Positive spin, social Web-style
Instead of “don’t try this at home,” this is more along the lines of “don’t try this at work” – universities and other organizations trying to attract youth with videos on YouTube. It’s tricky. For one thing, they kind of need to do this to counteract some of the less-than-savory images of schools being uploaded to YouTube and other video-sharing sites by the students at those schools – images of students engaging in various forms of school-policy violation, for example. In effect, schools are following the advice of experts on reputation management online: get proactive, put up a positive presentation of yourself so that what the search engines index will be what you say about yourself and not what others put up about you that’s not so nice. The problem is, slick and 100% positive marketing videos by organizations are generally not what attract the big traffic numbers at YouTube (that’s an understatement). In other words, as the Washington Post puts it, “like a parent trying to seem cool, sometimes the efforts are painful to watch.” But wait, there’s hope. Some schools are being smart, as for example, in “sponsoring contests urging students to create videos that show what they love about the school.” Check out the article for more examples.