The Carolina Digital Story Lab is a student group, and I’m no longer a student. Yesterday I got all meta and weepy about leaving UNC. However, today I’m getting specific and ebullient. I want to take a moment to take stock of all the incredible things that our community was able to do in our first year as a UNC student group. Here’s a summary of what we accomplished, in convenient bullet-point format:
- Launched http://www.uncstorylab.org with a WordPress content management system
- 5272 website visits
- 3429 unique website visitors
- 53 blog posts
- 40 registered users
- YouTube and Test Tubes – student-created digital stories for the North Carolina Science Festival
- 4 video editing workshops
- 3 social media workshops
- 3 camera & microphone workshops
- 2 WordPress tutorials
- 1 podcasting workshop
- 1 interviewing workshop
Earlier this year, the Campus Y turned 150, which was a very inspiring event for me as the founder of this student group. Could the Story Lab be around for 150 years? Could we collect and archive 150 years worth of student stories? How many lives could we impact with 150 years of creative digital media literacy projects? I am confident that the Story Lab is poised to be one of the most exciting student groups on campus, and I look forward to watching and helping it grow for many years to come. Hopefully this won’t be the last the Lab hears of me, but just as I’m now an alum of UNC, I’m now an alum of the Lab. I look forward to exploring all the opportunities that come with that.
A thousand million thank-yous to all the people that believed in this idea and helped get this ship in the water and set it on a steady course. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Take care, Carolina Digital Story Lab!
Piecing it together
The one-thousandth tweet from @uncstorylab will be the announcement of this blog post. To commemorate the occasion, I’d like to lay out a few thoughts and observations about the endeavor. This has been my first attempt at managing an organizational Twitter profile, and it seems like a good time to take stock of “what is happening right now” and what’s happened in the 6 months it took us to reach 1000 tweets.
For me, social media is all about making and sharing stories, and I am increasingly enchanted by Twitter’s narrative chunks (which are of course comprised of much more than just 140 characters). So microblogging may be more important to us than the average student group, but I hope that this post might also help other student organizations benchmark their own Twitter experiences.
I established the @uncstorylab Twitter profile on May 20, 2010, less than a week after this website went live, and about a month after the Carolina Digital Story Lab became an officially recognized UNC student group. From the beginning, tweeting was a key component of our communication and community-building strategy.
I also had a very specific vision for the account, which has changed a little over time, but still basically holds true. I want the @uncstorylab profile to be the must-follow account for all things related to digital storymaking at UNC. The Story Lab is an umbrella group for student media activities. Similarly, I wanted our Twitter feed to be a rich source of information about digital media-related activities in the UNC community.
Here are some of the numbers for @uncstorylab:
- It took 6 months and 10 days to reach 1000 tweets, averaging 5.2 tweets per day.
- We reached 166 followers in the first four months and have 274 today, meaning our follower growth rate has hovered between 41 and 44 new followers per month.
- At the begining of August, our ratio of followers to users we follow was 35%, but has increased today to 44%.
- Among those tweets that included URLs shortened with HootSuite’s built-in ow.ly service (i.e. those for which I have click data), the two most popular tweets garnered 24 and 17 clicks. The most popular was a call for undergrads interested in helping build a social media consulting business and the second was a link to an analysis of the recent Monty Cook scandal. Both were clearly labeled as “blog posts,” perhaps indicating that original blog content is good Twitter fodder.
- We’ve had 292 clicks on ow.ly shortened links in 110 tweets, averaging 2.65 clicks per link. We’ve had better click numbers since the previously mentioned high-water mark in September.
- Visitors to uncstorylab.org that arrive via Twitter are less engaged with our site content than those that come from our Facebook page. Twitter “referees” have a higher bounce rate (61% vs 53%), average less time on the site (1:24 vs 4:37), and look at fewer pages per visit (2.39 vs 2.92).
- On November 9, I changed the @uncstorylab profile name from “Story Lab” to “Mike Nutt” and started tweeting in the first person instead of using the royal “we.” This has caused no significant difference in the number of mentions of @uncstorylab in the 20 days since the change.
- Twitter has delivered 192 visits to uncstorylab.org
- Retweets per month: May = 0, June = 2, August = 4, September = 8, October = 9, November = 16
- Our Klout Score has risen from 20 to 42. Whatever that means.
A big shout out to @KatieRoseRepp, who ran our social media campaign for the #SciStory event last September!
What have you learned since you were a junior Twitterer? What kind of tweets get the most replies, responses, and clicks for you? Why is (or isn’t) Twitter valuable for you or your student organization?