Business Blogging Capstone Project

Yesterday was a big day blogging for me…not with SMUG, but on a work-related blog.


Tom Brokaw was the keynote speaker and moderator for the opening session of the Mayo Clinic National Symposium on Health Care Reform. I hope SMUG students will check out Mayo Clinic’s Health Policy Blog, which I’ve been using to capture the essence of the symposium proceedings and to help extend the conversation both geographically and temporally.

This is the equivalent of a capstone project, enabling me to apply for a business purpose the things I’ve been learning through my personal blogging. It’s been an interesting experience, and I’d appreciate any comments or suggestions here on ways I can improve what I’ve been doing there.

Rebranding This Blog

When I started this blog, I labeled it Lines from Lee. That was all about alliteration. In beginning to blog, I was looking to learn about neat, new tools of the trade.

I also had read David Allen’s Getting Things Done and found it immensely helpful, and thought the personal productivity theme would provide some good material. And it did. I’ve done a bunch of GTD posts. I may still write one more “off topic” post about the GTD Outlook plug-in. It’s really helpful.

And given my work in media relations, I had Public Relations as one of my major blog topics, too. I expect I will continue to do some posts related to PR and news media, even with the change I’m making.

As I’ve “found my voice” a la Hillary Clinton, the social media topic seems to be what makes my vocal chords vibrate. When I attend and speak at conferences and workshops, it’s the practical “how-tos” that seem to be most helpful to people I meet (many of whom work in PR or marketing.) I’ve wanted to find a way to provide an orderly, systematic introduction to social media, so I can tell anyone I meet where to go to find a step-by-step means of learning about these tools and how to practically use them.

A couple of weeks ago, I got the idea for a special blog section that would take a university theme to provide this structured learning. Late last week, I launched the SMUG section. But as I considered it further, I decided this shouldn’t just be a section; it should be the whole blog.

But as a brand that tells readers what to expect, Lines from Lee is lame (one more alliteration for old times’ sake.)

So from this moment, the diffuse blog title:

PR, New Media and GTD – Lines from Lee

Thoughts on New Media, News Media and Productivity

has become

Social Media University, Global

Hands-on social media training and practical applications for lifelong learners

We still need a good logo, though. I’m eager to have someone with artistic abilities develop a visual representation for this virtual university.

And I say “We” because the other major benefit of this no longer being “Lines from Lee” is it opens us to adding SMUG faculty members, visiting professors and guest lecturers. I can play my role as Chancellor (I love making up these official-sounding titles!), but hopefully can draw some other contributors, too.

I’ll still have occasional posts of a personal nature (although my Facebook page will be the better spot for most of those), and I hope to liveblog the conferences I attend, so some of those post might not exactly fit the SMUG sweet spot. I’ll continue the sporadic book reviews and social media news analysis, too. But for the most part, “Hands-on social media training and practical applications” is what you can expect here. Increases Free Storage 6,000 Percent

As TechCrunch notes, my free blogging platform of choice,, has increased the amount of free storage it provides its users from 50 Mb to 3 Gb. Here’s what I see when I upload graphics or other documents to my blog: free storage

Note that a few days ago that 3GB figure in the lower left was only 50 MB. I formerly used Flickr as a storage space for my photos and other graphics (since it offered 100 MB a month vs. 50 MB a year with and just pulled the graphics from Flickr into my blog posts, but now it seems I should be able to upload graphics indiscriminately without even coming close to exceeding my WordPress limits. Especially if I’m uploading mostly 72 dpi screen captures.

As Erick Schonfeld says, this is a huge advance that puts significant pressure on competing platforms. has had the advantage of Akismet protection against comment spam (which has saved me over 34,000 spam comments.) By offering triple the free storage of Blogger, takes another big leap.

When I started this blog, I made it my goal to never spend a penny on any of the services. My purpose was  more than miserliness; I wanted to encourage others (particularly those in the PR field) that they can have blogs without spending  any money and without support from their IT department. As I say in my “It’s All Free” section, if you see something on my blog that you like, you can rest assured that it was completely free.

Why is free such a big deal? Because it helps to drive home the ridiculousness of spending several hundred to a few thousand dollars to attend a communications conference in which you learn about social media if you fail to take the next step and actually get hands-on experience. And it’s why I developed my 12-step Social Media Program.

Barriers to entry in blogging and other social media aren’t just low. They are non-existent.  Zero. Get started with your blog today. When you do, please leave a comment below to let me know how it’s working for you. You also can subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog, which will provide you with regular updates and pointers on issues you may find interesting and helpful. (If you don’t know what RSS is, see steps 4 and 5 in my 12-step program.)

You really should check out Facebook, too. It’s also free. Friend me if you’d like to stay in touch and learn more about social media.

If your work involves any communications, or marketing, or sales, or management responsibilities you owe it to yourself to begin to understand social media. And if you paid anything for college, or attend any career enrichment seminars for which you or your company pay admission fees, you’re seriously missing out on a great educational value if you don’t take advantage of the free hands-on education you can get through, Facebook, Twitter (you can follow me here), Flickr, YouTube and related services.

What’s holding you back?