The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

#DCSF17 Day 4 | Instead of promised gold, we found a cockroach and a white alligator

Our last day of the study tour started with another trip to Berkeley where we attended a podcast workshop. The program said: podcasts are the new “gold” in digital communications. Our instructor Laura Klivans used a different expression. She gave us a historical wrap-up on radio shows and said that audio actually is the “cockroach” of communications. It was declared dead many times e.g. during the rise of TV or the invention of the internet but it is still around and it is even thriving. Storytelling by voice is a very intimate way of communications that is around since humans talk to each other. Laura gave us an overview of the different forms of popular podcasts that are around, classifying them in the categories of most to least produced. Examples for highly produced podcasts are e.g. the fictional story Homecoming or the show Radio Lab. A good example for a shorter podcast that also needs a decent amount of time producing is the series Bay Curious. On the other end of the spectrum you have shows where people just meet and talk to each other. A famous example in the United States is “WTF” with Jim Jefferies. But we did not only talk about podcasts we also produced a short one, a bathroom story. That was quite fun.

UC Berkley’s Advanced Media Institute

Waiting for the podcast workshop to start.


My learnings from the morning: podcasts are an interesting way of engaging people, and at least in the US it is more than a niche product. But a well produced podcast is not done fast and easy. I would even say it is more work than a video because you only rely on sound. And a good equipment is key.

Podcast Equipment


In the afternoon, we went to the California Academy of Sciences. It is beautifully located in the Golden Gate Park and is an impressive Science and Natural History Museum as well as a research institution.

We met with Amie Wong, Cal Academy’s Senior Digital Marketing Manager.  She gave us a very detailed insight in their social media strategy. They do not only deal with the official Cal Academy accounts but also have established sub brands like nightlife, their theme-oriented Thursday evening event for adults, or Big Picture, a photo contest. In total, they manage twenty channels. Amie told us that for monitoring they only concentrate on engagement, in her opinion reach is too superficial. She also explained us how they try to involve influencers, especially on Instagram. It was interesting to hear, that they have great success with it and that influencers which are usually paid by companies, are willing to work with them for free. Of course you have to offer them a special experience, e.g. a behind the scenes tour. In addition, Amie pointed out that they do not put any stress on them to post something about the event. So far, they have done two Instameets and during these two hours events they had nine times the engagement they usually have in a month!

So my main learnings from the afternoon: Focus on engagement and get to know your local influencers. Thanks Amie for the insightful talk!

Then finally, we reached the climax of the last day: the meeting with Claude the white alligator. We are sure he noticed us because he blinked at least twice :). I’d say a podcast about Claude will definitely find its audience.

Claude the star of Cal Academy

The study tour week ended with a fabulous dinner in Stones Throw and I am sure, I also speak for my study tour colleagues when I  shout out a big thank you to Julia and Perrine for organising the week. Especially a heartfelt thank you to Julia for being such a good “mom” to us.

#DCSF17 Day 2 │ From Stanford to Facebook

On day 2 of our Digital Campus Study Tour we had a chance to visit two very well known but also completely different institutions. In the morning we visited Stanford University, one of the world’s most prestigious universities. We met with Amy Adams, Head of Science Communications and Dylan Conn, Senior Digital Media Associate to get some insights into Stanford’s digital communication and to learn about the challenges of coordinating all communication activities on the campus.

As Stanford is one of the most well-known universities in the United States of America, finding an audience and accumulating fans and followers seems to be no issue at all. However not every scientific publication is a good story. Therefore finding the good stories and editing scientific publications is essential.

After our meeting with Amy Adams and Dylan Conn, we got to enjoy a tour around the campus. One of the Stanford students introduced us to Stanford’s history as well as their study programs.

In the afternoon we went to visit a completely different kind of campus, the Facebook campus in Menlo Park. Mircea Grecu, an ETH Zurich alumni and now working as an engineer for Facebook was kind enough to show us around Facebook’s fascinating site. The now called «old» campus is home to several office buildings as well as restaurants, a gym, an arcade, a gift shop and many other things. Facebook wants to make sure their employees have everything they need on site and most of it is for free. Mircea told us that all the people at Facebook are extremely motivated to advance the company and therefore willing to put in the necessary effort. Since Facebook has been growing at a rapid pace the company is constantly enlarging their facilities which shows in the «new» campus that is being built right across the highway. For us this was a wonderful opportunity to get a glance at a very unique and progressive corporate culture.

Sandro Schönbächler, Community- and Online Manager at ZHAW School of Management and Law

Blogging vs Vlogging: Identifying the right moments for the right content

In a 2016 Marketing Industry report published by Social Media Examiner, it is stated that “74% of social media marketers use visuals for their content, ahead of blogs (68%)”. While the efficiency of visual content is strongly supported, phasing out blogs or written content as a whole is risky as it does serve its own purpose when used adequately.

In this article, we provide the insight to help you pick the format that will best fit the situation, keeping in mind that finding your own point of balance is key to successful content marketing.

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Is Your President on Social Media?

Follow the leader book“Once upon a time, college and university presidents distrusted social media. But no more”, this is what I read on the back of the book that just arrived in our office.

#FollowtheLeader, a mStoner publication, is about social media lessons from Higher Ed leaders, a topic that has always intrigued our Digital Campus team. Continue Reading →

Digital Campus Study Tour – Day 2

By Olivia Poisson, Communications Officer, University of Basel and Jun Sarbach, PR Consultant, ETH Zurich. 

How to really engage your community

On the second day of our study we were invited to Stanford University where we met experienced social media managers of three different units. They openly shared their strategies, provided us with insights and gave us good advice. This is what we take home from Stanford: Continue Reading →

Do You Know Your Users?

Starbucks knows exactly what you are going through when you order coffee

Starbucks knows exactly what you are going through when you order coffee

Imagine the following situation: a prospective student, let’s call her Eva Excitement, is in the midst of deciding which university to go to.

Your university is one of her top choices and she is browsing through your website to find the information she needs: Will she be able to study a semester abroad? Are you offering any advice on housing? When is the admission deadline? What does she need to hand in along with her application?

In an ideal world, your website would perfectly suit Eva’s needs, she would find all the information, and get even more excited about her studies. Of course, in the end she would decide to pick your university because her experience on your website strengthened her beliefs that you are the perfect fit.

But what if not? Well you are in luck, user experience mapping might be just what you need to make Eva choose your school. Continue Reading →

Did You Take Advantage of The World Cup?

tweet_june_12The Soccer World Cup is a big deal. For a few weeks, most of the world revolves around this mega event and it is hard to escape any conversation about it, especially on social media.

During our recent Twitter chat, which took place the day of the kick-off on June 12, the conversation inadvertently geared towards the World Cup and how you could leverage the topic on social media. Continue Reading →

The New Image Campaign of the University of St.Gallen

We knew that the communications team at the University of St.Gallen was planning to focus more on creating videos, but we had no idea what was in the works. Over the last months, the team has been working hard on an image film that sent the crew as far as Singapore.

The result is “Love, Loss, and Other Lessons Learned“, a love story told over four minutes and essentially a silent movie (no translation necessary, how genious!). The big premiere of their new image video was on April 28, just in time for their annual mega event, the St. Gallen Symposium.

An image movie for a relatively small university (7,666 students in case you wonder), which is not just secretly published on their YouTube channel, but is revealed with a bang and a red carpet, has to part of something bigger. What, you ask? Well, let us tell you what else they set up for this image campaign.

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