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Growing Only Because Everyone Actively Re-posts Schmaltz!


Ram Kapoor

Ram Kapoor

As the Digital Head for the university, I was informed the other day (no tweet, no poke, regular old email) that UC Berkeley has been granted automatic registration to a new social network. One that is solely focused on people with IQ scores of 180 and above. Wow, really? So now they expect me to take my social networking team (person) and spread it (her) even thinner across yet another social network that may or may not take off? No thanks!

We have our hands full managing the social networks we are already committed to – Facebook, Twitter, the water cooler committee, Google Plus (the last one was just to ingratiate myself with Louis Gray from Google, who I hope will show us how to use G+ more effectively.) ‘Pint arrest’? (that was auto correct but it’s kind of cute). I love the interface and the user numbers (Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, Linkedin and Youtube combined) but feel it is better suited to fashion, design and entertainment. At least that is what my 11 year old messaged me from an alternate universe.

If some of you are wondering what all this is leading up to, don’t worry. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out. In the meantime, here is my 3-point plan for the web. (The world domination plan was 7 points and I didn’t want to waste your time.)

  1. There’s a lot of chaos on the web. It’s our job to bring order to it. At least our share of it. Or as much as possible given our resources and constraints. Whenever we feel up to it….
  2. I believe there are only two kinds of digital plans. Those that engage and those that bore. I believe the latter should be isolated using fluorescent yellow tapes and flashing red lights. The penalty for crossing over should be 12 years in a Siberian gulag prison hut with no Internet access. Or plumbing.
  3. Our audience is one click away from our competitor’s website. That is true. But what do you do when you have a busload of different competitors? What if you compete with Harvard for daily university news, xkcd for comics, Flickr for photo essays, and StumbleUpon for new discoveries? Wouldn’t people go mad click-clicking their way to our competitors’ sites? Or raise their de Quervain syndromes to catastrophic levels? Isn’t it our moral duty to save humanity from death by multiple clicks? That is why our site has to be so good that nobody ever wants to leave it. Even to go to the bathroom. Or to check if that burning smell is really the toaster. We want them 100%. We want puppy-dog obedience and utter devotion. To our website and social media channels. Is that too much to ask for?

Outraged? Engaged? Feel free to respond below or tweet your feelings to #sharebc2.  It will give us a chance to test some funky twitter visualization apps!

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