Colgate University recently switched its news site over to a blog format, using Movable Type. The university’s news release claims the move will help raise the profile of Colgate news stories (via tagging, etc.) while encouraging more interaction and making the site more usable. Charlie Melichar, Colgate’s vice president for public relations and communications (and a fellow blogger), expounds on those ideas in a recent email:
All Colgate news, from the headlines to our feeds are now being populated by the blog’s content. We’re excited about all the benefits of tagging, categories, flickr photos, feeds, etc. but I think much of the proof will be in the pudding of the comments. I know of plenty of college news sites using blog platforms, but I haven’t yet seen many (any?) fully opened as blogs to this point. So, I think we’re either at the front of the curve or just plain crazy. We shall see.
I applaud Melichar and the entire Colgate PR/comm team for taking this step. It’s something we’ve been talking about on our campus, but we haven’t yet made that leap. It would make sense, though, as we’ve been using Movable Type for our blogs since we launched the first one, Visions, in February 2006. We’ve found MT to be a solid blogging platform. We’ve even been toying with the idea of also moving our news site into Movable Type, as we recently did with our alumni magazine. I’ll be keeping a close watch on Colgate’s news site to see how the new format works.
Regarding comments: What we’ve found is that our posts with the heaviest comment traffic occur when something is either controversial — such as when we announced a proposed new name for our university (44 comments, many of them bordering on hostile) — or something the campus community can rally around, such as when one of our students tried to break a collegiate land-speed record and we asked the campus to post notes of support for the effort (15 comments ensued). I hope the folks at Colgate receive plenty of comments, but remember that even some of the most influential blogs only receive a handful on some posts.