Students Out PR Professionals

As a Valdosta State University student, we nicknamed the student paper the Speculator. Incorrectly reading between the lines were their specialty. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes were part of their standard. But it was amusing to see them go after the administration. Not so much to be reported on when I made big mistakes.

As university staff, I made the Spectator in information technology articles on viruses, online elections, WebCT upgrade, and the portal. At first they made me nervous because I worried about them finding out about the skeletons. After a couple interviews, it became obvious they had no idea about the skeletons and would only cursory look at the topic without digging very deep. So it would good publicity and exposure.

The Red & Black as a daily published much more that the Speculator. Last year the paper moved to a weekly print but daily web. This week several students (Editor-in-Chief, other editors, photographers, etc) all quit in reaction to a memo placing editorial control in the hands of non-students and hiring professionals to take over more decisions in the creative process. Immediately the students setup a web site, Red and Dead, a Twitter account @redanddead815, a Facebook page. Their Twitter account was suspended for gaining followers too quickly.

At present, the whole story is extremely one-sided. A couple statements from the R&B board against the draft memo, dozens of statements, bloggers, and newspaper articles like the Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times, and Washington Post critical of the board. It is like the board is not even trying? Or unaware or unable to use the public relations avenues available to them. None of this means they are in the wrong or think they are in the wrong. It just helps the rush to judgment against them.

Maybe these students are in the wrong field? Public relations seems to be their strength.

Expression Costs

(This started out as a blog comment for Sania’s post Facebook Killed Your Blog. I’m posting it here first.)

We share blogs with the whole world. So our blogs get lost in the noise, bolstering the need for a whole industry optimizing getting found in search engines. Its a concerted effort just get noticed. That’s because blog readers have to seek out blogs to follow, subscribe to the feed, and follow. Finding the best blogs to read is sometimes difficult and more from word of mouth than anything search engines provide.

Blogs also tend to have a lot of information to digest. Social networks have just a line or two with maybe a link to more information. Blog readers typically are designed around the idea of collecting all the posts and letting the user pick which to read. Social networks typically are designed around the idea of just showing recent posts and letting the users choose how far back in time to read.

As technologies lower the costs to express ideas (aka get easier), blogs will get left behind as they have become upside down in value. The costs of writings, reading, subscribing, and commenting on blogs are more expensive compared to micro-blogging or status updates.

Why blog when hanging out on social networks are so much easier? Blogs can only survive as long as they have information worthy.

Why blog when readers are no longer reading? Posting blog entries on social networks does help keep traffic levels somewhat by getting exposure.

As bloggers providing valuable expression leave blogging, the value of blogs decrease. People will still blog. It just won’t be the popular thing to do.

Maybe Now We’ll Be Heard?

Its funny. Apparently its time consuming for companies to conduct brand analysis (just know what is being said about them). So a niche has been filled by Scout Labs and others. (Hopefully Scout is paying attention and is reading this. Maybe Umbria will also comment their product is better. :D)

On the one hand, I think more companies ought to pay attention. In addition, I hope through honest reflection they use the reactions exposed online to make improvements. For example, I will pick on Blackboard (the company I pick on most). A complaint about documentation from Laura Gekeler’s blog resulted in a contact from a senior director offering help. There are dozens of people who blog about their experiences with Blackboard. I doubt most of them are on the radar of Blackboard’s marketing folks.

How many of these posts help to sway the impressions to Blackboard brands? My readership is tiny. The same compliment issued on my blog, Laura’s blog, and a top blogger would help the brand most coming from the top blogger. So far, except for the patent rumble, the top bloggers and sites like Slashdot have remained mostly silent. The profile of the typical blogger who will mention Blackboard is that of a user. Students mention having to use it for a class. Faculty members mention putting something up for a class they teach. Instructional designers talk about building classes. The smallest but most vocal group are the technical behind the scenes people (like me) who have to make this stuff run. None of these build a huge following. At best we read each others’ blogs so we influence each other than the masses.

Something that used to bother me is the appeal to being a publicly traded company as the reason why they are mostly silent. That is quite okay with me. Just fix it and don’t say anything.
🙂

tag: Blackboard Inc, , brand analysis, ,

Who Is Lurking In the Shadows?

Since you readers seem not to comment much, I took it upon myself to check on you by other means. 😀

More of my visitors come from Washington, DC, than any other US locale. Interesting…. All of them are from a certain publicly traded company. \Why would I be surprised, considering I mentioned them and their product and their conference recently?. Some came to me through Laura‘s blog. Most got to me by by typing the address directly.

Its more interesting that so little of the traffic here is from work. I don’t really overtly talk about work so much. Of course, I don’t know this blog is sanctioned. Not have I really asked. Given all the trouble other bloggers I know have encountered by talking about things they should not, I’m fairly conservative. Me? Not talk much? Odd, right?

BbWorld ’07

In the last throes of the BbWorld ’07 Developer’s Conference (the regular conference ended yesterday). Some pictures are in Flickr in my “BbWorld 2007” set. I’ll likely post the rest tonight. Our presentations should be posted soon on the conference site.

Some important ideas of keynotes:

EdVentures in Technology » Notes from BbWorld 2007 in Boston, MA:

Incentives matter
— Steven Leavitt

Arkansawyer » 2007» July» 11 (most comprehensive BbWorld ’07 blog I’ve fount):
Guy Kawasaki

  1. Make meaning.
  2. Make mantra.
  3. Jump to the next curve.
  4. Roll the DICEE.
  5. Don’t worry, be crappy.
  6. Polarize people.
  7. Let a hundred flowers blossom
  8. Churn, baby, churn
  9. Niche thyself
  10. Follow the 10/20/30 rule
  11. Don’t let the bozos grind you down

Talked to lots of Blackboard upper management. I haven’t drank the Kool-Aid. 😀

Blog Crush: Part II

Following up on my blog crush post.

The Internet is a much bigger place than just the blogosphere. My previous comments were solely about blogs and strictly within the definition of “blog crush” provided in the qotd, not any of the many other forms of communication offered by the Internet. I have made lots of companions and even several friends over the Internet. I currenly have more companions and friends from online sources than offline sources (though I am currently working harder to create offline, local relationships).

Its a Straw Man Argument to characterize my lack of enthusiasm about making friends through blogs as because I am not open or trusting.

From the definition of acquaintance:

1. Acquaintance, associate, companion, friend refer to a person with whom one is in contact. An acquaintance is someone recognized by sight or someone known, though not intimately: a casual acquaintance. An associate is a person who is often in one’s company, usually because of some work, enterprise, or pursuit in common: a business associate. A companion is a person who shares one’s activities, fate, or condition: a traveling companion; companion in despair. A friend is a person with whom one is on intimate terms and for whom one feels a warm affection: a trusted friend. 3. familiarity, awareness.

I don’t share the intimate details of my life in blogs. Of course, I don’t share the intimate details of my life with anyone other than a handful of people. From the dozens of personal blogs I’ve read (leaves out the newsies, techies, etc), almost all do the same as I in leaving out the intimate details. Other than George, I don’t think the rest of you care very much for the details of some woman sticking her tongue down my throat, the details of who I find physically attractive, or even for whom I am going to vote. This lack of intimacy on everyone’s part is what prevents the creation of friendships from solely the use of blogs.

So what about warm affection? A good test, I think, would be to suddenly read in the blog post that a friend and family member wrote the blogger died. How would I feel? Would I cry over the loss? Would I want to go to that person’s funeral? With Bernie or George, I would really feel the loss and at least shed a tear. Prema, Porsche, and Briana would get a least some thinking about the great memories for a long time combined with feeling of loss. The others? I would feel a little bad, but I would not be devestated. Sorry, Gina.

Certainly, I have been called a Vulcan or even named Tuvok. My interpretation of what is a friend probably is much stricter than most would use. However, I am very open to making friends online. One can always use another friend.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

31 ways for you to use your blog

This is just a personal exercise to track what I have done and might ought to try.
Done To-Do No way

Welcome to MY world: 31 ways for you to use your blog

Not sure what to blog about? You can blog about anything that interests you. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Keep a daily journal of your life.
  2. Post a quote du jour.
  3. Document your daily successes.
  4. List your goals.
  5. Describe a recent adventure.
  6. Compliment a friend.
  7. Write a restaurant review.
  8. Detail a recent date.
  9. List your favorite hang outs.
  10. Share a poem of yours.
  11. Offer tips in your area of expertise.
  12. Write about your favorite hobby.
  13. Describe a class you’re taking.
  14. Review a movie.
  15. Gossip about celebrities, coworkers, or friends.
  16. Outline your diet and exercise plan.
  17. Share interesting bits of information.
  18. Rate a book you’ve read.
  19. Describe your dreams.
  20. Write an editorial about a current event.
  21. Ask questions of other bloggers.
  22. Share jokes and funny stories.
  23. Describe a project you’re working on.
  24. Tell heart-warming pet stories.
  25. Offer dating or parenting advice.
  26. Write a short story.
  27. Speculate about the direction of the stock market.
  28. Highlight your favorite clothing stores.
  29. Share a mouth-watering recipe.
  30. Post a photo of the day.
  31. Share twenty things others should know about you.