Welcome to the Fairfield University Web Communications Blog & Journal. Here you'll find information and discussion about Internet marketing activities at Fairfield from our staff, colleagues and guests.

Web Advisory meeting dates set for 2012-13

The Marketing and Communications division has set the dates for this year’s Web Advisory Group meetings for the academic year of 2012-13.

Meetings will be held at 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the following dates:

  • October 3
  • December 5
  • February 6
  • April 3

The meetings will be held in a room to be determined.  The Web Advisory Group is a cross-division representative group assembled to discuss changing online technology and advise on marketing-related uses of technology.

Latest Social Media Guidelines and Domain Information

The Domain Name Policy and Social Media Guidelines, V1a – 2012 were approved in 2011 and updated to reflect the changing space of social media. Get your copy and if you have questions on social media or domains, contact our New Media Coordinator, Nikki Pellows.

Change is good…?

Design is always tricky….everyone knows a bad suit when they see it on someone, but when they wear one themselves?  The Independent published back in March a great article on “Why do we get so angry when the websites we love update their look?”  It’s a straightforward look at general user reaction to many different site redesigns….and the reaction they get.  Some call it the “New Coke syndrome.”

User interface design expert Jacob Nielsen chimes in as well, describing how users familiarity with a site breeds comfort and the comfort level is disrupted by change.  This “mere exposure effect” creates a sense of loss when a familiar site changes.

As we prep our site for some new school season refreshes, we look to manage the “mere exposure effect” and continue to use input from experts like Nielsen and others to continually improve our site and its usefulness to our visitors.  Stay tuned!

Scott B.

Draft Domain and Social use guidelines

After a year’s worth  of research and review of other University policies and guidelines on use of domains and social media, in our April meeting this year we distributed the first draft of guidelines for domains and social media sites/use for the community.

View the latest draft document with some added language to broaden coverage to all types of social sites — not just FB.  As the landscape keeps expanding, we are actively seeking input and feedback from others.  Additionally, the Blog policy is available for users to read and keep on file.

Rama and I recently attended a communicators’ conference at Albertus Magnus (shout out to our former colleague Andrea for hosting!) and saw Kevin Morrow, Executive Director of Social Media, Syracuse University speak on the topic of managing social media spaces in academia.

The trend is towards a “federated” approach, which unifies messaging and keeps all players in contact with each other to maximize effect of the social communication channels.  He showed examples from many schools that are effectively using social to communicate to all their audiences.

This fall we have hopes of a “Social on Social” that can bring together our minds and our participants here with some colleagues in the field to keep fine tuning our use of social media to promote, inform, educate and fascinate!  Stay tuned.

This draft relies heavily upon the language of both Western Michigan University and the University of Kansas.  Upon review we will then revise to compile the final guidelines for Fairfield University and we are indebted to these two fine institutions in trailblazing on the topics of domains and social media.

We continue our research and if you want to see what some other universities say on the topic you can see Amanda Vandervort’s list of university social media policies.


Scott B

Television, meet the Internet.

One of the greatest improvements in internet technology over recent years has been in streaming video content. Video streaming services such as YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, to name a few, are bringing content that was once only available through a traditional cable or satellite subscription or a DVD rental, directly to a variety of internet-connected devices from laptops to smartphones to game consoles. The question then became, how do we bring online video content to our living room? Enter “internet tv.” Many companies have recognized the explosion of streaming video on the web and have created products to allow you to watch videos, as you demand them, on the best screen possible… your high-definition flat screen television.

Probably the most simple option for connecting your television to the internet is the Roku player.  An extremely popular little box that, once connected to your television and your home network, Roku enables you to watch video from dozens of streaming resources including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video (some services may require a subscription fee).

For those that don’t wish to add another device to their already cluttered media cabinet, Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony, among others, provide video streaming capability within their blu-ray players via built-in WiFi, so you have one less device to connect to your television. The Samsung Blu-ray Disc™ Player (BD-C6500), connects users to services such as Blockbuster On-Demand for instant streaming video content, as well as to the Samsung App Store where users can download even more third-party video streaming applications, as well as games, news, and weather resources (fees may apply).

And of course Google chimed in with Google TV, a product that brings “TV, apps, search, and the entire web… together at last,” and touts that, with Google TV, “your TV just got smarter.” Essentially turning your television into a computer monitor, combined with the keyboard-like controller called the “keypad,” you have the ability to search the web, your channel lineup, and your DVR device for any TV show, movie, or video you desire. You can even use your Android phone or iPhone as a remote control. And content isn’t limited to video. Like the Samsung App Store, Google TV provides access to apps for social networking, news, weather, music and more.

Clearly, the stage has been set for the video streaming gadget market. Companies are creating internet-connected devices to empower users to control their own media content… perhaps even in ways we didn’t know we wanted to control it. As Google says, “the web is now a channel.” I say, “turn it on.”

Is there Chrome in your future?

The world of browsers for the Internet has long been a race between both OS systems and different browser clients in each.  Firefox long ago jettisoned Internet Explorer off the top of the heap, with the two now holding the one, two spots respectively in the browser share wars.  Yet a newcomer to the show is Google’s Chrome, which has quickly sped up the charts in market share to secure the 3rd spot by a mile over Safari and Opera.

How good is Chrome?  Google just unleashed Chrome 10 (seems like these numbers are used to make a product look like it has legs), a speedy, slick update to an already interesting approach to browsing.  ComputerWorld did some testing on the new speed features and it sure looks like Chrome has put its speedy competitors (Opera and Firefox) in the dust.

Yet all is not over for the denizens of Redmond.  The CW article goes on to show that IE9 could be the fastest browser ever..coming out at over FOUR times faster than other browsers in a benchmark Javascript test.  IE9 is due out this month.

But back to Chrome for now.  It is a different experience if you have never tried it and for web wonks like us here in WC, we end up having three or four browsers installed for both testing and different tasks.  I find Chrome to be quite useful to manage the department’s Google related activities, perhaps believing that a rawlings baseball is best caught by a rawlings glove with no real science behind the assumption.  But it has a great feature of remembering your browsing visually and is very fast.  One downside I see is it is hard to drop backwards quickly to pages you have visited in a session…there is no visible dropdown for this like IE and Firefox….small complaint. If you give it a try, it might just take you a while to find the tweaks and settings you are used to, but after you get comfortable with it, you will find it a sleek and pleasurable ride.

Back to browser dribble….Fairfield’s site visitors in our latest stats show up like this when it comes to browsers:

  • Internet Explorer (all versions) – 44%
  • Safari (all versions) – 28%
  • Firefox (all versions) – 18%
  • Chrome (all versions) – 8%

Of the OS and Browser stats combined (what OS and browser are external users visiting with?):

  • IE and Windows – 44%
  • Safari and Macintosh – 23%
  • Firefox and Windows – 13%
  • Chrome and Windows – 7%
  • Firefox and Macintosh – 5%

and creeping into the stats of both OS and browsers are handheld devices, each garnering about 1% of the external traffic.  What all these stats point to is our continued development of web content must be tested across all major browsers and OS systems and to keep an eye on the 1% handheld number and watch how it trends.