The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Kickoff Meeting at Swisscom

As Florencia and I jet (or should I say jetlag) our way back home to San Francisco after a jam-packed week in Switzerland, we remember our excitement at finally meeting so many of you on May 24, 2011, at the social media program kickoff in Bern.

Thank you to all who attended, and to Emmerich Stoffel of Swisscom and his team for tirelessly working to ensure that our day was successful. Thank you also to Patrick Möschler for his enlightening discussion of Swisscom’s social media efforts.

When attendees started trickling into the Swisscom tower last Tuesday morning, sipping coffee and mingling among the 131 participants (viewing requires same password used to access the Library), Florencia and I hoped the guests would get something from the event. What we didn’t quite expect was to learn so much ourselves. You taught us the nuances of communicating as a Swiss institution and the unique challenges and opportunities you face. And we were inspired by the new steps some are taking using social media, which you alerted us to on Facebook during the meeting!

We knew going into the kickoff that many attendees were already familiar with social media, that some were and may still be unsure of its value, and that others were just beginning to consider the advantages and risks of the tools. That’s why we designed the day’s presentations to clarify the research and reports (available on each group’s private landing page) generated so far by swissnex San Francisco and to highlight good examples of social media strategy, guidelines, and integrated communications. We wanted to keep it light; to have something for everyone and to lay a solid foundation for the next two years, in which we’ll go much more in-depth on specific topics through webinars and study tours.

Perhaps one of meeting’s greatest benefits, however, had nothing to do with social media at all and everything to do with face-to-face, social interaction. Many said there had never before been a gathering of this number of university and research communications personnel discussing and exploring their craft. The event allowed for some of the most electric networking I’ve seen—seriously, we could barely pull you back into the sessions after break. It’s reassuring to know and to witness that even in today’s world of online communications, nothing is more powerful than an in-person conversation. Ultimately, it is through sharing ideas and challenges with each other that our joint efforts in social media will be successful.

By now, I hope you’ve seen the early video of the event (full video in the weeks to come) and had a look at the photos (feel free to add yours). All presentations, as well as a survey to help us shape future meetings, are now available on the kickoff page of this site. For those who could not attend, we hope that by using social media tools such as this blog, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. you will be able to re-live the experience with us and have access to the same information as those present.

Speaking of Twitter. The lively Twitter conversation that unfolded during the kickoff event proved that many of you already see the tool’s value for covering and following live events. Through our hashtag, #socialmediach, our LinkedIn Group, and our Facebook page, we received input from the Interactive Session I (same password used to access Library) on the challenges and importance of social media strategy and guidelines. Thank you to those who responded!

Interactive Session II also generated responses from numerous groups in the audience. Big shout out to the teams from EPFL and USI who braved the stage to outline their on-the-fly integrated communications plan for a VIP campus visitor, including live-tweeting, Facebook calls to action, live video streaming, and more. Results below (in no particular order):

Christina Beglinger, Peter Schmutz, Maja Buetikofer
Maria Frommelt, UZH; Heike Pohl, ZHdK; Thomas Langholz, ETHZ; Silvia Wölfle, ETHZ
Michael Mitchell, Maxime Jaccoud, Philippe Bonvin (EPFL)
Rudolf Mumenthaler, Cindy Eggs, Erich Aschwanden, Willi Bernhard, Rudolf Mumenthaler
Floriane Beetschen, Véronique Sigrist, Yannick Meyer (UNIL)
Jan Hardie, Germana d’Alessio, Rina Corti, Sela Reguzzi (SUPSI)
Sylvie Fournier et al. (UNIFR and UNIGE)
Sonja Westfeld (PSI); Markus Fischer (PSI); Marco Bowald (UNIFR);
Volker Graf (UNIFR)

Annemarie Schaer et al. (FHNW)
Adrian Stitzel et al. (HSLU)
Pascal Waeber (UNIL)
Mattias Buess et al. (UNIL – International Relations Office and SOC)
SMarianne.Tellenbach (, Catherine Jean (Alliance), Isabelle Clottu (hes-so); Bastien Rentsch (heig-vd); Loic Privet (heig-vd)
Justyna Grund
Gilda Schertenleib, Ktimene Gembol, Amanda Prada (USI)

Let us know if we missed your input.

Thank you again for embarking on this two-year journey with us and for starting the program off right—with energy and enthusiasm. Please do complete the survey so we can adjust and make changes to the meeting format as needed. And let’s keep this conversation going by interacting over social media and traditional channels. Please read the research, let us know what you think and how we can improve, and participate in upcoming webinars. You will soon receive an invitation for the upcoming webinar on June 8th with David Harris. Here’s to the next two years!

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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