Using analytics to guide a multi-post strategy on Twitter

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Over the summer I began experimenting with using Sprout Social to schedule repeat posts of tweets. In the past, Twitter for Bemidji State was a fire-and-forget type of operation; we’d have a story, we’d tweet about it when we released the story, and that’d be the end of it. 

That always intuitively felt like a mistake; after all, for that to be effective relies on a couple of things that simply cannot be true. We were assuming the entire audience that we hoped would see the tweet was:
• …on Twitter when we sent it
• …paying attention to the BSU tweets in their timeline when we sent it
• …would catch up on tweets they missed if they popped in a couple of hours later to catch up on Twitter

Twitter’s new analytics data, which is now available to the masses, not only takes the guesswork out of this, it helps prove that none of those assumptions are true and reinforces the necessity of multiple tweets for key messages.

Using data from Twitter, I put together a Google Sheets analysis of three tweets I sent yesterday — all three identical, about BSU’s position in this year’s U.S. News & World Report college rankings. The first was sent at 10 a.m., the second at 3 p.m. and the third at 10 p.m.

The 10 a.m. tweet had 751 impressions, with 603 (80 percent) in the first four hours. The 3 p.m. tweet had 1,442 impressions, with 1,087 (75 percent) in the first four hours. The final tweet at 10 p.m. had 861 impressions, with 763 (88 percent) in the first four hours.

Analyzing this data leads to some interesting observations:
• The 10 a.m. tweet  was the least-viewed of the three, but it took 13 hours for it to get to the point that it was getting less than five impressions an hour.
• The 3 p.m. tweet pulled much more traffic — it pulled 520 impressions in its first hour and had more impressions in its first four hours than the other two will get in total. It didn’t die as quickly as the other two, though — it pulled 244 impressions in the three-hour block from hours 4-7 after it was posted, while the first tweet had only 52 and the third had only 19. 
• The 10 p.m. tweet had huge initial traffic — 553 impressions in the first hour — and then tailed off quickly. However, unlike the first two tweets it picked back up again this morning, gaining 70 impressions between 6-9 a.m., or hours 9-11 after it was posted. The first tweet had 37 impressions in hours 9-11 and the second had 40.

I will have to do this more often with more tweets that are scheduled on a repeating basis to see if these patterns hold true. If they do, here are the adjustments I might make:

• Start the chain at 9 a.m. (when possible) to see if that will lead to a faster start for the first tweet
• Continue to schedule the second tweet five hours after the first tweet to see if there’s a similar mid-afternoon bump in traffic.
• Move the third tweet up an hour to 9 p.m. and see if that leads to either a bigger initial hour or a bigger number of impressions in the first four hours
• Add a 7 a.m. tweet the next morning to catch some of the rebound traffic that’s obviously coming in on the tail of the late-night tweet.
• Also, consider the possibility of adding a mid-evening tweet in between the 3 p.m./10 p.m. tweets and see what its impressions are like to take advantage of the fact that the 3 p.m. tweet did so well in hours 4-6 compared to the other two tweets. There’s clearly still an audience there.

I’m suddenly completely enthralled by all of this. I will share more as I learn more.

#BartlettMetrics for August

Yesterday, I updated the #BartlettMetrics data I compile at/near the beginning of each month of follower statistics for the seven state universities in the Minnesota Colleges and Universities system.

I first started gathering this data back in August of 2011, and have been diligent about updating it monthly for about the last year and a half. I know all of the arguments against using follower volumes as a true measure of social media influence, but it’s an easy statistic to measure and there are trends in the numbers that are interesting to watch.

But it doesn’t tell the whole story. I’ve wanted to find some way to start measuring some actual engagement numbers — likes/comments/shares/etc. on Facebook and favorites/retweets/@-mentions on Twitter, etc. Part of the reason I haven’t started doing this is simply that I haven’t put the effort into finding tools to do it. There are plenty of excellent things out in the world to measure your own social media efforts – including things like Sprout Social and Crowdbooster, both of which I have in my toolbox for BSU – but the things for measuring the efforts of others have always felt less robust.

Sprout Social will do some basic comparisons of competitors’ Twitter accounts, but it only has four data points — percentage of conversations between new/existing contacts, a percentage measure of “influence” that it doesn’t really explain, raw number of mentions (and no explanation for what constitutes a “mention”) and number of followers gained. You can export a daily comparison of mentions, which is getting closer but not without more information about what constitutes a mention. And it does nothing for Facebook comparisons.

Crowdbooster provides nothing like this at all.

So, on to other resources.

Simply Measured has some neat free tools, but they only measure in two-week increments backward from the day you run the reports; so assembling a month’s worth of data would have to mean that I’d need to schedule specific times to generate these reports every two weeks so I could have four weeks of data — and I’d never be able to do comparisons sortof-monthly as I do with the follower stats. Paying for Simply Measured isn’t an option; its “cheap” tier is $500 a month. I wish this would work, because SM’s Facebook engagement comparison is pretty damn cool.

HootSuite has some reports that look like they may get to the neighborhood of what I’m looking for, but they’re teased in the free version and then paywalled behind either their pro or enterprise pay levels. Awesomely, there’s of course no pricing information for the enterprise level – and I’m not interested in more sales calls.

There are other things that I’ve run across that I won’t even mention, because they don’t do what I want them to do either. All of this screams “learn to code, learn the Facebook and Twitter APIs and just build something.” It’s probably getting to the point that I’ll feel like I need to do just that.

“10 books that have stayed with you”

A couple of people have tagged me in the “10 books that have stayed with you” challenge that has been floating around on Facebook. The challenge is to list 10 books that resonated with you somehow; not necessarily the “best” or anything, just books that have stayed with you.

I replied to the first person who issued me this challenge that I wasn’t sure I could do it — while I’ve certainly read plenty of books, the influential things in my life have tended to be movies or television shows. I was a voracious reader as a kid, but am on something akin to a novel-every-two-plus-years pace these days (in that I start a novel, read a chapter every few weeks, and finish it two and a half years later). So I genuinely wasn’t sure I could do this. 

But tonight Melissa tagged me in her list too, and when your wife throws down the gauntlet you’ve gotta pick it up. So here’s my crack at this. In no particular order (with Amazon links):

• “Dune” by Frank Herbert
• “Armor” by John Steakley
• “Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000” by L. Ron Hubbard
• “Red Storm Rising” by Tom Clancy
• “Imagica” by Clive Barker
• “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson
• “It Will Be Exhilarating” by Dan Provost, Tom Gerhardt and Clay Shirky
• “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
• “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
• “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

What I’m Playing
I picked up Velocity 2X yesterday; it’s this month’s free PS4 game on Playstation Network. I played for about an hour last night and got through maybe 11 of the game’s 50 levels. It’s not a challenging game by any means, and the intent is that you replay levels repeatedly in an attempt to pick up every item in a particular level in the fastest possible time — thus velocity. It’s clever in that it is a mashup of side-scrolling platformer and top-down shooter, to the extent that both genres are available in a single level in many circumstances (you start as top-down shooter, “dock” in a certain area of the level so you can find a switch that you need to open a gated area, and once inside the dock you change over to side-scroller so you can run to the switch). It’s clever. But the game’s challenge comes not from being able to finish a level (during my time playing, the levels were so easy that not completing one didn’t even feel like an option — granted, I am only about 20 percent of the way through the game), but to finish the level perfectly (by snagging all of the level’s collectables and reaching a certain score threshold) while at the same time finishing ahead of a time limit. However, once you’ve beaten a level there isn’t much motivation to replay it to beat the time limit unless you want the achievements; the “XP” you get as currency for reaching certain performance thresholds in each level is used to un-gate future levels, so it may well be that by the time those gates take hold, you’ll have to farm previously-completed levels to get enough XP to unlock new stages. Which, honestly, might just make me quit playing. 

It’s fun. I’m glad it was free. I’m not sure I’ll ever beat all 50 levels, though. 

Fun stuff from social media today
• Bungie put out a rather awesome live-action trailer for Destiny; check it out here. Bring on Tuesday…
• Ikea put out a brilliant ad for its 2015 catalog, “bookbook”. Watch it on YouTube

Post-mortem: “InFamous: First Light”

Back in May, I wrote about how much I was enjoying the PS4 game “InFamous: Second Son”; at that time I had just completed a first playthrough on normal difficulty and was in the midst of a second playthrough at a higher difficulty. About a month later I completed that second playthrough and in June this became the first game that I had earned a platinum trophy achievement in for completing all of the game’s other trophies.

I talked about how much I enjoyed the game back in May, and the fact that I eventually finished off every trophy available in the game was a testament to that. So when I heard that developer SuckerPunch was developing an expansion (which, really, was inevitable) called “First Light” focused on the Abigail “Fetch” Walker character, I was excited; Fetch was a strong supporting character in the first game, and she was the source of the game’s neon-fuelled powers, which were fun to play. All seemed to be in place for a solid

I completed First Light last week, and I’ve been waiting for a bit to post about it simply because I initially wasn’t sure what to think about it. Here’s my post-mortem on the game:

What I liked
• The game seemed to use better character models than Second Son; Augustine, the first game’s main villain who was relegated to sidebar status in First Light, certainly looked better.
• Fetch’s neon abilities were significantly more powerful than Delsin’s version in Second Son. There were some nice upgrades to the sniper abilities, and Fetch was a much more capable melee fighter than Delsin was in any of the original game’s four power configurations.
• The clouds to boost Fetch’s speed when sprinting were super-fun; as if the neon sprints weren’t one of the best parts about the game already.
• The lumen race side-mission layer was fun. Most of the races were trivially easy, but it was a neat addition to the game that I enjoyed.
• Fetch’s grafitti tagging side-missions were good, and I liked that those were very limited in number; there were too many of these in the first game.
• Only a couple of the lumen-collecting jumps were difficult, but those few that were took many attempts. It was a nice victory to complete all of those.
• The sniper’s nest missions were super-fun; there should’ve been more of those.

What I didn’t like
• The game was very short. Had I been so inclined I could’ve run through the game from start to finish in a solid night of play (as it was I sat down to play the game maybe four times in total, start to finish); it left me wanting much more.
• As with the first game there’s essentially zero penalty for failing at anything. You just roll back to a checkpoint and start again. And as with the first game, that eventually served to encourage me to play sloppily.
• There wasn’t a branching storyline depending on whether you made hero or villain choices, because there were no such choices. That created even less of an incentive to continue with the game after the first play-through.
• There were no boss fights. The boss fights in Second Son were some of the most challenging aspects of the game, and I missed those more-significant one-on-one fights in the expansion.
• The game world was limited to one of the first game’s two zones, and it was the least-interesting of the two zones visually. Given the game’s neon focus, I would’ve liked to have spent time in the virtual Seattle’s Lantern District.
• I wish there would’ve been more police drones to hunt down; those weren’t difficult but they were fun to do, and even doubling the amount of them in the game would’ve been welcome.

Most disappointing to me was the fact that First Light moved away from the first game’s trophy system — where all of the game’s trophies could be achieved while simply playing through the main storyline and running the side-missions — and added “virtual training” missions that you essentially have to farm repeatedly in order to attain the scores necessary to earn the trophies. I really do not enjoy this kind of content, and I definitely do not like playing this content repeatedly simply to achieve a higher score (and, to be honest, the old-school ‘80s gamer in me weeps at this revelation about my current gaming habits). So as I did with Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, which had similar content making up a significant portion of the games’ respective trophies, I essentially skipped this content — and, as a result, am going to end up skipping about two-thirds of this game’s trophies. It would’ve been nice to have platinums on both the base game and the followup, but I’m simply not interested in grinding those training missions.

In short, while I wish the trophy system was more in line with the first game, I wish the main campaign had taken longer, and I wish the main campaign took longer to complete, in all I would say I liked First Light. Fetch is a strong character and as I mentioned earlier the neon power tree was one of the best things about the first game. Given what I know about it having played it, I’m not sure I would’ve spent $15 on it again though. 

Getting back to the blog

I am active on Twitter and Facebook – I update those things all the time. My blog gets mostly ignored, as you can plainly see. I know all about bringing some of the smaller nuggets that get sent out to social media back into the blog so they can be expanded on. I’ve just never developed the workflow or the discipline to make sure that actually happens.

Disruptive workflows just ruin me — and opening WordPress to blog is a disruptive workflow. I’ve tried a couple of different things to remedy that:

I started using IFTTT to auto-dump Facebook posts, Twitter updates and Twitter favorites into Evernote, thinking I’d go back later and pull some of that content into blog posts. But realistically Evernote’s just acting as a vault to hold that stuff, and I’m not referring to it — ever.

I bought Byword, which has a really nifty feature that’ll publish the things you write directly to WordPress. Only the Markdown code — especially for things like footnotes, which I’ve grown to like using quite a bit — never imported correctly. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess I was doing something incorrectly, but the process of writing a blog post, uploading it and then fixing a bunch of broken markup code by hand a couple of times soured me on the entire process.

I installed a couple of different editorial calendar plugins with the thought that it’d help me plan posts, including StressLimit’s Editorial Calendar plugin and a trial of CoSchedule. Both are great, but required me to be logged into WordPress in order to use them; and, honestly, if I was going to log into WordPress to use this calendar, I’d log into WordPress to write posts.

I’m now checking out Blogo, a desktop blog-updating thing, just to see how that works out. It has a very attractive grey interface but I’m going to need some time to figure out how to do some things (like footnotes) or if those things are even possible.

At first blush there seems to be a lot to like about Blogo, though. For one, since it pulls down all of my previous posts — including unpublished drafts —I could use the StressLimit calendar plugin to schedule posts and then write them in Blogo; that might actually work.

I also now have a thought that I could also use IFTTT to send Facebook and Twitter posts to the blog as drafts, and then use Blogo to write some different posts. But, again, I want to play with how Blogo embeds tweets, etc., before I worry too much about that.

Ugh. I should just stop making this so difficult and log into WordPress and blog. But if it were that easy, this post wouldn’t be necessary.

I’ll figure it out.

150-ish word movie review: Guardians of the Galaxy

WHAT: Guardians of the Galaxy
WHEN: Friday, Aug. 1
WHERE: Bemidji Theatre

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Chris Pratt’s Star Lord in a fighter during the film’s final battle.

I’m a few days late on this, having seen “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Friday with Helen; but even after having some time to reflect I must say I remain completely in love with this movie. While it has some issues — the early exposition that tried to explain Ronan’s vendetta against the Nova would’ve been something better seen than explained, for instance — there was so much about Guardians that was simply outstanding that the areas where it fell flat ultimately didn’t matter. Chris Pratt was fantastic as Star Lord — everything you see about him being this generation’s Han Solo is entirely appropriate. Rocket — by far this movie’s biggest risk — was excellent, and it was because of the energy Bradley Cooper gave the character’s voice. Hell, by the end I even bought John C. Reilly as a member of the Nova Corps. This is a Day 1 BluRay purchase, without question, and I’d return to the theaters to watch it again without hesitation or remorse. Fabulous movie.

150 (ish)-Word Movie Review: “Godzilla”

WHAT: Godzilla
WHEN: Friday, May 16, 7:15 p.m. show
WHERE: Bemidji Theatre

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So, I really liked this movie. A lot. It felt entirely too short on the monster-on-monster fighting action, and I was caught off-guard a bit by the fact that Godzilla was never really attacked by human armies (although they were planning to blow him up as collateral damage to kill the two monsters they *did* want to kill), but overall this movie was really fun. You can really appreciate what can be done with modern special effects, and the scope of city destruction in this movie just further hammers home how far overboard the Superman/Zod fight went in “Man of Steel.” The roar was great; Godzilla looked like a believable, modern Godzilla; they had the good sense to include the nuclear breath as a finishing move; the “bad” monsters were very cool and were suitable Godzilla foes. They also dropped a subtle, but awesome, Mothra reference.

I’d go see this again in the theaters without hesitation.

Review: ‘Infamous: Second Son’ for PS4

A few weeks back Melissa borrowed “Infamous: Second Son” from a co-worker; as she had monopolized our time with “Thief,” the previous game she had borrowed in this fashion, I made sure to start playing right away. I’ve played all the way through it — it’s the second PS4 game I’ve completed after “Knack” (and Infamous is a significantly better game than Knack), and I have to say I am enjoying it quite a bit. The game allows you to take two divergent paths — good karma or evil karma, dependent on the choices you make in the game (typically revolving around the characters you decide to kill or not kill). My first play through in normal difficulty was on the good karma path, and I’ve started a second play through on expert difficulty on the evil karma path.

What I like:
• This is a very pretty game. The game has an impressive draw distance, and some of the views you can get from certain vantage points in the city are just beautiful.

• I liked the characters. Delsin Rowe’s a well-developed protagonist, and his brother Reggie provides a grounded balance for him. Even the game’s main villain became somewhat sympathetic by the time the game wrapped up, which I thought was interesting. I’ll be curious to see how the ending differs with evil karma rather than good karma.

• The control scheme is straight-forward and the game does a good job of slowly doling out your powers to give the player a relatively flat learning curve. The game is easy to control, and once you are comfortable with firing off your various smoke-powered moves you’re pretty much set for the rest of the game, even through the three power shifts.

• The side missions are fun. The graffiti missions are a neat touch, and I very much enjoyed the “kill the DUP spy” missions. Neon power made these more enjoyable; oftentimes you could locate and assassinate the spy without getting close enough to trigger his flight response and start a chase through town. However, I sort of felt like the game needed one additional collectible layer to encourage exploration of Seattle’s various towers and tunnels. I’ll be forever spoiled by the Riddler trophies in Batman: Arkham City.

• I like that the trophies all seem obtainable if you put the time into the game to earn them. My biggest frustration with the Batman: Arkham series is the insistence on making you grind the sidebar combat scenarios to earn a significant volume of the game’s trophies. I don’t enjoy playing that kind of content, let alone farming it. Those side missions are entirely separate from the main game and are in no way required to progress, and as a result they have effectively walled me off from even wanting to chase the platinum trophies. Second Son isn’t like that at all — you can earn every single trophy by simply playing the game. I love that. I definitely have an opportunity to have this game be my first platinum trophy, which is going to be pretty cool if it happens.

• Related to that point, the game is challenging but not difficult. It’s a game that you can beat if you have some competency with video games and decide to put the time in to play it. There were two boss fights I struggled with, but that was more a matter of execution on my part than the fights being too challenging for me to complete. But in general the game seemed difficult enough to feel like I had to put effort into completing it, but not so difficult that there were points that frustrated me to a point where I was tempted to quit.

• Delsin’s travel abilities are so much fun to use and the scenery for the game is so great that I essentially ignored the fast-travel option.

What I didn’t like as much:
• I was hoping for more divergent play styles to emerge from the different power sources; there are some distinctions but for the most part the four different powers play essentially the same. For example, neon’s only real difference from smoke is to make you a more effective sniper (which is great); video’s only real difference from neon is that you move from sniper to stealth melee as a secondary way to kill enemies (which is fun but only useful situationally, and you can’t stealth-assassinate heavily armored enemies); concrete is essentially the same as smoke but forces you to chain-kill your enemies so you can move from one to the next and drain them for power. Beyond those minor differences, Delsin primarily fights as a mid-range caster with some heavy-ammo abilities for taking out vehicles and armored mobs in all four power configurations throughout the game. He has melee abilities, but they are far more suited for situational use in defensive situations; Delsin’s certainly not meant to be a primarily melee damage-dealer.

• Once you get concrete, if you still have side missions to complete there’s really no reason to choose any of the other three power sources. You burn through your resources faster, but concrete hits so much harder and gives you a travel ability that’s so significantly better than the other three powers that it doesn’t make sense to not use it.

• I didn’t feel that there was enough punishment for killing civilians once you went down the hero path. If there was a group of DUPs with one civilian in it, there wasn’t much hesitation to using a rocket to take out the whole group and deal with some collateral damage. I didn’t do this often just because I was making an effort to stay in the blue, but there seemed to be effectively no consequences for the occasional accidental killing of a civilian. I didn’t want to test it too thoroughly, because it seemed like the bump you got from a busting an individual drug deal — the only way to farm good karma other than healing injured people — seemed similarly insignificant and I didn’t want to see how many drug busts it would take to balance out a grip of dead bystanders.

• For me the control schemes took awhile to get used to. The timing and positioning of smoke-dashes to use the red vents for vertical travel took me awhile to figure out, and it’s really only on my second play through that I can jump right into them without fumbling around and charging into the wall a couple of times before successfully finding my way into the vent.

• Enemy AI is a little weak in some places; you can bait some of the DUP troops into running back and forth between the same two cover spots which can make them easier to take out.

• You can get juggled in some of the boss fights — taking a series of repeated hits that you aren’t given time to recover or move in between — which can get frustrating.

• There’s effectively zero penalty for getting killed, other than whatever pull you’re working on gets reset when you pop at the respawn point. At first this seems like a plus, as it somewhat emboldens you to jump into situations where you’re crazily outmanned just to see if you can pull it off, but by the time you get to the second island it serves to encourage sloppy play.

• There’s a dead spot in the environment in the underground lair where you confront Eugene and get the video power where the game slows to a crawl and the game freaks out a bit if you try and approach a certain video monitor.

• I wish Delsin would’ve had a chance to meet the DUP phone operator to whom he places the crank calls announcing he’s defaced the billboards and triggering the zone-defense missions (which in general I felt were all too easy). Solid opportunity for future downloadable content there, Sucker Punch.

• The free mission that’s available with the download code in the package isn’t available for purchase on PSN. Since we borrowed the game, and the code had been used by the original owner, I’m unable to play that mission. I would’ve paid for a download without hesitation. Hopefully that’ll be included in the game’s inevitable DLC.

• There are exactly enough powered shards in the game for you to drain as currency for your ability tree as you need to max out your skills in all four power trees. And since you do not get concrete until you defeat the final boss, there are significantly more shards available to you than there are moves to spend them on in the first three power trees. It means you can stockpile shards until you hit the correct hero/villain level to unlock new powers and fully charge them immediately, and there are no legitimate choices to make regarding your powers. For example, while you certainly can make a decision to delay a four-shard upgrade in order to chase down one more drone and take a five-shard upgrade first, the shards are so easy to acquire that you likely wouldn’t feel much of a pinch by simply taking the four-shard upgrade and then farming up five more shards in relatively short order.

The negative things are mostly nitpicks; I really enjoyed this game. It’s one of the very, very few games I’ve ever played that I knew without question I would replay once I finished it for the first time — not only for the experience of going down the opposite karma path, but also because it’s just fun to play.

20140507-BartlettMetrics for May

I have updated my monthly measurement of social media follower data on the Big Two channels of Facebook and Twitter for the institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Audiences for the seven state universities were measured on the morning of Monday, May 5; the two-year colleges were measured around noon the same day. The methodology is simple; the channels are all visited and whatever follower number is being represented by the service is entered into a Google Docs spreadsheet by hand. The spreadsheets are available publicly; you can visit them here:

• state universities
• state colleges

MnSCU State Universities

There isn’t much to report this month; there were no real standout changes in any category for any of the seven schools, and for the most part everyone’s growth was slightly down from April.

  • Bemidji State went over 15,000 total followers with 11,877 on Facebook [0] and 3,449 on Twitter [0]; we picked up 413 total fans since the April measurement and our total audience is still more than 300 percent of our enrollment.
  • St. Cloud State is about two months away from being the first of the MnSCU state universities to go over 30,000 in combined fans and followers. Their Facebook growth was up [0] to 22,392, and Twitter’s up to 6,892 [0]. They’re on pace to hit 30k sometime in the second half of June.

As an aside, St. Cloud State’s audience is one of the reason I’m considering adding a column that shows changes by percentage rather than a raw number. For example, their growth of 370 is a 1.68-percent bump from last month, while our growth of 309 is a 2.67-percent bump. It still means we’ll never catch them, but some additional context for data is always helpful.

  • Minnesota State had probably the only really significant milestone for this measurement period, edging over 20,000 total fans and followers for the first time. They’re the second MnSCU university to get there; St. Cloud State got there sometime between Dec. 17, 2012, and Feb. 13, 2013 (I didn’t do a measurement in Jan. 2013). They went over 15k on Facebook and should be at 5k on Twitter when I do my next measurement in June. They continue to grow at a pretty impressive rate; they gained 641 total fans and followers since the April measurement, a 3.27-percent bump (another reason I’m considering percentage changes).

Across the other universities, Winona State picked up another 313 total and is at 12,890; MSU-Moorhead went over 3,000 on Twitter for the first time; Southwest Minnesota State edged over 4,000 on Facebook for the first time; and Metro State continues to add a dozen Twitter followers a month despite not tweeting for four years (which reinforces the notion that, while these numbers may be fun and somewhat interesting, in the grand scheme of things they don’t mean a whole hell of a lot).

MnSCU State Colleges

This was the fourth month that I measured audience size for MnSCU’s state colleges in addition to the state universities. The data is new and the audiences are comparatively much smaller than the state universities[0], so there’s not much to say regarding trends – particularly since I’m still discovering new data points that haven’t found their way into the previous measurement periods.

One thing that jumped out was Anoka Technical College on Facebook; I had them at 454 fans in my April 2 measurement period, which was exactly even with what I had them at on March 3. However, this week they were up to 948. I’m curious to know what they have been doing; 109-percent growth in a month is pretty crazy, and the gain of 494 was higher than any of the state universities (even St. Cloud).

Minneapolis Community and Technical College added 120 Facebook fans; they’ve been growing quickly there[0] and have overtaken Lake Superior College for the largest audience among the two-year colleges at 6,329[0].

Finally, Itasca Community College joined Twitter last month and already has 116 fans. Welcome to hell, y’all.

Using Day One as a job journal

I’ve been subscribed to the 99U email updates from Behance for awhile; sometimes I pay attention to what’s in them, but often they just get lost in the sea of 14 billion other things I’ve subscribed to over the years that bombard my inbox like a hailstorm every day. However, yesterday one of the entries caught my attention and I actually read it – “The Art of the Done List.” This drove me back to an article from last week, “#labrat: Are Daily Logbooks Worth the Work?,” which I thought was great. It includes some photos of handwritten daily job logs and some screenshots of electronic logs that were submitted from various points around the Interwebs, and I always love seeing insights into how other people think and record their actions.

I’ve read a lot about the usefulness of a daily work log, and I’ve been sporadically keeping one in Day One (which, unrelated, I totally love) for a while now – checking my entry history shows that the first post I tagged with “Job Journal” was on July 8, 2013. I had a couple of subheads: “completed”, “meetings”, “contacts” and “social/other”, and basically it was a simple little list of the eight things I thought to make note of that day in those four categories. Over the last two weeks I have refocused my attention on maintaining this daily logbook. I’m not entirely sure how many of these I have done in total since I started last July, mostly because I went through stages where I paid no attention to tagging posts when I was done.

However, for the last nine days now (I’m keeping a running total of how many consecutive days I’ve done the log in the log – which is a pretty solid motivator) I’ve kept this, which I would feel fairly confident saying is my longest streak so far. I’ve been adapting and adding content over time; for instance, this week I started copying the content from a daily affirmation email on leadership topics from Fieldhouse Leadership [1] into each daily entry, and I’ve switched to categorizing tasks under a common action verb rather than the previous general categories of meetings, contacts, etc. – words like “draft”, “update”, “write”, and “FUP” (my shorthand for “followup”).

I’m also trying to make a concerted effort to be active in a couple of online communities related to higher education marketing and social media, and I’m maintaining a separate “post” entry as a reminder for when I’ve contributed to discussions in those different venues.

I have to say that while this seems like it might be a waste of time, it has proven to be incredibly helpful during the times I have needed to refer back to something and found that I actually remembered to enter the event on that certain day. Email is an easy archive and replacement memory – I have tens of thousands of email messages going back years, and while because of the way Apple’s mail.app threads messages finding a specific message is slightly more challenging than necessary, it can be done relatively quickly. But what of phone calls? Or chance meetings in the hall? I was discovering that those things were lost to the ether, particularly if they were in some way noteworthy but did not lead to information that ended up in my inbox or find its way into a to-do item in Wunderlist.

Sometimes I just want to check and see how many days it’s been since I called someone to check in about something or another. So, ultimately, in addition to becoming a daily list of “these are things I did today” (which is good for the psyche), these lists in Day One have become a de facto low-tech CRM system.

I’m enjoying what I’m doing with Day One in terms of job journaling, and as my work becomes increasingly more complex and intensive because of our seemingly infinitely expanding scope of responsibilities, it’s proven to be a useful tool in the arsenal of toys I’m using to keep work under control.

  1. Thanks to @BradFolkestad for turning me on to that