Communication is a two-fold process: it consists of at least two individuals, exchanging ideas among themselves. Digital forms of communication have challenged this definition, with online services such as e-mail shifting our day-to-day interactions. The communication landscape has slowly begun shifting away from the value of a face-to-face conversation and toward the value of the written word. How can one reach a middle ground between these two? An interactive, social and responsive platform is needed – in other words, one needs a blog.
As a communication platform, a blog is an efficient and alternative method of publishing content. Content is generally produced by the user with the possibility of reader feedback by commenting on the post. This two-sided interaction fulfills our communication loop, even in the online world.
Blogs distinguish themselves from regular websites with three main characteristics: (1) it is a frequently updated Web site with entries displayed in reverse chronological order (2) each entry contains a headline and body, which can include texts and other relevant graphics and (3) it contains a link for comments that lets readers post their thoughts on the blogger’s topic.
While a blog is a website, it has a more distinct and personable feel. Blogs provide a “unique and personal feel to communicate with current and prospective customers.” By beginning a presidential blog, President Gabriel Esteban will have the opportunity to express himself as someone who cares about community engagement. To the student body and the academic world, President Esteban will no longer just be the “President of Seton Hall University.” Instead, he will be a well-esteemed figure who takes time out of his day to reflect on issues that affect colleges and universities in the United States.
It is my recommendation that President Esteban uses the presidential blog as a communication platform to gauge public opinion, especially in the Seton Hall community. In order to establish Seton Hall as a leader in discussing higher education, President Esteban must learn to cultivate the Seton Hall brand, both on campus and online. If Seton Hall is not accepted as a leader in higher education on the home front, then broadening the blog’s audience to educational professionals in the Northeast region will serve no benefit.
An acknowledged blog will “help display the best aspects of [the Seton Hall] brand… and help build trust… [and] a great reputation online.” As one of the main leaders of Seton Hall University, President Esteban is the ideal candidate for cultivating Pirate Pride and innovation. By engaging with the online community, President Esteban will leverage the brand image of Seton Hall all while cultivating his own. Just the same, he will develop clear and engaging content for other educational professionals to react with, no matter where they are.
While there are many easy-to-use blog platforms, I recommend using an interface similar to WordPress because of its simple navigation and integration of blog components. Connecting with the IT department will ensure that President Esteban’s blog will be secure and easily accessible — preferably associated with the Seton Hall website URL. This video will provide a brief overview of the process and some other tips in the blog’s creation.
Once the blog has been created and set up, President Esteban is ready to interact with the online community! I recommend the incorporation of an introductory post which clearly states the vision for the blog and what conversation it will produce.
For inspiration for elements such as page design and conversation topics, I recommend looking at the following two presidential blogs:
- Ana Mari Cauce of the University of Washington: http://www.washington.edu/president/blog/
- Patrick McGuire of Trinity Washington University: http://www.trinitydc.edu/president/blog-recent-posts/