My #HESM Goals for 2019
I’m a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Correction. I’m a big fan of achievable and specific resolutions. We all know that simply saying “lose weight” or “learn a new language” fail every time. Just ask my wife how long it is taking me to learn Chinese.
Personally, I’ve had much more success with small goals like “learn to parallel park,” “tie a bow tie,” or “make a better grilled cheese sandwich.” In fact, starting to use Twitter on a regular basis was a New Year’s Resolution for me in 2011 and it lead to a career managing social media in higher education. Who knew?
That said, here are my professional higher ed social media goals for 2019.
1. Make Accessibility a Priority
We all need to do a better job making the web a more accessible place for everyone. This means doing more to make sure our social media posts are accessible for those with vision impairments who are using screen readers. In many ways this goal still leaves us at the mercy of the platforms. Facebook does not allow users to add alt-text to images, but Twitter and Instagram do and we can also do more by getting away from using text heavy images and including the important information in the text of the post rather than the image; which we should be doing anyway. This is just a start, but it gets us thinking about and working towards a more accessible web, and when design is accessible it is better for everyone.
2. Work from Other Parts of Campus
It’s easy find myself in my office all day long. I get into the groove of working and before I know it the day is over and I really haven’t seen daylight. In higher ed, this is a quick path to becoming out of touch. The campus is alive and things are happening constantly. If you don’t get out of your office, you are missing out on great content and losing sight of the mission of higher ed. It’s easy to sit behind a screen all day watching your campus Twitter feeds thinking you have the pulse of campus, but there’s a lot you could be missing. This year, at least once a week, I plan to take my laptop and work from the library, student center, or the cafeteria. A change of scenery is helpful, but also seeing how students spend their days and overhearing their conversations will provide insights you just can’t get from an administration building.
3. Create a Social Media Supergroup
We have a campus editorial board for our alumni magazine. This board is made up of various faculty and staff and meets monthly to brainstorm ideas for upcoming issues. I’ve had informal versions of this for social media, but this year I’d like to put something more official in place. I casually call it a supergroup, because I see it more like a higher ed social media version of the Avengers. I want a group of those departmental social media managers on campus that are posting great content and managing their accounts well. Not only do I hope this group can help provide content for the main accounts, but also act as role models for other accounts on campus and be advocates for our social media efforts across campus.
4. Apply to Speak at HighEdWeb
Last year, I attended the HighEdWeb conference in Sacramento. This was my second time attending their national conference and was immensely rewarding. Having the chance to meet and share with my colleagues from around the country not only gave me new ideas and best practices, it energized me for the coming year. This year, I’d love to give back and share my knowledge and experiences. I have presented at many national conferences and given a poster session HighEdWeb previously, but I’d love to have the opportunity to host a session at this conference. And while having a presentation accepted is up is up to both the HighEdWeb committee and attending depends on my department’s budget to send me, applying is where to start. Again, it’s about having attainable resolutions.
5. Be Better at Saying No
Saying no is never easy and it’s a big part of the job. I recently heard social media managers referred to as “digital bodyguards for a brand.” I like this comparison because it makes saying no about protecting the brand. Not everything needs to be a social media post and we need to enforce quality in our posts. We don’t need any more flyers on Facebook and we don’t need any more group photos of administrators in suits. Our job is to tell stories. The only story these group shots tell is that a bunch of people stood in front of a camera and stood awkwardly. But as the people in these photos are often very important, it can be hard to say no to this content. I feel I could do a better job educating stakeholders on campus of what we are trying to achieve on social and what content works and what doesn’t. This goal is one I don’t think I’ll ever fully achieve, but I’m going to keep trying.
6. Blog More
This one is pretty self-explanatory and the reason you are reading this post. Last year, I moved out of state, started a new job, sold and bought a new house, all while helping to take care of a toddler, so I didn’t really get to update this blog as much as I would have liked. I want change that this year. My main goal is to just get posts out there. This blog may not be written as well as I would like and you’ll find typos from time to time, but my goal isn’t perfection. It is to put my thoughts down and ship them out. So look for more content here in 2019!