Category Archives: Professional Development

What is next, #casesmc?

Originally posted on

Michael, Susan, and I attended the CASE Social Media Conference in Chicago last month. It was a great conference and recaps and resource lists have been compiled to share key take-aways with the rest of higher education.

But, what is next? Everyone at #casesmc felt the energy and excitement around using social media in higher education. The faculty helped us think about evaluating our efforts in new ways and backchannel conversations carried on for at least a week after the conference ended. I know I’m not the only one who has a #casesmc search still running in TweetDeck!


This post is for the attendees who are looking to further their professional development with other conferences, want to add new blogs to their Google Reader, and hope to keep the conversation alive. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite #highered resources and linked to a number of thought-leader’s twitter accounts. And please feel free to add your favorite resource by leaving a comment below!

The three higher ed resources I couldn’t live without:

  • Higher Ed Live is a weekly web show network focused exclusively on higher education. Currently there are three shows: Student Affairs Live, Admissions Live, and Higher Ed Live. The guests are top-notch and the hosts do a great job leading the conversation. Bonus? The blog is just as informative as the weekly shows.
  • EDUniverse is a hub where education professionals can find inspiration, share solutions, and build their networks. Some of the featured topics include social media, video, marketing, and design. And anyone can create a profile and upload content to the site. Full disclosure: mStoner designed, built and maintains the site. But since launching in February, EDUniverse has quickly become the first place I check when I’m looking for new ideas.
  • LINK is the journal of higher education web professionals maintained by the HighEdWeb association. (More on them later.) LINK has multiple content contributors from institutions across the nation and Canada, which means you’ll often hear two different sides. In fact, their newest feature ALL CAPS focuses on bringing differing opinions together on various topics.

My favorite conference presentations from the last year:

Other conferences you’ll want to check out:

  • HighEdWeb is an organization of web professionals working at institutions of (mostly) higher education. This conference is roughly 3 times larger than #casesmc with over 500 attendees and 5 or 6 tracks to select from at any given time. The national conference is in October and I highly recommend checking it out.
  • 140cuse promises attendees that they’ll “leave with a fresh outlook on how the real time web can be used in your business and/or personal life to do something meaningful.” Unfortunately it overlapped with #casesmc this year, but check out the backchannel and see for yourself!
  • Confab: The Content Strategy Conference focuses on talking and thinking about content strategy. What opportunities exist? How does content impact user experience on your site? And mStoner is hosting the conference’s first higher ed lounge! Confab is sold out for 2012, but keep it on your radar for next year.

Three higher ed blogs I have to read:

  • EDUCheckup is a video review of higher education websites hosted by Nick DeNardis. Nick scores sites on visual, information, and code.
  • CASE Social Media blog is a great resource. Some #casesmc faculty and attendees regularly contribute content.
  • Meet Content, co-authored by Rick Allen and Georgy Cohen, aims to “empower higher education to create and sustain web content that works by providing a resource for sharing and learning.”

Some non-higher ed links to check out:

  • Seth Godin’s blog tops this list. Simply put, he is insightful and thought-provoking.
  • Six Pixels of Separation is Mitch Joel’s blog on the Twist Image site. There is a wealth of information and links to other resources here.
  • Comscore is a great resource if you are looking for surveys and data to support your work. I find their monthly U.S. Online Video Rankings to be particularly helpful.
  • Dribbble is an excellent resource for design inspiration. Designers from all industries contribute snippets of what they’re working on to the site. And it was recently pointed out to me that a quick search on responsive design brings up a number of interesting results.

If I think of any more resources I’ll be sure to update this post.

Resource list from #casesmc

Wow! The CASE Social Media Conference was terrific. Kudos to the conference chair Susan T. Evans for pulling together some of the best minds in higher education to serve as conference faculty and presenters.

Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:

If you were unable to attend the conference, I’d highly encourage you to check out the session slides, live blog posts, and conference hashtag. I’ve taken the liberty of pulling together some of these resources for you here.

Slides from the presenters:

Blog posts recapping the presentations:

Georgy Cohen’s HighEd Web Arkansas Keynote

You must watch this powerful keynote given by Georgy Cohen at the HighEd Web regional in Arkansas.

“Once Upon a Semester:
Storytelling as a framework higher ed marketing”

Storytelling rules by Georgy Cohen

What do you want to be?

Have you ever had an aha moment? It is “a moment of clarity, a defining moment where you gain real wisdom – wisdom you can use to change your life.”

Last month I was contacted by Mutual of Omaha to contribute my aha moment to their campaign.  After some soul searching I realized that one of my biggest aha moments had to do with my career and #lovehighered.

While the wonders of video editing cut out all reference to #lovehighered… I want to share my moment with you.  It never hurts to remember why you do what you do everyday.

What is your aha moment?  Please share it below!

Molding young minds

Last night I was given the honor to speak to the inductees of the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society at my high school alma mater, Chateaugay Central School.

What do you say to a bunch of academically-driven high school students in only 10 minutes?  How do you say it in a way that they’ll actually pay attention?

Naturally I decided to talk about Facebook, throw in a Rebecca Black reference, and give them tips for applying to college.  The theme of the speech was “by working hard you can achieve great things.”  When the night was over I heard from numerous students and parents that this was one of the few speeches they actually listened too.  That felt good.

I decided to post the speech here for my readers to see, comment on, offer constructive criticism to.  Who knows, maybe one day they’ll invite me to speak at Graduation.

June 2, 2011 – Chateaugay Central School NHS and NJHS induction

“Good evening everyone.  I am honored to be speaking tonight at your Academic Awards ceremony and National Honors Society induction.
So naturally I am going to start by talking to you about Facebook!

Students… raise your hands…

How many of you have a Facebook Profile?
Keep your hand raised if you have written on your friend’s wall or commented on their photos.
Have you have “liked” a Page or joined a Facebook Group.
And what about YouTube… How many of you have watched a video on YouTube?

Look around the room.  Nearly every student has their hand raised right now, or had it raised at some point in the last minute.

When I was in high school, not a single one of those websites existed.

Facebook launched right about the time I graduated from high school and YouTube was created during my freshman year in college.

Why am I telling you this?  Because if those sites didn’t exist and you hadn’t just raised your hand, I wouldn’t have a job right now.

These companies, that are part of our everyday lives, did not exist when I was sitting here being inducted into National Honor Society 10 years ago.  And, these companies were founded by teens and 20 something year olds.  People who are not much older than you or I.

In all of those hours you have spent social networking have you ever stopped to think that there are very real people, you are looking at one in fact, whose job is to leverage those sites and use them for marketing purposes?  I go to work every day and immediately log into Facebook, sign on to Twitter, and pull up YouTube.  I am tasked with creating content that will grab the attention of a high school student.  I have a very cool job, right?  Saint Michael’s College pays me to Facebook.

But my job is more than just facebooking.  Facebook might be the tool that I use, but my job is actually about understanding HOW you think, HOW you communicate, and WHAT is important to you.  Think of it as the psychology of a high schooler.

I need to be able to talk your language so that I can craft messages and videos that will get your attention.  If you are singing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” – I better be singing it too.  My job is to understand you.

So here I am.  Working online on websites that did not exist when I was your age.  And it is very likely that you will one day work in a job that does not currently exist.  It is really difficult to imagine that, isn’t it?  How can you possibly prepare for something that doesn’t exist?

The world is changing, faster than ever before.  And you are expected to keep up with those changes.  But how do you do it?

The work that you are doing in the classroom today is molding you into who you will become tomorrow.  If you work hard now you will be given opportunities in the future.  You might think that by making time to study extra hard for that History test or staying during double to work with Mrs. Johnston on your math homework is only affecting your grade or your performance in class right now.

That’s not true.  By putting in the extra effort you are shaping your personality and who you are as a student.  You are showing your dedication to actually understanding the classwork, not just getting the best grade.  You are becoming a role model for your peers.  Your actions are saying, “I value education.”  Imagine what a classroom would look like if every student gave 110% all the time.

By going the extra mile now you are setting yourself up for a bright future.  I spent two years working in the Admission office at St. Mike’s.  I interviewed high school seniors interested in attending college, read their essays and recommendation letters, and made the decisions as to whether or not we would offer them acceptance to the college. Who was accepted?  The students who clearly had worked hard.

That doesn’t mean that they didn’t struggle from time to time.  Working hard means to be focused. It means that at any given moment you are doing what is important.  Working hard means to go the extra step.  It means revising your essay or redoing your homework when you are given the opportunity – not just for a better grade but so you learn from your mistakes.

Now don’t tell my boss, but I am going to give you three insider tips for getting into college.

Your senior year grades are the most important of them all.  If you are an athlete looking to play basketball in college… would you quit the team senior year?  That just doesn’t make sense!  Senior year is the most important – you want to be a starter and make it to the Final Four and have college scouts recruit you.  You are working hardest senior year.

Think of academics in the same way.  Senior year should be your most difficult year.  Colleges want to see 4 years of math, science, and a foreign language on your transcript.  Senior year is your final preparation for difficult college work.  Study hard, don’t sit the bench.

Your essay should be about you, not about your game-winning goal or a biography of a relative.  Your essay is the one place in your entire college application where you have 800 words to say anything you want.  The best essay I ever read was from a student who visited monks in Tibet, his experience interacting with their community and how fascinated he was by their lifestyle.  The essay ended with a beautiful line about how the monk was actually more fascinated with the kid’s braces than anything else.  A very unexpected ending to a beautiful story.  What did it show me?  That this student appreciated a global society, other cultures, and had a great sense of humor.  How could I not want a student like that at St. Michael’s?

High school is the time to find your passion – whether it is playing the tuba, being a champion for clean energy, or volunteering your time to tutor elementary students.  My mistake in high school was thinking I had to do everything in order to get into college.  And that is just not true.  Colleges want to see that you have pursued your passions versus signing up for French Club because you think it will look good on your application.  And believe me.  Colleges can tell the difference.

Now since we have been talking about Facebook I am going to give you Bonus Tip #4.

If you wouldn’t say it to Mrs. Andre (the principal), don’t write it online.  Even if you delete a comment, it is never truly gone.  The last thing you want to do is ruin all the hard work you’ve done academically in less than a second.

Facebook, Myspace, Twitter – they are all vauable and powerful tools when used correctly.

So be smart and safe online.  Give everything you write or post the “Mrs Andre test.”

So to bring this full circle I want to get back at my question: How can you possibly prepare for something that doesn’t exist?

I worked hard in high school to arrive at college where I had to work harder to do well academically and be recognized.  I received a strong liberal arts education and had the opportunity to study at Oxford University, this has prepared me for my career not just my first job.  And I worked hard in that place in order to enter the workforce when the economy slipped and jobs weren’t readily available.  I looked for a job in an economy that told me I had to work even harder to get noticed.  And so I did.

And now I work in a position that was created for me because my work ethic, dedication, and academic success was recognized and appreciated.  And now I am given the opportunity to speak at conferences all over the nation to people who are more than twice my age… and they regard me as an expert in my field.  Why?  Because I work hard and that started here at CCS where I learned the importance of scholarship, leadership, service to my community, the importance of character.

I’m speaking to the best and the brightest that Chateaugay Central School has to offer.  You should be very proud of yourselves.  You are the academic leaders of this high school.  What are you doing with that power?  How are you making your high school and your community a better place?

And don’t forget to think outside the box when it comes to your career.  Most of you will work for a company or in a job that does not exist right now.  Prepare yourself, give everything you do 100%, and next time your mom tells you to get off Facebook – just tell her you’re doing it for me.

Thank you.”

How to say “no” at work

woman sleeping at desk in her office

Times are tough

The economy sucks.  Be thankful you have a job.

(How many times have you heard that statement?)

We are all doing more with fewer resources.  Businesses and organizations have let people go or not replaced retirees and expect the same quality of work to come out of their remaining employees.

You probably say “yes” to more work because you want to be valued as an employee, show you care about the company or the team, or you want to get ahead in your career.

When should you say “no” and how can you say it?

I recently asked a colleague to sit on a committee for a project.  I knew it was beyond the scope of her direct role in my department but I felt her contributions would be valuable.

Her response? “While I am interested in this project and would be happy to advise you when you have questions, if I don’t get Job #1 done I won’t be kept around to do Jobs #2, #3, or #4.”

The answer was gracious but she still made her point clear.  She said no professionally.  I appreciated her honesty.

When your primary responsibilities will suffer if you take on the project, you should say no.

Offer an alternative solution

Recently I was asked to make a presentation to a group of students at the campus where I work.  The presentation preparation would have been considerable and fell during an already busy week.  In any other circumstances I would have happily agreed, even though extra work would be involved, but in this case I had to say no.

Before responding to the invite I reached out to another colleague who I knew was quite capable of speaking on the requested topic to see if he was interested and if he had the time.  Instead of just declining the invitation I was able to offer the requester an alternative solution.  It was a win-win for everyone: I was off the hook, my co-worker was given a great opportunity, and the requester found their presenter without any extra searching.


Saying no because you are lazy or you don’t want to cut into your Facebook time is never okay.  Saying no because you understand your job priorities and have honestly assessed that you do not have the time or resources to effectively complete a new project is respectful.

When you choose to say “no” be gracious, explain why, and try to offer a different solution.

When have you said “NO!” at work?  How did it go?

Free advice, thanks Cosmo

The best advice I received this week was from Cosmo Magazine.  I’m not joking.

In the “From the Editor” letter Kate White writes, “… when you ask for an extension on a project or reschedule a lunch, you think it buys you time, but ultimately, it’s really a giant time suck.  Rather than allowing you to focus on what’s ahead of you, it keeps you stalled in the past.  You’re still working on something that should already be done, and you’re wasting mental energy worrying about it.”

AKA, keep your meetings and finish your projects on time… even if it means staying at work for an extra 30 minutes.  In the long run, it’s worth it and people will respect you more for it.

What do you think?

.eduGuru Summit

An excellent professional development opportunity is just one week away, are you signed up?

Screen shot doteduguru summit onlineScreen shot doteduguru summit online presenters

I’ll be presenting “Beyond Blogging: Creating an Integrated Online Student Ambassador Program” in the Marketing track on March 22nd.  I’d love to see you there!

Guess what?

I have a ticket to give away for the Marketing Track!


To enter into the random drawing just tweet your favorite post from my blog! (And make sure to include me in the tweet so I see it!)

I’ll be picking a winner at random on Sunday, March 20th.

UDPATE: Congrats to Patrick Powers, who was selected at random for the eduGuru conference ticket!


Right before turning out the lights Friday night I decided to quickly check twitter.  I saw a tweet that has made me stop and reflect on my personal and professional life for the last 48 hours.

No, it wasn’t from Charlie Sheen. This tweet from Kyle James caught my attention.

Kyle James twitter screenshot

I’m coming off of three weeks where I have clocked over 70 hours/week working on various projects for various jobs or people.  Among other things: I’m tired, I have neglected some relationships, and I haven’t had time to work out as much as I would like.

But I am not complaining. 

I give 110% to everything I do, I put in long hours of hard work, and being busy… well that is what I thrive on. 

I want to be busy.  And dare I admit it, I want to be successful. 

But so do you.

Kyle’s tweet reminded me why I work hard, because I want to achieve success in my career.  His tweet also reminded me that I am not the only one.  There are people in my field working more than me, harder than me, and they want success just as much as I do.

We all want to be “winning,” but we can’t all be winners.  This is a sobering reality.  Great success does not always follow long hours of hard work.  Yet, I don’t think great success can be achieved without long hours of hard work.

So what do we do?  Keep working hard, keep doing our best, and hope that it eventually pays off.

Vote for the next International Brand Master

American Idol fever has hit the nation!  New judges, new contestants, and new voices will entertain America for the next few months.

You know, I’ve always thought it would be a good idea for them to bring back a past winner as a judge.  Who knows what it takes to be an “American Idol” better than Carrie Underwood?

But the judges can get the contestants only so far in this competition, because as we all know the key to Idol is that YOU will be able to vote for the winner.  The last audition city will be aired this week and then those darling contestants will be off to Hollywood.  Are your finger’s itching to call in and vote?  You’ll have to wait a few more weeks.

But until then…

Why not vote for the next International Brand Master brought to you by the Educational Marketing Group?

It’s kind of like American Idol…

You have your esteemed panel of judges, of which I was humbled to be apart of, who selected from a list of 8 smart, experienced, creative, and talented nominees only 3 finalists.
—Side note, EMG included last year’s Brand Master Andrew Careaga as a judge.  Smart move.  Who knows what it takes to be a Brand Master better than Andrew?  (Did I just compare Andrew Careaga to Carrie Underwood… I think so.)

The 3 finalists: John Lichtenberg, Teri Lucie Thompson, and Larry Hincker have “made it to hollywood” and now America gets to vote.  (Hint hint: That means YOU!)

You can vote online and via twitter as many times as you want (but only once per day).  No pesky 1.866 numbers here!

Voting ends at 12:00 a.m. EST (midnight) on Friday February 18, 2011 and the winner will be announced Tuesday February 22, 2011.

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