Social Media Releases and the University Press Office
A couple of weeks ago, the BBC launched the production of a new OU/BBC series about the history of the web (The Web at 20: Digital Revolution).
Looking over the OU’s recent OU/BBC related media releases, I can’t see anything mentioning the launch event, although it did get a fair amount of coverage from several of the BBC’s technology bloggers.
My impression after the event was that here, if ever, was an opportunity to have produced a social media news release, a media release that makes content available in a form that bloggers and other online publishers can readily pillage for freely licensed embedded videos, images, social bookmarking buttons and related links to fill out their own post.
[Social media release template, from PR-Squared]
Now I haven’t done a trawl of Higher Education media sites to see how many have started experimenting with social media releases, though I do know that most HEIs don’t publish autodiscoverable RSS news feeds from their homepage – only 30.8% (41 out of 133 institutions) publish any autodiscoverable feeds when I last checked using the UK HEI autodiscoverable feeds link from Back from Behind Enemy Lines, Without Being Autodiscovered(?!). I’m not sure what the current state of play is with official univrsity Youtube channels though? My round-up of UK HEI official Youtube channels is probably rather out of date now?
On the government department front, there has been a little more exploration. A couple of month’s ago, Steph Gray reviewed the first Baby steps in Social Media News Releases that were being made by the now deprecated(?!) Department for Industry, Universities and Skills (DIUS), and helpfully identified some of the issues involved in piecing together and measuring the effectiveness of a social media release. Now part of BIS, that team’s experiments with social media releases continues, as exemplifed by the recent social media release for a white paper on A Better Deal for Consumers – Delivering Real Help Now and Change for the Future.
(For more general examples of social media news releases, there are plenty of links on Social Media News Room Examples. In the government sphere, Snapshot of UK govnt use of social tools – and Press Office involvement also has a round up of related activity from a couple of months or so ago.)
However, whilst reading @neillyneil’s How to write a corporate Twitter strategy (…and here’s one I made earlier) yesterday, a great summary of what’s involved in comms related tweeting, that also includes a round-up of current UK gov and traditional media twitterers, it struck me that maybe we don’t need social media releases at all, as such? Wouldn’t a social media release theme on a platform such as WordPress work equally well? That is, why should the press release look like the half finished article? Indeed, is there a reason for having press releases at all? And if there is, what’s the bst way of releasing them? Live feeds are one way, but I doubt that any HEI press offices have adopted them yet? (For a related example, see GovFresh, a site that collects together US Government live feeds.)
Or do institutions just need a social media strategy, with an aggregation site (potentially partitioned into different topic, or category, areas) that at any given instant in time essentially acts as a social media release for whatever is newsworthy at the time? In the same way that the Digital Revolution TV production will (allegedly) be producing rushes of content as the programme is produced, an institution’s social media news site could provide rushes of content – delivered via a templated theme – that can be taken and reworked by others. The release isn’t a thing in its own right – it’s the current state of the social media news site, the result of newsmastering by the institution’s press office of items related to newsworthy activity in the institution itself.
Wrapped up with that could be a press office strategy for news that breaks out on the web related to a particular institution. For example, here’s how the US Air Force apparently handle outbreaks of news about the USAF in the blogosphere:
In related news(?! ;-), the reinvention (or not?!) of the academic article continues: Elsevier’s Article of the Future pilot (don’t you just love that press release?!;-) demos one possibly way of presenting an interactive journal article. (Here’s a diffrent example form a couple of months ago: Academia 2.0: What Would a Fully Interactive Journal Article Look Like.)
Again, I can’t help wondering whether research schools should have a rolling social media news site that provides a living social media release about the most recent or exciting research going on in the institution at the current time that may or may not include snippets taken from ‘interactive’ journal articles?