A big thank you and a question after 9 years of #highered blogging

February 12th, 2014 Karine Joly 7 Comments

karine_joly_sep2013I’m going personal (and a bit emotional) today.

Wow, I’ve been blogging about web, communications and social media in higher education for 9 years (13 of blogging in total if anybody is keeping scores ;0).

I’ve actually been at it long before we talked about social media – yep, it was first called “new media,” then “web 2.0″ followed by “social networking” to end up with the now widely used label of “social media.”

Oh, and if you’re wondering this is post #976 ;0)

Once upon a time there was a blog…

When I started this blog on February 12, 2005, I was working for a liberal arts residential college based in New Jersey: The College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ.

I was there at the right time and the right place as this blog opened up a world of opportunities and changed my professional life.

  • It helped me connect with many colleagues working at institutions across the country and the world.
  • It got me speaking invitations at conferences.
  • It led to a regular column in a print magazine as Tim Goral, my editor at University Business, was a reader of this blog.
  • Last but not least, it provided a strong foundation to launch the professional online school that Higher Ed Experts has become today.

Over the past 9 years I’ve seen many new technologies rise, spread, mature or disappear in higher education. I’ve witnessed the success stories of many professionals in our community as their influence was growing along with their expertise.

Is curation the name of the game?

Feb12_newsletter

In 9 years I’ve probably read a million posts (but I haven’t kept scores) about the latest tech trends and their impact on higher education, great ideas implemented in institutions – big and small – as well as best practices, “goals before tools” opinion pieces (hey, it’s the blogosphere) and all sorts of how tos and 7 ways to do almost anything.

While I don’t blog as much as I did in the early days, I spend a good chunk of my time reading everything related to digital communications in higher education and compiling the best selection I can for my Wednesday’s email newsletters (not subscribed yet? You’re missing out).

I’m now more a curator, because I believe this is what’s the most useful with the gigantic amount of content (often of pretty good quality) published now.

Yet, I miss writing about great ideas or new exciting initiatives on a regular basis – I’m an ex-journo, so my soul will always long for a good story.

And, yes, time is the main culprit. There’s never enough of it.

It seems that the community still needs general curating – although a few are already doing a great job curating content on specific niches (Meet Content, Social Media for Colleges) now. The consultants or firms serving the higher education market have also provided a great deal of valuable content as part of their content marketing efforts over the past 2 years. A trend embraced by the professional associations (CASE, High Ed Web, Educause, etc.) serving this community.

More is better, right?

Well, not always, as there is now so much to read that it is easy to miss important things. So, that’s why I spend the time you can’t spend to make sure I get everything important lined up for my newsletter readers.

What is my question, again?

apples

So, I have 2 big questions for you (I know I said one in the title of this post ;-) after 9 years of blogging:

  • Where does collegewebeditor.com fit now?
  • Where should it go?

I don’t want to let my blog go (I can’t, it’s truly a work of love – if not art) – that’s a certainty, but I’d love to give it a new beginning, make sure it brings value to your work and your career in higher education.

You’ve all given me so much by reading, commenting or sharing on social media over the past 9 years or so that I’ve always seen you as the main stakeholders of this blog.
And, I want to thank you again for this – no, really, I insist.

So, what can I blog for you, my dear reader?

  • What is missing today in your professional information diet?
  • Do you want more curation or more original reporting & research?

7 Responses

  1. Lori Croy says:

    Karine, first of all, THANK YOU for your 9 years of producing this blog. Back in the day, there were many that started blogs, but, few have endured.

    For me, personally, I like the original research/reporting. I can get curated content from other sources, but, there are only so many people who have been involved in the higher ed sphere and can write about our area of interest.

  2. Jen says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for years and always loved the origingal reporting and research. I do understand that it takes time though. Maybe do one of those a month or something? Congratulations on the nine years by the way.

  3. Karine, I wish to offer a big thank you … to you! Your work has captured a niche in marketing that was sorely wanting. Not only have you offered such valuable information and resources, but you’ve also provided a solid foundation that has helped a community connect and grow. So, please know that your work is respected, valued and very much appreciated. Thank you!

  4. Karine Joly says:

    Thanks Lori and Jen, your feedback is very helpful. I’ve done less and less reporting over the years as there were so many doing it – and I didn’t want to add to the noise. But, things have changed a bit – and you’re right I can probably put all those years of practice to good use again (and write more, yeah!)

    Robert, you’ve always been there to cheer me up during all those years and I really appreciate it. So, thank you again for sticking around for all those years ;0)

  5. Karine – Let me add my voice to the chorus and also say “thank you” for being an inspiration and a pioneer in the blogging world. When I started my higher ed blog, you and Michael Stoner were the only other higher ed blogs out there. You truly were a trailblazer then, and I believe your trailblazing spirit comes through in your reporting, your analytical approach to topics, your 1-1-1 book reviews and even your content curation.

    As for where you should take your blog moving forward, I think that’s totally your decision. I do thank you for asking the question of your readership, though, and I know you’ll take our comments and consider them.

    One thing that has struck me about your blog over the past couple of years is the name. When you started out, you were a college web editor, so the name of the blog reflected your role in the higher ed world at the time. But you’ve moved beyond that title, and your brand is really you — Karine Joly — and not so much the blog title. Maybe it’s time to think about a rebranding of the blog, if you will. Perhaps take some time as you enter year 10 of blogging to reconsider the name of this site, its role and purpose, and your personal brand.

    (As I write this, I confess a bias: I’ve been thinking a lot about the name of my blog and my personal brand. The blog title “higher ed marketing” was relevant at one time. Maybe it should be a more personal blog name, like “Andrew Careaga’s Higher Ed Marketing.” I don’t know. Just something to chew on.)

    Whatever you decide going forward, Karine, I know it will be a great move — for you, and for the higher ed web, marketing and communications community at large.

    Andy

  6. Dee says:

    I think I have to second what Andrew suggested about making the blog more personal. I think you have become a brand in higher ed web marketing and communications. With all the different things you do, I don’t think about College Web Editor or Higher Ed Experts, I think about Karine Joly. You are the brand and your brand means high quality resources in a variety of forms.

    You’ve also got a style that is very personal. I get tons of digital newsletters in my box. Some I keep for a while then get rid of. Some I read just for a few days. But yours is useful and helpful, but never shrill or pushy. That’s a good brand.

  7. Karine Joly says:

    Thank you so much Andrew and Dee for taking the time to provide some answers. We are all so busy that I always appreciate it when anybody take the time to provide feedback (and, it’s always good to know that what you do matter and are useful to a few people – the silent majority is often a bit too silent :-)

    I was actually surprised by the suggestion to make it more about my personal brand. Maybe I’m old fashioned or a strange bird, but the blog isn’t as much about my opinion or my take as it is about what’s great about an initiative and how I can help the readers of the blog in their daily work.

    It’s true that I’m not a college web editor anymore, but I’ve always perceived that the blog had a life of its own. The relation I have with it (and its “sister,” Higher Ed Experts ;-) is very close to one you can have with your children. You love them very much, and you see some of you in them, you feel and are responsible for them, but they do have a life of their own.

    I’d love to have a longer discussion with you on the topic, Andy as you have been blogging for as long as I did. And, I found it very interesting that you felt you had to “rebrand” – I’m wondering if it is not related to the fact that another player who has been VERY active happens to share the same name.

    Last year when we redesigned the different websites, we used a Higher Ed Experts umbrella, but I was reluctant to fold collegewebeditor into the bigger brand. I guess branding issues can sneak up on you :-)

    I can’t express how much I appreciate your comments, Dee, because high quality resources have always been what I strive to provide.
    And, if I have to own my brand, I would say that it has always been to have my work speak for it (my work doesn’t have any accent, so that’s also more practical ;-)

    Anyway, I’m definitely going to think a bit more about your suggestions and see how I could make the blog more personal while keeping it true to itself.

    Thank you so much!

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