Random thoughts from my first trip to the eduWeb conference:

  • First, I’d like to thank Shelley Wetzel for the invitation to speak at the conference. Kudos to Shelley and her staff for the time and effort it takes to run the conference.
  • For those of you interested, Matt Herzberger has done an amazing job of collecting all of the web resources related to the conference. See All of eduWeb 2008. (Thanks Matt, and sorry you couldn’t make it this year.)
  • As I have said before, I have recently seen the light regarding Twitter. This was the first conference I’ve attended that provided a real-time commentary on the proceedings via Twitter. It takes the idea of live-blogging to a whole new level. The level of activity was so high that #eduweb2008 showed up as a trending topic on search.twitter.com Many people who couldn’t attend said that following the conference on Twitter and watching the ustream channel was almost as good as being there.
  • My keynote speech generated considerable buzz both online and offline with the segment on the future of e-mail getting the most attention. For the record, I don’t believe e-mail is dead. I do believe that e-mail is broken. I’ll be writing about this more in the coming weeks. My goal is to think strategically about how e-mail fits into the myriad of communication channels now at our disposal.
  • The “Join the Conversation” workshop on social media I taught with Brad Ward was well received. I enjoy teaching workshops because the additional time allows me to go into greater detail. I look forward to working with Brad on future endeavors. In fact, we’ll be heading to a conference out west together in a couple of weeks.
  • I had numerous conversations with several people from the United Kingdom. It was great to get their perspective on the web and interesting to see the differences in how social media usage differs across the Atlantic.
  • I found Karine Joly’s closing keynote to be a wonderful conclusion to the conference. In addition to the references to Marshall Mcluhan, I particularly liked her idea about “Build it (with them), and they will come”.  Well done Karine!
  • Much of the talk of the conference was around social media. I am a big fan of social media, but I am starting to get concerned that too much attention is going to the social web and some of the basic building blocks of good, effective web design and development are being ignored. Usability, accessibility, information architecture, web standards, etc. still matter. Let’s not lose site of that.
  • Finally, the main thing on my mind as I drove home was that the higher education web profession has a bright future. I had the chance to meet and interact with many of the new faces in our profession and was thoroughly impressed. These young guns bring passion, excitement, optimism and talent that will help move college web sites forward.