recruitment

The early college search process through the lenses of a 14 and a 16 year old

I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with 11 other wonderful family members this year. Two of them were my cousins, ages 14 and 16. The 14 year old is a freshman in high school already actively and excitedly thinking about college, and the 16 year old is a junior in high school narrowing down the pool. They are both incredibly bright, talented girls. Speaking with them yesterday gave me a greater insight into their passions and interests related to college, and how the college search process looks through their lenses.

While having these conversations with them about their subject areas of interest, and then turning to the computer to do some research with them, I found a few things:

  • Information architecture on many college sites still below par. How is it 2011 and so many of us still haven’t figured this out yet – or haven’t been able to get the resources to assist?
  • Too many university sites were organized by school/college and didn’t have an alphabetical list of majors. Or, better yet, have an intelligent bot that could find ‘majors like this’ based on keywords you type in. The 14 year old has ideas of her interests in the everyday language that she uses — but trying to match that with what various colleges name their majors/minors and trying to figure out what school they landed in? Ridiculous.
  • Search on many university sites still returns useless results.
  • Using Nintendo DS as a mobile device to access your university’s site is a scary reality.
  • Location and your unique selling point may not be so unique.

Naming majors/minors

Are you using market research and/or conducting market studies on the viability of new programs before just launching into them? And how are they named on your campus? There are a great number of faculty with their pulse on the market, and are typically the ones that are coming up with new majors and shepherding them through the process to begin offering them. But, I also know this process is often done in a vacuum. A constant reality check should include — what will a 14 -17 year old think this is called? Will they be able to even tell you have the major/minor they’re interested in?

 

Organizing academic programs

Higher ed websites are largely political. I get it. This has been another battle we’ve been fighting for more than a decade. But I need to say it again — don’t organize your information architecture based on your internal organizational structure. I understand many universities admit by school and have a vested interest in branding their schools. But at the start of the admission funnel – when a 14 year old is trying to figure out what she wants to do is called – being organized by school is not helpful.

 

Search still largely returns unhelpful results

Google Mini Search Appliances aren’t all that expensive. They can be customized like crazy. Most of the school sites we searched (because we had to give up on the information architecture and primary navigation) returned the most unhelpful search results. Are you regularly reviewing your search logs to see what terms users are searching your site for? We used to do this monthly at SUNY New Paltz. It was a fascinating way to learn what people were looking for. It gave us some insight in terms of what could help make easier to find, but balancing that with the fact that some web users just prefer to use search over primary navigation.

 

Is your content Nintendo DS friendly?

Prior to yesterday, I had never once seen one of these devices. I’m actually surprised at all they can do – including hopping on the Internet. The 14 year old uses it like crazy for Facebook. What does your site look like in a Nintendo DS browser? Dave Olsen wrote a great post about content strategy and the mobile platform that I think applies here (without knowing the actual technicals behind the scenes). If you’re still on the fence between apps and mobile-friendly sites, I strongly encourage you spend your time on the mobile delivery across all browsers and devices first and foremost. However – don’t forget your primary site. Build a more solid foundation there related to the topics I mentioned above, but don’t waste too much time – because these kids and their newfangled devices will leave your college in the dust if they can’t see it on the device they are using.
Speaking of her using her Nintendo DS for Facebook — she also had no idea colleges and universities had a presence on Facebook. She’s also too early in the funnel to care. She’s still figuring out what various colleges call her major and minor of interest!

 

“Close enough, but far enough away”

At one college I worked with, they thought that statement was their unique selling point. Location. Students regularly said they chose College X because they wanted to be close enough to their families, but far enough away that they felt they really went away to college. (Typically within a two hour radius.) I’ve now heard this at other colleges from other students as part of the reason they chose their college, and it was one of the first things both of my cousins said to me on Thanksgiving. Takeaway? Every college can be close enough but far enough away from home if your primary market is within a two hour radius. That’s not a unique selling point. Keep digging.

 

Keep digging

I’m going to continue this experiment with them – primarily because of my vested interest in their personal and professional success, but they’re also providing an interesting reality check related to my professional interests. I’ll be spending a bit of time with them again on Christmas Eve, and can’t wait to pick their brains again.

Reach More Students Without Leaving Your Office

Looking for something new to try this spring for your recruiting efforts? I recently saw a demo for CollegeWeekLive and was quite impressed with its features and the possibilities it creates for recruiters across the country.

Side note: This may seem like a sales pitch, but it’s not. I don’t work for CollegeWeekLive, nor am I a current client. I’m just an impressed individual who works in marketing and communication at a university, and wanted to share this with you, as I hadn’t heard much about them before seeing this demo.

Read more

Division III Releases Social Networking Rule Change for Communicating with Prospective Student-Athletes

The Division III Management Council just released their newly adopted “noncontroversial change to the Division III electronic transmissions limitations.” They’ve given it a retroactive effective date of August 1, 2008 to match when their original legislation went into effect. They’ve also released this article: “DIII Council opens up use of social-networking media

  • Division III institutions now are free to use such media as Facebook and Twitter to publicize game results and other athletics news without worrying whether prospective student-athletes are receiving those “electronically transmitted” messages, provided the communication meets some new objective guidelines established by the Division III Management Council.”

The original bylaw said:

“Electronically transmitted correspondence that may be sent to a prospective student-athlete by, or on behalf of, a member of the institition’s athletics department staff is limited to electronic mail and facsimiles. All other forms of electronically transmitted correspondence (e.g. instant messaging, text messaging and social networking Web sites) are prohibited.”

They’ve now added to this — “except as specified in this section.”

  • “Any member of the general public may become a member of the group to which the electronic transmission is sent.”
    • In other words, no closed/gated online communities
  • “A prospective student-athlete who chooses to receive electronic transmissions through the electronic service must retain the ability to decline receipt of the communications at any time or may unsubscribe from all electronic service at any time.”
    • In other words, use common sense and always have unsubscribe options with all forms of communication.
  • “The content of any electronic transmission that is sent to a public group that may include prospective student-athletes must be the same for all members of the group (e.g. news alerts, admissions and alumni information, scores) and of a general nature.”
    • We can’t send custom content to recruits.
  • “The proposal does not allow direct person-to-person electronic communication with an individual prospective student-athlete sent by a member of the athletics department staff, or on their behalf, (e.g., instant messaging, comments via MySpace, Wall-to-Wall via Facebook, direct messaging via Twitter) except via electronic mail or facsimile. Further, the proposal ensures the communications are being sent from the athletics department or the institution, and not from the individual members of the athletics department acting on their own.”

This last paragraph is most crucial, and makes it even more important for collaborative efforts on your campus. Your athletic director likely received this communication (it was e-mailed at 9 a.m. ET this morning, July 22), but it may be a bit confusing for those that don’t have a great understanding of the various tools.  From that e-mail, they offer this example:

  • “If your coach uses Twitter or Facebook on their own for communication of athletics related information, and that information is delivered to prospective student-athletes, you will need to report that violation.”

Am I the only one thinking they’ve contradicted themselves here? On one hand they’re saying if it’s generic information and publicly available to anyone, then why would a coach disseminating that same public information in a public space be in violation?

Here is the complete PDF that was attached to the e-mail communication this morning. I’d love to hear your take on it.

Café New Paltz: A Yielding Success

Cafe New Paltz

Since my last update a few months ago about Café New Paltz, our online Ning community for fall 2009 accepted students, we’ve completed this year’s traditional recruitment cycle. We’re extremely pleased with the results and continued growth of this community.

The community continued to grow from February through the mid-April, as our undergraduate admissions office sent email invitations every couple of weeks to the latest batch of students accepted to our university.

At the end of April we had a slight mishap that we ended up turning into a great opportunity. During one of our routine exports from Banner, our student record system where we pull email addresses for the latest batch of accepted students, we accidentally included “all” accepted students, not just first-year students. This resulted in inviting 400 recently accepted transfer students. A large majority ended up accepting our invitation and started forming their own groups organically. While we initially panicked, we realized this was a good thing. They have many of the same concerns as first year students – meeting new people, starting classes at a brand new campus, figuring out the maze of offices to contact for various questions/concerns, etc. The only major difference is that we don’t provide on-campus housing to transfer students — and this turned into an excellent opportunity they seized by starting groups related to finding off-campus housing and roommates.

We continued to provide video updates by our two baristas throughout the semester. According to Ning’s usage stats, their viewership was not significantly high enough for us to want to put a great deal of resources (time, human and money) into this effort in the future, should we do this again.

My love letter to Ning

Ning makes it very hard for us to measure our success in a quantitative way. We have tied in our Google Analytics account for basic Web stats. Within Ning, I’ve been able to grab oodles of qualitative tid-bits I’ve been able to grab from various forum posts, live chats and direct messages, but I want more. Here is my kind request to Ning:

Dear Ning,

It would mean the world to me if you would give us access to member usage data. My wish list includes the ability to track the most active member(s), the least active member(s), percentages showing how often people log in (x daily, x weekly, x monthly), and how many times they’ve logged in overall.

We love you dearly and are grateful for all you’ve helped us accomplish, but we need more.

With much love and respect,
Rachel & her colleagues

May 1st was the national deposit deadline, which we also use. I was interested to see how the membership data correlated with the statistics of those students who paid their pre-enrollment deposit (PED).

Since Ning does not connect directly with our student records system, I was still determined to find a way to get some data out of the email address export I can get from Ning. I worked with my colleague in undergraduate admissions and our Web Programmer, and developed a list of areas I wanted to be able to report on by matching email addresses exported from Ning with email addresses in Banner. Here’s what we were able to get from the list of 690 members we exported from Ning on May 4:

  • Paid PED: 357 – 52%
  • Did not pay PED: 283 – 41%

 

May Stats Snapshot

  • Members: 711
  • Photos: 1,114
  • Videos: 22 (6 by members of the community)
  • Forums: 8

70 % of the members of our Ning community who paid their PED were from our highest admission selectivity group. The yield of our highest selectivity group took a significant jump from 30% last year to 37% this year. The Ning community was one our largest efforts to increase the yield of this highly selective group and based on the participation in the Ning and our significant increase in yield for this group we would consider it a great success.

I was also able to get three separate e-mail lists: first-year students (742) and transfer students (526) who paid their PED but did not become a member of Café New Paltz, so we can send them a special re-invite; and those accepted students who joined Café New Paltz but opted not to pay their PED or attend SUNY New Paltz (283). We will use that final list to purge members from the Café. Unfortunately, this is another limitation of Ning – we have to do this manually, one-by-one. To give these numbers a bit of context, we have roughly 15,000 freshmen applications, accept around 5,000, and our first year class for fall 2009 will be around 1,100 students. We received about 3,200 transfer applications, accepted about 1,100 and just over 600 will be joining us this fall.

Next Steps

We started a forum in mid-March asking the members to tell us if they wanted Café New Paltz to continue to be available, and we received about 30 responses strongly encouraging us to keep it open at least through summer orientation, and some requested to continue through their entire first year. Undergraduate Admissions is turning over their role to the Student Affairs division, whose efforts will be largely led by their Coordinator of First Year Programs. Café New Paltz will continue to exist at least through the end of this calendar year at this point. We’re going to re-evaluate its use and effectiveness in October/November to determine whether it is worth continuing for the spring 2010 semester.

The community responds

Our two current baristas are moving on — one graduated from graduate school with his MBA, and the other will continue his active membership in many student organizations and being a student ambassador. He’s also going to be a blogger for us next year on http://npbloggers.newpaltz.edu. The Coordinator of First Year Programs will take the lead on the occasion that responses will be helpful from staff at the college, and she will be joined by a few other students later in the summer that will fill in the barista role. One student is an international student from China who will cater specifically to international students in the Café. The other two are this summer’s senior orientation leaders that all first-year students will meet throughout the summer.

Will we do this again?

Good question! Café New Paltz has exceeded our wildest expectations. We have no regrets and could absolutely forsee doing this again. However, we won’t decide until October/November. January 1, 2010 is too far ahead to plan in this social media space, in my opinion. Who knows what the next best thing will be then…

Highlights from E-expectations: Class of 2009

Stephanie Geyer, Associate Vice President for e-strategy and Web development at Noel-Levitz, released their latest E-expectations survey of 1,005 college-bound high school seniors in 2009 at the OmniUpdate Users Conference this morning. This is their fourth year doing this research study in conjunction with James Tower and the National Research Center for College and University Admissions. This survey is done by professional telephone counselors.

This presentation was jam packed with great insights and nuggets that I found enlightening, and some rather surprising. 

Demographics:

  • 250 from each of the four geographic regions in the U.S.
  • 50/50 male/female
  • 53% caucasian, 16% African-American/Black, 10% Hispanic/Latino, 9% multiple ethnicities, 4% Asian, 3% Indian/Native American, 3% declined, 1% other
  • Grades: A – 39%, B – 48%, C – 12%
  • Family income: 25% less than $50k, 23% between $50-75k, 11% between $75-100k, 7% between %100-$125k, 4% more than $125k, 29% don’t know/refused
  • 77% connect via DSL or cable, 11% phone modem, 3% handheld device.

When asked if the current economic crisis caused them to reconsider the schools they were applying to or may attend, 64% said no. 

62% said their parents/family are helping them with research and/or paperwork. Of that group, 21% say they help them look at Web sites and go on campus visits with them.

Content is king! Prospects are taking time to read details about cost and processes. 

content is king

 

50% said colleges and universities should use young, edgy and bold designs for their sites. 43% said schools should take a more traditional approach with their site design. When I tweeted this tid-bit, @KarlynM said it would be interesting to find out these students definition of body and edgy. 

Navigation and information architecture is so important. 85% report the links should take me right to the answers to their questions, where 15% said they don’t pay much attention to the link choices and head straight for the search box or site index. Either way – making information easily findable and searchable is key.

41% found your school via Google or another search site by typing in your school’s name. 38% use services like Zinch, MyCollegeOptions or College Board to match them to your school. Only 13% referred to a printed document with your URL on it. May be time to re-think handouts, such as postcards, just to advertise specific Web sites.

They want to do fun stuff. 42% say they want to find more to do on a college site than just click and read. 

What do they want to do most? I’m most shocked by “RSS feeds with admissions info and campus activities,” and where it fares in the list! They actually know what RSS feeds are? I’ve gotten the impression from other articles and survey results I’ve read that most don’t know, that RSS is just the plumbing behind the scenes. They may be using it, but they aren’t aware of it. Maybe they are, now?

what they want to do

 

Social Networking

And, the ever-popular Facebook vs. MySpace debate. 50% listed being on Facebook and 52% said MySpace. For the Facebook group, 56% were A students, 47% B students, 41% C students. Northeast, midwest and south all more likely to be on Facebook than MySpace. For the MySpace group, 65% black, 70% latino vs. 44% white and 43% Asian. 47% were B students, 58% were C students, and 44% were A students. Only 2% reported not participating in social networking. When asked if colleges and universities should create a presence within social networks/communities to promote their programs, 70% said yes! In addition, 75% said schools should create their own private communities, like Cafe New Paltz, that are password protected and for invited students only. 51% said they wouldn’t mind school representatives contacting them directly via a social network.

What content will make a different to them on a social network? They’re most interested in discussions about courses and academics (3.74, mean 1-5), student activities and extracurricular options (3.65), and insight into the school’s culture and diversity (3.37). They’re interested in communication with current students and faculty (3.10), communication with prospective students (3.01), profiles of current students and faculty (2.88), and posting profiles as a student who may attend (2.88).

 

Very few reported text messaging as a method they’d prefer for admissions transactions such as answers to questions or  acceptance notices. For all transactions, their preferred method was online over in person, phone, mail or text.

87% are willing to give their e-mail address to a school to communicate with them. 45% of them do it at the inquiry stage, 28% when they’re ready to apply to the school, 15% after they’ve been accepted, and 9% after they make their final decision.

Summary:

  • Economic issues mean that Web sites will have to work harder in lieu of visits to ensure prospects see value and compelling details.
  • Parents and families are inextricably linked and we should be talking directly to them — and often!
  • The experience prospects have on our site matters in their decision whether to probe further into your programs and offerings, and how they’d fit on our campus.
  • We need to focus more on content. Content, content, content. Make it readable, printable, referenceable, searchable. 
  • Focus on your navigation. Test it with college-bound students. Don’t use internal lingo. 
  • Focus on your design. Take a leap. Go bold.
  • Find your place on social networks. Be social. Be helpful. Find the right fit for your campus with the various tools out there. Re-read the demographics above – different sites work for different institutions, depending on their typical student base.

Café New Paltz – One month update

This update is part 3 in a series about Café New Paltz, an exclusive online community using Ning for our fall 2009 accepted students at the State University of New York at New Paltz. See: article 1 | article 2

We continue to be extremely pleased with the engagement and relationship building inside Café New Paltz.

Quick Bites (stats as of 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9):

  • 282 members (1,323 initially invited on Jan. 2)
  • 712 photos posted by members
  • 38 discussion forums
    • topics include finding roommates, academics, pets in residence halls, residence hall questions, and more
  • Videos: We’ve posted 7, they’ve posted 4
    • Ours: 2 episodes on residence life, dining hall, around town, 1 week update, visit campus contest, welcome to Café New Paltz — average ~100 views each
    • Theirs: One member posted a video of herself singing the national anthem at her high school’s basketball game, another posted a tour of his room at home (parts 1 & 2!), a guitar riff, and a “name that riff”game
  • Birthdays: We’ve toned down our initial exuberance of 4 separate videos plus all of the other publicity on the site about member’s birthdays. We now have a text box on the top of the page as soon as they login that calls out birthdays, we post on their walls, and feature that member for the day.

Google Analytics

  • 8,111 visits
  • 78,631 pageviews
  • 17.03% bounce rate
  • 10:27 avg. time on site
  • Top 4 features: home page, chat, member profiles, forums

Things we’ve learned:

  • Scripting, producing, editing & posting 1 video every week is not realistic for our current staffing resources. We’ve loosened that timeframe to be a week and a half to two weeks between them if needed. Interestingly, the video views aren’t as high as we’d expect them to be.
  • These accepted students are eager to form relationships, to figure out who they’ll room with — already. This is 5-6 months earlier than the traditional process.
  • We’re reading a large number of posts in the forums by people who have paid their deposit already and are committed to coming to New Paltz.
  • Lots of anxiety being allayed earlier in the process. They’re finding roommates, and other students with similar interests (music, academic interests, extra-curricular activities, etc.). They’re asking if they can have cars on campus, if people go home on weekends, how many classes they will have to take, will their AP credits transfer, can they paint their residence halls, etc.

Next steps

  • On February 21 we will be inviting our first round of general accepts – approximately 1,000 of them – to join the community. From that point on, invitations will be sent to the latest round of new general accepts every two weeks.
  • In early March we need to start giving more serious consideration to what comes next. What happens after May 1, other than seeing how many of these members actually pay their deposit. Should we shut down the Café? Does it turn into a first year student community? What do we do with the members that choose not to come to New Paltz? Given the great amount of activity and interaction, I don’t see how we can shut it down, but we have to have a number of internal conversations between divisions to carefully plan the next stages.

What do you think our next steps should be?

What’s an Appropriate Response Time to Inquirers?

About ten years ago when e-mail became mainstream at colleges/universities, departments were skittish about having a separate dedicated e-mail account as a way for their customers to contact them. They worried about work load creep, and customers expecting a quick turn around time for responses. Most of these folks still preferred to be tied up on the phone with their customers at that point.
photo of a train moving fast

Now, most departments are long on board with the dedicated e-mail account. And it’s mutually understood that customers will receive a response within one to two business days at most.

Enter… Facebook.

Your college/university has a Facebook Fan page. It’s getting littered with wall posts from prospective students eager for information about your institution. They’re posting at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night and re-posting “helllooooo??” by 11 a.m. Sunday morning if they haven’t received a response yet. Holidays? Doesn’t matter. Receiving posts on Christmas Day and New Years Eve get the same reactions.

How do you handle this if you’re not looking until you get back to work again Monday morning?

Do you know how many lost opportunities take place if you only monitor your social media efforts during the traditional work week? Other fans of your page may jump in and try to be helpful. If they’re right, fantastic. It’s the ones who spread misinformation you have to worry about and is why it is critical for you to keep listening periodically throughout the weekend and evenings during the week.

If you’re going to jump into social media – you need to be able to realistically support it. Expect to check your Facebook Fan Page at all weird hours of the weekend and evening. If you can’t, find someone on your team that will. Students are a great resource for this — but of course you need to find someone you can trust who will not only be genuine, but maintain a level of professionalism and accuracy while speaking in “their language.”

Social media has blown the traditional work week out the door. It’s made it harder and harder for professionals to disconnect. The new culture is all about “the now.” Text message me now. Instant message me now. They don’t want to wait until tomorrow. Should we train them to slow down, or just ride this wave with them?

Photo credit shindohd

Register for “Recruiting on a budget 101: Master plan to win the social media jackpot with prospective students”

Saving Big: Winning strategies to get better results even with a crunched budget: February 4 & 5, 2009

“Saving Big” is a 2-webinar series that will show you how embracing the right digital approach can help you dramatically cut costs while still meeting the needs of your target audiences. It will show you why and how social media can become a very budget-friendly asset in the battle to attract, engage and win over the brightest, but also why and how to save on any publication budgets without alienating readers and compromising editorial quality.

Recruiting on a budget 101: Master plan to win the social media jackpot with prospective students
.eduGuru Rachel Reuben, who is also the Director of Web Communication and Strategic Projects at SUNY New Paltz, will explain how to make the most of social media to upgrade your recruitment strategy and differentiate your institution. She will also share a road map to help your admissions office catch up with the latest recruiting techniques at a fraction of the more traditional approach’s cost.

Taming the print beast: How to stretch the publication dollars of your institution
Joe Hice, AVP for Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Florida, will help you understand why you should give a closer look at your publication budget in these tough economic times. He will also share the winning strategy (as well as some practical tips) that led UF to save more than a million dollars on its publication budget.

For more information, visit the HigherEdExperts.com site.

Café New Paltz – 5 days in

Cafe New PaltzThis update is part 2 in a series about Café New Paltz, an exclusive online community using Ning for our fall 2009 accepted students at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Wow. That about sums up the reaction my colleagues and I have had since launching Café New Paltz on Friday, January 2.

Quick Bites (stats as of 8:30 a.m. Jan. 7):

  • invited 1,323 early action accepted students
  • 169 members
  • 143 photos posted by members
  • 6 discussion forums started by members — including one with 33 replies

Videos
We posted two videos when we launched. I’m actually surprised at the low number of video plays, in relation to the number of members and their other activity. Everyone we have chatted with in the Café has been raving about them.

  • Welcome to Café New Paltz (2:06) – 66 views
  • Visit New Paltz (contest – 1:14) – 65 views

Jingle + Birthdays
My graduate assistant and his brother produced a catchy jingle for Café New Paltz that we use in the beginning and end of every video.

We noticed we have two birthdays in the community today. We’ve posted 4 happy birthday videos for them — one from the Office of Undergraduate Admission staff, one from two current students working in the Welcome Center, and one from each of our baristas. We also posted birthday wishes on their walls and pushed an activity update to the “latest activity feed” to wish them happy birthday.

More insights
Google Analytics Snippets (Jan. 2-6)
 

  • 1,539 visits
  • 18,758 pageviews
  • 20.40% bounce rate
  • 13:54 average time on site
  • top 3 features: home page, members page, chat page, and one person’s profile page (he’s popular!)

Finances

  • paying Ning $24.95/month to remove the ads
  • paying Ning $4.95/month to point to custom domain
  • paid $10.19 for domain name for one year

Anecdotes
Over the weekend our baristas spent countless hours (on their own time, without being asked!) inside the Café striking up conversations and making new friends. They let the community decide what the next videos are they will produce (we’re calling them “Flavors of the Week”), and the order they will be posted.

Some snippets I saved from one of many weekend chat sessions:

  • “I must be going. i’m definitely gonna log on again though, this is an amazing resource.”
  • “Yeah this is a pretty great thing set up here”
  • “Yeah, I’ve never run across a school with something this helpful and people this nice before! It’s great!”

They were also correcting each other’s grammar and spelling during one chat session. 🙂

A parent called my colleague in the admissions office to sign her daughter up for an event that is advertised in the Café. She said her daughter was very impressed with the Café and wishes other schools did something like this. The mom was very impressed with how much we were doing for our accepted students, and also commented on how cute and entertaining her daughter thought the two guys doing the videos were (our “baristas”). 

Next Up?
This Friday we’re going to send a re-invitation to the balance of original invitees that haven’t responded. The four videos our baristas are working on include residence life, dining services, clubs/sports/intramurals, and around town.

Plug for upcoming Webinar
Want to hear more about how to recruit on a budget? Sign-up for my HigherEdExperts.com Webinar in the Saving Big series, which will be held February 4.

Am I missing something I should be tracking? What are you interested in learning? What does the activity in your communities look like?