Monthly Archives: July 2016

Around the World: Wolverine Summer #UMichChat

On July 15, 2016, we were joined by students from around the world who were kind enough to share their #WolverineSummers with us. Panelists included McKenna Eisert, Class of 2018, Communication Studies and Biology, currently a sales intern for Qualtrics in Dublin, Ireland (@myeyesert); Tracy Scherdt, Class of 2018, Residential College, intern at James and Grace Lee Boggs School in Detroit (@umtracyscherdt); Charles Wilkes, graduate student,  LSA’s Department of Mathematics (@CharlesEWilkes); Rachel Hai, Class of 2019, intern for LSA Internships Program (@rach_hai); and Kim Chan, Class of 2018, LSA Chemical Science (@umkimchan).



Each student brought something exciting to the table, discussing  summer experiences that ranged from studying for two months in Spain to interning at a school in Detroit.

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The chat garnered more than 4.2 million impressions overall across 134 tweets total, with 100+ replies, likes, and retweets. With the UMich account alone, there were nearly 1,000 engagements with 19 contributors.


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Be sure to check out the full recap on Storify and join us for our next #UMichChat. As always, stay social and #GoBlue.

The Advent of the Live-Stream

On July 1, in Richmond, Virginia, five two-person “chase teams” stood waiting for further instructions on how to achieve their objective for the next 30 days: catching “The Runner.” The teams would attempt to find the man whose own objective is to reach six different checkpoints throughout the country without his chasers finding him first.

And all this to be live-streamed—three times a day, every day, for the rest of the month—on Verizon’s Go90 app and website.


The brainchild of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, The Runner was originally pitched in 2000, but was put on hold after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Touted as a new breed of reality the concept has today found its place as content that was likely unimaginable 15 years ago. Built on the success of live-streaming, but with a twist: it’s been designed to require watcher participation in order for teams to move forward. Codes and riddles are given daily, and chase teams must rely on social media interaction by those observing to determine answers. The show quite literally goes nowhere without the viewers.


The Runner is currently just one of many offspring of live, or live-streaming, real-time content. On a variety of platforms, in a variety of ways, celebrities, journalists and everyday citizens are ‘going live.’ Content ranges from lampooning oneself (Clickhole streamed a man doing 40 different impressions over an agonizing 90 minutes) to behind-the-scenes of big productions (Good Morning America notably enjoys taking watchers on set during commercial breaks).


The latest aspect of live’s success is its ability to capture more serious, breaking news or events. New York Times author Farhad Manjoo recently called Diamond Reynolds’ live stream of her boyfriend Philando Castile’s death the start of the dominance of the live stream. Twitter is set to live-stream both the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Fox is now live-streaming its primetime programming. All this action means somebody’s watching, and more and more join the stream each day.


In a recent Digiday article surveying VidCon attendees about their live intake, every person interviewed admitted that they usually watched live while doing something else— usually scouring the internet in another tab or playing a video game. One woman even said that she would feel like she was wasting her time just watching live and not multi-tasking. Another said she enjoys searching websites like Buzzfeed while the stream is in another tab, and clicking back to the stream from time to time.

Each of the VidCon respondents gave the same reason for watching live: the creator-viewer intimacy. “Vloggers” (video bloggers) are finding similar success on sites like YouNow and Periscope where they can create a more authentic conversation. One said he likes watching Q&As the best, saying that live is “more informal, and feels like they’re [vloggers] talking more to you than anyone else.”


So how can higher ed and brands tap into this live energy?

It’s important first to remember that anyone can open Facebook and start live-streaming his daughter’s ballet recital: not every live is good live. As social media content providers, we are still trying to determine the benefits and drawbacks of the medium. But it’s clear that live allows for a more genuine audience connection, which lends itself to a new crop of content possibilities. Whether you take a page out of Good Morning America’s playbook and do a behind-the-scenes, or stream an event your business is putting on, live gives viewers a sneak peek into what they could only previously imagine. Providing feelings of exclusivity is how many of us first found success in social media, and the appeal has not wained.

Another important component of good live content is planning. Identifying and preparing what will be live-streamed, just as you would a Snapchat story, is key. You won’t always be able to do that, of course, since events often break quickly. There will be events and movements you’ll want to hop on quickly, and may not have time for storyboards and promotional plans. But you can still organize what you want your stream to be.

Included in planning and preparation is intentionality and value: is what you’re putting out there worth your viewers’ time? The quality of your content shouldn’t be degraded just because it’s for live. And every second you have your viewer’s eyes should be deliberate. Your content will still stick around long after you finish the stream. Make it engaging, make it fun, make it on brand.

The world is starting to rely on live for everything from news to entertainment and more. Will your brand follow suit?


This post was initiated by Kelly Arnold, a sophomore at Hope College studying communications and a summer 2016 #UMSocial intern. #StaySocial with her: @KellyAArnold

Edited by @NikkiSunstrum, Director of #UMSocial

Pokemon Training with UMSocial

As engaged and active members of the higher education social media community, it’s important to stay up to date on current, relevant trends and look for ways to tie brand and content strategy into what’s trending. We at UMSocial are always on the lookout for anything new: what’s hot, what’s not, and what the next big thing may be.

On Thursday, July 8, Pokemon GO was released. By the end of the weekend, it had been downloaded more than 7.5 million times, becoming the top-grossing app on the iTunes App Store, along with raising parent Nintendo’s stock by 33 percent. Individuals who would normally be plopped on the couch were walking miles, with phone in hand—children and grown adults alike—on the search to “catch them all.”

It’s all thanks to a perfect storm of interest, as well as plenty of work done on behalf of the app’s  creators, Niantic. For many millennials, playing the app is a coming home of sorts. And it’s the combination of nostalgic loyalty paired with increasing phone engrossment that is what truly catapulted this app to the top.

We here at UMSocial noticed this app’s popularity in our own community and decided to take advantage. On Monday, July 11, we created a Snapchat story focusing on Pokemon GO: the essentials for Pokemon hunting, basic how-tos for the game, and even location features around campus (like how, for instance, the Block M is a PokeStop). Along the way, as we traversed through Central Campus to the Arb, we even planted UMSocial t-shirts for viewers to find.


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The story itself proved successful, with 100,000+ total views and 50+ screenshots. Similarly, our tweet about the story reached 307 favorites and 130 retweets. We also received several tweets from fans expressing their excitement, like this one from @charlienesser:

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Even DPSS got in on the fun, reminding players to be careful and aware of their surroundings.


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This was a perfect example of real-time marketing. We were able to see a trend and its obvious impact on our audience, and figure it into our social execution for the day. We engaged with our followers in tangible ways, and related to them in a fresh and exciting manner, attracting individuals in our community ranging from alumni to prospectives.


This post was written by Kelly Arnold, a sophomore at Hope College studying communications and a summer 2016 #UMSocial intern. #StaySocial with her: @KellyAArnold

June 2016 @ UMSocial

Summer is here, but the campus is still buzzing with activity, and so is UMSocial. In June, we continued to feature the people and places around campus that help makes U-M a top university —and there was plenty to cover.

On June 12, in what has been deemed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History, 49 people were killed and 53 injured at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. We joined with the world in mourning the loss of life and in standing with pride and #OrlandoStrongAs U-M president Mark Schlissel said, “We all share the pain of terrorism motivated by hate.”



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This month, as millions around the world took part in Ramadan, we wished our readers a “Ramadan Mubarak” (blessed and generous Ramadan). The post ended up having a reach of 405,244, with 89,000 views, 4,300 reactions, and 158 comments.


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This post garnered mixed reactions from some readers who were perhaps unaware of our past posts wishing other religious groups “happy holidays” on HanukkahKwanzaa, EasterHoli, among others. The U-M community is varied and diverse, and we’re proud to represent ALL our Wolverines.



The #WolverineSummer posts continue to come in this month as summer break continues. Wolverines share their photos of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu, and Stonehenge, to name just a few destinations.  Keep sharing your stories with us this #WolverineSummer.


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Summer in the midwest also brings some interesting weather. During one June thunderstorm, user Josh Albee caught this stunning image of lighting over the Big House, which ended up being our best- performing Instagram post this year to date, with nearly 7,000 likes and 70 comments. The Big House is, indeed, always lit.


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On June 10, we partnered with Innovate Blue to broadcast the perspectives of successful student entrepreneurs from across campus and around the world for an inspiring #UMichChat. Panelists included Tommy Wilbur, a rising sophomore in the College of Engineering, participating in CFE’s first entrepreneurship study abroad program in Singapore (@twilburUM); Joseph Saginaw, an engineering student who’s part of the inaugural Entrepreneurs Leadership Program, currently interning at Detroit Bikes in Detroit  (@joesaginawUofM); David Cai, a member of the Gaudium team and runner-up in the Michigan Business Challenge competition (@DavidCai_); and Laura Murphy, rising senior and co-founder and chief engineer at ADAPT, LLC (@lr_murphy). The chat eventually garnered 650 engagements and achieved a reach of 211,850 over 205 total posts, ending up with more than 5 million impressions and trending regionally. Read more about the chat here, and follow along with the entire conversation here on Storify




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Have you ever experienced virtual reality? We were lucky enough to spend some time on North Campus at the university’s 3D Labwhich houses the university’s own immersive reality space.


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At the Center for Digital Education and Innovationfellowships are available in five different areas for both undergraduate and graduate students. Apply for a fellowship for Fall 2016!


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Ready to get oriented? UMSocial takes you through all three days of new student orientation. From singing the fight song to walking through the fountain, experience orientation for the first (or second!) time. 


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This month we introduced a new member to our Navigating the Maize team: Try Gal Aerielle! Aerielle explores the roles of the various members of the U-M Solar Car teamfrom the classroom to the track.


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Thanks for following along with us this month, and keep an eye out for more exciting content coming in July. Stay social and, as always, #GoBlue.