Higher Ed TV: “RealNebraska” from UNL, an entertaining way to communicate with prospective students

March 23rd, 2007 Karine Joly 5 Comments

In November 2005, I wrote about this great show produced by the admission office of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. At that time, the episodes had just been made available as video podcasts a few weeks after the launch of the the video Ipod:

It didn’t take too long to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to repurpose its admission-oriented streaming videos available on the Admission website, “Real Nebraska”

As reported in “UNL podcasts reach out to prospective students” an article published in The Daily Nebraskan, this show is “modeled after The Daily Show staring Jon Stewart. Real Nebraska is a monthly recruitment video series started in 2003 that comically showcases student life at UNL.”

After watching their last show yesterday in iTunes (I’m a David Burge’s fan — the associate director of admissions who is also the host of RealNebraska), I searched YouTube to see if they were available on the video sharing website.

I found only these 2 episodes (Red Letters Days and Big Red Welcome) posted in September 2006:

At the time of this post, both videos were only viewed respectively 82 and 132 times, which I find surprising.

How comes they haven’t gone viral yet? Any idea?

5 Responses

  1. Robert says:

    Because they are boring, too long, and despite the fast editing, actually slow-paced?

    Videos that go viral often are short, punchy, and have a single gag at their centre, a single focus.

    A marketing dept. might do better to produce 25 videos of 30-60 seconds each, making only one point in each video (in, ideally, a funny way), and hope that one or two go viral and then carry the rest of them up with them, than produce one 15 minute video…

  2. Karine Joly says:

    Thanks for your comment, Robert.

    I removed the link to the video you used as a good example because it was a commercial for a product (a car), which isn’t relevant in this case (besides, I don’t see why I will help promote it ;-)

    And, actually, 21,000 views don’t mean a big hit when it comes to YouTube (The Machine is Us/ing USWeb done by a university professor would probably have been a better example with close to 2 million views)

    Now, RealNebraska videos might be a bit too long although they don’t last 15 minutes as your comment can let people think, but between 3 and 4 minutes.

    Any other ideas?

  3. I think you have to imagine why someone would forward this.

    Things go viral because either

    a) they groove into networks that have a well-defined tastes or interests (think Mac communities, or fans of particular video games)

    b) They are broadly applicable — that is the humor or content in them can speak to a broad variety of people.

    If relying on B, the video has to be really striking, because as Godin and others note it takes a lot of energy at the top of the funnel (yes, I hate the metaphor too…).

    In any case, I don’t see enough of either a or b in this, personally. What I see is a cute way to build some community at UNL by interacting with the students and putting it up on the web. The small network this applies to is the friends and aquaintances of those interviewed — and that may be enough for their purpose.

  4. David says:

    Interesting conversation. I’m involved with the creative team behind these videos (although please don’t hold back on constructive criticism). I agree that they are not viral but we have tried to piggy back viral efforts with the program. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lto5gg6k61E and you’ll see one attempt that hasn’t taken off yet (if it ever will). It’s a bit more “A” than “B”.

    Side story. We entered our most recent video in the TODAY show “Be an Anchor for TODAY” contest and got selected. We spent six days on the show with a Nielson of more than 4 million per day. In addition to the television, the viral component to the videos took off with large circles of the UNL, Husker, and Nebraska community sending it on to countless friends asking them to vote for our persistence as there was online voting involved.

    I agree that they get the campus community charged up but we have felt a positive recruitment effect (even before the TODAY show).

  5. […] Real Nebraska series was featured in a contest on the TODAY Show in early 2007, launching it from a regional PR tool to a national recruiting juggernaut. Not only […]

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