A campfire story

Budgets in every industry all across the world are being cut and people in every industry are struggling to deal with the fallout of plans that have to change and adapt with tightened purse strings. How can you approach a new year with a plan vastly different than what was on your spreadsheet?

I understand that times are tough and that there are plans that may seem impossible to complete now. It's how we address our"opportunities" that will make us stand out and achieve our goals. I'm slightly biased but I think the internet can really help us all make it happen. It might not completely solve your planning issue, but if that plan revolves around people then hear me out.

The web is not about technology

The web is an incredible tool to get things done and although it's relatively young when compared to other industries you must consider its difference. Society is built on a complicated structure of rules and accepted norms, and they differ around the world. What does not change is that people like to share (well most people). We teach our children they should do it, we actively share everyday stories around the dinner table and at lunch with colleagues. Some, my mum included, will share a story with anyone that will listen (and even those who won't).

In educational institutions all around the world there's conversations happening in every classroom. Students are being challenged, they are being taught to confront every day notions, to think independently, to grow and take that knowledge with them into their future careers. Education drives new thinking, it drives conversation and it drives the sharing of knowledge.

I suggest that the web industry stands apart from others in that it powers conversation and connects people. These two premises have driven every surge, every explosion in web technology. From BBS to blogs, from online forums to  Facebook. They all provide a way to connect and to share - and with the explosion of    Twitter in the last year the conversation just went real time - Do you see where I'm going with this?

While I realize that some plans are static and hard to change this is a tremendous time to think in a new way, to turn your plan on its head and look for a new opportunity. You might be able to use the power of conversation to achieve it.

We should be thinking of how using the web to share stories, to connect and to engage students, faculty and parents in a conversation about your institution. People connect to stories not spreadsheets and five year plans. The schools and colleges that drive these conversations will be the winners in online recruitment, they'll be connecting to students and parents in a way that history shows us is effective. Let's build a campfire and share those stories. People round the campfire will pass them on, just like society has for thousands of years.