Progress & the Key to Mobility


Okay, so someone at a presentation asked me about accountability and being able to prove that podcasting, vidcasting, blogging, and facebook work.  This has been a sore spot for me for years. I’ve played so many games about accountability for three decades that I’m burned out.

Someone said something about a five-year plan.  I continued my curmudgeon role saying I refuse to plan for more than two years.  The technology changes so fast planning for more than two years is futile.

Myspace and iTunes changed the way we communicate in a seismic way only a few years ago.

YouTube further radicalized it.

What’s on the horizon next year?

Phillip K. Dick becomes more of a “realism” writer every year.

Don’t even think about five years from now.

A young PR guy came up to me afterward and said, “You can say these things and refuse to plan five years from now because you’ve been in the profession for 30 years.  The rest of us don’t have that freedom.”

I told him he was right.

On the way home my wife, Leigh, told me what I already knew and should have said. It was this:

Yes, you do need to continue writing news releases and clip the articles.  You need to keep your VPs and presidents apprised of all the times your institution appears in the paper, and the times your institution appears on TV.  You do have to have some accountability.

While you’re doing this you need to develop your myspace and facebook sites.  You need to do your podcasts or youtube features.  And when they start attracting unique visitors and page views, you need to collect the information and present it to your administration and let them know how progressive your institution is.

Understand , it’s not you, but the institution that is visionary and making the progress.  And it is.  As long as those above you not telling you emphatically to stop experimenting, then your administration is visionary.

Here’s an example of how it works, and I may have written about this before:

Two years ago it was on my agenda every month to tell my VP how many podcast hits we were getting. (I also told the provost, associate provost, president and others).

I told her we were getting downloads in more than 30 countries and that one of my students actually had a fan club.  The news was exotic — and positive.  We all love positive news.  A few months later, she said she needed a presenter for a council of trustees meeting and thought our pioneering efforts in podcasting would be good.

(Note: She had never listened to one of our shows.)

I jumped at the chance, made the presentation.  Only one of our trustees was familiar with podcasting.  After the meeting was finished, one elderly trustee came up to me: “I didn’t understand a thing you were saying but you’re doing a great job!  You’re really keeping Mansfield out there.”

I had the stamp of approval from our trustees to not only with continue podcasting but to keep experimenting with the new technology.

I’ll give another example in the next post that reinforces the above and shows where college presidents are with the new technology.

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2 responses to “Progress & the Key to Mobility

  1. Nice post – having a boss/university that lets you experiment is the key. While not all experiments prove worthwhile – the ones that work make up for it. “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”–Thomas Watson

  2. Thanks, tsand, for the thoughtful comment and the great quote.

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