And this post is no longer really about blogs, but rather about internet use in general. But not even just about internet use, but 'new communication' in general:
1. Mobile phones are probably the big way to communicate with students. And primarily text.
2. The problem with text is that it is not recorded and searchable like email. And it is so rudely brief.
3. Another problem with text is that there is a fine line between communication and spam. People are more happy to give you their email address than their mobile. And they are more tolerant of regular email updates than they are of SMS updates.
4. Nevertheless, with students at least, I am planning on increasing our SMS service from monthly to weekly in 2011, and just complementing it with email updates for the larger number of people who want to opt out of it.
[Edit: Nick has told me that actually some mobiles provide a search function for text messages. This is a good thing.]
Personal, Convenient, and Indirect
I think this is the dominant principle at the moment, with communicating with students:
- It's got to be personal to be most effective. I suppose that's the case with everyone anyway. But more so with those who don't have the discipline, attention span or commitment to pay attention to information. It's not just that you need to be personal to be successful. Often you need to be personal to even be noticed at all!
- But it's also got to be convenient. Requiring someone to remember a URL, set up a Feed Reader, write something down is too much. At first, at least, you need a steady, regular flow of information to the most convenient channels of communication: hence Facebook Events and Page Updates, as well as SMS.
- Lastly, although it needs to be personal, it also needs to be indirect. SMS and Facebook email is favoured over phonecall or face to face.