You might not know this, but I’ve been blogging for the past 7.5 years.
When I started collegewebeditor.com, I was a… web editor in a College, an army of one (well, more precisely an army of half as the position was only part-time) in charge of the website and the online marketing for a small liberal arts college in New Jersey.
There were a few web conferences back in 2005, but the higher ed web marketing communication blogosphere didn’t exist beyond a couple of blogs by vendors (including mStoner’s blog).
Anyway, as I explained in my first post on February 12, 2005, I launched the blog to make connections with people working at other institutions so I could get some advice and exchange ideas.
Well, this blog has totally changed my professional life and I’m very thankful for this opportunity.
I know I was very lucky and that’s why I always try to promote the new voices popping up in our community.
Ron Bronson and Tonya Oaks Smith are not 100% new voices. Ron has launched a few blogs and Tonya is a regular on the High Ed Web & friends conference circuit. However, the announcement about their new blog, Higher Ed Solo launched on August 1st, brought back some memories about the challenges of being an army of one in higher ed, an industry that has changed a lot over the past 7 years.
Ron and Tonya were nice enough to answer a couple of questions, so you can all learn a bit more about their new venture: Higher Ed Solo.
1) You’ve just launched a new blog targeted to the higher ed professionals working solo. Aren’t blogs dead yet? And more seriously, why was it important to have a place for people who still work solo in our industry?
The thing we kept coming back to in our conversations is how difficult it can be for a solo person to engage in the wider community. While there are so many great resources out there right now from some of the best minds in our community, we felt like so much of the intelligence was aimed at people who had more resources, more people to implement those things and that people who were by themselves or lacked the support to do “cooler things” were left behind.
After kicking around the best medium to reach these folks, we figured the best way to do it was creating higheredsolo.com geared specifically towards this under-served audience.
2) So, what do you have in-store for the solo practitioner. Why should they subscribe to your RSS feed or twitter account?
We’ve got quite a bit in our box of magic tricks. The idea is to cull much of the brilliance going on out there to make it easier for those “Armies of One” out there to be able to figure out how to use so much of what’s being discussed in the wider community. From video features to interviews, we’ll be gearing our posts to offer a value-added space for solo practitioners (and smaller teams) to parse how to take big ideas and pair them down to relevant pieces that might work for them.
Higheredsolo.com isn’t just about pontificating, though. We want to hear from the people out there who are already in these roles, doing the work. There’s some bright ideas that we can all learn from, but we felt that so many of these folks might be less inclined to speak up for a bevy of reasons. Maybe they’re too busy, perhaps they don’t feel like their experience or work is as valuable as someone in an office with more people. Plus, we know there are lots of folks who were once “solos” who have moved on and we’d like to get their perspectives too.
We’ll review apps, talk with vendors who are experienced with the unique challenges of working as a solo and also, we want to highlight some of the advantages of working alone. It’s easy to focus on how hard it can be to wear several hats at once, but the lack of bureaucracy and ability to stay adaptable is an advantage that a lot of folks envy about solos.
So in other words, we’ve got a lot of in store and we hope everyone will join us and chime in as well!