suffolkpost

Back again, this time, as a consultant! Due to last year’s resounding success, Suffolk University’s commencement elected to once again include the interactivity of text to screen. During the procession of graduates only, a lower third appeared on the two large screens flanking the stage instructing the audience on how to text a message of congratulations.

While the home page of Suffolk’s website was taken over by a variety of media, including a live tagboard installation for social media tagged #suffolk13, we wanted to ensure that everyone was able to participate in the excitement of the day, as well as the excitement of seeing your message appear on the big screen for all to see. Not everyone has a Twitter account – especially parents and grandparents. By using texts instead, we allow a much larger audience to participate.

And participate they did. This year’s numbers:
Total number of unique phones: 2,549 (up from 1,799)
Total number of texts received: 4,848 (up from 3,440)
Total number of approved messages: 2,337 (did not have these numbers last year)
Total number of unapproved messages: 2,511 (did not have these numbers last year)

As the sole person approving and denying texts to appear live, I’m fascinated that almost exactly half made the cut. The criteria I applied to decide if texts should appear were:

1 – Was it relevant to the ceremony and culture of the class? (Many funny ones and bruins scores got through on this)

2 – Was it repetitive/already approved? (Many people texted the same thing more than once as they probably hadn’t seen it go live yet)

3 – Was it undecipherable/meant to be a graphic? (Some vulgar emoticons tried to slip through)

4 – Was it vulgar? (Some texts were just meant to be shocking)

5 – Could we translate it and approve the content? (Some we were unsure of the content, and did not feel comfortable approving)

All in all, another fantastic interactive project that achieved the intended goal: to engage a captive audience and capture the excitement of the day for those in attendance as well as those abroad who wanted to send their well wishes to loved ones.

3 Comments

  1. This is a great idea for promoting and encouraging participation in commencement. Text allows a broader segment of the audience to participate than does social media of any form. Good idea!

  2. This is awesome. Just out of curiosity did the system you used allow for non-English characters?

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