An email cc’d is not a problem solved

We’ve all been there – a CC’d recipient on someone else’s email where there isn’t enough room to see all of the email addresses. They tend to go on and on and after a while we’re not sure why we started to read them but by that point it is too late.

Many companies have policies about what you can and cannot do with email from a legal/compliance/technical perspective but less address email use from an organisational efficiency or cultural perspective. Email is a tremendously useful tool but it needs to be used effectively making organisations more efficient and not making staff slaves to their inbox.

Emails should be:

  • Concise
  • Targeted
  • Specific
  • Action orientated

My assumption (and I might be wrong) is that if I CC someone on an email – they don’t need to read it and they probably will not read it anyway.

There is some good guidance on The 9 Simple Rules Of Email Mastery blog – my favorite para is:

Filter all CCs to subfolders…and ignore: This is one part training your co-workers and one part self-discipline. So much of office politics is played out in the CC: and BCC: fields. If I’m not in the “To:” field of an email thread, you’re not including me in the discussion directly—so I’m not interested, by definition. Even if I wasn’t obstinately trying to help you organize your communication better, in more than 20 years of using email in work and academic pursuits, I have rarely read something compelling, or in need of my action, that I was CC’d on.’

Not advocating this but certainly food for thought. And remember, email is a fantastic tool but there are other options:  it’s good to talk.


Facebook fans league table for Universities in Scotland

My earlier blog on 13 July 2012 Scottish University League Table of Social media looked at the individual and collective social media reach of the University sector in Scotland. Given that was six months ago I thought it was about time to look again at the figures with a focus on Facebook fans. In the last 6 months we have seen an uplift of 32% in Facebook fan base with an overall increase of almost 60,000 fans.

Edinburgh Napier University continues to have the largest number of fans at 49,064 and also the largest increase over the last 6 months of 16,369. Whilst the University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh continue to show strong growth of 23% and 27% respectively the most notable change comes from The Robert Gordon University increasing its fan base by over 150% to over 20,000 fans. The combined increase from Edinburgh Napier and Robert Gordon almost accounts for 50% of the overall sector increase.

League table of University Facebook fans

Scottish University Facebook fans table

Remember on Twitter you are the publisher

Social media may feel like a casual informal engagement – a bit like a chat on the bus – but beware the law courts don’t see it that way.

As soon as you post something on social media – legally you are regarded as a publisher – basically you are subject to the same legislation as newspapers and could be open to claims for libel.

The rules applies to all social/professional media and the issue has again come to the fore with the McAlpine case of mistaken identity.

And the rule covers both original and recycled content – both a tweet and a retweet are regarded as publication and the person who retweets is also regarded as having published the information.

You can access the Edinburgh Napier University quick guide to social media if you need guidance on how to engage on social media or you may find my earlier blog ‘Social media policy – do you have one?’ helpful.

Universities and colleges look to support business with Business Tailor

The Business Tailor website was released recently – it is a university and college collaboration project that aims to provide a gateway to nine of the east of Scotland’s universities and colleges – a one stop shop aimed at streamlining the engagement and enhancing access to knowledge, expertise and consultancy.

On the plus side, I think this is a really positive move by the sector that shows that universities and colleges are keen to work with and support business and they are trying to make the interface simple and supported. And the offer to ‘provide tailored solutions to ensure your exact requirements are met’ is a strong statement of intent.

The challenge for the sector though is relevance and awareness. I’ve spoken to various contacts across industry sectors and although I believe there is interest in the knowledge and expertise in our universities and colleges – however I don’t think they quite get or believe that there is a big enough commercial benefit to justify full engagement.

Hopefully the Business Tailor is a step in the right direction and the service will help bridge the gap between universities and industry. Do you think it will be useful and more importantly, will you use it?

Social media policy – do you have one?

Social Media policies are an interesting and necessary addition to digital governance.

I was in the middle of developing an upbeat two pages guide on how to use social media effectively, when I was asked by HR to support them in developing the overall social media policy for the university – this is a bit more serious and specifies what you can and cannot do and the disciplinary issues that can result from inappropriate use of social/professional media.

Does your organisation have a social media policy?

One of the biggest challenges is the variety of digital resource that exist, how easily it can be utilised, and where does a policy covering social media start and finish particularly given the blurred distinction between personal/corporate and who people represent when they communicate via social media? The issues are highlighted via  Academics behaving badly? Universities and online reputations blog – it  gives an overview of the challenges of controlling brands online and defining what is and what is not acceptable exploring the boundaries between expression of academic freedom and the obligation academics have to their institutions. It also provides a number of high-profile cases of academic trouble in cyberspace.




Using Key Information Sets seems sensible

The Key Information Set (KIS) will go live today via the all new Unistats comparison site.

The BBC sums it up best in its article Comparison website for university courses. Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The site draws together comparable information on those areas that students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The items that students thought were most useful have been included in a Key Information Set.

There has been much criticism of this site from the sector with questions about confusing applicants and information overload – some of which is valid at this point and much a likely legacy of the time-scales imposed on Universities to get the data live. However, in the long term, transparency and comparability has to be welcomed.

Using the KIS exclusively to select a course is dangerous but this is not what the KIS is for. Using the KIS to validate any decision as part of a wider due diligence process is an eminently sensible thing to do.

Social media: when student engagement and marketing collide

Last week @EdinburghNapier we had week one and the plethora of events for freshers – both academic and social. From a digital perspective, the main difference between previous years and this year is that we’ve lifted our efforts to try and play this out more effectively on social media with live Tweeting from events and a pipeline of rich media capturing the buzz of the events.

The students themselves appear to be engaging – especially on Facebook – with considerable liking and a general uplift in fan base from our student community with significant spikes with reach and likes. What’s also nice is that the many student associations and communities are harnessing the Wall to promote what they have on. All in all a rich fusion of interesting content and engaged users. And, so far, the comments and engagement are positive and suggest appreciation – long may it continue.

And whilst this buzz around week one continues we are also starting next year’s recruitment campaign at undergraduate level – with the main focus being a Facebook app page that promotes the Open Day. What appears to be happening is a fusion (or you could say collision) between the engagement in Week one content with the build in our undergraduate campaign and the linkage between our marketing messages (about what we think we are and what we do) and the experience that is being played out across social media – all in all they are fairly consistent.

This openness and transparency is something we are trying to ensure is reflected in our marketing efforts so that our message and experience are aligned. And on this occasion social media is the tool that has framed this for us.

Digital Marketing in the Higher Education Sector with an Edinburgh Napier University slant