He who speaks the truth about websites

Recently, I saw a fantastic presentation by Paul Boag, “10 Harsh Truths about Institutional Websites.” Vimeo link

It’s about an hour long and I encourage you to watch the whole thing if you work on the website for a university or school or even a corporation (there are similar communication pitfalls at all types of large organizations, after all…speaking of which, Paul has previously written about 10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites). I can’t stress how clear and helpful this presentation is. As a teaser, here are the headlines of each topic, but you must watch it for an explanation and more importantly, a solution:

10. A CMS is not a silver bullet.
9. Social media is hard.
8. Users don’t care about organizational structure.
7. If you try to appeal to everybody, you appeal to nobody.
6. Your site is bloated and out of date.
5. Too many techies and marketeers!
4. Great content needs central control.
3. A lack of direction/focus
2. Course finders suck.
1. Politics are killing your site.

Right now, I’m particularly interested in #9 and the topic of social media for higher ed, as we are actively planning for long-term social media strategy. More on what I’ve learned about that soon. (And as for #5, I happen to work for a university and wouldn’t characterize any of my colleagues as clueless techies and marketeers. They are the saintly opposite; they get it.)

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