All posts tagged “ideas

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Giving away the secret stuff



I want you to share what you know. I was at a professional event recently and met a guy who was just starting out with managing social media at this college. He was excited and was just bouncing ideas off of me after seeing me on Twitter. After talking for a few minutes, he said “well I don’t want you to give away the secret sauce. I just wanted to pick your brain a bit.”

I laughed and told him that I wanted to give away the secret sauce. After all, what are we talking about? Tactics? Insider baseball specific to a particular institution? It made me think a bit as we get into conference season about how we communicate ideas, how we interact with others and the sorts of things we can learn as people are sharing and giving their insights outside of workshops and events.

People want to give others insights. For me, I want others to do things better because it raises the bar for all of us. If you’re doing better, it’s going to be better for me because I’ll just need to improve whatever it is I’m working on to keep up with whatever it is we’ve released into the wild. The other thing is, sharing opens doors. By sharing with someone what you know, I’m more likely to find someone else who is open to sharing things with me. But not everything is about what you get from viagra for sale it. I just get excited talking about the things we do at work or side projects that bleed over into off-work time. I know I’m not the only one.

Here are some things to think about when it comes to sharing with others and stuff to keep in mind:

  • You’re obviously not going to share privileged information. When I talk about sharing, I’m obviously not talking about sharing what happened in the meeting yesterday or last week. Or something that might embarrass your institution. On the other hand, a “lesson learned” or talking about what you did, might be helpful. You have to use your own discretion here.
  • Think about what you want to know. People have limited time. Conferences are a dizzying time to interact and share with others. Resist the urge to want to pick someone’s brain ad nauseum. Instead, talk for a bit and move on. They might be too nice to say “look, I need to go. There are lots of other people I want to meet too.” Do it for them. Be kind.
  • Find your expertise. Seek out ways to share. We all have things to share. Seeking out mentors is one way to grow your knowledgebase, but you also seek out others or be available to give more, too.

There are no secrets. There’s stuff we’ve done and thing we’re going to do. Understanding that in an connected world, ideas aren’t things to horde but to be shared.


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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.