Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Welcome to Blogging!

The topic for our second week of class tonight is blogging. I ask my students to start and maintain a blog throughout the remaining 8 weeks of class because it is a great way to learn about what it takes to keep up with a social media property. A common misconception about social media is that it is inexpensive. This is often true from a technology perspective, as many of the tools (like Blogger) are free. However, the real cost involves much more than just the technology.

For example, a blog requires time and personnel to write regularly, to research other blogs and news items on the topic desired, as well as to craft responses to comments. It is very similar to the effort it takes to maintain a community - or any relationship, for that matter. When we blog, we build a relationship with our readers, who often become a community focused around and within that blog. This is actually the fun part of blogging! For some tips on getting started with a blog, see my post from last term on things to keep in mind for blogging success.

Interestingly, my students are not the only ones starting up a blog. With the new presidential administration, there is now a White House blog. The blog will be written under the direction of Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House. He has written his first post about the blog, stating that it will be part of an ongoing conversation. He even invites us all to give our feedback via a form on the website.

Ideally, a blog allows a conversation to take place right at the spot where there is engagement - on the blog itself. That is not happening yet on the White House blog, and the critics are definitely discussing this. At the moment, the blog looks more like just a web page than a conversation. Things are still new, so I am sure they will work to talk with the readers of the blog, rather than talk at the readers, in the near future. Stay tuned!

Now back to San Diego. Tonight, we will talk about the why and how of blogging. I am also bringing in a guest speaker, Tim Jackson of Masi Bicycles, to discuss how using a blog, and other social media, has helped improve their business. Tim has been great about creating a real community following via not only his blog but also his Tweets on Twitter.

I am looking forward to hearing Tim speak and to seeing the new blogs from my students later this week!

(Photo credit: rusak)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marketing via New Media - New Term!

I am looking forward to meeting my new students this week as our Winter quarter starts up. This is a nine week class focused on teaching businesses how to market using new media/social media. It includes a lot of hands-on activity, guest speakers, as well as valuable projects (the final project is creating a social media marketing plan for a non-profit organization).

This term should be a great class with new student blogs coming on board in the next week or so (usually their assignment in Week 2) and lots of great discussion early on about what IS social media? As you can see from the blogs on the right, many of my former students are still keeping their blogs updated and are creating conversation with them. Way to go!

As usual, our textbook is Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.

I will be sure to share the student insights with you, so keep coming back for more info.

Onward to the new quarter!

(Photo credit: ArTG)