When it comes to social media, Chris Brogan is one of the coolest kids in the sandbox. Mostly because he gets that the zeitgeist of the web is social — it’s about people and conversations, not technology.
He recently did a great post entitled “20 Blog Topics to Get You Unstuck.” It made me think of all of those student bloggers out there, anxiously staring at blank screens and wishing some “admissions blogger muse” would enlighten their thoughts and bring poetry to their paragraphs.
Well, if there is an admissions blogger muse, she certainly eludes me (hopefully not on purpose;) Lucky for me though, looking outside of higher ed for inspiration usually does the trick. And this week, Chris Brogan provided just the sort of inspiration I needed.
In his post, he provided a nice list of questions to get the creative juices flowing — but what really caught my eye was the “Fill in the Blanks” section. So simple, yet so creative. I decided student blogs needed their own edition.
“Fill in the Blanks: Student Blogs Edition” is meant to help you breathe new life into those sometimes-stale accounts of life on your campus. Hopefully you’ll find this little exercise both timely and helpful.
[Dislaimer: Adrienne can not be held responsible if they run a little wild with this. So don't forget to remind them of your expectations and set some parameters. It is college after all;]
Here are a few starters that could help your bloggers next time they’re hard-pressed for a topic:
- I chose this school because ________________.
- ___________ was the biggest issue I faced freshmen year, but I was able to _____________ and now it’s all good.
- Talk about life-changing experiences! _______________ was something that changed the way I look at the world.
- My favorite meal in our dining hall is _____________. I usually get ________________ with _____________. Yummy.
- My weekend was ___________. I ended up going to _____________ with _____________ and we ______________.
- _____________ was definitely my favorite class I’ve taken so far because Dr. _____________ really helped me ___________.
- My biggest piece of advice for prospective students is ______________.
- ______________ has to be my favorite place on campus. It’s just so ______________.
- If you asked me what I’m going to miss most about this school when I graduate, it’s ______________________.
- One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned here is _____________________.
- The thing that worried me the most about going to college used to be __________________, but now ____________________.
- My favorite off-campus place to eat and hang out is ________________. You can get there by ________________.
Obviously your students can (and should) reword this, but I think you get the point.
At their core, blogs are websites that help you manage conversations. And in higher ed’s case, they can be an incredibly powerful way to connect those “in the know” current students with prospects who just want the skinny on where they’ll be spending the next four years.
So call a meeting. Announce it on Facebook. Do whatever you have to do to get your bloggers together. Then break this out and have a little fun while you encourage them to create great content.
I’m no muse — but I’ll be darned if they can’t figure out what to post about after this one;)
P.S. My thanks to Chris (@chrisbrogan) for being so cool when I wrote to him on Twitter to introduce myself and tell him I was going to mention him in my post today (he responded within an hour). Now I’ve made a connection with someone whose work I’ve followed and admired for a long time. The power of the social web at work!