Reflections on 2008 and all that claptrap

This being the final day of 2008, I suppose I should do what many bloggers do at this time of year and reflect, or resolve, or predict, or puff on my Meerschaum pipe, stroke my chin thoughtfully and opine about the state of higher education, marketing, PR, the media, Twitter, Facebook, indie music or some other topic I frequently touch on here.

Or maybe I should hike my khakis up a la Matt Foley (video) and toss some motivational bromides your way — tell you to hire good people and get out of their way, or to quit micromanaging, or to be proactive, learn to do more with less, tighten your belts, or lose weight and stop smoking the doobies.

But who am I to dispense advice? Look, I’m a blogger. Even worse, I’m on Twitter. I tweet dozens of times a day. Sometimes I even tweet from my couch while watching a football game. It’s obvious I don’t get out much. I’m the last person you should seek out for advice, or take advice from.

No. I’ll leave the Dear Abby duties to some other blogger. The best I can muster on this final day of the year — and really, isn’t it just a random date? sure, we get the day off tomorrow, and lots of football, but does that much really change after midnight? — the best I can muster is a quick click-through of some things that were on my mind and on this blog in 2008. That, and to wish you a Happy New Year and the best for 2009.

Higher ed marketing’s year in review

January — Predictions that Facebook was on the wane may have been slightly exaggerated, especially considering that I now have more Facebook “friends” from my high school graduating class than I had actual friends in high school. I blame that on the 30-year reunion that took place last summer. Later that month, Judy Gombita of PR Conversations took me to task for bashing Facebook and for being such a Twitterphile. Anyway, if you needed proof that I suck at making predictions, there you have it. The mighty Facebook lives, and I’ve got the high school connections to prove it.

February — A tragic month for higher ed. The Northern Illinois University shooting was front and center for many of us. I posted the news as soon as I found out about it, and that post led to a follow-up about the role higher ed (and other bloggers) play in writing about such tragedies (Blogging about campus tragedy: public service or exploitation?). That same month, a pioneer in crisis communications, Christopher Simpson, lost his battle to cancer at age 52. I also asked, Should universities Tweet?, a question that seems mildly irrelevant today, and I belatedly wished Karine Joly’s blog, College Web Editor, a belated happy third birthday. And early in February, was born.

MarchTwitter had its busiest day ever at the height of SXSW Interactive, and as March Madness descended, unveiled the worst Division I mascots ever (h/t The Old College Try). March was the month my reading preferences were validated by Seth Godin, my social networking addiction was clarified, and my long-awaited but brief, superficial review of University Marketing Mistakes elicited this response, among others:

andrew, since it is taking you too long to have the review, may i have a suggestion? Pls make a running review of the book and post it on this blog.

It may seem your patrons may look for other bloggers that can provide it.

You have attracted my attention with your promised review of the book. I guess the best way is for me to buy one.

I guess so.

April — I spoke at and blogged from the CASE Communication, Marketing and Technology Conference in San Diego, where I met a couple of folks who have since gone on to create great higher ed blogs of their own: Paul Redfern of Gettysburg College, who blogs at Higher Ed Web Marketing, and Eduardo Merille of Florida Atlantic University. Caltech’s Liz Allen, who doesn’t blog but should, became my first (and so far only) guest blogger in April with her take on the CASE conference. Also in April, my post about using as a PR measurement tool got some blog buzz, and I got a good fortune cookie at the Chinese buffet.

MayAddict-o-matic and the LOLinator were highlights of the month. Blog fatigue was setting in. But I did manage one serious post summarizing a weighty study about the state of PR.

JuneKarine Joly discovered the secret to my amazing YouTube popularity, I co-presented at a PR conference in Baltimore, and went on and on about pitching to bloggers and on Twitter. Tim Russert died, I posted insight from Newsweek science writer Sharon Begley, and rallied higher ed bloggers to represent in the Ad Age Power 150. Well, tried to rally, anyway. Best post of the month: the informafore’s dilemma.

July — Right before Independence Day, I posted mini-reviews of three books marketing and PR types ought to read, shared five videos of a great summertime song, introduced a blog our department created for a big solar car race, and celebrated a Twitter milestone.

August — Posted reflections on Barack Obama’s visit to campus (which happened in July), more crap about Twitter, and Intern Mike’s five takeaways from his summer job in our office.

SeptemberPosted about rebooting my workflow for fall but that’s all I did: read about it. I didn’t do it. Maybe I should try again. New Year’s resolution? More importantly: I blogged about Talk Like a Pirate Day and gave you more cowbell.

OctoberTook part in Blog Action Day; wrote about beating the recession blues; jumped on the Is blogging past its prime? bandwagon; posted something that I thought was pretty insightful, only to later realize that it was just more blather borrowing from other ideas floating around the blogosphere-twittersphere collective semi-consciousness.

November — Dipped my toe into the analytics waters again with a post attempting to analyze our campus’s spacebook PR campaign and another post looking at Google analytics info for this blog from November 2007-November 2008. Ate turkey for Thanksgiving.

DecemberCoined the term Facebookgate™, exploiting all of Brad J. Ward‘s investigative work for my own glory. What better or more fitting way to end the year?


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

2 thoughts on “Reflections on 2008 and all that claptrap”

  1. I think Facebookgate will be what I take away from this year the most. Not the misdeed itself but how so many social media advocates (most of us who apparently have no lives) were able to engage in freeform collaboration through Twitter, Brad’s blog and a Google document. Mind-boggling in retrospect.

    Oh, that and the More Cowbell DJ link/application. Too damn much fun.

    May you have a wonderful 2009 … filled with, of course, more cowbell!

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