As noted in various social media outlets, I’ve been promoted to director of Web communication for the college. The shiny new title continues much of the work I do but also features an acknowledgment of the key role of the Web in communicating and a new institutional focus on using the Web to better engage.
These things never happen overnight. I started working professionally on these Internets in 1996, when I did content and planning as my employer of the time went online. (What? You don’t believe I was 11 years old?) I taught myself basic HTML, set up a (not too attractive) personal site, read a lot, surfed a ton. I started blogging before it was called blogging. I served as online editor for a daily newspaper. Then I got swept up in Web 2.0, and the years since involved plenty of research, trying (and occasionally failing) new ideas and interacting.
That last part is important. I’ve seen what interaction can do, and thus its power in planning Web operations. Setting up and shepherding our fan page or Official Class of 2014 group are like seminars in communication studies — how people transmit and receive information, conversation/reaction patterns, formation of digital relationships. I’ve learned so much from friends on Twitter, Facebook and conferences that informs what I do. This is an amazing medium with so much potential.
My biggest project is redeveloping our Web site. I’m calling it Refreshing Oswego (title is a work in progress too), and it’s about making our presence more user-centered and engaging. The project includes a six-person team — our reconfigured three-person Web communication office working with three key Campus Technology Services staffers on migrating to a new content management system. The players bring a variety of skills in the necessary but not-too-glamorous process of building everything that powers our Web site. But I now have to start tackling on the design aspect — the look of this car whose engine, drive train and chassis we’re building. Our CMS is skinnable, so while the design process relates to functionality, it proceeds on a parallel line.
The promotion included my first presentation to our President’s Council, as I discussed the refresh project. They were more supportive and receptive than I ever imagined, and showed interest in visiting eduStyle.net and .eduGuru after I name-checked the sites. At the end of the presentation, our president said: “Sounds like a lot of fun.” I agree!
So I hope you’ll tolerate any future posts on the progress of the project. Perhaps we’ll figure out some things of value to others. And maybe even have a little fun along the way.