The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Fall 2011 Social Media Study Tour: Hands-on Learning and Content Exercise


If you’re reading this, you must be very interested in social media and how it can be utilized and optimized for higher education, particularly in Switzerland. This post is geared toward an even smaller audience: the attendees of the Fall 2011 Social Media Study Tour to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Read on, though, even if you are not attending the study tour, to find out how you can follow along with our activities virtually.

Attention participants: We are just days away from welcoming you to San Francisco. As you know, we have prepared what we feel is an outstanding program that connects you to social media practitioners at leading universities and provides introductions to major players at well-known social media companies and new start-ups alike. But what kind of study tour would this be if it didn’t also include a little participation?

Hands-on learning

If you thought you were coming to San Francisco to sightsee, think again. We will have fun, of course, but we’re also going to put you to work—and will work hard ourselves—to implement the tools and lessons we encounter throughout the week.

Bring your laptops and mobile phones, hopefully with data plans that allow you to be online and active while here. We expect you to snap and post photos (perhaps even shoot some video), to tweet, to check in, and most of all, to share and connect. Experience is the best way of learning, as we say at swissnex San Francisco, and experience we will.

We will all use social media as much as is comfortable throughout the study tour, but it won’t be for naught. We will collect and curate our activity as we go and compile our very own “newspaper” on, from Swiss start-up Small Rivers. Through this service, we will have access to a shareable, digital publication (updated daily) chock full of resources, contacts, and memories.

Content streams

Of course it’s up to you, but we highly encourage you to take part and show your commitment to learning and experimenting, with the aim of better guiding your institution toward the future and assessing new tools. We expect you to update your social media accounts prior to arrival or start new ones (if only to experiment with them), and to engage with the people you meet along the way as well as with each other.

Twitter: Please tweet! Twitter is the most important stream for our and also the most immediate, meaning it is the perfect tool for real-time reporting and interaction. To facilitate activity and engagement on Twitter, we created a list of study tour participants and the companies and individuals we will be interacting with so that we can easily, and in one place, follow, respond, react, and connect among the group. Please take a look at the list and let us know if your account is missing.

To tag study tour related tweets throughout the week, please use the #fallstudytour hashtag. Remember to use the rules and best practices of Twitter to engage with others effectively. Include links, re-tweet, and be nice. To refresh your memory if you are new to Twitter, take a listen to the Twitter 101 webinar.

Facebook: Our will also pull from the program’s Facebook page, so be sure to post and comment on the wall and “like” the page if you don’t already.

LinkedIn: Is your profile up to date? Do you have one? Remember to connect with each other and with those we come in contact with throughout the study tour. These connections may be important in the short- and long-term.

Blog: Study tour participants will be split into small groups on Monday, the first full day of our program, and each group will be assigned a “Guest Blogger Day” on which they will collectively be responsible for one short blog post (500 words or less) on our site. Don’t worry, we will provide more instructions, and this can be very basic! We just want to hear from YOU about what ideas or activities stuck out each day. It wouldn’t be as much fun if you only heard from us, now would it? 🙂

Media: Don’t neglect multimedia. We will hopefully all be taking photos and video throughout the week. swissnex San Francisco will upload ours to a dedicated Flickr group for the study tour. You are welcome to submit yours there, too, by joining the group (FYI: you need a Flickr account to do so). Video will be posted to our YouTube channel. These links will be useful for sharing across all other channels, and they will make products like our and blog posts much more fun, too.


So here’s your homework: Update your social media accounts or set up new ones if you are willing to do so. If you have a LinkedIn profile and haven’t yet connected with your fellow study tour participants and with us, do so. Same for Facebook and certainly for Twitter. Please also share your Twitter handles with us so we can follow you back.

Also, do a little homework on the companies, individuals, and institutions we will visit. What social media channels are they active on? Are you following them? What questions do you have for them on how what they do is applicable for Swiss higher education? Coming prepared and connected will make all of our interactions, digital and in-person, all the more fulfilling.

Resources and Required Reading

We’ve prepared a full list of useful articles and links about the people and places we’ll be visiting, including social media accounts, websites, presentations, interviews, and more. Please take advantage of these and come prepared. See you in a few days!

Author: Megan Williams

Megan Williams is swissnex San Francisco’s Head of Communications. She likes to write about science and culture. A marine biology nerd and a dedicated science communicator, she also loves to hunt for design treasure at thrift stores.

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