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The Internet of Things

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By now, you may have heard rumblings about the "Internet of Things" and depending on the context, it can be defined in many different ways. Everyone, however, agrees that the emerging "Internet of Things" (IoT) will link everyday physical products to each other via the web. This will be (and currently) is done by embedding technology in an object in order for it to communicate with other connected devices. This will essentially create a giant digital information system. The experts at Harbor Research suggest that the Internet of Things will have a bigger impact on our daily lives than either the internet or social media combined, radically shifting the way that we think, act, and connect with each other.

"We are creating a connected world with entirely different touch points," said Glen Allmendinger, president of technology and business development consulting firm Harbor Research. "In the past, a company would sell a product, and it would disappear into a black hole. There was no way to know what anyone did with it or what other marketing opportunities existed. Today, it's possible to see how a customer uses a device and discover all sorts of opportunities."

Recent articles point to the IoT as the interaction and exchange of data between machines and objects, and now there are product definitions reflecting the same concept. Nike has been utilizing this technology for a few years now, with their Nike Fuel band that tracks and monitors your fitness levels, suggests ways to conserve energy, and connects you with a community of Fuel Band users.

There is almost no limit to the possibilities that the IoT will bring and it's no secret that marketing will be at the center of that universe. The Blake Project's Derrick Daye believes that the IoT will change branding in a monumental way. "It can deliver the brand promise at every point of customer contact and deliver a more meaningful relationship. It can help a company create a greater brand alignment across devices, screens and experiences."

Needless to say, the Internet of Things is here to stay. I'm anxious to see how the University of Minnesota will start integrating this technology into the different experiences that they offer. What will this mean in terms of recruitment, retention or giving? Marketing and branding? Only time will tell.

The Economist and the Oxford Comma

I greatly enjoyed all of the clever grammar oriented memes and messages over social media yesterday, but this really tickled my fancy.  Enjoy!  The Oxford Comma: Is a Comma Grammar

Naming Winter Storms

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As a native Minnesotan, I was irked beyond reason when The Weather Channel started naming winter storms. The practice came to my attention when the so-called Winter Storm Caesar was approaching Minnesota in December.

What the what?!! Remember the Halloween Blizzard of '91? The Armistice Day Blizzard of '40-something? (OK, we weren't there, but we've heard of it, over and over.) The thing is, Minnesotans know that winter storms must EARN their names, not be assigned them in some marketing scheme by East Coast weather elites.

Which leads me to this blog post's real topic, the idea that social media can save lives. Well, that's what The Weather Company (parent of The Weather Channel) is claiming. In an Adweek article, Weather CEO David Kenny claims that they named storms so that people would start tweeting and posting about them on social media, thus raising awareness and saving lives.

Kenny cited the nearly 800 million photos and tweets that "Nemo" generated over 5 day period as proof positive that the naming system worked to raise awareness and served to consolidate the torrent of storm-related social media data. - See more at:
Kenny claimed the almost 800 million photos and tweets that "Nemo" (good lord) generated over five days when it slammed the east coast was proof of his claim.

What do you think? Does naming something encourage social engagement about it? What could we name here at the U to encourage social engagement? Please share your thoughts! And heaven help us if Winter Storm Yogi should approach the northern plains.
Kenny cited the nearly 800 million photos and tweets that "Nemo" generated over 5 day period as proof positive that the naming system worked to raise awareness and served to consolidate the torrent of storm-related social media data. - See more at:

Do You Code?

I ran across Code.orgs latest YouTube entry featuring the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and (among others) who discuss the importance of coding. Calling it the new human "superpower" - the video states that 90% of schools in the United States do not teach this basic skill. 

It seems as though the industry would go to any length to retain top talent by making "the most awesome environment" for their employees. This includes full service dining centers, rooftop lounges and onsite dry cleaning (leading me to think I've chosen the wrong career path!). 

Were you taught code in school? Do you consider it a basic skill when entering today's work force?

Color of the year

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pantone.jpgPantone announced the color of the year for 2013 today: emerald (17-5641 for those of you who like to be exact about this kind of thing). Those of us who prefer green may be a little smug about this announcement, but...does it really mean anything? Will we start seeing more designs using this color that purportedly "enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight as well as promoting balance and harmony?"

Is it more than a marketing tool? Is it fun, regardless? Would you have picked something else?

Papal Tweets

Only the Pope could start a Twitter account, not post a single tweet, and still have 116,859 followers (as of this posting). He's barely begun his social media journey, but could it be that he's already having trouble "feeding the beast"?

What suggestions do you have for the Pope, or anyone else who is considering starting a Twitter account? How should they keep it fresh, on message, interesting? I'd love to see your comments.

Break Time

This morning I heard this story about treadmill desks. Pretty nice set-up. Well, with that and the upcoming University holiday on my mind, I'm reminded of how important it is to move around and take a breakreminder.png

Oh, there are helpful apps too, like BreakTime--it never forgets your breaks.


The evolution of social media: We don't even bother to read anymore

It's all about images now, as this article from Fast Company notes. How do you show, rather than tell, what your unit does?

Finding Your Niche in a Social Media Explosion

It seems I can't do anything in the communications world without bumping elbows with yet another one of the billion social media tools popping up these days. In the crowded room of businesses, college departments, and organizations all screaming for your attention through their various social media, it can be hard to decide what tools are best or applicable to you and your place of work. Here's a quick article on some of the newer buzz-tools out there: the new Facebook Timeline for businesses, Pinterest, and Instagram.

What's your take on these new platforms? Do you see an opportunity to use them in your workplace?

Millennials. Not so community-oriented?

A few years ago a Forum conference session focused on the mindset of millennials. We were told that they are into their group, the betterment of their community, being part of the gang. New research is showing that perception may be way off. Since many of us communicate to millennials (and work with them here in the Forum, :-) ) here's that article, from The Chronicle.

Millennials Are More 'Generation Me' Than 'Generation We,' Study Finds

Millennials, the generation of young Americans born after 1982, may not be the caring, socially conscious environmentalists some have portrayed them to be, according to a study described in the new issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study, which compares the traits of young people in high school and entering college today with those of baby boomers and Gen X'ers at the same age from 1966 to 2009, shows an increasing trend of valuing money, image, and fame more than inherent principles like self-acceptance, affiliation, and community. "The results generally support the 'Generation Me' view of generational differences rather than the 'Generation We,'" the study's authors write in a report published today, "Generational Differences in Young Adults' Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation."

Continue reading

A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps

As the new Marketing & Promotions Chair for the Communicators Forum, I've been having fun diving into the depths of Communicators Forum social media, especially Twitter. Social media has become an unexpected passion of mine over the last year or so, with daily use of it for my day job at Northrop Concerts and Lectures, and my side project, the literary website Hazel & Wren.

I've learned mostly by trial and error, and by watching and learning from expert tweeps as they grow with their following and gain momentum for their business or organization. But perhaps the most helpful for me are simple guidelines from other users that pop up in blog posts, articles, and more all over the internet, such as this one, which I stumbled upon last week, and passed on through the UMCF Twitter channel. And, as a bonus, here's a quick look at some things I've learned over the last year or so in my own guide: A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps. (Brace yourselves for the power of this knowledge.)

A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps:

1.) Follow like-minded people. This is the number one step to exponentially increase your number of followers. Search hashtags and topics to see who is talking about them, and follow them. Or, even better yet, find another organization similar in cause to you, and start following who they follow. Not everyone will follow you back, but the surprising majority do. (This means your description and recent tweets better be stellar, so these people are intrigued at first glance.)

2.) Curate lists.
This has been the most helpful for me to not only more easily find quality content, but also for organizing my approach and to make sure that I'm diversifying my tweets. If you're unfamiliar with lists, what this means is that you create segmented categories of Twitter accounts that you follow, based on their content and/or area of interest. For example, I have a list for the Communicators Forum called "University Departments." Another could be called "Communications Publications." That way, you can just view the feed from that list's sources specifically, to narrow down and focus the constant stream of information coming in. You can make these lists public or private, and can call them whatever makes the most sense to you. These take time to curate, but are so worth it.

3.) Be smart with your retweets
. Don't get overly click-happy with that retweet button. Yes, it's just so easy, but doing that too often can make it seem like you don't have any original content or thought, or, that you're just plain lazy. If you're going to retweet something, switch it up more often than not. Copy and paste the tweet into your own post, tag the owner with RT, and preface it with some your own commentary. This could be something as simple as "Especially agree with rule #3 RT @umcf: The Official Rules of Twitter Domination http://LINK_HERE". You can also start over completely with your own original tweet, and just tag whoever originally posted the link by ending your post with: "(via @umcf)." Just remember: your followers want to know what YOU (whether you are an individual, or the voice of an organization) think, not how many posts you can retweet in a minute.

4.) Use short links for original content. Here at the University, we have a fantastic link shortener, Why use short links for original content (i.e. your organization's blog posts, events, etc) specifically? Stats, my friends, stats. Through short links (and others) you can then track who is clicking that specific link, and where those paths to your original content are starting from (Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc). This can be incredibly helpful when figuring out where your audience is getting their information. There are other link shortening services outside of the University, but many of them you have to pay for, especially if you want to customize your short links.

5.) Tweet at least 3-5 times a day. From what I've heard, tweeting about five times a day  (and not all at once) yields the most effective results. At that rate, you're not pushing people off the edge with endless tweets about your oh-so-amazing breakfast sandwich, and you're also making following you worthwhile with daily updates and insights. For some organizations, it can be tough to get up to five tweets per day, but just work in that direction. This doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) solely original content. The main purpose of Twitter is to embrace and engage with your community, whatever it is. Retweet insightful posts from fellow professionals, engage with your followers by asking questions and starting conversations, seek out articles and sources related to your field or area of interest, and share it all with your community.

That's all for now, folks. Happy tweeting, and may the force be with you.

Poll: Paying for online content

The Star Tribune recently announced that they will start charging for their online content. The New York Times did the same earlier this year with much media coverage and public debate. MinnPost operates on a reader-supported model.

As more and more communications channels are moving to a paid-service model, we're curious: do you pay for online content?

JFalk.jpgJeff Falk (the handsome fellow to the left, in full professional regalia), assistant director of the U's News Service, has some helpful advice today on getting University research and researchers in the news. First step: making sure faculty see the value of media relations. That's where you (we all) come in. Here's Falk's post:

"If your research is stale, if your classroom is boring, if your community engagement is ineffective, you must reinvent yourself, or, frankly, you must step aside," President Kaler implored faculty in his Sept. 22 inauguration ceremony address. "As you expect me to deliver on my job, I expect you to deliver on yours."

Here at the University News Service, we believe there are few better and simpler ways to highlight the value of faculty research and expertise than through focused and strategic media relations. Here are some suggested talking points to emphasize with faculty when discussing the importance of media relations:

--News stories on University of Minnesota research and expertise are read by state legislators, the governor, and Minnesota's Congressional delegation as well as citizens, donors and, when there is national publicity, people at federal funding agencies.

--Research results can help inform decisions on important public issues.

grant applications require public outreach and education, and there certainly is a need to improve public appreciation of science and how research benefits society.

--Popular press coverage makes it more likely research will be seen and cited by other scientists

--Announcements about grants, appointments, and awards rarely get more coverage than brief mentions in local newspapers. This is why it is important to focus on publicizing research findings and faculty expertise.

--Finally, popular press coverage of research often results in valuable contacts with potential collaborators. Most national and international publicity about the U comes from coverage of peer-reviewed research findings.

As faculty have been charged to push the envelope, we as communicators need to take advantage of this opportunity and help them understand the value and impact of telling their stories.

--Jeff Falk ( jfalk at )

Technology and Communicating With Students

This article from UW Milwaukee caught my eye because my friend's sweet son is in the lead photo.

Technologies help students pass to head of the class

But as I read, I was stunned by this statement:
"Summarizing a recent study from Ball State University, UWM First Year Center Director Ericca Pollack says 30 percent of students regularly use email, while 97 percent use some form of text messaging." [Emphasis is mine]
Am I super old-school because I still email? Can I even connect with students today without texting?

UW-Milwaukee's students are meeting with advisers via Skype and taking virtual field trips online. Some of our Forum members work in student services and classroom technology; what do you think of this piece? How have you changed the way you communicate with students over the past few years? How has the classroom changed? Please share your comments.
The Central Corridor Light Rail construction is going to be a significant disruption to lives on the Minneapolis campus. Please join us for this special presentation:

Friday, March 4, noon-1 p.m., 108 Mechanical Engineering.

After years of discussion and planning, major on-campus construction of the CCLRT has begun. The 11 mile line will travel through campus on Washington Avenue as it links downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, and will include stops on the West and East Banks and in Stadium Village. When the trains begin running in 2014, the transit and pedestrian mall planned for Washington Avenue is expected to become a University of Minnesota landmark much like the Northrop Mall or The Knoll.

Over the next three years, the scope of the project and closure of Washington Avenue will create challenges on and around campus. This presentation will provide an overview of the project, outline the construction schedule, and discuss plans for minimizing campus disruptions and protecting University research. Please join us if you are able. All are invited--bring (or send) your non-communications colleagues!

Central Corridor Light Rail construction and the U


Tim Busse
Communications Director
University Services

Social Media Blunders: We Know Better

I read with some relish this piece posted today from SmartBrief on Social Media:
The Suxorz pick the worst social media moves of 2010.

I can't help it, I love to see the bad. I learn so much from it.

Eisenhower's Farewell Address

Happy new year, Forum members! Since it's University Winter Closure, and technically we aren't here, I thought it would be fun to share a little holiday trifle.

Alison Davis-Blake, dean of Carlson, on communication

An interesting interview in the Financial Times today with Alison Davis-Blake, the first female dean of the Carlson School of Management at the U.

Davis-Blake says some things in response to the question, "How do you deal with pressure?" that I think applies in all communication--particularly if you're feeling under pressure these days.

Davis-Blake says:

"First, I set priorities. Second, I check my assumptions and thinking with others. I find that when you're under pressure you have a tendency to become isolated and think that you have to act now--an approach that can easily lead to errors. Third, I don't ever, ever make an important decision, or especially send an email, when I'm tired, or angry, or emotional. To do so is asking to make a mistake."

Does that ring true?

See the full interview at Financial Times.

U's "Driven to Discover" campaign cited in WSJ

Congratulations to the U's marketing department! The latest round of Driven to Discover was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article on college advertising campaigns, where Minnesota was called "the national champion of self-promotion."

Today is the Day to Communicate


As the official "Blogger-at-Large" of the Communicators Forum Board, I will now share with you my very first blog... ever. This may not seem like a big deal to many, but it is to me. So, to quote the great philosopher and muse Glenn Frey "the heat is on." I feel I must enter here, however, a disclaimer: Any grammatical or punctuative errors may be the result of the writer's inexperience and lack of recent necessity to compose anything other than emails, text messages in T-9 format and statuses on Facebook. There... administrative work out of the way, now, on to the blog.

Today, I am sure you are aware, is Election Day. The glut of negative ads in the media and calls from various campaigns remind us of how thankful we all will be when Wednesday, November 3, 2010 finally arrives. Now, I do realize that this blog is for the Communicators Forum. I also realize I do not need to explain why I chose this topic other than timeliness, but I feel that voting is an extremely important form of communication. Hence, the topic AND timeliness seem to be ideal for this blog, eh?

I decided, subsequently, to look up some definitions. So, I went back to the basics... literally. I opened my Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged Second Edition Deluxe Color, Copyright © 1979. (It was a high school graduation gift from a family friend whose name I forgot many years ago.) I did look up these same words on line, but I must admit that it seemed too sterile for my first blog. It feels good to have this behemoth-sized book in my lap, too, like an old friend. Sigh.

Sorry. I digress. On to the definitions.

So, there nestled on the page somewhere between "vomiting" and "vouchsafement" lies "vote." Among the many forms, definitions, origins, I highlight here:

vote - to express or signify the mind, will, or preference in a matter by voice, ballot, etc; to vote conscientiously


vote - Latin votum, a wish originally a vow.

This then led me to

vow (found between "voudoo" and "vulnerary" on page 2051) which means to declare emphatically, earnestly or solemnly


voice - to nominate; to adjuge by vote; to vote or give one's opinion

and, finally a non-"v" word

communicate - to impart to another or others; to make known.

I realize that this isn't an English lesson, or maybe it is, but all of this takes me to what really needs to be said.

Today is the day when all who have a voice should communicate his or her wishes, preferences by voting. Not many countries give their citizens the same rights that we are afforded. By voting we are sharing our desires and wishes, though not necessarily in unison, as one large voice.

Regardless, whether you learned about the election process in ninth grade political science class or from Schoolhouse Rock, your voice matters.

Now, if you haven't already today, go vote.


I'll think about it tomorrow

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As interim editor of a publication this fall, I've been raking in content from contributors I don't know and haven't worked with before. I am amazed, amazed I tell you, with how many of them have not submitted their articles to me until I have sent numerous emails, threatening voice mails, and sicced other authority figures on them. In two cases, the scofflaws needed to write 200 words--that's it--just 200 words each--and they didn't do it until I threatened to send the magazine to press without their words of wisdom. And before you ask, no, not one miscreant was a faculty member.

I may be a bit more on edge about this than normal, in part because I am working in unfamiliar surroundings with contributors I don't know, but also because I just read a fascinating article on procrastination by James Surowiecki at the New Yorker. Please read it now--don't put it off!

University Branding/Marketing Campaigns Face Criticism Everywhere

Inside HigherEd has an interesting article about recent marketing campaigns by American University, Purdue, Drake and others. 

Academic Freedom

There's been a lot of talk lately about academic freedom. As communicators at a public university, it should inform everything we do. If you are wondering what exactly our policy on academic freedom is, look no further.

U. of Kentucky Encourages Students to Check In via Facebook

Here's an idea about using Facebook's new Places location service on a college campus:

The University of Kentucky has planted giant, wooden pointer thingies -- like the tab that marks the map in the Facebook Places logo -- on its campus to encourage students to check in at school.

"We're encouraging students to check in, so when they do, it'll show up in their news feed and maybe their friends still in high school will see it over and over again," said Kelley Bozeman, Big Blue's marketing director, adding that the university's marketing efforts are focused on undergraduate recruitment.

Read more

UMCF Member Kris Layon has a book deal

Congratulations to Forum member Kris Layon, who as a result of his leadership of MinneWebCon, has a deal with New Riders (an imprint of Peachpit) to publish his Designing iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad Applications with Web Standards in December 2010. He will also teach design workshops in Minneapolis and Phoenix as part of the Two Apps Per Day workshop series he is launching in June.

Crisis Communication On the Fly

Some  crises are instant, some give you a heads up.  Either way, you'd better be prepared to manage it effectively! Like many world travelers, my international trip was put on hold during the Icelandic volcano eruption and closure of European air space. Airlines and governments were left trying to communicate about an event that had never happened before.  Below are some links to interesting articles critiquing how these agencies managed (or didn't) their message in the midst of a dynamic disaster.

Social Media as a Crisis Communication Tool during the Icelandic Volcano Eruption (Slide show)

Eileen Wallis talks about crisis communication in the light of unforeseen circumstances (podcast)

Social Media As Crisis Communication (blog, with airline case studies)

Volcanoes and Crisis Planning, BOTH can Burn You (article)

Is "official" crisis communication in a crisis of its own? (article)

As for me, I'm off to France today...barring any further acts of nature or government.

April Fools Day roundup

Topeka nee GoogleIn which I refuse to allow my distaste for April Fools Day spoil everyone else's fun.

Please add your favorite April Fools links in the comments!

Monday link roundup: 3.29.10

404 pageThese are some articles that caught my eye lately. What links do you recommend to fellow Forum members?

Clients say the darnedest things: How to deal with bad feedback :: "Negative refers to how the client perceives your work. Bad refers to how the client expresses their perception (negative or positive) of your work."

QA on Higher Education Web sites. How to do it and what to look for. :: "Tools and people will come and go, quality on the other hand is the one thing in a web office that is a constant."

The i, b, em, & strong elements :: "While many HTML4 elements have been brought into HTML5 essentially unchanged, several historically presentational ones have been given semantic meanings."

The 100 most funny and unusual 404 error pages :: I have a strong preference for the ones that don't blame the user or use the word oops.

Which leads me to... Avoid this common error :: "I'll be the first to admit planning for and writing error messages is not the sexiest of web writing tasks. But it can be one of the most important."

Link roundup, 3.5.10

030510.jpgI've been putting a lot of miles on my to_read tag on delicious, but have managed to read some good articles lately. What have you been reading, listening to, or watching? Let us know in the comments.

Ten rules for writing fiction (part two) :: I know several of you Forum members are also fiction writers. Here's a refreshingly insightful collection of writing tips from established authors.

Iconic TV :: "Created out of a love for posters, modernism and television, there wasn't a client out there to commission such a job so Austrian designer Albert Exergian wrote his own brief and created this self initiated series of posters throwing all of the above inspirations into the creative melting pot."

6 Ways to Optimize Your SEO for Misspellings - And Why It Pays to be a Bad Speller :: "it turns out that a significant percentage of web users are sloppy with their language - particularly when using search engines like Google. There are around 10 million misspelled search queries every single day."

How Much Should I Charge? [PDF] :: Suggested rates for freelance writers based on a survey.

A Little Less Conversation :: "Have you ever invited employees to a meeting just so they wouldn't feel left out? If so, you may be an overcommunicator."

The Brand Quiz :: Two colors, a visual hint, and a cryptic clue.

What Type Are You? :: A video quiz created by the always-innovative Pentagram. Happy Friday, fellow typography nerds.

Finally, who was at Ignite Minneapolis last night?

Technophobia: Is ____ making us _____?

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022310b.pngWe tweeted an interesting Slate article yesterday titled Don't Touch That Dial! A history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook.The article reminds us that condemnation of new technologies is not new:

In parallel with modern concerns about children's overuse of technology, Socrates famously warned against writing because it would "create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories." He also advised that children can't distinguish fantasy from reality, so parents should only allow them to hear wholesome allegories and not "improper" tales, lest their development go astray. The Socratic warning has been repeated many times since: The older generation warns against a new technology and bemoans that society is abandoning the "wholesome" media it grew up with, seemingly unaware that this same technology was considered to be harmful when first introduced.
In this and other instances of societal hand-wringing, the discourse often gets stripped of nuance and turned into a blunt question, like: Is technology good or bad? Not only is that dichotomy unhelpful in thinking through the deeper issues, but it pressures people to choose a side: Are you a technophile who dives blindly into each new digital development or a luddite who takes pride in not owning a cell phone?

I've seen this false duality play out over and over in higher ed communications. The technophobia discussion is unavoidably laden with generational and age factors already. When placed in a university setting where distinct groups of young(er) and old(er) people meet, people may cling more strongly to their chosen "side" in the discussion. And, no matter your age, it's often easier to fall back on a stance of "I'm just not a technology person" than to take on new duties at work, or conversely, to invest time in sending your message through every new media without stopping to assess its importance to your audience.

I think the reason so many of the articles' headlines written on this subject are framed as questions is that there is no simple answer. And, as the Slate article says, the research fueling the news story is almost always less shocking, and may even suggest that, say, video games are good for us.

Part of me thinks that Socrates had it easy: his choice was between saying something aloud or writing it on parchment.* Now, when I want to communicate something my department is working on, I have to consider magazines, research journals, Facebook (MySpace? LinkedIn?), speeches, videos (YouTube? Vimeo?), Twitter, Google Buzz, posters, brochures, Web sites, Web apps, photo galleries, direct mail, text messaging, phone calls, fact sheets, print ads, Web ads, billboards, sidewalk chalk, blogs, news releases, guerilla campaigns, e-mails, e-newsletters, letters, banners, give-aways, booklets, slideshows, radio interviews, TV commercials, and on and on. It's easy to see why some overwhelmed journalist might ask:

Is technology making us crazy?

Though I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, here are some related articles that have made the rounds in the past few years:

EDIT: I overlooked these two important articles that add to the discussion:

*Would it have been parchment? History majors, correct me...

Tiger Woods and crisis management: Is he doing the right thing?

As communicators, we are all faced with the potential task of dealing with crisis management. Today, Tiger Woods finally made an attempt to repair his image by speaking publicly (kind of). Everyone seems to have an opinion about whether or not he's approaching crisis management in the most strategic way.

Link roundup, 1.26.10

From board member Peggy Rader:

Every week we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.

Maybe you've heard of Stamats as a group that offers seminars and webinars. It also has a great Web site chock full of downloadable articles, how-tos, etc. Always worth a visit when you're looking for specific advice or just have a free 30 minutes.

Another communications group that has an excellent Web site is Ragan's. You have to register for some of this site's content, but it's free. They carry blogs by various members that offer interesting reading and send out a once-weekly e-mail with a summary of what they feel is fresh on their pages. They also offer videos and downloadable papers.

And for all you book lovers out there, may I suggest Shelf Awareness, the Web site for a daily newsletter aimed at independent booksellers. Yes, I know you aren't selling books, so I don't advise subscribing to the newsletter. But the site includes those groovy newsletter features without the boring bits: interviews with and profiles of authors, plus excellent book reviews of books that you may not find in the New York Times columns. The newsletter editor also writes the occasional essay about some aspect of the book business that I always find fascinating and enlightening.

Monday link roundup, 1.18.10

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.

I found a couple interesting articles:

Monday link roundup, 1.11.10

011110b.gifIt's a quick one this week, so help me out: What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.

Monday link roundup, new year edition


Ok fine, early January: you win. Here is the obligatory Best of 2009 post (with some decade wrapup thrown in).

What do you think of these lists? What would you change? Do you have other year-end lists to recommend? And was 2006 really the year of ironic mustaches?

Image / / enimal

Monday link roundup, 12.28.09

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.



  • The Book Cover Archive
    "for the appreciation and categorization of excellence in book cover design." I'm especially loving the cover of You Are Not A Gadget (pictured).
  • The Color of 2010
    Make way for Pantone 15-5519 TCX


Here's an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education  on how college and university presidents are communicating more, and differently, during bad economic times. They are using varying strategies to talk about uncertainty and cutbacks.


Monday link roundup, 11.23.09

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.

Tomorrow is World Usability Day

111109.gifThe Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the Digital Technology Center are sponsoring a free program of events on Thursday, November 12, for World Usability Day. The purpose of the program is to promote awareness of the benefits of usability engineering and user-centered design.

World Usability Day was started in 2005 by the Usability Professionals Association and involves 36 hours of usability-related activities around the world in 30 countries.

See the schedule of events on campus. Of particular interest to communicators may be:

  • 10:00-10:45 a.m. - "Designing for the Mobile Web"
  • 11:00-11:45 a.m. - "Usability and Enterprise Applications: The Case of UM Survey"

Monday link roundup, 11.9.09

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.



Monday link roundup, 11.2.09

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.


Social networking


My reading (and thus my links) lacked subject-diversity this week, so tell us about what you've been reading in the comments.

Monday Link Roundup, 10-26-09

I feel lucky that my work in the College of Liberal Arts allows me to dig into current issues in the arts, humanities and social sciences. In particular, I get to interact with faculty working in ethnic studies, human rights and global cultural literacy, among many others. Therefore, I try to keep up on higher ed issues that intersect with the lives and work of our faculty. Some picks:

The Academy Speaks: Current Affairs and Issues in Higher Education and its partner Web site, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

I also like to follow blogs that connect me to media and public relations practitioners, with an eye to both best and worst practices. Being a typical snarky Gen Xer, I especially enjoy Bad Pitch.

And writing! It's true when they say in order to get better you just have to keep doing it. I think these are great:

You better be reading Writing Matters! We've had Leslie O'Flahavan of E-Write here for our conference, and we loved her!

Copyblogger: Copywriting tips for online marketing success

10,000 Words: Where Journalism and Technology Meet

Today: The U celebrates National Day on Writing

102009.jpgNow here is a mid-October holiday I can get behind! National Day on Writing, founded by the intrepid National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), celebrates writing of all ilks and advocates for us all to be better writers.

The University's Center for Writing has some sweet stuff planned, including an opportunity to celebrate this oft-private activity in front of webcams in... the Writing Pod [see photo on right for how I am picturing this...]. If any of you Forum members go into the pod, please take pictures to share!

Also, any UThink entries tagged dayonwriting will be pulled into a special Day on Writing blog set up by the good (and patient...hi Shane!) people at UThink.

Links to more info: / CC BY 2.0


Monday link roundup, 10.12.09

From board member Tricia Conway:

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week. This week, I'm escaping reality through writing and though I'd share some sites I've found. Happy writing!

Writing links

What are you reading?

Helpful link

Member recommendation

  • Forum member Jake LaSota recommends Prezi, saying "It's like powerpoint...on crack." Thanks Jake!

Monday link roundup, 10.5.09

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading, listening to, and watching? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.

Time management


Social media


Monday link roundup, 9.28.09

| 1 Comment
Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.


Communication Skills


University of Minnesota

Web Lists

Monday link roundup, 9.21.09

Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.

Now that students and faculty are back in action, do you feel overwhelmed and overburdened? Don't let the demands of your work day get the better of you. Use your time at work more efficiently.

Does branding pay off for Colleges? Harvard thinks so.

Do you think Kayne's outburst at the VMAs was a publicity stunt? This expert does.

Social media

Brands are strengthened (or damaged) based on the experiences they provide. And in an increasingly social world, those experiences are no longer created for people but with them. On this blog you will find articles and insights about the opportunities and challenges created by rapidly growing and evolving Social Media.

Twin Cities Twitter (Shout out to Jessica Franken, our rockin' Blog editor) for sending this my way.)

Graphic Design
Looking for Photoshop and Illustrator Tips/Tricks? Check out Pixel Perfect on Revision 3. You can download episodes via ITunes or watch right on the Revision 3 Web site. Side note: Revision 3 is an amazing resource for all things technology. Check out Tekzilla if you are a geek like me!

Fun stuff
Myna is sort of like Garage Band in your web browser.

Query: Is multitasking unethical?

091809b.jpgIt's tempting to try to do everything at once. Multitasking was all the rage for a while, but its effectiveness is increasingly being questioned by research (see NPR and BBC). A recent article in BusinessWeek went even further, arguing that since "multitasking interferes with the ability to do one's job well," it can be considered unethical.

What are your thoughts on multitasking? Do you aim for it or try to avoid it? Do you think it's something that is valued and expected of you at work?

Monday link roundup, 9.14.09


Every Monday we'll post a roundup of interesting communications news and articles from the past week. What have you been reading? Add a comment or suggest a link for next week.




Social media


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