Too much sharing about file sharing?

Inside Higher Ed reports that the results of a U.S. General Accounting Office survey about college and university policies on file sharing may not be kept confidential. Usually, such surveys include a statement that the information will be kept confidential. But not in this case.

According to the report, “Congressional aides have insisted that the agency in this instance report not just on the file sharing landscape in the aggregate, but on how individual colleges responded to the survey.”

Higher ed leaders, such as Terry W. Hartle of the American Council on Education and Mark A. Luker, vice president of Educause, are concerned. Hartle contacted GAO officials and “was told that that aides to the Judiciary subcommittee had insisted that the GAO collect and report back to the panel on the responses of individual institutions.”
As for Educause, Luker said that organization is alerting its members to the fact that their responses to the GAO survey will not be kept confidential, since the survey materials themselves don’t make that clear.


Good news for blogslackers (like me)

I used to feel guilty about my infrequent postings at this blog. But then I read Eric Kintz‘s excellent post on Marketing Profs — “Why Blog Post Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore” — and the heavy burden of guilt was lifted.

No more scurrying around the blogosphere in search of salient links and quips to post over here. That’s not for me anymore. As Kintz points out, “Daily posts are a legacy of a Web 1.0 mindset and early Web 2.0 days (meaning 12 months ago!). The pressure around posting frequency will ultimately become a significant barrier to the maturity of blogging.”

He then offers 10 reasons why. Here are a few of them:

#1- Traffic is generated by participating in the community; not daily posting – The blogosphere doubles in size every 6 months and cutting through the clutter will become ever more difficult with a new blog emerging every second. Daily posting deals with the clutter by adding more clutter. …
#2 – Traffic is irrelevant to your blog’s success anyway– Unless you specifically target bloggers like Bruce, are a blogging consultant or blog about your latest book, traffic is irrelevant to you. What matters most is whether you are reaching your target audience (which may be narrow and focused), not necessarily how many people read your posts. Engaging with the audience you want to have a relationship with is a much smarter strategy than posting frequently

#3- Loyal readers coming back daily to check your posts is so Web 1.0 – As the blogosphere matures, the number of new readers and bloggers will decrease and loyal readers are going to matter more. I have heard many bloggers tell me that they will lose reader loyalty if these readers come back daily and do not see any new posts. This perception is still very strong although irrelevant. Loyal readers subscribe to your blog via RSS feeds and have new content pushed to them. They will remain loyal because they have subscribed, not because you post frequently.

Now, if only I had an RSS feed.

Recruiting the MySpace generation

Heather Hollingsworth of the Associated Press recently wrote about how schools like the University of Missouri-Columbia, North Dakota State University and Calvin College are using blogs and online journals to help them recruit prospective students. The story succinctly addresses why so many college administrators fear the power of the blog.

“Providing students a less edited view of campus life creates challenges for school officials worried that typos or inappropriate material might harm the school’s image.”

It’s all about the loss of control. And we marketers love to be in control, don’t we.

The story also quotes Michael Stoner, a consultant who works with colleges and universities to improve their electronic communications. Stoner says the risk is worth it. “Enrollment managers and admissions people have had to get used to the fact that they are going to give up some of the control and give it to 17- and 18-year-olds.”

L.A. Times suspends Pulitzer winner’s blog

The Los Angeles Times has suspended the blog of Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Hiltzik “after discovering that the author used an alias to post material at Web sites operated by the Times and others, which is a breach of the Times’ ethical policies.” Hiltzik’s blog, Golden State, now carries this brief notice from the editors:

The Times has suspended Michael Hiltzik’s Golden State blog on Hiltzik admitted Thursday that he posted items on the paper’s website, and on other websites, under names other than his own. That is a violation of The Times ethics guidelines, which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public. The policy applies to both the print and online editions of the newspaper. The Times is investigating the postings.

Via eWeek.

HigherEdBlogCon: April 3-7

HigherEdBlogCon 2006, a weeklong online conference, got under way today with two virtual presentations about podcasting in the classroom:

This virtual conference is geared mainly toward the academics interesting in Web 2.0 apps in the classroom. But a couple of sessions look promising for higher ed PR/marketing folks. The Tuesday, April 4, case study on how integrating blogs and Blackboard can improve a PR course (not yet posted), might be worth tuning in for.

Four out of five marketing execs agree…

…that TV advertising just ain’t what is used to be.

In fact, it ain’t even what it used to be two years ago.

From the Associated Press (via CBS):

Nearly four in five marketers surveyed believe that television advertising is less effective than it was just two years ago, according to a study released Wednesday.

That’s bad news for a nervous TV industry, which is worried about what the growth in digital video recorder usage and video on demand will mean for the economic underpinnings of the business.

TV executives are still pushing their medium as the most effective way to reach eyeballs. “[B]ut national advertisers aren’t buying it and are seeking alternatives to enhance their budgets and move them beyond the customary 30-second spot,” said Josh Bernoff, vice president of Forrester research, which conducted the survey.

Almost 70 percent of advertisers say they believe that DVRs and video on demand will reduce or destroy the effectiveness of traditional 30-second commercials, the survey found. …

Close to 60 percent of the advertisers say they will spend less on conventional TV advertising when DVRs spread to 30 million homes, the survey said. Forrester estimates DVRs are now in about 10 million homes and will be in 30 million within three years.

Advertisers are looking at other approaches, such as product placement, program sponsorship, interactive ads within programs and online video ads.

Battleground U

A recent USA Today article discusses the changing nature of the nation’s major universities as they continue to morph into businesslike entities. The article, “Are campuses becoming battlegrounds?” by Jim Hopkins, says the new academic environment pits “traditionally powerful professors against a new generation of business-savvy presidents hired to control costs, boost research and make classes more relevant in a global economy.”

Last month’s resignation of Harvard President Larry Summers after a faculty mutiny is adding fuel to the simmering tensions, and could slow long-sought reforms in higher education across the USA.”

Pressure on presidents is rising: Tuition, room and board jumped 67% in the past decade. Competition for donations and federal funding is brutal. Trustees want schools to help economies grow.

“It’s the toughest job I’ve ever seen,” says James Hardymon, head of the University of Kentucky’s board of trustees and former CEO of conglomerate Textron.

The article cites Kentucky as a case study of these changes. There, President Lee Todd “was given a mandate to boost the school’s standing,” USA Today notes. “Goals in the next 14 years include adding 625 faculty and more than doubling research spending, to $768 million a year. Lawmakers and trustees expect Todd to use his business experience to reach these goals.”

Todd knows university life demands a different approach. In business, he says, communication was “vitally” important, but could be focused on three constituents: investors, customers and employees. In academia, he juggles donors, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, athletics fans, community leaders and lawmakers.

As one academic quoted in the story noted, the balance of power has shifted from a faculty-centric entity to a business enterprise.