2012 Conference

No Such Thing As TMI: How to Create a Culture of Sharing

No Such Thing As TMI: How to Create a Culture of Sharing
Donna Talarico, Integrated Marketing Manager, Elizabethtown College

We hear a lot about oversharing in this social media celebrity-mad age. See: Kardashian, Kim and Twitter.  But when it comes to the web and your college community, Donna Talarico of Elizabethtown College argues there’s no such thing as Too Much Information.
Talarico (who in the interest of full-disclosure is an editor here at Link) shared a boatload of strategies for getting your communities to embrace sharing in her session “No Such Thing as TMI: How to Create a Culture of Sharing.”
At Elizabethtown, a small campus of 1,900 undergrads in southeastern Pennsylvania, Talarico and her team have become active evangelists for a culture of sharing by getting their message in front of faculty and staff on campus through meetings, emails and a blog.
It has lead to better communication, more accurate information being shared on campus and a bigger audience, she said. And in another key, especially for those of us who might be feeling overworked, it avoids duplication of efforts.
“How often do we assume things because we don’t get all the right information?,” Talarico asks.
Talarico uses a “sharability quotient” to help guide her content choices to create “content that begs to shared.”  Are your posts visual? Funny? Compelling? Do you hear more people talking about your posts on campus?
“People love photos,” she said. One picture of the woman on campus that swipes student id cards in the cafeteria line garnered more than 440 likes, helping set records on the school’s Facebook account. The school later was able to use the picture in a successful giving appeal.
A big key to making these efforts work is convincing others to share their content with you. Etown decided the best way to do this was to show their flag at various events they found in campus or department newsletters. The communications staff showed up at an “Apple Chunking” held by a physics professor and posted videos on it.
That professor was floored, in a good way, Talarico said.
“She asked us how we found out about it, but now shes our new best friend,” she said. The professor shares content ideas all the time now.

Other ideas have included asking college sweethearts to share photos at Valentines day, a donation duel with a neighboring college and an Instagram photo challenge.

Etown is also using their internet content management system to share socially. Users can post imporant updates to social media directly from a plug in.

Talarico says it’s important to practice what you preach. She make a point of sharing Etown news on her own social networks, from Instagram to Facebook.

“Lead by example,” she says. “You’ll find it’s contagious.


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