Eagle Pride… Amplified :)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 7, 2010 in Technology | Subscribe

It’s no secret that I think pretty highly of the North Carolina Central University School of Law, a point I made clear in one of my first entries here at law:/dev/null.1)

So when the Executive Board of our Alumni Association met yesterday and asked for tech-savvy current students to come up with ways to improve interaction between alums and plebes (including possible changes to its anemic web presence), my inner Eagle and inner Comp Sci geek both jumped at the opportunity :)

It was an interesting and enlightening way to spend a Saturday morning.

On the extremes, among the alumni in attendance was an ADA from the Class of ’08, relatively fresh out the law school door and still fairly “hip” to current trends in technology; then there was at least one immigration attorney who graduated in the mid-’80s, trained to Shepardize cases exclusively by hand since the Internet hadn’t even been invented when she earned her J.D. And of course there were a half-dozen or so folks in between, along with an equally wide spread of current students of varying technology backgrounds.

Discussing tech options is hard enough among tech-savvy folks. It’s even harder among an eclectic mix of people spanning years and comfort levels:

  • Some folks didn’t like email listservs since they already got enough email from clients; others (including me) think they’re indispensable since they’re more “in your face,” forcing you to pay at least fleeting attention to them.2
  • Some folks (including me) didn’t like the idea of using Twitter3; others thought it was a useful tool we already deploy, and leveraging it helps us reach into more nooks and niches of the alumni pool.
  • Some folks (including me) liked Facebook pages; others (also including me :beatup: ) realized it was both tacky and counter-productive forcing people to register for an unrelated service in order to access alumni information.

About the only thing we all agreed on was that WordPress is pretty nifty. I briefly showed them the law:/dev/null Dashboard, realizing a few seconds after I volunteered that doing so was probably a bad idea in light of the inevitable spam comments and general lack of redaction polish to the blog.

Fortunately Lotta was the only commenter showing up on the screen, and the breadth of the Plugins directory helped hide the fact I only use a few of them.4 :D

Not sure where things go from here, but whatever the results I’m looking forward to it. Some amped up school pride never killed anyone. I think. :angel:

Have a great night everybody!


  1. An entry I made sure to link on the “About” page just in case there’s ever any doubt ; []
  2. Unless you set up a filter to route them to a folder that you never check. I confess to being guilty of that on more than one occasion :beatup: []
  3. Supporting Iranian protestors notwithstanding, I think it’s an innovative technology whose utility is inversely proportional to its userbase. See cnet or Slate for similar critiques. []
  4. Akismet, Custom Smilies, Feedsmith, and WP-Footnotes :D []

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Ricky Nelson
Feb 9, 2010 at 4:58 PM

The effectiveness of listservs depends entirely on the administrator and content. If your listserv is going to spam out e-mails constantly, they won’t be read. I’ve been an administrator for multiple listservs (some which are just information for people, while others are meant to be more participatory for people who get e-mails). For “information” listservs, you should really create multiple listservs so you can better target your information. Some alumni will want an update on any and all major student activities, while others may just want a ‘semester highlight.’ If you can sell the listserv as giving alumns only the information they want, I think more people would be on board for it (unless this was the listserv idea.)

A listserv for this sort of thing is really essential because Twitter and Facebook require alumns to be proactive in seeking information (and not every professional has a social networking account).

Hope you’ll have luck pushing it through

Feb 10, 2010 at 11:29 PM

I am honored to have served as an example commenter in your impromptu presentation! :)

Feb 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Thanks Lotta, it was much appreciated :D

@Ricky: idk if we’re at the point managerially that they’d be able to handle multiple listservs, but that’s a possibility. My suggestion was to have a weekly update of things going on in the law school similar to the newsletter sent to the current students every Friday, with the option for folks to set emails to the once-a-month “digest” mode if they don’t want things as frequently. A once-a-semester highlight email might be a good option too. Thanks for the tips :)


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