Kristin Markway Shaw
Over the years I have called myself a journalist, consultant, teacher and marketer.
I have a ridiculous love of food, music, crafting, reading and sappy movies.
Spending as much time learning, thinking, writing, meeting new people and loving life as much as I possibly can.
Explore my adventures below!
I’ve been thinking a lot about professional intentions and outcomes. About balancing perfection with meaning.
One of the last projects I completed in my previous position was to produce a video and web page to honor a Jesuit priest. He’s been at the university for 55 years and the school had just announced its plan to name a campus building in his honor. That ceremony will happen this weekend.
Fr. Wheeler (the Jesuit priest) is quite the character. He is known for his non-traditional attire (shorts), weightlifting, challenging quizzes and messy office. However, age has affected some of his spunk, so a video interview – while it was very entertaining and important for people to see – needed to be supported with b-roll and music.
There was really only one choice for music – Fr. Wheeler loves classical music and almost always has it playing in his office. His favorite is Mozart’s Moonlight Sonata. Have you heard it? It’s beautiful, but very somber. We tried it in the video and the tone seemed wrong.
So I searched high and low for another Mozart sonata that would work better. We found a compromise, but I remained unhappy, even after the video went live. To me, an outsider, it still seemed incongruent; I thought it detracted from the piece.
But then the comments started to come in. We asked alumni to share memories and thanks, and here were a few that caught my attention:
I have many memories of Father Wheeler and my time at Rockhurst studying chemistry. One in particular is of the nights I would study chemistry on the top floor of the science building. I would study outside of Father Wheeler’s office in the hall. Classical music broadcasted by KXTR would float down the hall. Father had a toggle switch by his chair so he could switch off the broadcast at commercials, for incoming phone calls, and when I and others came in for questions. It was a great atmosphere and environment for studying sciences.
I remember my first day of General Chemistry lecture – I was pretty sure the professor was a Jesuit priest, but he was wearing jeans and chukka boots (remember those?) and didn’t look like the priests I knew! Fr. Wheeler’s office always kind of scared me – it looked like organized chaos – but I liked the classical music.
I smiled watching the video knowing that the classical music in the background was the icing on the cake! To this day, I can’t help but think of Fr. Wheeler when I hear classical music being played.
It made my compromise totally worth it. Hearing the music helped conjure up memories for those people who knew him best. And that emotional connection was what we were looking for. It doesn’t matter that the production quality of the piece isn’t great; it doesn’t matter that the music didn’t fit perfectly. It mattered that the result triggered fond memories from our alumni and students.
Furthermore, despite a clunky web page, I am so thrilled that we have created a kind of living testament to the power of an individual and the bonds of the community at this small Jesuit school. I’m very proud of the success it’s had and wish I could be there to see the event this weekend.
Beyond that, I think I’ve learned a great lesson: look carefully at your audience and at your goals. Making something slick and pretty and perfect doesn’t matter if it won’t connect with people in the way you intend.
Filed under: Higher Education Tagged: audience, goals, music, special project, tribute, video
I’m not proud of this post. It’s a little embarrassing. I know I’ve learned a lesson though, and I hope someone else might learn it too.
These were all the result of someone confusing a brand account with their personal Twitter feed. The things they tweeted weren’t acceptable to be coming from their institution. Big uh-ohs. Some handled it well; some people got fired. Live and learn.
I can say I’ve never made the same mistake (knock on wood). However, I was SHOCKED to find tweets from my former employer showing up on my personal Twitter account.
My mistake? The university had set up a Tweetdeck account before my arrival that I decided to use for social media management. I added my personal Twitter account because I follow people in higher ed, marketing, etc. It doesn’t make sense for the institution to follow those people, but it does make sense for me to know what’s going on in that community in order to be better at my job.
In the whirlwind that is transitioning out of the job, I completely overlooked that someone else would use this Tweetdeck account and have access to my Twitter credentials. Thank goodness no one had any ill will toward me. Unfortunately, my replacement hadn’t mastered the nuance of checking/unchecking the avatars in Tweetdeck when sending out updates. Which meant whatever the college said also appeared on my profile.
I had no idea. As I told someone: I almost NEVER check my own Twitter stream. I assumed I knew exactly what was coming from my account!
Thankfully there’s little damage done. One of my new co-workers saw the tweets and later said she assumed I was just very attached to my alma mater. But the account was certainly left open to be hacked or used inappropriately. I revoked access, changed my password and contacted my replacement to ask her to remove the account. Whew.
1. Use your own management tools, whenever possible, instead of institutional ones.
2. If you can’t use your own, keep your personal account off any institutionally-used tool.
3. Make a list now of transition items. If you won the lottery tomorrow and left your job, have a packet of information that would allow someone else to take over the organization’s accounts and for you to extricate yourself (and your online identities) from them immediately. Making this kind of action plan now, when you have time and a clear head, is presumably much better than trying to do it in your last few days on the job, when everyone wants a piece of your time.
Filed under: Higher Education, Social Media Tagged: management, mistake, oops, Tweetdeck, Twitter
I’ve started a new job! This week I joined an art/design college in Boston as a web producer. (As always, any opinions here are my own and not representative of the institution.)
It’s an awesome community, both in the school and the region generally. If you don’t know, Boston is chock-full of institutions of higher learning. There are a ton of people doing awesome things and a very active community sharing their efforts and talking about the industry as a whole. There just seems to be more of an energy and excitement out here when it comes to higher ed and technology.
That said, I am also fortunate to be at a place that truly values creativity and new ideas. I’ve always loved this cartoon from Hugh MacLeod.
It just rings absolutely true to me. I’ve always used other people’s creativity to spark my own. Maybe that makes me lazy. Maybe it’s a shortcut. But I wouldn’t want to live without experiencing the inspiration I get from others.
So – that brings me to the point of this post. There are some videos making the rounds. They are titled simply: Move, Learn and Eat. They were produced for STA Australia. (aka: they are marketing, not just someone’s fun travel videos). But I don’t care. They are beautiful. They make me want to learn new things and go new places.
What’s more, I love the production style. Very active, quick pace, good music, beautiful shots, saturated colors, etc. It would be perfect for something similar here. They could illustrate learning (classroom shots) and living (lifestyle of students in the area). Obviously it will take a lot of technical skill to produce something like this, but I love having it as inspiration for my own work!
Filed under: Marketing
It’s fun to be fascinated by bright and shiny things.
This video is for an app (not live yet) that allows you see scenes from movies that were filmed in the place you’re standing. Found via Brandflakes for Breakfast.
You know what I thought of? All those sad, lonely campus tours that happen over the summer and breaks.
You know the ones. The students are gone. The campus is quiet. All that’s left to look at are empty buildings and well-manicured grounds. An energetic, young tour guide is nice. But what if you could take video from some of the great events on your campus and overlay it on the tour? Film the graduation procession, concerts, Greek Olympics, exciting classes, etc.
The added bonus: if a prospect comes to campus and didn’t schedule a tour, or no one is there, they can still wander and get a feel for the environment. I think it would be neat!
Filed under: Higher Education, Marketing Tagged: augmented reality, campus, dreaming, smartphones, tours
You can’t escape disasters. Some of them are big and tragic and immediate. Some of them seem very small and ordinary. But the small ones are no less important.
Last week, a recent graduate and enrolled MBA student at Rockhurst died. It was an accident – riding in the back of a pickup truck. The local news media covered it for one day. To the outside world, it may not seem like a big deal. Unfortunately, people die every day. But on our small campus, it felt a bit different.
I don’t want to dwell on the impact this may or may not have had on the folks here. What I was struck by during this process was how important it was for me to ignore some of my social media instincts.
I saw the news unfold across Facebook and Twitter Monday morning. It started with one student – leaving messages of prayers, an RIP – and started to spread. Immediately, I had the inclination to ask: what happened? Instead of doing it publicly, I gave a heads up to my boss that something was going on. She was already in a meeting discussing how the university was going to handle his death.
So I held tight. I wanted to start sending out messages saying “I’m sorry” or “he sounds like such a great person” or “I’ll pray for his family.” That’s what Kristin, the person, would do. And, really, I’ve been cultivating a more conversational, social presence for the university. But it didn’t feel right.
Early in the afternoon, we released a formal statement and quote from the university president. I put out a message across the social channels. It spread quickly among the community – retweeted by newspeople, alumni and other community members who hadn’t been exposed to the students’ comments earlier in the day. The link to the statement on our website quickly ratcheted up 400+ clicks. It’s the most we’ve ever had on one piece of content.
Because this man’s parents were in St. Louis, we were the official local source. That’s why it was important to hold back. We needed to get confirmation and permission from the family.
It reminded me of being a journalist – balancing speed and accuracy. I wanted so badly to say something quickly, but this was not a developing situation. There was no need for immediate knowledge. Whereas, if the students were wrong and he was in the hospital recovering, it would be terribly damaging for the school’s official account to send out condolences.
I am a big believer in being a part of the community on social media – participating in a conversation, being genuine and being very responsive are important. But it is not a vacuum. It is an official face to the world. We have to responsibly manage both of those objectives.
Filed under: Higher Education, Social Media Tagged: community, crisis, death, experience, Facebook, Rockhurst, Twitter
The university I work for competes in Division II NCAA athletics. We don’t get much TV time. So when it was announced – back in the fall – that CBS College Sports would carry a men’s basketball game, there was a lot of attention and excitement generated.
As the day – Feb. 20 – got closer, I began thinking up a week-long Facebook campaign that would focus on the big game. Wouldn’tcha know it, on Feb. 10 – just four days before the campaign was supposed to start – Facebook decided to change their page design and functionality. (Note: I could have opted to wait a month before updating the page, but that’s no fun! I have to have the latest and greatest!)
For me, it was the perfect opportunity to put new features through the ringer, although it also made for some bumps along the way. A few things I noticed:
1. Finally! Facebook added the ability to merge the Page and Place without losing Insight functionality and without that bing map taking center stage. This was literally the first change I made, and I think it’s great. It gives the “check-in” feature more prominence and streamlines our presence.
2. New design with the photo strip across the top of the page. I was super excited for this. Why? Because I wanted to hack it like these insanely creative people did. I spent three days and several hours trying to select the perfect picture, crop it and test it on my own profile. Once that was all done, I discovered it didn’t work on the page. The images wouldn’t display in chronological order (most recent displaying on the far left).
I have no idea if it was intentional to omit this feature or not. On the one hand, I can see the need to avoid a potentially offensive or negative image dominating the top of the page because users tag the organization. Disabling the chronology gives page admins slightly more control.
On the other hand, it’s a missed branding opportunity for a page that wants to take advantage of the feature. Hopefully Facebook will create a system that allows you to select a preference for that display (if they’ve done this, someone please let me know!).
3. Landing tabs can still be selected, even if it isn’t a “tab” anymore. Who-hoo!
4. The ability to ask a question disappeared for me. I’m wondering (guessing? hoping?) that this is just some temporary glitch and not a permanent change. I was definitely planning a poll for our basketball coverage but had to opt for an open-ended question instead.
5. There is no ability to individually message or “update” someone who likes the page. Since Facebook has already created a multi-layered system whereby “updates” are separated from messages sent by friends, I don’t see the necessity for this limitation. When awarding trivia winners, I would send a Facebook message to follow up on how they get the prize. In one instance, the user had their profile settings so restricted that I couldn’t send them a message, friend request, anything. It made the system very clunky. If I could have sent an update from the page to that individual, it would have solved the problem.
6. The ability to “like” other pages and status updates as a page is great. It makes it much easier to monitor the university presences that are run by students or departments; it also allows for better cross-promotion in a simplified way.
Mostly, I think the changes are positive. I’ve run into a few buggy things, but I’m hoping Facebook gets it worked out as things settle in.
Filed under: Higher Education, Marketing, Social Media Tagged: basketball, engagement, Facebook, multimedia, NCAA, Social Media
Resources, meet reality. It’s true of higher ed as well as journalism and probably a host of other professions. There are a million things we want to do but time and money aren’t on our side.
I find myself, all too often, getting an idea and then quickly dismissing it because of that time-finances conundrum. Instead of doing that, maybe it will be better to document the ideas for potential execution in the future. And if nothing else, maybe my little sparks will become someone else’s action. If one person benefits, that’s better than the idea dying with me!
The university I work for has overnight campus visits a couple of times per year, in addition to planned visit weekends and the regular campus tours, etc. The marketing department is involved in promoting these events but not in executing them. (Obviously, a matter of resources and expertise). However, I saw an article about Kmart providing a concierge service during fashion week and thought: why can’t we do something similar?
We could have an account that prospective students (or their parents) could tweet or text if they, say, forgot a toothbrush or couldn’t find the closest restroom. Students could answer them through the same medium or give a call. It could get unwieldy very quickly, but I think we have a small enough campus, with a tight community, that this kind of service would really be a testament to our brand and create an experience that would stick with students and parents.
Is anyone in higher ed doing something like this? I’d love to see what it looks like.
Filed under: Higher Education, Marketing, Social Media Tagged: freshmen, ideas, Kmart, opportunity
It’s amazing how some words evoke an immediate response. It might be positive. Negative. Exciting. Fearful. Some of these words are very different, depending on the individual. Some are universal. As a writer, it’s important to be cognizant of these connotations.
I was struck today by one portion of Mike McCready’s post on choosing a social media consultant. He said: “Do they call themselves an ‘expert’ or ‘guru’? … The minute you call yourself an expert is the minute you admit there is nothing more to learn. Stay away from social media ‘experts’ or ‘gurus.’”
I couldn’t agree more. But, Mike also said that other people can call that person a guru and spread the word to others. On face, I would agree. But I had a moment last week when a colleague suggested following a local professional because he was the “leading social media guru in the area.” I was immediately turned off. Poor guy didn’t ask for the term to be used, but it was, and my perception was colored in a bad way. Guru automatically=snake oil (or pompous egomaniac… let’s be frank) for me. Again, language, even in casual use, is important.
This crossed over to me with this discussion of using cover letters for social media jobs. While using language to frame yourself – in a resume and cover letter – is a very important professional skill, it is also about walking and living “the talk.” For me, when I was hiring interns or consulted on the hiring of colleagues, I always wanted to know if there was a spark. Had they said or experienced or blogged or tweeted something that was interesting? Would I want to talk to them about it? Would I want to tell someone else about it? Personally, I believe that “sharing and engaging” factor is now the most important thing on a personal AND a brand level.
No one wants people to say: “X company, they totally have Facebook figured out. Their landing tab is so well designed.” They want people to talk about their content, about their deals, about their awesome customer service. Figuring out how to succeed on a company level isn’t really that much different from succeeding on a personal (professional) level.
Filed under: Marketing, Social Media Tagged: engaging, guru, language, sharing
I was a prospective student twice – undergrad and grad school. I was a student-by-osmosis for the last three years (thanks to the hubs). I have a very real understanding of both tuition bills and passing classes in addition to experiencing the joys – and stresses – of paying a mortgage and trying to save for retirement.
There’s been a lot of news in the world of higher ed about the stresses and poor emotional health among college freshmen. They worry about paying for school, holding down a job. Meanwhile, their parents are living “lives of constant economic struggle and worry“. The kicker: among all the things we worry about – mortgages, retirement, taxes – the one top thing folks in that survey said would help alleviate their stress is making higher education more affordable.
This is a huge issue for students, their parents and influencers. But as the marketing department, we can’t control at what price the university has to set tuition. We can’t control who gets scholarships or grants. We can’t promise any amount of aid. We can say that we do our best to help students and families find solutions, but sometimes that’s a bitter pill. I can say that – I’m looking at repayment of law school loans at this moment.
I think these reassurances or support and small fixes work in impersonal pieces like direct mail. But what about social media? What about one-on-one? We have to recognize that funding an education is difficult. There are many times I come across interesting articles about the cost of an education or ways to fund your education, but I hesitate to throw those into the social media arena, being hesitant about getting negative feedback. I feel like I need a more proactive, armed approach when it comes to discussing the dollars and cents.
What would that include? Maybe:
1. A transparent breakdown of what tuition pays for. We have a lot of Ph.Ds who teach and very few graduate assistants. That’s a lot more expensive, but if it’s a benefit you value, then it’s worth the extra bucks. I seem to remember Zach Briton from George Washington University explaining a similar breakdown that school has done, but I can’t find it.
2. Some really good financial literacy offerings on campus that could counsel students about loan consolidation, interest rates, alternative sources of funding, etc. I went to “loan counseling” at my institution and there was no counseling, just a lot of paper signing.
3. Great outcomes to back up the value of the degree. I think most people have this. My only issue is that the cost of the degree in 1980 and the great outcomes today aren’t necessarily parallel to what “kids” today are experiencing. So making these outcomes more relevant and real is important.
Other ideas? I feel like this is such a sticky area. One that most institutions gloss over (“don’t think about that right now, you have 4 years before worrying about it!”). But could it be a differentiator? Not “we’ll give you a bargain-basement education so you can afford it” but “we’ll give you the tools to make a high-quality education as affordable as possible and prepare you for the consequences.” It’s providing an extra service, one that people might not realize they need right this minute, but one that they will appreciate several years down the line.
Filed under: Higher Education, Marketing Tagged: economy, financial aid, freshmen, money, stress
Found this via Brandflakes for Breakfast. Such a great, entertaining reminder that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously or over-complicate basic interactions. Sometimes doing things because they are fun and personal – but difficult to quantify – is important. It’s good to remember to think like a person and not a brand.
Filed under: Marketing Tagged: funny, marketing, measurment
Come back to this!
Very basic. Great help.
Good conversation in the comments
Hmmm. Virtual college counselors.
Really list-driven site
Don't love everything about the design (audience-nav on the right. Readability issues in footer) but the organization might be useful.
How coincidental is it that most of the sites are art/design education institutions?
Use this more widely across campus?
This is crazy interesting
Interesting. Tack this up somewhere?
Use this how-to
Stash away to review in the future
MUST use the go to guides (PDF)
The key for a strong brand is not only about hiring a great outside agency, but also about having a strong in-house team who knows and cares about the brand and won’t leave it hanging out to dry after the real work begins. YES YES YES
Consider this when writing the plan
Consider this when writing the plan
Free infographic creator from MIT
A very basic resource that we might want to pull from when providing guidance to faculty.
Too duplicative? Or good for student development sans a newsletter?
The Content Grid V2. Good steps for developing a content strategy and an editorial calendar that goes beyond tactics.
Need to come back and print a few of these out!
Interesting. Exact same as news sites, really.
Really neat sharing tool that creates a landing page with customizable multimedia
From Rey Junco
How to approach Facebook pages post timeline
How to run a FB contest within the TOS
AVE - interactive timelines
Content that is found to “standout” will be displayed with a “featured” label on the Google News homepage and in search results.
Very cool examples
Neat admissions data visualization
@WootyThoughts have fun!
@nancyholtzman so... Amber teething necklaces. Total hocus pocus? The idea is so appealing. Worth a shot or no?
@liteleek you have got to be kidding me! Their lawyers are making a killing stamping out free marketing.
@liteleek wait... What happened to boloco?
. @LinkedIn needs a better way to ID spouses. Today they have a smarter way for me to stay in touch with @MOChrisShaw. Um, I live with him.
It's awful to say, but I really want to shut out all the OKC news. Flashbacks to Joplin and now as a parent it seems harder to take it in.
@loganex good news. That's the crazy scary thing about tornadoes. Totally capricious.
My 9 month old is trying to pull to stand. She's making ninja noises while trying to do so. #notkidding
That thing where you are cleaning like a crazy person and sit down to take a "break" and never get back up.
@KarlynMB I used to work with the CBC in Saskatoon. I'll see if I still have contacts & pass it along!
“@sree: REQUEST: Know U.S. lawyers (preferably solo practitioners) deeply involved w/ startups? Pl email firstname.lastname@example.org." @MOChrisShaw ideas?
I swear H can hear me turn off my light, despite the very loud white noise machine in her room. #zombiemom #gobacktosleep
@nancyholtzman I owe you that and SOOO much more. Thank you for supporting preemies like my baby girl!
@nancyholtzman thoughts on organic cows milk that is non-homogenized and pasteurized at lowest level? Ok for 1 yr old? (Thinking ahead)
@MOChrisShaw you can have one. I just can't guarantee it's safety if kept in this house. #sorry #notsorry
Two days ago Harper started crawling. Now she won't let me rock her to sleep. What is happening?! #toofast #baby #growingup
"Food condom" fail: Harper fed it to the dog. I guess he likes frozen mango too. Cc: @nancyholtzman
Bank sends email. Wants new address. Links to website. Rack brain for password. Set new one. Website tells me to call to update address. Grr
We are now listening to the rockapellas. Just your average Saturday night with the Shaws.
According to @MOChrisShaw Harper is required to watch: Carmen sandiego, tmnt, and legends of the hidden temple. #90skid