Digital Communications Strategy: Your Input Wanted!

Basecraft recently created TV and radio ads for the 2015 Ohio State Fair. The company is based out of Columbus and New York City.

Basecraft recently created TV and radio ads for the 2015 Ohio State Fair. The company is based out of Columbus and New York City.

CFAES College Communications has engaged with the Basecraft agency to help us improve and/or develop strategy around digital communications.  As part of the process, the agency is seeking input from a large group of stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, media, and industry professionals.  This is where OSU Extension professionals like you come in, your input matters! To assist with this effort and provide Basecraft with sufficient input, we are asking two things:

(1)  Please complete this short questionnaire.

(2)  Share this opportunity, widely, with your colleagues, peers and stakeholder groups.

Only aggregate data will be seen and individual responses will be compiled by the staff at Basecraft as they utilize the data to formulate recommendations.

Why would I fill out this questionnaire? 

Digital communication strategy is incredibly important. It better connects us with our clients and encompasses much more than just web design (mobile strategy, user experience, content strategy, trend analysis, to name a few.) Your input helps Basecraft understand who we are, what we do, and what possibilities lie in our future. It’s a critical piece to completing the digital communication strategy puzzle. Once completed, this strategy has the potential to impact many facets of OSU Extension.

Questions? Contact Jamie Seger or Ryan Schmiesing.

So You Want to Make an App? Decision Chart!

A collaboration between OSU Extension’s Ed Techs and professionals from New Mexico State University’s Learning Games Lab and Media Productions over the past year has produced a handy decision chart for Extension professionals who are interested in developing mobile apps. NMSU’s Barbara Chamberlin, who directs the Learning Games Lab, developed the large majority of this flowchart which walks individuals and teams through the (very involved) decision-making process that may or may not lead to the creation of an app.

PDF version for printing: so-you-want-to-make-an-app-flow-chart-with-color-v6-ugrxmt.pdf

If you or your program / project team are interested in creating a mobile app, walk through the various steps of the flowchart. If you feel an app is still appropriate and worth the time / monetary commitments, contact Jamie or Heather to discuss how to move forward.

Questions or comments about mobile apps or the decision chart? Let us know in the comments!

How Different Generations Consume Online Content

Do Baby Boomers prefer to use internet browsers instead of their smartphones to look up information? Do Millennials want to receive more information via Twitter than any other source? Social Media Today recently published an article that lays out the answers to these and other questions about how different generations consume online content – down to the difference in time of day usage. The infographics in the post help to visually describe some of the gaps that exist between the different generations. However, with all of the differences that do indeed exist, one thing was constant: the “sweet spot” for word length looked to be 300 words… not a word more. Click the image below to go to the full post and view the entire infographic.

Source: Social Media Today

Source: Social Media Today

The PEW Research Center recently updated their social media use survey results, which are very useful in determining which social media platforms to use depending on your audience and topic. Despite assumptions that youth aren’t using Facebook, the study proved that to be wrong. Facebook is still way ahead of all other social media platforms in terms of usage. Other insights and info are in the full report.

How might this information change how you currently use social media to reach online audiences?

Formal vs Informal Learning Environments: Moodle or Blog?

POST method

With so many options available to Extension professionals to deliver educational information online, it’s difficult to know which tools and learning environments are more suitable for different curricula or program topics. Some tools available to us operate in a more formalized learning environment – like an online course for credit or certification. Examples of formal learning tools are Moodle or Carmen. Most Extension programs should not utilize Carmen, since participants need to have a name.# in order to access the course. Informal learning tools are blogging platforms (, social media, educational webinars, Twitter Chats, and now even Live streaming. These are tools that can get much of the same information out to an online audience, but in an informal way. Remember to use the POST method when being strategic about what technology and learning environment you use… start with People… not with the technology. Below are some examples of when a formal learning environment would be appropriate, and when an informal approach makes more sense.

Classes or Programs that Award Certification

If you are currently teaching a face-to-face or online program that awards certificates or credit once the participant has completed the program, than it would be more appropriate for this program to be created in Moodle or a similar formal learning environment platform. If your class requires a lot of hands-on learning and application, it may be more appropriate for it not to go online and remain as a face-to-face program.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Budget or personal finance program (or similar) that awards a completion certificate to participants.
  • Classes in which quizzes are required or beneficial.
  • Curricula that can not or should not be be broken into topical segments to share via informal tools such as social media.

Campaigns or Program Themes

If you plan to focus on a topic theme over a specific period of time (an example would be sending out educational information and facilitating classes on local food during the summer months), than an informal learning tool like utilizing a blog or posting to social media would be more appropriate.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Networked social media campaign during which multiple social media feeds are sharing information on your specific topic during a specified period of time.
  • A series of 30-minute educational webinars.
  • A series of 2 minute videos.
  • A blog post series dedicated to your specific topic or focus area over a given period of time.
  • A Twitter Chat focused on your topic area.
  • Live streaming via Periscope or Meerkat during a local food event at your Fair.

Program Participant Follow-Up Opportunities & Further Education

Online audiences in 2015 take it upon themselves to search for educational information they’re looking for. Continuing education is becoming much more informal than it ever has been in the past because people tend to search what they want to learn and informally network with others who want to learn the same things they do. This gives us as Extension professionals the opportunity to tap into this desire and follow-up with previous program participants at the same time. With today’s online audience in mind, informal learning environments are much more effective for this.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Creating a Facebook group page (private or public) for Dining with Diabetes participants to join and share, learn, and keep in touch with one another after completing the program. This group page could be utilized to also share upcoming educational opportunities.
  • Invite previous program participants to regularly held Twitter Chats.
  • Ask program participants to subscribe to your blog or sign up for educational webinar announcements via email.
  • Create a hashtag for your program or topic area. Use this hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.
  • Always give participants your program’s social media links and information for follow-up.

What are your thoughts? Any other suggestions for formal and informal learning environment tools that we can utilize in Extension?


One Video: Posted 5 Ways to Social Media

When we visited the NMSU Learning Games Lab in February, their team had some questions common questions about social media. They are working on refining their social media strategy and were curious about how they should tailor their messages to fit each social media platform (i.e. What a post on Facebook should look like compared to Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc.) This is such a common question, we thought a blog post was in order!

Below is the “Don’t Wash Your Chicken!” video produced by NMSU that happened to go viral. We explain why under the video – but watch it first to see if you can take a guess:

NBC News

What’s your guess? Why did it go viral?

This video is short and to the point. The video above is a simple illustration of a viral video that gives the viewer educational, fact-based information. There are some great keys to the success of this video, and small snippet animation with it. First, the message is simple. Don’t wash your chicken! Next, the video is short, but NBC news shortened it even more. It shows the animation of the chicken and bacteria being spread as the person puts it under the running water.

No matter which social media tool you’re using, you want to make sure any video you share is short and sweet. With the creation of Vine and Instagram videos, people’s attention spans continue to decrease. Some topics warrant a longer video (say, a video on how to water bath can tomatoes, for instance). But most videos need to be less than two minutes, or you’ll lose your audience.

So, how would you go about posting this video to each social media site? Would the posts need to look different?

The answer is: it depends. 

Because this is a video, there are only so many different ways you can go about changing how you post it, but it is possible. Here are some examples:

Facebook: Keyword is VISUAL

Sample Post: Keep text short and simple. Copy and paste the link to the video, but then delete the link text. You want your post to be visual and attention-getting. You can also paste the YouTube video link to allow the video to automatically play when people come across it on their newsfeed.

chicken video FB

Twitter: Keyword is INFORMATION

Sample post: Twitter is all about information and informal learning. Again, keep your post short and simple (you only have 160 characters to fit it all in!). Use a link shortener to keep the link small, and include relevant hashtags that will help people find the video. Try not to include too many hashtags… for no other reason than it’s just annoying. (Note: we probably could have included the #NBC hashtag and/or @NBC Twitter handle in this Tweet as well!)

chicken video Twitter

Instagram: Keyword is PRETTY/CREATIVE

Sample post: Instagram works as an app on your mobile device, so you’ll need to download the app from iTunes (for Apple devices) or the Google Play store (for Android devices) first. Most Instagram users are using it personally, rather than professionally. Here, the example is from my personal Instagram account, but I’m sharing an Extension-produced message. I took a screenshot of the video with my phone, then chose a cool Instagram filter to apply to the picture. And just for fun, one of my favorite quotes about Instagram is: “People of Instagram: your pictures are not cool and you are not creative.” We may feel this way (I do), but if a large chunk of young people that we’re trying to reach are in this space, then we should try to experiment with sharing information in this space so we can meet people where they are at.

chicken video Instagram


Sample post: Google+ is a safe haven at the moment for techies and nerds who have lost interest in Facebook and Twitter. But that doesn’t mean that they’re the only people using it. As more people find out the cool user-friendly features of Google+, they’re realizing it’s a much more collaborative tool than any other social media platform out there. Sharing is key on Google+, so include the source of information and why you think it’s useful. Like Twitter, many people utilize Google+ as part of their personal learning network, so they look for information to learn from and share – not necessarily to just entertain themselves. A couple of cool features that only Google+ has: 1) It automatically picks out useful hashtags to add to your post and 2) You can create circles of people you follow, and then choose to share information with specific circles, 3) Google Hangouts… enough said.

chicken video Google+

Pinterest: Keyword is INSPIRING

Sample post: Pinterest works as a digital bulletin-board of sorts. After my husband and I bought our house back in 2008, I began taking pages out of my Grandma’s “This Old House” magazines and putting them into a binder for renovation and decorating ideas. With Pinterest, I don’t have to do this anymore. I can create my own digital “binder” of sorts, and create binders (or “boards”) for as many topics as I want! So in a Pinterest post, you would include a photo of the video (or other photos that are available via the link you’re sharing), along with a message about why it’s good to have this information or idea handy.

chicken video Pinterest

Keep an eye on Instagram and Google+. As Facebook continues to decrease how many people your page reaches “organically” (which just means, without paying for ads) more and more organizations (especially non-profit ones) are jumping ship or are spending more time experimenting with sharing information on other social media sites, such as Instagram and Google+. Amy Hayes presented a great session at NeXC on how to utilize Instagram – you may want to check it out.

Now – keep in mind that even though we’ve showed you how to share the same link on 5 different social media sites – that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be using all 5. It all depends on what your audience (the people you’re trying to reach) are using. For more information on how to find out which social media platforms would be beneficial for you, click here.

~Jamie & Heather

Effectively Using Social Media with Facebook Groups

Frequently the question comes along that many Extension professionals wish to build an online presence or gathering place for their clientele. The good news is, if you follow the outlined steps below, it is possible to build a positive page that will connect interested parties together. Once connected, following a number of steps can lead your group in the right direction to being a frequently visited social hub, versus being a tumbleweed in social media. The following directions start with you already having a personal facebook profile to begin with. If you do not have one, please contact an Ed Tech and we can help get you started – or attend one of our fantastic Social Media Workshops listed at this website –

The steps listed below are taken from screenshots of my facebook as of the last week of January 2014. Remember, Facebook changes often so this will soon be a rough outline.




The first thing you will want to do is to look at the main home page. This is the page that will show the news feed to the right, and then on the left a list of links including your pages, and groups that you currently follow or are a part of. At the bottom of the group section there is a link that says “Add Group”. Click that link, and then click on the Create new group button on the following page in the upper right hand corner.





After clicking to create a new group, you will see a box pop up with fill in the blank information. You will then be able to name your group, add members, and determine your privacy settings. The three options for privacy are open, closed, and secret. If you want the group to be open to the public (ie: Van Wert County 4-H) you could make it a page, or make it an open group. However, if you are working with youth, or people who may not wish for their information about meetings to be public (ie 4-H club Facebook groups) I often suggest that the group be secret. That means that only members of the group can see posts, or find the group. If the group is closed, it can be found, but only members can post to it. This setting can be changed if you decide differently later.





The next decision you make is a fun one! A window should pop up and ask you what kind of icon you wish to have for your group. This is also a feature that can be changed if you wish to at a later time. The screen will refresh and then show you the group homepage. You can see an example of that to the right of the icon screenshot. As a member you have a number of options – including posting messages, pictures, asking a question, or uploading a file.








One of the special features of the group option is that you can ask a question. Members can reply with comments, but if you wanted to find out what kind of pizza to order for your next meeting, you could list options and ask all the participants to vote. It is a fun and different way to grab the attention of those in the group.








Another special feature is the add file button. From here you can post documents for members to review, or remind them of meetings with a listing, or contact information. The ability to communicate and provide access to this information is very important to those who may have a different schedule than 9-5pm.




The best advice that I can give people using groups is to explore the options, and test the waters! Not all groups need a Facebook groups page, but there are many groups that could benefit from the added communication. Below are the top ten things you can do to use your new Facebook Group effectively! This list has been generated for volunteers, especially those who interact with 4-H clubs, but can be adapted for almost any organization.

1.Explore other counties, states, or groups ideas for community service, fund raising, projects, or craft ideas.
2.Promote & show off your club to the community & public relations
3.Reminders about county or club deadlines.
4.Resources for 4-H projects
5.Parent communications
6.Information is accessible 24/7
7.Announcement changes about venue, time, or weather related.
8.Share pictures, or new released – using photo albums and notes on Facebook.
9.Group project help or steps to take before the next meeting.
10.Share County posts and updates so members see them again!
I hope you have the opportunity to dive into Facebook Groups! If you have questions, or concerns please feel free to contact me at


Webinars as a Teaching Tool = A Top Priority for 2014

Last Fall when we asked everyone in the organization to tell us what they needed to know about social media via an online survey, an additional need was heard loud and clear. Many are ready (and waiting) for training on how to best use webinars as a teaching tool. We’ve used webinars as a self-ed and professional development tool, but now this informal learning format is also offering our clients a convenient way to educate themselves as well – and we all need to be providing them information with this method. Many businesses and even government agencies (the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative for example, are already using Google Hangouts to inform and educate the public.)

One of the focuses for our Ed Tech group for 2014 will be developing training opportunities on how to best teach via webinars. But first some decisions need to be made, including which webinar tools we should focus on for training. Initial thoughts from our group include:

  • Carmen Connect (we realize many are not comfortable using CC as a teaching tool yet)
  • Google Hangouts On Air
  • Adobe Connect via eXtension

We need to hear from you! If you’ve used or participated in educational webinars (think = for our audiences: farmers, parents, youth, etc.) what tools seemed to work best? Which didn’t? Which tools would you prefer to learn how to use? What suggestions do you have for how we can best use these tools? An online discussion here will help drive our decisions and planning as we move forward with this year’s trainings.

~The Ed Tech Team

Facebook Has Changed its Newsfeed Algorithm…. Again.

According to many sources, including this one, Facebook has once again kept everyone on their toes by changing how they determine which posts actually show up in a person’s newsfeed. But there is actually a silver lining in the changes for Extension folks – Facebook has declared they will give more “credible” and “high quality content” posts the upper hand; meaning posts linking to blog links or news articles will win the battle over silly memes and over-shared photos (“Back to the Future” date pic anyone?!?). We’ll have to see how this plays out, but I think it definitely could help our cause instead of hurting us. Although promoted posts (i.e. paid-for ads) will always appear in a newsfeed more than any other post… and this has many beginning to think that Facebook is morphing into a giant commercial (but that’s a discussion for another day.)

Facebookers still do have somewhat of a say in what shows up in their newsfeed… as long as they’re willing to take some extra steps. Individuals will need to go to their favorite pages and make sure a box marked “Follow” is checked.


This will ensure the page’s posts (most of them anyway) show up in the newsfeed on a routine basis. If you are an administrator of a Facebook page, you should let your followers know that these settings have changed and prompt them to take the extra step to “Follow” your page. Like the example from a National Weather Service page, below:

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the newsfeed algorithm and how it’s impacting posts. Until then, how you noticed a difference in how many people your posts are reaching? How have you circumvented this issue in the past?


Announcing Social Media Workshop Opportunities in 2014!

Based upon responses we received from over 300 people who completed the Social Media survey, the Ed Tech team in partnership with CommTech will be offering two different social media workshops in each EERA next year! See the flyer image below for dates and locations. This is the same flyer that was given out during Annual Conference last week. Some details are still being pulled together, but look for the first registration e-mail for the January workshops later this week. We’ll also post registration information here on the EdgeU Tech blog.

Click the link below to view and print a PDF version of the flyer:

2014 Social Media workshops flyer



Create Shortened URLs

Why is this cool or necessary?

  • The shortened url can be trusted and is permanent.
  • Create random or customized urls: “” or “
  • Site will also create a QR code for the shortened URL
  • To use go.osu, you must have an OSU Name.#

Example of a Shortened URL:

Step 1:  Visit the website:

Step 2:  Copy your original website URL :

Step 3:  Assign it an alias:

~ Teresa