Monthly Archives: December 2016

Taking Abbee’s Armee Live

What happens in an operating room is a mystery to most people—even to those who’ve had surgery.  Patients are generally sedated, and parents and family usually aren’t allowed past pre-op because of  infection control and safety protocols.

Unknowns can be scary for patients and families alike. But social media lends an opportunity to open those doors and peek inside.

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital had long been interested in live-tweeting a surgical procedure, but was waiting for just the right opportunity. Both the family and the surgeon needed to be familiar—and comfortable—with social media. And it was important to find a doctor who would be ok with the additional “audience” that would come with being followed into the OR.  We also wanted to showcase a procedure with a predictable outcome that would move along at a steady pace over a relatively short amount of time.

A few weeks ago, that perfect opportunity presented itself.  A family who has embraced social media during their daughter Abbee’s struggle with severe scoliosis posted to their Instagram account, announcing an upcoming surgery—the little girl’s 10th procedure related to her spinal condition.

The family’s comfort with social media and the fact that they were already well-acquainted with the OR experience were indicators that we’d found the situation we’d been looking for. The surgery, called a VEPTR procedure, is relatively short—another of our requirements. And because VEPTR is an outpatient procedure, Abbee would be going home the same day, which is great because who doesn’t like a happy ending?

Our objective in live-tweeting a surgical procedure was  to shine a light on the experience of parents and families, and highlight how child-friendly Mott makes the process. From the moment Abbee and her family first stepped through the door, to a smiling Abbee sipping a juice box in the recovery room following surgery, Mott healthcare professionals made sure her experience was as positive as possible, and we were able to share that journey with our audience.

We began by launching a blogpost to share Abbee’s story, helping provide context for the journey our audience would take. Live tweeting was followed by a Facebook gallery of highlights, and the creation of a Twitter Moment to help curate the entire experience for those who missed it.

We also used our blog to create a listicle of select moments from Abbee’s journey.

We saw more likes and retweets over a standard day on the @MottChildren Twitter account, and, most importantly, responses from the audience expressed how warm and child-friendly the philosophy of care at Mott

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Initially, not everyone was convinced that live-tweeting a surgical procedure was a good idea. But this first venture went a long way toward addressing those concerns, and increasing everyone’s comfort level. We’re looking forward to future opportunities to get back into the OR and share more “patients-first” stories from U-M Hospitals and Health Centers.

This is a guest post c/o the University of Michigan Health System and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. 

December 2016 #UMichChat recap

Are we consumers of fact or fiction? How do sensationalized headlines and inaccurate stories shape our perception of current events? In an online environment full of fake news, how do professional journalists continue producing quality content and ensure they are reporting real news?

Our December 2016 #UMichChat addressed these questions and more, as we brought together a panel of journalists and media scholars to discuss “Facts and Fabrication: The Offline Implications of Sensationalized Online Journalism.”

Clickbait and fake news have been on the radar of social media companies and media publishers for a few years. But the recent presidential election has brought more focus to the topic. A 2015 Pew Research Study found that 62 percent  of sampled adults get their news from social media, a significant increase from the percentage of respondents who reported this behavior in 2013. As more and more Americans turn to social media as a primary news source, it becomes more important than ever to address this critical issue.


Our four panelists were:

  • Chad Livengood, political journalist for the Detroit News
  • Jeff Barrett, CEO of status creative and regular contributor to publications such as Hootsuite, Mashable, and the Huffington Post
  • Paige Pfleger, U-M alumna and reporter/producer for WHYY, the Philadelphia- based NPR station.
  • Ceren Budack: Assistant professor at the U-M School of Information, who researches media bias and the spread of misinformation online

Our panelists answered complicated questions that related to this issue, such as:


How social media is impacting news dissemination:

Q3Ceren a31 Ceren a32 Ceren a33 Chad A3 Chad A32 Chad A33 Jeff A3 Paige A3


Their definition of journalistic integrity:

Q5Chad A5 Jeff A5 Paige A5

How clickbait has impacted the news landscape:

Q7            Ceren a7 Chad a7 ChadandPaigea7 Jeffa7

The motivation to create fake news:Q9

Ceren A9 Chad A9 Jeff A9 Paige A9

—and many more. The combined expertise of our panelists, along with our audience’s interest in this topic, resulted in a dynamic, meaningful, and engaged conversation, with panelists sharing ideas not only with the audience but also with each other:



One of the most exciting moments of the chat was when News writer Livengood had to stop answering questions so he could tweet breaking news. (A candidate had just announced a run for Michigan GOP Chair.) The audience got to witness journalism in action, and see the truth of the old adage that ‘news never stops’ with this first-hand of example of breaking news dissemination on social media..

-Chad’s tweet.

Over the course of the hour, our hashtag was used 226 times by 56 distinct contributors. Tweets containing #UMichChat reached an estimated audience of 729,469 people, generating more than 11 million impressions worldwide. Not even halfway into the chat, #UMichChat was one of the top 10 trending topics in the Detroit area, and was even identified as the #50 trending topic in the United States:

-Follow the hashtag

Trending Ttrends

#UMichChat has consistently been a trending topic each month since May 2015, and we predict that this pattern will continue with conversations to come.

If you weren’t able to join us for the live conversation, you can find an archive of the whole chat on Storify. We’re extremely pleased with the outcome of this chat and look forward to facilitating many more great conversations in 2017. Be sure to follow along!

This post was written by Sarah Barnitt, #UMSocial intern and Bachelor of Science in Information senior. #StaySocial with her on Instagram and Twitter @SarahBarnitt

Now Playing: University of Michigan joins Spotify

Music provides a backdrop for our everyday experiences, helps us remember significant moments in time, and can both lift our mood and provide us solace. Whether it’s a bike ride to class, a night out with friends, or an all-night study session, music is present to create a soundtrack to our lives.

With that in mind, the University of Michigan is thrilled to launch the very first university-wide verified Spotify account. By leveraging the robust listening library of the popular music streaming service, we aim to engage its 100 million+ active users and connect with our students and stakeholders in a new and unique way.

Music sharing and discovery make up a large part of the college experience. In fact, Spotify recognized the pivotal role of music in collegiate culture in an article exploring music consumption:

“Universities have long been musical hotbeds, as generations of students find much of the music that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. There’s a great deal of music being played at college in general, a lot of which is formative listening. From the library to the gym to the party, and even to bedtime, college life often features a soundtrack.”

#UMSocial’s previous success applying strategic brand-related content into emerging platforms, like Snapchat and Yik Yak, have demonstrated the importance of meeting your audience where they are. Spotify provides us with a similar opportunity to adapt audio resources and integrate content into a network of branded U-M channels.

By collaborating with units, individuals, and organizations campus-wide, we can offer listeners everything from a research-based podcast by a prominent professor to a curated list of top hits from everyone’s favorite football coach.


A weekly playlist where students, faculty, and staff share their favorite beats. This week’s playlist is curated by Michigan Men’s Glee Club President Patrick Kiessling:

Good Vibes

When words fail, music often speaks. U-M’s Counseling and Psychological Services offers the Good Vibes playlist. Not only does this playlist include songs to put anyone in a good mood, the playlist description includes the number for the CAPS support line.

      Caps Playlist

Dad Rock by Michigan Football

We went straight to U-M Athletics to get this mix of ‘dad rock’ favorites to get you pumped up before a game.

User Engagement

In addition to providing an extremely popular music streaming service, Spotify has revolutionized online customer service. The @SpotifyCares Twitter account uses music to engage with its users. When a user interaction lends itself to a storytelling opportunity, Spotify Cares will create a custom playlist:

Allowing our account to evolve and continuing to expand our strategies for interacting with stakeholders means we can provide a more personalized and engaging user experience. We look forward to optimizing our account to maximize the capabilities of the platform and partnering with our listeners to introduce uses for the platform we haven’t considered.

Have an idea for how we could use Spotify? Contact us at

This post was written by @JamesWilsonR, content specialist at #UMSocial.

Edited copy by @NikkiSunstrum, Director of #UMSocial.

November 2016 @ UMSocial

The Thanksgiving holidays are over, and the end of the Fall 2016 semester is in sight. As November comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back and reflect on our top-performing content, assessing our audience’s engagement on a platform-by-platform basis and using those findings to inform future strategy. A recap of the highlights from November 2016:


On November 18, we held our second Facebook Live #UMichChat. UMSocial hosted a panel of students and staff who discussed “Giving Blueday,”  the University of Michigan’s take on the national “Giving Tuesday” initiative, which happens every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. We partnered with the Office of University Development to bring together a group of participants who spoke about many facets of #GivingBlueday: what it is, why it’s important, and how donor gifts make a meaningful impact.


The half-hour livestream received 11,230 video views and 313 engagements from distinct users. In the days following the chat, the video reached an estimated social audience of 75,112 people.

If you missed it live, you can view it here

This month saw a considerable increase in the overall reach and audience engagement of our Facebook posts. Our Facebook posts had an average reach-per-post of 213,829 people, with posts reaching an average of 28 percent of our followers. This is a notable increase from last month, when our average post reached only about 16 percent of our followers. Additionally, our Facebook posts generated a significantly larger amount of engagement when compared to previous months: in November, posts generated 145,078 reactions, comments, and shares. This is nearly four times greater than last month’s total engagement, which totaled 37, 527 likes, comments, and shares.

The increase in engagement was due largely in part to this post, where we challenged our followers to like, comment, and share the photo to help the University of Michigan Health System beat the Ohio State rescue helicopter team, Medflight in an “Air Battle.”


The losing team agreed to pose in front of their resue helicopter wearing the winning team’s colors. We’re proud to say that University of Michigan Survival flight team won, and OSU’s Medflight CEO graciously sported maize and blue.


            All Wolverines hold these truths to be self-evident: 1. The best afternoons are spent in the Big House, and 2. Michigan weather is a hilariously unpredictable creature. The Indiana vs. Michigan home football game on 11/19 was a perfect example. Fans basked in the sun during the first quarter, only to be greeted by the first snow of the year after halftime. One of our Instagram followers, @acoffeeandacamera, captured this stark contrast perfectly, so we reposted her image to our account:

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 8.32.21 PM


This photo—our highest-performing piece of Instagram content to date—received more than 13,900 likes.

For the past two years, UMSocial has partnered with the Office of University Development to help spread the word about Giving Blueday, U-M’s annual day of giving. This year, Giving Blueday took place on Tuesday, November 29.

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 8.18.38 PM Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 8.18.48 PM

For the second year in a row, OUD selected a student ambassador to take over our Instagram for a week leading up to the event. This year’s ambassador was Peter Lucido, a U-M sophomore and Online Engagement Assistant at the Office of University Development. Peter provided a week’s worth of content, sharing his passion for U-M and explaining why giving back is such an integral part of his student experience:

Overall, Giving Blueday was a huge success: more than 7,000 donors raised over $5 million to support university departments and student organizations. We’re so happy that we could contribute to the development team’s efforts and help them achieve their goal.

Another high-performing piece of content this month was our Thanksgiving Day “cinemagraph.” A descendent of traditional gif animation, the cinemagraph combines still photography and videography to create subtle motion and add a lifelike element to an image. In the past, cinemagraph-style content (such as our Valentine’s Day post earlier this year) has performed well with our audience, and this Thanksgiving post was no exception. By the end of the day, the cinemagraph had received more than 13,000 views.


We gained more than 4,500 new followers in November 2016, and our posts received a total of 167,027 likes and comments—35,000+ more than they received last month. Currently, we are the third-highest-ranked university on Instagram, with only Stanford and Harvard surpassing our follower count.


On November 16, the U-M’s Ford School of Public Policy hosted a daylong symposium,  “50 years of Civil Rights Activism,” in honor of noted activist Reverend Jesse Jackson. The event was held at Rackham Graduate School and consisted of a series of panels and dialogues about the future of activism. We live-tweeted Jackson’s keynote address as part of our #UMichTalks lecture series, enabling our audience to hear Jackson even if they couldn’t attend the event in person. The highest-performing tweet from the series received more than 16,000 impressions and 130 favorites.

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 8.10.54 PM


In November, both audience growth and engagement were consistent with what we have seen in recent months. In total, or Tweets generated a total of 1,808,353 impressions, averaging 16,003 impressions per post. There has been a consistent upward growth trend on our account since the beginning of the year, and we anticipate this pattern continuing on into 2017. 


In mid-November, the student musical theatre company MUSKET reached out to UMSocial and asked for our help in promoting their Fall 2016 production of Avenue Q,  a Tony Award-winning musical written by U-M alum Jeff Marx. This show is a hilarious musical comedy that imagines our favorite childhood characters from The Muppets and Sesame Street in adult situations. We teamed up with MUSKET’s marketing team and several members of the cast to give our followers a look at the final dress rehearsal and other behind-the-scenes glimpses of the show. Actors acted as tour guides and shared information about the production, the venue, and how people could get tickets. This short, backstage look was both whimsical and informative, helping MUSKET increase their audience and disseminate their event information to new people.


On November 22, we created a Snapchat story in partnership with the U-M’s Department of Public Safety and Security (DPSS), and shared tips for students to help them prevent bicycle theft. DPSS officers talked about how students can keep their bikes safe and explained how to register bikes with the police. This story delivered an important message in an approachable and entertaining manner,  and the proof was in its reach and audience retention. At its peak, the story was viewed an audience of 5.4k people.

That’s it for November! Thanks for following along—and, as always, #GoBlue and #StaySocial.

This post was written by Sarah Barnitt, UMSocial Senior Intern and Bachelor of Science in Information senior. #StaySocial with her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahbarnitt.