In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport offers some guidance to those who wonder if they could survive without being connected to social media. Quit all your social media platforms, unannounced, for 30 days, he advises, then consider whether 1.) you missed out on anything essential in the world and 2.) anyone said anything to you about being gone. If your life went on just fine without social media, and if no one noticed your absence, then perhaps you should disconnect from social media entirely. (Newport also gave a great TEDx talk on this subject.)
I’ve thought about Newport’s counsel many times over the past several months, but not only in terms of the social media platforms I use. I’ve also thought about it in terms of this blog, and whether to continue it.
I’ve decided that it’s time to give up this blog.
It’s time to move on.
I’m not giving up this blog merely due to a lack of comments, retweets, attention or recognition. It’s because I’ve reached the point where, 12-plus years after I opened this blog with my inaugural post about the rising cost of college (“We have got to hold the line on tuition,” a California state senator is quoted as saying. “We are making UC unaffordable.” Plus ca change…), I’m burned out on blogging about this niche. I was burned out when I wrote my previous post, which was posted over a month ago and slapped together hastily in an airport, mainly out of boredom, a weird sense that I somehow had an obligation to write a blog post, and the availability of free wifi.
I’ve been burned out for a year at least, and probably more. Blogging about higher ed, marketing, branding, PR, etc., is just not as fun as it used to be.
Many more voices, with more to say
Thankfully, there are many more emerging voices, many more steady voices, many more plugged-in and informed voices, in the higher ed blogging and social media sphere these days than there were when I began “Higher Ed Marketing” on a now-dead platform called PRblogs (thanks to Robert French). A lot of younger bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and tweeters, along with many steady hands who have been around as long as I have or longer, are continuing to produce great content. These voices have much to say. I encourage you to listen.
I’ll still be voicing my opinions and sharing my thoughts about higher ed, branding, marketing, journalism, music, pop culture, politics and the many tangential and ephemeral topics that have transformed bits into words in this space. But I won’t be doing it here, on this blog. I’ll be doing it on Twitter, mainly, and occasionally on Facebook. I also have plans for other writing projects that will require more focus, and trying to keep this blog alive will do little more than distract me.
The final Friday Five
Before I go, however, this being Friday, I wanted to finish with a final Friday Five. Friday Five is the most consistent thing I’ve done on this blog — if not done consistently well — since the very first Friday Five made its debut in 2006.
My parting gift to you, gentle reader, are five of my favorite Friday Fives.
- Friday Five: Spicing up social media. My take on how higher ed marketers could learn a thing or two from Old Spice’s insanely successful brand awareness campaign of 2010 — a campaign that raised the standard for organizations wanting to integrate social media with traditional marketing and advertising platforms. Old Spice did it right.
- Friday Five: A year after Ferguson, marketing diversity and inclusion. In this post, written a year after the tragic shooting of Michael Brown, an African American, by a white police officer in my home state of Missouri, I discussed the importance of thinking more inclusively about the work we do. This involves more than showing on-the-surface diversity in our marketing materials. It involves a way of thinking, acting and bringing new voices to the table.
- Friday Five: the state of #highered marketing. This post breaks down the 2014-2015 “Higher Ed Marketing Comes of Age” study by the firm SimpsonScarborough and The Chronicle of Higher Education. The research report was aptly named, as the idea of marketing in higher education was still taking form (as it still is; ca plus change…) and many of us were grappling with understanding and defining our roles in the oddball world of academia. I think the report is still relevant, as many of the questions it raises remain unanswered, or the answers ill-defined.
- Friday Five: Interview with ‘Brand Like a Rock Star’ author Steve Jones. I e-interviewed several authors in this space over the years, and I’ve reviewed or referenced many books relevant to this blog’s focus. But this was the most enjoyable for me, because it combined my passions for branding and rock-and-roll. Plus, Brand Like a Rock Star is a great read for any marketer. I highly recommend it.
- Friday Five: The stress of marketing. This post is another breakdown of a marketing-related study, this time by a project-management software company called Workfront (here’s a PDF of the study). One out of four marketers surveyed for this study report they are “stressed to the max,” and 80 percent say they have “too much work for too few staff.” I agreed then, and I agree now. “There are never enough people to address the demand for marketing services, counsel and collateral,” I wrote then. “As digital media has exploded, we struggle to find the right people for these new challenges — or to retrain staff to become digital marketers. But even if you do retrain or cross-train staff, the old ways of marketing — such as print, direct mail or paid advertising — never truly go away. Each new medium becomes another avenue for reaching customers and audiences, and becomes another layer of complexity. In the academic realm, the decentralized nature of marketing compounds the staffing and workload issue. … [I]t’s tough to manage messaging, identity and other tactical aspects of marketing when so many people doing marketing don’t actually report to the chief marketing officer.” Plus ca change…
As always, thanks for reading.
Image via Flickr.