Category Archives: Interactive content

How Your Institution Can Create Awesome Viral Content

There are some creative examples here of info graphics, videos, and more.


Cameron Pegg (@ghostwhowrites) is executive officer for the deputy vice chancellor (engagement) at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

dont plan to be viral badge

What would happen if you suggested that your institution’s homepage be taken over with kittens or an animated squirrel?

You wouldn’t get far. Or would you?

Oberlin College in Ohio devised a daring homepage heist in time for April Fools Day in 2012—it was so successful in driving traffic and social media interaction that they upped the ante last year (with added kitten cuteness).

Oberlin’s antics display a rare understanding of how our constituents behave online and what we can do to make them click.

In the February edition of CURRENTS, I explore how institutions can do a better job of developing and distributing “share worthy” content (see full article).

The Science of Sharing

Aim to create stronger emotional communion in the content you share Aim to create stronger emotional communion in the content you share

In 2009, University…

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Your web content dreams come true

Counterspill3WebOne of the best websites of 2012 was created by the folks at CounterSpill. It has an interactive map of coal, gas, nuclear, and oil spills, tons of videos, up-to-date news stories, a community blogs feed, and an updating Twitter feed.

The centerpiece of this site is the interactive map. Readers can click on a specific spill and be taken to a landing page with video, a timeline of events, photos, and facts about the spill.

From interactive to engaged

In contrast to the Pine Ridge Sioux site, which is an interactive and interesting site, Counterspill goes the extra mile to engage its readers. Right up at the top the homepage, readers are invited to become part of CounterSpill’s social media community. There is a rotating feed of the latest Tweets about various spills. Bloggers’ and activists’ videos feature prominently on the site, below the fold. And news stories, also below the fold, show the number of engagements, e.g. Facebook likes and re-Tweets.

This is a beautiful site. I especially enjoy the way the Tweets, news, and community feed rotate horizontally as well as vertically, offering readers twice as much information without scrolling. Genius!

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

Does your site “close the sale”?

There’s more to the story (Vol. 4)

framedIf you read as many online marketing blogs and follow as many web content experts as I do on Twitter, you already know that everyone is buzzing. It’s all about “engaging” readers rather than click-through rates these days. If they’re right, then websites that invite readers to explore must be sitting back smugly at the moment.

In my experience, the sites that do this really well — that create an online sense of “place” are few and far between. That’s probably for good reason. Readers who want to renew their driver’s license online aren’t looking for a sense of place. They want to complete a transaction and get back to re-runs of Arrested Development.

What we can learn

But sites that invest the time, money, and creativity into creating an experience of place have something to teach the rest of us. Everything about the Pine Ridge Sioux site is engaging. The images dazzle. The navigation is elegant. The text is brief and impactful. It’s harder to not engage with this site than to engage with it. Feast your eyes; enjoy. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, site falls short on the actual engagement. Engagement being encouraging social sharing, measuring content ROI, and capturing leads on readers who might be drawn to the Sioux cause. How can visitors to the reservation share their experiences? How can readers see what pages attract other visitors? These problems might be solved with something as simple as Digg Digg. But after the content and design did so much heavy lifting, they’re left hanging waiting, wanting for a high five.

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

Better Twitter with the “@”

Take your Twitter engagement to the next level, try to connect with three new people a day — @jeffbullas on

Face it, Maps Are Fun

Photo by Lisa at LLWorldTour

Photo by Lisa at LLWorldTour

Face it, maps are fun

We like maps because they can tell stories in entirely new ways. Here’s an example. I’ve been mulling this idea over for a good long while. After buying a house in East Oakland two years ago, I started visiting some of the local taco trucks. Then, I came across a Google map identifying all of them in a post by fellow blogger @DIYGene at

I decided to take over the map, first created by Krys in 2007, for my own purposes. Many of the trucks have moved. Some are gone entirely. I started to update the map. Then I decided to tap into Oakland’s local knowledge.

I’m republishing the map and promoting it. What a fun way to highlight a little piece of Oakland, right? I’ll post with a red thumbtacks, keeping whatever pre-2013 information is useful and accurate, such as photos, links, and reviews. Heck, maybe… hopefully… I can even draw others into the act. Let me hear from you about East Oakland’s taco trucks your frequent.

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

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