Sunday Afternoon Thoughts Part 7


I write three blogs. One is an offshoot of my novel, The Perfect Song. I started the blog thinking I would be doing posts about writing, but the humorous side of my personal life nudged its way in. As anyone who’s blogged a long time knows, sometimes you run dry.

This happened to me recently. I couldn’t think of anything to write about. I never force the issue. Writing is larger than the writer. Then one night a line came to me: “My name is Dennis Miller and I’m an eBayholic.” From there everything flowed out in 10 or 15 minutes. Why? Because I had found a platform (Alcoholics Anonymous) and a writing tone (that desperation-tinged tone of people fighting addiction).

I know we don’t always have the luxury of time in higher ed to wait for the muse, but with more and more content needed for content management systems, and audience demand to write in a compelling, even entertaining way, I think we’re going to have more freedom to experiment with styles, tones and approaches.

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While Brad Ward beat me to the punch by a few weeks, I did finally post a couple very basic videos shot on our Flip camcorders. My student intern and I attended a faculty-staff talent show. Check these for video and audio quality.

My intern, Katrina Brumfield, created the format and did the editing, so it cost me very little in time. If you don’t have time to watch them in full, fast forward on Dick Soderberg and listen to “Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian” to lighten your day.

The trade-off on broadcast quality is this: you pull the vidcam out of your pocket, shoot and leave. Some basic editing and your up for the world.

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There will always be a need for broadcast quality videos and professional photography that tell your unique and compelling story, especially in the areas of admissions, alumni relations and fund raising. But our Website sucks up content like a moon-sized sponge. We’re all going to have to learn the basics of writing, video, photography, and audio recording—sooner than later.

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A new Zogby International survey shows that 2/3 of Americans are turning to the internet for their news because they’re dissatisfied with traditional media.

“Overall, the survey finds the Internet not only outweighs television, radio, and newspapers as the most frequently used and important source for news and information, but Web sites were also cited as more trustworthy than more traditional media sources – nearly a third (32%) said Internet sites are their most trusted source for news and information, followed by newspapers (22%), television (21%) and radio (15%).”

There’s also information about blogs. The trend, by the way, includes older Americans, as well. This huge shift, as we all know, has implications for web folks and PR people, in the way we communicate not only with potential students but parents, alumni and constituency as well.

The quoted graph is from the Podcasting News story.

Also, I see Kyle James has included a blurb about it in the newest post of his always excellent Links of the Week.

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Final note: The dumbest prediction I ever made. In the mid- 1980s I persuaded Sony to give us a used professional camera and editing equipment. We produced our own shows and won a couple awards. I was invited to speak at a conference on emerging video use. During the talk I predicted the demise of still photography, or at least a greatly reduced use. I immediately alienated all the photographers in the audience, a few of whom gave me a piece of their mind after the presentation.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Now I stick with such predictions as “there is a very good chance that darkness will follow dusk.”

We’ve all been wrong about something. Share your prediction or thought that was, well, off the mark.

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2 responses to “Sunday Afternoon Thoughts Part 7

  1. I think the reasons of the Zogby study is because You don’t have to wait until the paper the next morning or the 6PM news to find out about a news story. Also with a website you can easily make an update to a story and note the change. Something that is in paper print is there forever.

    With devices like iPhones and Blackberries you can also read the information anywhere and anytime.

    Finally cool interactive features like we see breaking down the political races help to increase our trust. Who doesn’t love a nice “purdy” graph displaying data? 🙂

  2. You’re absolutely right. What interests me is the growing number of older adults abandoning traditional media for internet news, blogs, etc.

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