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New Study on Social Media Adoption by Higher Education

“Social Media and College Admissions: The First Longitudinal Study” conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Research Chair of the Society for New Communications Research and Chancellor Professor of Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite Inc. was announced. The new study represents one of the first statistically significant, longitudinal studies on the usage of social media by college admissions offices. The study compares adoption of social media between 2007 and 2008 by the admissions offices of all the four-year accredited institutions in the United States. The findings are based on 536 interviews with college admissions officers. Key Findings include: There has been significant growth in familiarity with, adoption of, and importance to mission of social media over one year ago; Adoption has grown by 24% in one year: 61% in 2007 as compared with 85% in 2008. Usage increased for every social media type studied; Adoption is being driven by admissions departments’ recognition of the increasingly importance of social media. Colleges and universities are outpacing U.S. corporate adoption of social media tools and technologies (13% of the Fortune 500 and 39% of the Inc. 500 currently have a public blog, while 41% of college admissions departments have blogs); Social networking is the tool most familiar to admissions officers, with 55% of respondents claiming to be “very familiar with it” in the first study and 63% in 2008; A growing number of admissions officers use search engines (23%) and social networks (17%) to research prospective students; In addition to social networks, usage of YouTube has also increased substantially. Video is now being used to deliver virtual tours of campuses, virtual visits to the dorms, and sample lectures from the faculty; 78% of private schools have blogs, versus 28% of public schools, and 50% of schools with undergraduate populations of less than 2,000 have blogs; 40% of institutions not currently using social media plan to start a blog; Nearly 90% of admissions departments feel that social media is “somewhat to very important” to their future strategy. The full executive summary of the study is available for download at:,

Web Globalization Management: Got Certification?

We were recently introduced to the Executive Certification in Web Globalization Management by our friends Nitish Singh and Ulrich Henes during October’s Localization World conference. We’re thrilled to have both Singh and Henes as participants in the Globalization track at Gilbane Boston 2008, December 2-4.

A new venture within the executive education arm of John Cook School of Business at St. Louis University, it is quite an impressive program! And beyond compliments such as well-designed and timely, the program’s message of “why invest now?” — or more pointedly as the program describes, “why supercharge?” — is a mini-lesson in and of itself.

Consider the megatrends that answer these questions: (full text available here)

  • Megatrend-1: Web will be critical to achieving global expansion.
  • Megatrend-2: Innovation in the new economy will be driven by blurring of disciplinary boundaries.
  • Megatrend-3: Hyperconnectivity will redefine how people and organizations communicate.
  • Megatrend-4: Value systems will compete globally.
  • Megatrend-5: Smart organizations will harness the power of “Collective Intelligence.”
  • Megatrend-6: Economies of China, India and Brazil will be future engines of growth.

Powerful food for thought and incentive to check it out — and register for Spring 2009. No travel required!

The World is Curved

The announcement of this new book caught my attention for a number of reasons, many obviously due to the state of the financial markets. More attuned to the Globalization practice is that we noted in our Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative report that:

A common observation made during industry discussion of Internet-driven opportunities is that the proliferation of the worldwide web has made the business world “flat.” In other words, companies of all sizes can compete on a level playing field wherein everyone has the same access to technology and information. While our study respondents acknowledge the “flattening world” as Thomas Friedman has described it, they also recognize that different geographies and cultures have varying and distinct expectations. Thus, generalized information access does not equate to generalized information delivery. From this perspective, a flattening world requires far deeper levels of content relevancy, localization, and personalization than ever before. From this perspective, “one size fits all” is hardly the recipe for success in the global economy.

Risking the wrath of Friedman’ites, we contend that as far as multilingual communications are concerned, the world is most definitely not flat. Giving Friedman his due, David Smick contends that as far as global financial markets are concerned, the world is most definitely curved, where one “can’t see over the horizon and sight lines are limited.” Describing globalization as the great paradox of our time, this review quickly convinced me to put it on the “must read” list.

Machine Translation (Finally) Comes of Age

In our Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative report, we noted the fact that machine translation (MT) has long been the target of “don’t let this happen to you” jokes throughout the globalization industry. Unpredictable results and poor quality allowed humor to become the focus of MT discussions, making widespread adoption risky at best.

On the other hand, we also noted that scientists, researchers, and technologists have been determined to unlock MT potential since the 1950’s to solve the same core challenges the industry struggles with today: cost savings, speed, and linguist augmentation. Although the infamous report on Languages and Machines from the Automatic Language Processing Advisory Committee (ALPAC) published in 1966 discussed these challenges in some depth (albeit from a U.S. perspective), it sent a resounding message that “there is no emergency in the field of translation.” Research funding suffered; researcher Margaret King described the impact as effectively “killing machine translation research in the States.”

Borrowing from S.E. Hinton, that was then, this is now. Technology advancements and pure computing power have made machine translation not only viable, but also potentially game-changing. A global economy, the volume and velocity of content required to run a global business, and customer expectations is steadily shifting enterprise postures from “not an option” to “help me understand where MT fits.” Case in point — participants in our study identified MT as one of the top three valuable technologies for the future.

There’s lots of game-changing news for our readers to digest.

  • An excellent place to start is with our colleagues at Multilingual Magazine, who dedicated the April-May issue to this very subject. Don Osborn over at the Multidisciplinary Perspectives blog provides an excellent summary, posing the question: “Is there a paradigm shift on machine translation?”
  • Language Weaver predicts a potential $67.5 billion market for digital translation, fueled by MT. CEO Mark Tapling explains why.
  • SYSTRAN, one of the earliest MT software developers provides research and education here.
  • And finally (for today), there’s no way to deny the Google impact — here’s their FAQ about the beta version of Google Translate. TAUS weighs in on the subject here.

Mary and I will be at Localization World Madison to provide practical advice and best practices for making the enterprise business case for multilingual communications investments as part of a Global Content Value Chain. But we’re also looking forward to the session focused on MT potential, issues, and vendor approaches. The full grid is here. Join us!

Multilingual Communications Report Resonates

We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to our Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative report, for which we’re grateful – and thrilled! I can summarize the response as “peer sharing works!” And not only works, but spurs conversation, new ideas, and without a doubt, more sharing. For the Globalization Practice team, it’s true validation of the people perspective of Web 2.0.

It would be a long list to point out all the countries represented through report downloads and additional conversations we’ve had since July, but here’s just a sample. We’ve heard from content and translation management professionals from all across the USA in addition to:

  • Austria
  • Belguim
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

What resonates most? Unwaveringly first is the need to look at multilingual communications creation, management, and delivery in a new way; as less a cost center and more an integral part of business value. Next – the inherent connection readers have with our definition of operational champions and the stories told by those that shared challenges and strategies in the report’s Best Practices Profiles section. Of course those links have pros and cons; the former obviously cementing the growing need for community sharing and the latter validating the struggles of educating senior management and making the business case for focused investment.

Those “on the ground floor” clearly want more – and we aim to provide it. As Frank documented in our Events blog on Fall Speaking Gigs, we’re focused on sharing our experiences and more importantly, learning from yours. Particularly exciting for our team is the Content Globalization track we’ve put together for Gilbane Boston, December 2-4. The full conference schedule is here. Join us!

Gilbane Group Announces Collection of New Research Studies & Reports

Gilbane Group Inc. announced they have seven research studies underway that will be published over the next few months. The research for some of these studies is already complete, and preliminary results will be discussed at this week’s Gilbane Boston conference at the Westin Copley Place Hotel. The 7 studies are: “Survey on the Web Content Management User Experience” – From our Web Content Management Practice, led by Tony White; “Enterprise Collaboration and Social Computing: A Report on Industry Trends & Best Practices” – From our Social Computing and Collaboration Practice, led by Geoffrey Bock; “Digital Magazine & Newspaper Editions: Growth, Trends, and Best Practices” – From our Cross Media Publishing Strategy & Technology Practice led by Steve Paxhia; “Enterprise Search Markets and Applications: Capitalizing on Emerging Demand” – From our Enterprise Search Practice, led by Lynda Moulton; “Enterprise Digital Rights Management: Business Imperatives and Implementation Readiness” – From our Cross Media Publishing Strategy & Technology Practice, study led by Bill Rosenblatt; “Digital Platforms & Technologies for Book Publishers: Implementations Beyond ‘eBook'” – From our Cross Media Publishing Strategy & Technology Practice led by Steve Paxhia; and “Beyond Search: What to do When you’re Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work” – A study authored by Steve Arnold, from our Enterprise Search Practice, led by Lynda Moulton.

New Inc 500 Social Media Research from UMass

Nora Barnes, Chancellor Professor of Marketing & Director, UMD Center for Marketing Research at the University of MA Dartmouth, along with co-author Eric Mattson, have finished their study of the Inc. 500 and their use of social media. This follows-up an earlier study from Nora on corporate blogging.

The obviously interesting headline finding, which I’ve pasted from Nora’s email is:

The Inc. 500 are thoroughly involved in social media at an adoption rate more than twice that of the Fortune 500. Best yet, this is probably the most valid study on corporate blogging etc. done to date, with a very low error level of just +/- 3%.

A summary of the findings in PDF is available here. Nora will be publishing more analysis of the research throughout 2007, some of which she will talk about here as one of our guest bloggers.

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