What difference can a year make? When it comes to the mobile web in higher education, it seems that it’s all it took to switch gears and respond to the needs of an increasing mobile user population on campuses—and elsewhere.
Unless you have the print issue of University Business in your hands, you might be reading these lines on a wide array of different devices: smartphone (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry), laptop, desktop computer, tablet (iPad, BlackBerry PlayBook, Kindle Fire), game console (DS, Wii, Xbox, etc.), or widescreen TV. Maybe soon it’ll even be appearing on your refrigerator door.
How many 140-character messages were tweeted today? How many posts have been published in the past 24 hours? How many photos have been posted, and liked, on Facebook since yesterday? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
A year ago, at the presentation I gave at the EduComm conference and within this column (June 2010 issue of UB), I made the argument--and plea--for a web and social media analytics revolution in higher education. I explained why and how institutions should rely on analytics to stop making marketing decisions on opinions, guesses, and hunches and start embracing a more data-driven approach.
So, have these past 12 months made a difference? Has higher education finally warmed up to the possibilities offered by web and social media analytics?
Is 2011 going to be the "Year of the Mobile Web" for higher education? A few studies have already hinted it. According to a white paper published by The Nielsen Company in December 2010, "Mobile Youth Around the World," 48 percent of the 15- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. now browse the web on their mobile devices?even though only 33 percent own smartphones. The Pew Internet and American Life Project concurred in its own report, "Mobile Access 2010," released in July 2010.
Is 2011 going to be the “Year of the Mobile Web” for higher education? A few studies have already hinted it. According to a white paper published by The Nielsen Company in December 2010, “Mobile Youth Around the World,” 48 percent of the 15- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. now browse the web on their mobile devices--even though only 33 percent own smartphones. The Pew Internet and American Life Project concurred in its own report, “Mobile Access 2010,” released in July 2010.
Based on Twitter, blogs, and web conferences, it looks like everybody in higher education is talking about check-ins, Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla, and SCVNGR. No matter where they work, from liberal arts colleges to big state universities, many web communication and online marketing professionals have already adopted location-based services (LBS). More and more have been busy claiming the Facebook Place for their institution, creating a Gowalla tour, applying for the Foursquare University Program, or setting up their first SCVNGR trek.
Have you heard the news? E-mail might not be dead yet, but it is going away. That's what Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, announced on June 24, 2010, in a keynote at the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference. This assertion was based on a data point from the Pew Internet and American Life Project's April 2010 "Teens and Mobile Phones" report. Sandberg noted that only 11 percent of teenagers use e-mail daily - while an overwhelming majority don't stop text-ing and "Facebooking" all day long.
In a previous column published in the June issue of University Business, I shared a few anecdotal examples of how universities and colleges had started to use online analytics to inform their marketing and communications decisions. Unfortunately, there was no available data on analytics usage across institutions at that time. I decided to survey practitioners, thus testing my hypothesis that a change of attitudes in higher education toward web and social media analytics was required.