All posts by “@marleysmom

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What we do right in the solo world

Twitter conversation with @micalaA Tuesday evening Tweet from Shannon Ritter (@micala) started the idea for this post, so I must start by thanking her for the spark.

Shannon reminded me that, far too often, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for doing a good job most of the time. Hell, even when we’re doing an excellent job, we tend to find reasons to criticize ourselves.

That kind of thinking is no good – especially for those of us who work in one-person shops where there’s no one else to remind us that we’re managing to keep all the plates spinning in the right direction. It seemed like a post about what Armies of One do well was a great idea. Thanks, Shannon!

So… what DO solos do well? Turns out we do lots and lots of things as well as or even better than larger teams:

  • Establishing priorities – An Army of One can’t do it all, so we’re particularly adept at looking at requests and triaging them according to whatever hierarchy dominates our workplaces. We’re also really good at looking at how much something costs and determining the return on investment (ROI) for that item almost instantaneously.
  • Breaking down silos – Solos cannot afford to keep everything we do to ourselves. We depend cialis with atenolol too much on contributions (content, photos, advice) from other areas of the business. Even if we don’t have contributors in these areas, we cannot afford to hide what we do if we ever want to get help.
  • Knowing something about all the things – When you’re a one-person shop, especially in an area like communication – everyone beats a path to your door for help on every project. You learn a lot about what’s happening in all the parts of the school. That’s tied to, but not the same as, holding your work hostage in a silo. It’s more like everyone wants your help on all the projects. You can use this to become a very valuable fount of institutional knowledge. That deserves a place on a resume.

The point to this post is that – as solos – we cannot afford to pursue negative thinking. We show that the impossible is possible everyday by doing more than a whole team can accomplish some days.

Remember that, solos and small teams. You do good work. Be proud of that.

Let’s continue this conversation on Twitter. Let us know what you do well as a solo or small team… or what you see solos and small teams do well. Tag it #SoloShoutOut.

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What Hill Are You Willing to Die on?


It’s time for me to draw a line.

Could you hear the dramatic music swell as you wondered where my line is? I could. (Yes, I have my own personal soundtrack. It’s usually in my head).

This year, in order to use our website as a tool to market better to prospective students, I’m going through a bit of a content audit. I’ve made the determination that a unified content strategy – FOR ALL SECTIONS OF THE WEBSITE – will allow us to serve an extremely important stakeholder group more effectively. Focusing on prospective students, however, doesn’t remove our obligations to current students, faculty, graduates, donors, staff, and the like, so I’ll be working on ways to help all the people use the site better.

That determination brought me to an epiphany. I’m a regular person, and reading the content on our site, I realized that much of it is lawyer-speak. Academic-speak. Professor-speak.


BAM. [Dramatic music swells]

I found my Battle of San Juan Hill. I found the spot that could be the greatest victory of my career in web work for a law school.

I declared war on obtuse, words that obfuscate our meaning, create misunderstandings, and alienate our stakeholders.

Words. Just. Like. Those.

It’s sad that – in academia where we’re supposed to be making a positive impact for students who come to us seeking fedex generic viagra to enrich themselves – we insist on using words like matriculate and promulgate and experiential learning. That’s contrary to our collective mission as higher education institutions.

So, I’m hopping up on my horse and playing Teddy Roosevelt for a bit. We’re talking like humans at Bowen – not attorneys. It’s strategic, it’s professional, and it will help even more students – and through them, more clients – access to the justice system. You see, if people can’t understand what you’re talking about, how can they take advantage of the system they’re inherently excluded from? How can students help those who are disenfranchised if they communicate in a way that’s confused and confusing, simply because they’ve been taught that communicating in that fashion is not only acceptable but expected in their profession?

Ensuring that Bowen’s website uses simpler language will, in my mind, simply be a fulfillment of all three of our core values – professionalism, public service, and access to justice.

I’ve found my San Juan Hill, and making these changes in the Bowen site will probably be a bloody battle, but I don’t intend to die on this hill.

What’s your San Juan Hill for the coming academic year?


Tonya Oaks Smith is the Director of Communications at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and co-founder of Higher Ed Solo.


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What is this #Strategycar Thing, Anyway?

If you’re anywhere around Twitter on Friday afternoons, you can’t miss Alaina Wiens and her new #strategycar. We’re all pretty excited about the things we’ve seen coming out from this real-time Twitter chat, which happens each Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

We caught up to @alainawiens to hear more about #strategycar, and we encourage everyone – but especially Armies of One – to tune in soon!

What is #strategycar?

#strategycar, as it currently exists, is a weekly Twitter chat where higher ed communicators can talk strategy. Topics might include social media, content, marketing, web, analytics, writing, or anything, really. Whenever there’s a conversation to be had about how we can better approach our jobs in a strategic way, I hope that #strategycar can be a resource for people.

Where did the idea for it come from?

Boiled down, the idea came from a conversation about social media strategy in my car on the way back from #PSUWeb13. Nick DeNardis and Ma’ayan Plaut road-tripped with me, and we had some of the best conversations on the way home. During a period when Nick was driving, I tweeted about our experience, and Ron Bronson tagged it #strategycar. I then fantasized about taking my car around the country, picking up various higher ed professionals, and picking their brains. I don’t have a budget for that, but I do have Twitter. (Full story)

How frequently do you do #strategycar? What if someone misses an episode?

So far, they’ve happened once a week on Friday afternoons, 3 p.m. EST. If people continue to participate and get value from the conversation on a weekly basis, I’ll try and keep that up.

How why are there two bath tubs in the cialis commercial do you choose your topics? Can people make suggestions?

Sometimes the topics come from a particular challenge I’m having at work. Sometimes people ask if we can talk about a topic. Sometimes someone suggests a topic and then I let them drive the #strategycar. I really do want it to be a tool for the whole community. If I’m not around to host the chat, I love that it can go on without me.

What have you learned from #strategycar?

This is my first experience hosting a Twitter chat, and I’ve been surprised at how much I’m learning by just listening. This shouldn’t be surprising to me, right? We preach this about social media all the time, that we need to be good listeners. This higher ed community is filled with some passionate, smart people. I love hearing what they have to say.

What do you hope others learn from it?

I hope others leave #strategycar chats remembering that they’re not doing their jobs alone, even if they’re the only ones in their institutions working in a particular role. Our community is an invaluable resource, and the main thing to learn from #strategycar is just how much there is to be learned from others.

Anything else you’d like to add?

In the future, I hope to have a home on the web for archived #strategycar conversations, and a place for submitting topic ideas. Until then, feel free to tweet me (@alainawiens) any time. I’m not opposed to emergency #strategycar sessions, or handing the #strategycar over to someone else when it’s needed. Also, thanks to Ma’ayan Plaut for being as excited about this as I am.