I had the pleasure to serve as a guest co-host on the great BreakDrink Campus Tech podcast series this week. Thanks to Laura Pasquini for the invite. She and Bruce Mann are delightful hosts, and Eric Stoller jumped in to the conversation as well (with a very nice recap of @saTechBOS, which, as you have heard, I missed to do a delayed flight. I may blog on my bitterness later.)
An interesting side note: Don’t know if you can hear it or not on the podcast, but there is a lot of background noise coming in at the beginning from my end. My office is in a residence hall. I don’t work for our University Housing department; I just happen to have an office space that’s off the lobby of one of our many residence halls on campus. The Resident Advisors had just moved in the weekend prior. Just as the live broadcast started, a whole gang of RAs congregated in the lobby and were fairly loud. I loved it! I’m one of those Student Affairs professionals who doesn’t usually work directly with our students (anymore); I work behind the scenes to make sure our in-the-trenches folks have the technology they need to be successful. But the location of my office is always a treat this time of year as the staff returns to start training and prepare for the onslaught of the students and the fall semester. As a former RA and hall director, it brings back fabulous memories. As I think about it, most folks probably could not hear this over the loud clicking of Eric Stoller’s keyboard.
I have no idea how many folks tuned in live, or have/will listen to the podcast. But it’s always fun to just blather on when others are required to listen. In this case, I did not feel that what I had to say was very coherent. Mostly because I just currently have some general thoughts on the topic of the intersection of technology and communications in the student affairs profession. I don’t have any conclusions — good, bad or indifferent — at this point. Just some observations that I think are worth noting. What follows is mostly a copy/paste of my notes in preparation for the program. Maybe some day it will start to gel and I’ll revisit the topic on this blog.
- Relatively new interest in communications in the field of Student Affairs
- Anecdotely, seems to parallel growth of communications in higher ed
- Chapter in new book on this role (Ch. 6 in link #1 below)
- Who is in charge of #sacomm in SA organizations?
- Those who control the comm resources and comm technology (initially websites and print media, primarily, now social media) seem to control the message — and that’s the techies in many cases.
- At the Division level there may be #sacomm staff or the #satechies
- At the department level, usually not a a #sacomm specialist unless a LARGE organization on a large campus; typically a staff member who wears the comm hat
- My campus — I lead the central, Division Technology unit that also has responsibility for #sacomm (though right now doesn’t translate into actual services for others except for consulting…mostly leadership and respresentation, and Division-level communications like our website)
- #satechies and #sacomm
- Why are we #satechies so involved with #sacomm? Is it because we love the technology? Because no one else is doing it? Because it’s a natural cross-over of interests and skill? All the above? (Would love to hear what audience thinks on this!)
- #satechies seem to use social media at a much higher rate (anecdotal) than other student affairs staff. Again, is it because the technology is fun? We tend to be early adopters? (Would love to hear what audience thinks on this!)
- Content of recent and upcoming conferences is amazing — HUGE focus on social media!
- #unccause – UNC CAUSE (North Carolina’s versions of an EDUCAUSE conference) – Link #2 below – This is a techie conference but includes a whole track and closing keynote on social media.
- #satechBos -
- #NASPATech – 2 of the 6 topics are social media, and the “Audience & Format” description starts with: “Whether you have no idea how to create a Twitter account or you are an active blogger, this conference will deliver for you.”
- 9820 hits when you search “social media” on the EDUCAUSE website!
- With web work, there’s a move (at least on my campus) to hand over content management to the staff in departments and let professional techies handle the back-end. In other words, #satechies now have good tools (WordPress, Drupal, etc) to get out of the content business. Will the same thing happen with social media? Is that a good thing, or no?