Confab Higher Ed in Hotlanta

Confab Higher Ed is one of the first of its kind… in that it’s the first-ever higher-ed edition of a Confab event! I’ve been to a couple of conferences as a community manager, but none really come close to how sophisticated and badass Confab is.

This conference was at the Loews hotel over in Atlanta, GA, and seriously this hotel ranks as one of the my favorites. Great service, area and overall aesthetic… it’s also host to movie stars? Like Bill Murray, Jennifer Hudson and Jeff Daniels, who were all there during the conference! Proof below as Bill “Ghostbustin’-ass” Murray photobombs my photo… or maybe I just really photobombed his conversation with the Farrelly Bros.

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So here’s a couple of my favorite things from the conference, in general, ranging from presentations to food.

Best talks:

Ma’ayan Plaut’s “Make Content More Social”
This was the first talk I went to since I kinda missed Kristina Halvorson’s keynote, however this was a really great talk to start the conference out with. Good insights on where exactly content should live, and how to fit them into their appropriate channels. Got me thinking about how we appropriate our content, and how I should collaborate a little more with the content creators in my division.

Georgy Cohen’s “Fit to Print: Creating Purposeful News Content”
Great talk by the Meet Content co-creator about finding better, more appealing angles to news content. Turning a simple “alum donating money”-story to something that shows how exactly that money helps the audience. She also talked about how to package the story for social, and how to make news content more shareable. This would have me doing more collabos with staff writers.

Felicia Pride’s Transmedia Storytelling in Higher Education
This one was about digital storytelling and how to best select what channel to tell specific stories on. One thing I found interesting about this one was it shy’d away from the Post Once Publish Everywhere model, and followed a more Complement-Not-Duplicate flow. Wasn’t one of my favorite talks but worth noting.

Mike Powers’ Get Better Content With Analytics and User Testing
This might’ve been my favorite talk actually. Great measuring tips on Google Analytics, specifically for higher-ed, as well as how to translate it in English to leadership. He also showed us read-able.com, which measures what grade level your content is in. Great slides, good pacing and Mike was really funny. Great prez!

Karen McGrane’s Keynote
I’ve seen a couple of Karen’s talks online via youtube… and she really only talks about Mobile Content Strategy since she is MCS. However, every time I do see her, the talk is a little different. This time, it was very different. Karen’s a master presenter and speaker (did she take Theater or Drama back in college?). She preaches the truth about mobile, and provides the numbers. She’s awesome.

Best Food:

Chocolate Nacho Bar: cinnamon sugar pita chips with the option to bathe them in chocolate pudding, marshmallow fluff and caramel.

Vortex: Ragin’ Cajun Burger – simple burger with a jerk sauce

Flying Biscuit: French Toast with bacon, potatoes and biscuit.

Georgia Aquarium!


Also, shout-out once again to the Loews Hotel for having an amazing terrace, with a view of Midtown Atlanta.

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