Best social media mash-ups in higher education

The hardest part of any cohesive social media campaign is pulling it all together.

It’s why I’m so impressed when colleges or universities embrace the social stream and preset it on their own terms in a creative and meaningful way. I’m not talking about social media directories where a school lists all its accounts.

I’m talking about a high-quality mash-up where colleges and universities wrangle feeds from blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and more to create a compelling page that gives a real-time snapshot of all an institution has to offer. (Hat tip to the folks over at mStonerblog; they have been talking about mash-ups for months.)

There are plenty of higher education mash-ups out there, but here are a few of my favorites:

University of Maryland Baltimore County

The UMBC mash-up breaks down the social stream in more ways than I thought possible. It’s a great display of all that’s happening on or around campus but also a great resource to connect with students and organizations based on activity. There are tabs for students, photos, videos, tweets, blogs, music, and organizations. But just in case you want it all, the page defaults to “Everything.”

Missouri State University

Missouri State University compiles their social stream in a place of incredible prominence — directly onto the university home page. The stream pulls from university-related Twitter feeds, Facebook accounts, and news posts to fill the center “News & Events” column. It’s a great example of school embracing social media while providing fresh content to the home page throughout the course of a day.

Tufts University

The social media hub at Tufts University is a comprehensive endeavor to pull together multiple feeds into a single interface. There are tabs for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and select university blogs. What I appreciate most is that Tufts simply didn’t pull the available widgets from each site, but took the code and customized it to match the look and feel already on the site.

Savannah College of Art and Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design bills itself as “The University for Creative Careers.” No surprise its social media mash-up is one of the most creative out there. The school puts its blog, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube feeds into a 12-box slider that pulls text, pictures, and video into an interesting display.

College of William & Mary

The social stream at the College of William & Mary is easy to navigate and visually appealing, mainly because of its simplicity. Six boxes feed the latest from the stream, whether it’s a blog post, tweet, or uploaded photo. Viewing previous posts to the stream is as easy as selecting the numbers down the left side.

Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt University social media mash-up keeps it simple. Blog, YouTube, and Twitter feeds come together to produce a Twitter-esque stream that’s easy to follow and scan. Additional social media options appear in tabs across the top of the page. It would be cool if users could subscribe to this stream with one click.

Any examples I may have missed? Please share them in the comments below:

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31 Responses to “Best social media mash-ups in higher education”

  1. Hey Patrick – Great list. These are some great examples of schools that really *get* it.

    An example that’s not as ‘mashed’ but that still catches my eye is NC State: http://twitter.ncsu.edu/

    Thanks for sharing.

    Zach Woodward
    Radian6
    @zachwoodward

    December 8, 2010 at 8:14 am
  2. Great list, Patrick, and thanks for the Tufts mention! Here are a couple other mashups that have caught my eye:

    Emerson – http://www.emerson.edu/news-events/social-media-directory
    Langara (which also lets it all hang out on their homepage) -http://www.langara.bc.ca/

    December 8, 2010 at 9:13 am
  3. Shanan #

    I could e-hug you to death. The next step for our university is to integrate our social media properties. Right now, everything is siloed. This list gives some great examples of how things can be pulled together.

    Much thanks!

    December 8, 2010 at 10:11 am
  4. We’ve been doing a lot of work in social media mashups for universities (we call them SMASHUPs) and these are some really good examples! Here are a few more I thought I’d share!

    YSU – http://web.ysu.edu/smashup/home
    DePaul – http://depaul.edu/smashup
    NIU – http://smashup.niu.edu/
    OLLU – http://smashup.ollusa.edu/

    Great post!
    Katie

    December 8, 2010 at 10:19 am
  5. This is another one for the bookmarks, as we too embark on a similar project. The first one of these mashups that I noticed was Cornell’s at http://www.cornell.edu/CUbiquitous/, but I now can’t a link to it on their site.

    December 8, 2010 at 11:48 am
  6. gee Ekachai #

    Not that I am working there, but Marquette University is doing some pretty cool job too on social media. Please see link below. And I was told the social media hub on http://www.marquette.edu is very close to being live.

    http://marquetteu.tumblr.com/

    December 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm
  7. Thanks for all the great feedback and some more great examples. Keep ‘em coming!

    December 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm
  8. Nash #

    There are some other great educational social media mashup, and while not higher ed, I believe they are definitely worth noting:

    Roxbury Latin
    Hun School
    Episcopal Academy
    Baylor School

    December 9, 2010 at 10:11 am
  9. Great list as usual. Keep up the great blogs!

    December 13, 2010 at 1:59 am
  10. Is there a single site among any of these examples that isn’t created, moderated, or vetted by a Communications office?

    All these sites look great, and this is a big step forward for higher ed, but my gut says when content is moderated it’s not social media, it’s communications— and communications isn’t what the kids are looking for.

    December 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm
  11. Hi Patrick,

    I just wanted to point out a typo, in paragraph 3 your refer to mStonerblog as “mStongblog”. Otherwise, excellent post!

    Thanks,
    Bill McLaughlin
    mStoner

    December 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm
  12. Great examples. Thanks for sharing. One more for you to consider- The University of British Columbia’s- http://www.aplaceofmind.ubc.ca

    December 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm
  13. Interesting point Jason makes about moderated content.

    Our Facebook page at this point is wide open and unmoderated and I’m more than happy to have anything our students and friends might post there show up on the home page. We do make sure there’s activity there every day but it’s not “marketingese” language.

    I could see pulling a Twitter feed that has the campus name in it too, so it’s not just our own tweets but what people say about us. Sure, there might be the occasional “WTF?! Can’t get into the library during the holiday?” but I can live with that. (Heck, teaches them to read those things we put out about library hours.)

    A live feed from RateMyProfessor.com on the home page would be a bold move indeed. I wonder if the temptation you give someone to play with whatever sites you feature might be a bit much–you wouldn’t let them write graffiti on the front doors of your buildings.

    What I’d really love is if I had more faculty and students blogging, tweeting and Facebooking about us in general. In our case as a smaller and newer campus our bigger problem is getting them to talk about us at all–not worrying about what they’ll say when they do.

    The examples and this discussion give me great ideas for ways to do this with a little more rawness and reality. Thanks.

    @BarbChamberlain
    @WSUSpokane

    Director of Communications and Public Affairs
    Washington State University Spokane
    http://www.spokane.wsu.edu

    December 28, 2010 at 11:16 am
  14. Great insight. Would love it if you readers could share their thoughts on my SM in higher ed survey. Thanks!

    http://tinyurl.com/45p44mo

    February 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm
  15. Hi all

    Have you seen any good examples that allows you to publish and fitler different twitter and social feeds by category? I know SocialSprokit does it, but I was far from impressed with the company and their communication

    Thanks!
    Josh Thomas
    Director of Web Services
    Samford University.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:13 am
  16. The social media mash-up from Vanderbilt University is my favourite

    May 25, 2012 at 9:56 am
  17. We just launched Saint Anselm College’s social media mashup page: social.anselm.edu this week!

    Also, you can get your own at http://www.glos.si: we unify your social content from around the web into a beautiful, living magazine of you.

    Sandy
    Co-Founder, Glossi
    Find me on glos.si/sandy

    June 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm
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