Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Taking the Plunge into New Technologies

I remember sitting in a seminar sponsored by our chapter 10 years ago on “Communicating in a Wired World.” Speakers included some of the greats, like Shel Holtz and Charles Pizzo. Most of the participants had never traversed the Internet. We were there to learn how the Internet would impact our work. Many of us needed data to help convince bosses and clients to create web sites. Our primary homework assignment was to take the plunge and get online. Can you imagine?!?!?

Today, we are in a similar situation with blogs, rss, pods, wikis, etc. I suspect that in a few years, we will look back to today and giggle. But honestly, it takes time to figure out this new stuff and to find ways to work it in to our day-to-day work.

My office has been using RSS feeds on our Intranet site for over a year now to stay up to date on education news. Soon, we’ll be sending out RSS feeds through our redesigned web sites.

We’ve also begun to dabble in podcasting. For starters, we have looked for opportunities to record our executive director when she is making a speech somewhere (sample). Right now, we’re working on one from a teleseminar that she led recently. (And, no, a teleseminar is not a new technology, but we’re using them in new ways, such as with web casts.) The recent teleseminar resulted in many inquiries about our dropout prevention program and one contract already signed. This means that this 90-minute phone call was more productive than last year’s direct mail campaign to 18,000 people. By posting excerpts of that phone call presentation as podcasts, we’ll be able leverage it even further.

How are you using new technologies? Post your stories here under “Comments.” Come back often for new ideas!

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