NCORE 2011 Conference Makes Strides with Social Media
In June, the Southwest Center for Human Relations sponsored the 2011 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE). Held this year in San Francisco, NCORE is an annual gathering where educators from universities across the nation gather to discuss race relations and learn ways to promote diversity and improve access to higher education among underrepresented ethnicities.
Enhancing the success and uniqueness of this year’s conference, which recorded the highest attendance since NCORE 2008 at 1,800 attendees, various forms of social media were ubiquitous. New to NCORE, social media provided an innovative forum in which conference attendees could communicate and exchange ideas through interactive updates and alerts, making this year’s conference uniquely different from those in years past.
Jessica Young, an account supervisor at Saxum, an Oklahoma City-based marketing and public relations firm which provided the social media strategy, personnel training and activity monitoring services at NCORE, discussed the ways NCORE’s social media footprint enabled educators to engage one another on diversity issues in higher education.
“Our plan focused on creating a consistent presence that could be followed by NCORE participants year round, not just leading up to and during the conference,” she said. “We wanted people who came to the conference to know they can look to NCORE’s Facebook and Twitter pages for information about diversity issues in higher education.”
Rather than the technology itself, Young suggested that the ways in which people used social media technology added to the stimulating atmosphere at the conference.
“One of the exciting ways we saw NCORE participants communicating with one another was using the hashtag #NCORE2011,” Young said, referring to the Twitter feature. “During the conference we saw attendees using the hashtag when tweeting about specific speakers or keynote sessions and sharing their thoughts on the hot topics at the conference.” Used to label and categorize tweets for easy access to a particular subject through aggregate search engines, Twitter’s hashtag is useful both in increasing interest and keeping users updated on continuing developments in a subject or event. Attendees were also able to use the technology to connect with other users in advance of their arrival and arrange to meet each other in San Francisco.
In addition to Saxum’s on-site observations, data on social media activity at the conference indicates that NCORE attendees took great advantage of the expanded social media presence. After launching the NCORE Facebook page in May, which featured videos uploaded from the conference, over 400 users were active on the page, while the NCORE Twitter page saw the number of followers increase to 281 at the height of the convention.
“While there is plenty of room for growth, we were very excited about the amount of social media participation we saw this year,” Young said. Already coordinating with University Outreach on next year’s conference, Saxum plans to grow NCORE’s social media infrastructure in advance of NCORE 2012 in New York City. In addition to uploading Facebook videos of attendees during the conference, conference planners are exploring expanding NCORE’s social media coverage to innovative mobile social networking platforms like FourSquare.
Further information on NCORE 2012 can be found at www.ncore.ou.edu
Further information on Saxum can be found at www.saxum.com
Written by Michael Carter