve Hirby from his seven-year volunteer position of running Fundlist, a listserv focusing on technology and its applications in advancement. Hirby, director of administrative information management for Lawrence University, reflects on the changes in the listserv and the concerns of development professionals during his seven-year tenure as list owner.

Tech Support: You Ought to Be in Pictures
CURRENTS Article Video news releases can have benefits well beyond media coverage. Massachusetts Institute of Technology prepares video news releases that each consist of a brief story plus extra footage that journalists can use as they like. In addition to generating extensive broadcast coverage, the tapes have proved valuable both on and off campus for uses such as Web sites, faculty grant applications, conference presentations, museum exhibits, high school classes, and more.

Form Follows Function
CURRENTS Article Barnard College found that the best way to approach redesigning its Web site was to divide responsibility for specific functions--PR, academic, administrative--among the various departments that had already established operations in these areas. The article lists different approaches to institutional Web sites, notes users’ expectations, outlines important principles, and describes how Barnard carried out the redesign process.

Hot on the Cybertrail
CURRENTS Article Officers in alumni affairs, development, public relations, and admissions at the University of Dayton use statistics on user access to guide their decisions about the structure and content of their Web site. The article describes how to interpret log files to find out who your users are, how they view the site, and what pages they find most interesting. Similarly, redirect links can help measure the effectiveness of targeted e-mails.

AdvanceWork: Boost your site's prominence in Web search results
CURRENTS Article Search optimization tips

AdvanceWork: Internet Disconnect
CURRENTS Article The "most wired" colleges don't always have state-of-the-art Web sites

Tech Support: Is Your Web Site Media-Friendly?
CURRENTS Article Public relations staff should ensure that their media Web sites meet the needs of reporters and editors. The site should be easy to search and navigate and quick to download; content must be up to date, well organized, and simple to skim, with contact information integrated throughout.

Make Managing Your Web Site a Mission: Possible
CURRENTS Article Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to seize control of your Web site.

Tech Support: Come One, Come All
CURRENTS Article Make your Web pages accessible to those with disabilities while you prepare for emerging technologies

AdvanceWork: New Year's Listserv Resolutions
CURRENTS Article Listservs, or free online discussions lists, can be both a blessing and a curse.

AdvanceWork: Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
CURRENTS Article As Web Editor Missy DeYoung set out to redesign Drake University's World Wide Web site, she realized that she needed a quick and inexpensive way to survey regular users on possible site enhancements.

Tech Support: Shape Up Your Web Content
CURRENTS Article Institutional Web site content must be focused, concise, current, and personal. To achieve this: 1) Craft the core content on high-level pages to directly support central institutional messages. 2) Make copy brief and present it in small, easily scanned portions. 3) Set an expiration date for your content and work hard to enforce it. 4) Provide content that meets the needs of the individual, using customized pages, "microsites," identifiable spokespeople, and opportunities for feedback.

AdvanceWork: Is Anybody Out There?
CURRENTS Article Problem/Solution

Tech Support: Untangle Your Web
CURRENTS Article Good management, not clever design, is essential to an effective Web site. Nielsen, a corporate Web consultant, cites nine classic Web site management mistakes: 1) not knowing why the site exists; 2) designing the site to please only internal audiences; 3) structuring the site to match the structure of the organization; 4) lack of a consistent look throughout the site; 5) underbudgeting for site maintenance; 6) using content that is just a rehash of printed materials; 7) weak links; 8) relying on what users say they want rather than what they need; 9) underestimating the strategic impact of the Web.

In Advance: Spam-Proofing Electronic Lists
CURRENTS Article A server manager's suggestions to prevent e-mail abuse by outsiders

Battle Cry of the Web Managers
CURRENTS Article Cornforth looks at how public relations directors take on the task of building a web team and managing their campus web site. Before pulling together a team, it is important to understand and be able to estimate the number of staff and the skills that will be needed, the appropriate hardware and software support, and the financial resources needed for training and equipment.

Call in the Experts
CURRENTS Article This article discusses issues associated with alumni organizations hiring outside vendors to design alumni organization Web sites. First, know the total cost of a vendor, including annual maintenance fees and start-up fees. Second, understand that a vendor will bring convenience, expertise, and possible delays to the Web site design process. Third, hire a vendor that recognizes the organization’s need for security and privacy. To conclude, five simple suggestions are offered to those alumni organizations that decide to hire a vendor: assess your needs; consider your options; know what you want; use good business sense; and talk with colleagues. Includes a sampling of online vendors that offer services for alumni.

In Advance: Technology vs. Reality
CURRENTS Article The real deal on eight common misconceptions about hardware and software

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