It’s been a while…

Original Suedle by Sue Caulfield (www.suecaulfield.com)

Original Suedle by Sue Caulfield (www.suecaulfield.com)

This is my 150th post on this blog and it comes after an almost 6 month hiatus. A lot has happened since then including a wedding day, a honeymoon and 90 orientation sessions over the summer. Craziness!

Over the past 6 months I’ve uninstalled Facebook and Tweetdeck from my phone, ran obstacle course races, volunteered at obstacle course races, presented almost 70 orientation sessions, traveled to Europe, cruised the Mediterranean, went back to school, discovered Reddit, and haven’t played a video game.

Here is what I’ve come to realize, there is a lot of noise out there on the internet.

I scan Tweetdeck and Facebook at work and at home and see lots of noise.

I listen to the streets on my walks to the subway and home and hear lots of noise.

Noise. Noise. Noise. (queue the scene from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas)

Within the noise though, I’ve been able to find music and conversations and brainstorming and storyboarding and all these great things. What no longer amazes me is people who run from sites such as Twitter. The places have become full of noise. Even LinkedIn and G+, which were once sort of barren wastelands, are now thriving with activity albeit not always of the highest quality.

The way I’ve been able to cut through the noise is to findĀ value. Imagine being at a party and you meet someone or a group of people in a really intense conversation about something you are enthused about. What do you do? Do you yell over the music? Or do you say, “Hey, want to move over here where the music isn’t so loud?” That’s all I’ve done or have had people do to me. What I mean by that is, take the conversations out of the main space. I’ve had more conversations on GChat, Gmail, Facebook groups, and Linkedin than I have on Twitter. I went from tweeting almost 20 times a day to maybe 2 or 3.

Now I’m not saying banish incessant tweeting and sharing nor am I saying to stop what you are doing and making noise. Noise is great, lots of great things can happen when a bunch of noise harmonizes and finds a rhythm. What I am saying is take your conversations to the next level. Engage in other ways through other venues. Connect on Google Hangouts. Write e-mails instead of 140 character messages. Pick up the phone. Write a letter.

I’ve done those things and it has made me realize that from my 3 or 4 years on Twitter, I’ve been able to meet some really incredible people and make some really great friends. Of course I realize that doesn’t mean I should stop Twitter or tweeting as much. One of my greatest sources of energy is connecting with other people and having intellectual sparring matches; two things that Twitter is fantastic for.

I guess the point is, take a sabbatical whether it is for a week or a month or six months and see if you recognize any differences. For me, it was realizing who I missed connecting with and how much of those connections relied on Twitter. That realization has given me all sorts of material to reflect and act on, just imagine what it could do for you.

Graduation Rates vs. Giving Rates

It seems to me that more and more institutions want to create buzz about their graduation rates and their job placement rates.

“Come here and not only will you graduate, you’ll land a job!”

Sounds like the perfect pitch for a product. Buy this, get that.

That needs to change (and I think it will change).

Giving rates should be the new metric to show the success of an institution.

If you saw a stat such as, “80% of our graduates give back to the institution through monetary donations and/or volunteering their time at events.” What would you think about that institution?

For me, that shows that this institution has created ambassadors of the brand. The institution has built connections so deep that even after the cap and gown, students want to stay connected and continue to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

That says to me that the group of faculty and professionals on campus get the proverbial it. Why?

Because like a good restaurant that gets repeat customers due to outstanding service, those faculty and professionals have provided something to students that leaves them wanting to never forget it or leave it behind… a community of support, trust, and care.

Don’t show me how many students your process through the curriculum and give a degree to. Show me how successful you are at retaining your customers beyond the life of your product. Classes may end, connections don’t have to.

My Arc Reactor

The Arc Reactor is what is in Tony Stark’s chest that keeps him alive and allows him to power his Iron Man suit.

In trying to think about what my arc reactor is I think I’ve identified it.

I love connecting. I love ideas. I love talking to people about ideas.

AH HA!

I love connecting people to ideas and connecting ideas to people and in some cases ideas to ideas and then to people.

In plain English, I’m a big fan of talking to people and helping them figure out their idea, their curiosities, solutions to their obstacles.

That being said, I want to invite you to participate in the building of my arc reactor.

What does that mean?

Simple. You have ideas, problems, thoughts that you want to brainstorm or talk to someone about? I’m game, let’s talk.

Interested? Start here.