I’ve just returned from my annual visit to Happy Valley and the Web 2008: A Conference for Penn State Web Professionals. I was honored that at the closing town meeting I was granted unofficial membership into the Penn State community, complete with my own Penn State football jersey. As always, the conference was a great experience with wonderful hospitality, great sessions, and knowledgeable and engaging attendees.

Steve Krug was the keynote speaker and provided great insight to the many challenges in being a higher education web professional. Here are his “10 Reasons Why It S*cks to be You”

10. Corporate expectations on a not-for profit budget
9. Stakeholders who can be petty and whiny
8. CMS and herding kittens
7. Subsite/Fiefdom hell
6. Multiple audiences with different needs
5. Many disparate databases
4. Home page death match
3. Tons of dynamic content
2. Cool factor arms race to stay competitive
1. Consensus decision making

In addition to the Town Meeting, I gave two presentations (“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Web Teams” and “It’s the End of the Web as We Know It Redux”), along with a 4 hour tutorial titled “The Long Tail of Social Networks – Building Successful Niche Social Networks.” We had a great conversation around the uwebd social network and I learned a lot about how people are using the site and how it can be improved.

All in all, it was a great two days. Hopefully I will be invited back again next year. The next stop for me is Cincinnati, Ohio for the Increasing Enrollment and Retention via Technology: Blending High Tech and High Touch conference on June 18-20.. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there.