SMUG Student Spotlights

While we now have 113 SMUG students representing several continents — including Africa (Kenya), Asia (Cambodia, India), Australia/New Zealand, Europe (Spain, UK) and North America (Canada, U.S.) — making Social Media University truly Global, Pam Larson is the student who lives closest to our physical campus.

Yesterday as our family prepared to leave for vacation I took a few moments to interview Pam about her SMUG experience, what she’s learning and how she’s applying it with her blog.


Pam also is one of the many SMUG students who have gotten “the Flip” video camera. With her son getting married in a couple of weeks, she’s been busy and has gotte a bit behind on her SMUG homework, but she’ll be catching up soon with the Podcasting curriculum.

Another student who has gotten into the act personally is Scott Meis. He has worked with Donate Life Illinois using social media to encourage organ donation, but now has started his own blog.

I’d love to do profiles of other SMUG students, so if you send me links to some of your social media projects (and maybe upload a video to YouTube with your story of how you got involved in social media and what you hope to accomplish, that I can embed in a post about you), it would be fun to call attention to some of your practical applications.

SMUG Campus in Summer

When SMUG was officially established (last January) as an on-line university providing hands-on help in learning about social media and how to practically apply these tools in businesses and other large organizations, I included some campus photos in our SMUG Facebook group.

The photos included interior shots of our turn-of-the-20th-century architecture as well as some exteriors. But let’s face, for most people Minnesota in January seems less appealing than it does with our lush spring and summer foliage, so here are a couple of videos that show our Ivy covered walls:


And our Oak-shrouded “Old Main” campus, including a preview of SMUG’s North Annex (a.k.a. Aase family garage), which is under construction and will include “classroom” space on the second level.


By the way, if any philanthropists are interested in funding the SMUG campus expansion, your generosity may be appropriately recognized through the facility naming. 😉

Podcasting 108: Subscribing to Your Podcast

This is a one-credit course in the Podcasting curriculum for Social Media University, Global. It shows you how to subscribe to the podcast feed you’ve created (or to our guinea pig Toby Palmer’s) using a manual cut-and-paste method.

Here’s the slidecast for the course. When you’re done viewing it, see the homework at the bottom.


1. Try clicking this link and see what happens. Then describe what happened in the comments below.

2. Open iTunes, and copy and paste this URL into the “Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast” window as described in the slidecast above.

New York Trip Highlights

I’m in my hotel (Quality Hotel Times) at the end of a two-day trip to New York City. The location of the hotel was great, in that I was able to walk to all of my appointments and thereby avoid the nausea induced by NY cab rides. Tomorrow I leave at 4:15 a.m. for LaGuardia, so I’m hoping my cabbie will feel less need for the rapid acceleration and deceleration I experienced Tuesday.

One of the unexpected bonuses from my trip was getting to see a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman. Guests were Charlize Theron, Richard Belzer and Motley Crue. Other than using oxygen to metabolize carbohydrates, I don’t have a lot in common with any of them, but it was an interesting experience. Hard to imagine that people find this fulfilling, though.

Then I went to check out the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, to return a MacBook battery that had failed 11 months into its 12-month warranty. It turned out that this store is too busy to take walk-in appointments, but it’s open 24/7, so I had to schedule an appointment at 6:40 this morning to see one of the guys at the Genius Bar. The good news is I have a replacement battery. Here’s a little shot of the store from last night when it was hopping. The design of the store is every bit as elegant as the iPod, even if the video I shot isn’t.


After having dinner in the ESPN Zone last night, and watching both the Yankees and Mets lose in interleague play, I walked back to the hotel and caught some video of one of the big huge lighted signs in Times Square. Since this is a family-oriented blog, I decided to feature M&M’s instead of one of the less wholesome signs.


This all just is intended to document my trip to some extent, and also to show how easy it is to do so with the Flip, YouTube and a blog.

The Black Magic of Compounded Newspaper Losses

It hasn’t been a good decade for newspapers, but the last month has been especially bad.

It’s not like last year was good. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s ad revenue was down 8 percent last year, and is now about 12 percent below that pace. The Times says the Chronicle is losing about $1 million a week.

In school we learned about “The Magic of Compound Interest.” The magic for newspapers must feel like something straight out of Mordor.

Compounding losses have a way of spiraling. Ad revenue falls, so papers cut back on staff and on the number of pages. The paper is less compelling, so circulation falls. Advertisers won’t pay the high prices for reduced reach, so revenue falls still further.

Add to this the general trend among younger people to not read the newspaper, and on-line alternatives such as eBay, Craigslist and that are claiming an ever-larger share of what was formerly a classified advertising monopoly for newspapers, and the situation looks quite bleak.

It’s hard to know which of these trends started first, but Clay Shirky has a good analysis of the monster forces conspiring against the newspaper business in Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations. I hope to write a review in the coming days; it’s quite insightful.

It will be difficult for my review to do it justice, though,  and besides, I might not get to it for a while. So you should just go ahead and order it today.

I’ve got a Podcasting curriculum to finish.