It’s not just getting rid of the textbooks….

….it’s about what you’re going to do instead. Mike Elgan has some solid ideas about getting rid of textbooks altogether, and what to do instead. I have trouble finding anything I don’t like about this post. It’s why we chose the current textbook we’re using in speech, which is really a practical handbook. I love the idea of requiring a contribution to Wikipedia. One class I’m teaching this semester is going to build a tag cloud in del.icio.us. He even mentions Hayek! What’s not to love?

(Thanks to Mary Nunaley for the link to this in Facebook.)

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New medium, old idea–working well together

Diana Huff points out the obvious, which is often anything but: relationships are crucial in most areas of human endeavor, and yet hard to measure. Her post, “Social Media: Don’t Expect a Marriage Proposal on the First Date,” uses as an example a contact she developed (and that’s really too strong a word, since it implies a conscious agenda) over a period of years in the old-fashioned face-to-face days. She says:

If I had asked [my contact] if she was going to send me work while sitting at that BMA dinner meeting, do you think she would have hired me a year later? Hell no!

It’s the same for social media. You can’t expect people to send you “juicy fat contracts” simply because they’re following you on Twitter.

And yet that’s exactly what many observers of current social media seem to expect, saying implicitly or explicitly that Twitter is a waste of time unless you can track an almost immediate return on investment.

When you’re planting corn, you can tell how much of it came up in a given year. When you are cultivating a forest, you can’t tell the effects of your efforts for a long time, and even when you can see them, you likely will have no idea which seed led ultimately to which trees. As the old saying goes, you can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.

My take? Whether through Twitter and Facebook, or the old fashioned way of simply being interested in people, cultivate your relationships–not just so you can make a buck, but so you can make a life. When you do, the bucks come much more easily, and much more enjoyably to boot.

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Especially for students: taking charge of your “job”

This blog is “not just academic,” as the flag shows. While we’re primarily interested in communication-related topics, and technology in higher education, we’re focused on application. Feeds show up in a couple of online classes, though, so I want to take an opportunity to post a link to an article that may spark some pragmatic solutions for students who worry about getting a job once they graduate, whether they’re journalism/PR folks or more general students who read this.

It also happens to be a good example post for speech students to show how expressing an opinion goes beyond merely expressing it, but also illustrating it and backing it up.

Columnist and consultant Peter Bregman tells CNN readers/viewers, “No job? Create your own!” Like anything else, it’s easier said than done. (Isn’t that true of everything? So why is that supposed to be a reason not to act?) The idea, or perhaps the attitude, is the value of this post.

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