Chris Brogan says give it away, give it away, give it away now

What better to inspire a return to one’s cobweb-ridden blog than spending the morning listening to one of social media’s thought leaders, Chris Brogan?

I attended Brogan’s talk today at Stagepost, organized by JTMarCom. He was promoting and signing his new NYT best-selling book, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust. As defined by Brogan and co-author Julien Smith, trust agents are the face and voice of an organization on social media platforms who are accessible, authentic and passionate about their work (Think @ManleyatVICC).

Brogan is co-founder of PodCamp, a free, unconference that has served up knowledge sharing surrounding all things Web, communications, technology, etc. to over 10,000 people around the world since the first one three years ago in Boston. (Nashvillians, the next local BarCamp,  kind of the precursor to PodCamp, is scheduled for Oct. 17. If you have any interest in really anything online you want to be there). Brogan is also a Twitlebrity, with over 100,000 people following @chrisbrogan.

Brogan reiterated what we all hopefully know – beneath all the tweets, feeds, status updates, followers and friends, the secret to social media is still 99 percent common sense. Be honest. Be open. Be helpful. Provide useful information. Listen. Listen. Listen. Share. Give credit where credit is earned. Listen some more.

The biggest personal takeaway for me, and perhaps what pushed me back to the page today, was if you find yourself in a rut and not inspired, then stop complaining and seek out inspiration. Find people doing interesting things and engage with them. Learn. Explore.

Some other takeaways – their pith perhaps due to Brogan’s general habit of communicating in 140 characters or less:

The only difference between audience and community is which way you face the chairs.

‘Oh, you’re a blogger? What do you complain about?’

If bacon had a  God, it would be the Rogers Smith Hotel. (Including that more as a note to self for next trip to New York).

Move a needle that involves a dollar sign, and your client never says no again.

Make your customers and your employees your stars. It works every (darn) time.

You have to learn to be brief. Brevity works in all of your business lines.

On balancing personal vs. professional online: People want to see humanity. The business world and the personal world are merging.

Be willing to work with the community, rather than throwing something over the wall to the peasants.

Twitter becomes business development and becomes customer service.

Be there before the sale and get to know the person before you want to sell them something.

Winning is just table stakes for the next game. Don’t sit still.

Be helpful first. Be helpful way more often than you ask for something.

Share instead of hoard.

If you learn how to connect with people the way they want to be connected with, you have the magic trick. Be where your customers are. Grow bigger ears.

Listen at the point of need.

The secret sauce isn’t keeping secrets. Equipping people to win is the secret sauce.

Press releases aren’t dead. How you’re delivering them is dead.

Great morning, great ideas and great inspiration. See you at BarCamp.

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VUStar reaches 50 million people in July

Vanderbilt experts reached almost 50 million people in July using Vanderbilt’s 24/7 campus broadcast facility, VUStar. Our experts did 13 interviews with ABC Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, NBC News Channel, ABC World News Weekend and CNN HLN. Williams Schaffner, the go-to guy for infectious diseases, did six of those interviews on the H1N1 virus.

Great work VUStar, team.

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No college fair too far – VU recruiting efforts in Iraq paying off

Vanderbilt’s efforts to find the globe’s best students, including those in Iraq, was highlighted this week in USA Today and by other news outlets worldwide.

The Iraqi government is launching a new scholarship program to send 10,000 Iraqi students to the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia over the next five years. Vanderbilt was one of the schools highlighted in the article, largely because of it was one of the few American universities who answered a call from the Iraqi government to help them rebuild their higher education system earlier this year.

As previously reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Vanderbilt was one 24 American universities (of 250 who were invited) to accept Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s invitation to participate in college recruiting fairs and an evaluation of Iraq’s higher education system in January 2009. The Chronicle reported that the effort, undertaken in partnership with the Academy of Educational Development, was al-Maliki’s first step to rebuild Iraq’s higher education system.

The January trip was part of Vanderbilt’s many efforts to increase the percentage of international students on campus to 7 to 8 percent.

Vanderbilit political scientist Katherine Blue Carroll was one of the experts involved in the initial efforts in Iraq. As reported by the Chronicle:

“I know from experience how hard the American army has worked over here to try to improve the lives of Iraqis, but their days here are now drawing to a close,” said Katherine Blue Carroll, a political scientist from Vanderbilt University, in a telephone interview from Baghdad. “Someone needs to step up to the plate next, and I think American universities should lead the way.”

“The students I met feel like they’ve fallen way behind and are dying to learn and to be part of the world,” she said.

Carroll was embedded in a U.S. combat unit in Iraq an attempt to help military officials make better decisions on the ground by sharing their expertise on local customs and cultures.

According to the recent AED press release,

“In the first phase of the Initiative, Iraq’s Higher Committee for Educational Development will award scholarships to high-achieving Iraqi high school students who have taken required college admission tests. Students will be allowed to study nearly all majors and seek all degrees, including some PhDs. Iraqi students will be especially encouraged to study engineering, education, information technology, business, law and medicine. All scholarship recipients will be expected to return to Iraq after they complete their overseas programs.”

University officials have no firm details at this time on how many Iraqi students will be joining us in Nashville, but expect to have more information this fall. The Iraqi students will go through the same application process as all other potential students.

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Chancellor Zeppos to discuss state of Vanderbilt on NPT Friday, June 19

From myVU:

Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos recently sat down with Nashville’s renowned editor and First Amendment advocate, John Seigenthaler, to record an episode of “One on One” for Nashville Public Television.

In the show scheduled to be broadcast on NPT at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 19, the two will discuss Vanderbilt’s future, the state of higher education and the effect of the current economy on the university.

Contact: myVU, myvu@vanderbilt.edu

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Google Search Appliance comes to Vanderbilt

What’s that shiny yellow box brightening up our data center?

Google Search Appliance

It’s Vanderbilt’s new Google Search Appliance, huzzah! It arrived June 8 and is currently being poked, prodded, tweaked, configured and all other manner of things to prepare it to serve as the new search engine for the university and Medical Center Web presence.

What can these shiny new boxes do?

  • Index up to 10 million documents
  • Personalization of searches tailored for VU and VMC
  • Advanced reporting
  • Subscription feature for alerts for topics and documents of interest
  • Spellchecker in a bunch of languages
  • Google quality and ranking
  • Integration with existing security and access-control systems
  • Customization for campus clients: search of Intranets, servers, portals, file shares, databases, content management systems and real-time data in business applications
  • Did I already say 10 million docs in one box?

These features are just the tip of the iceberg, and though really exciting to a handful of us, the end result for the millions of people who use our Web site should be faster searching with better results.

A big thank you to ITS and Public Affairs for making this happen. More details to come post-launch hopefully in the next month or so.

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Commencment 2009

Commencement 2009 had a stormy start, as thunder, lightning and a soaked Alumni Lawn and chairs drove the Class of 2009 into Memorial Gym. The house was packed, and the rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the graduating students and their families. News and photos can be found on the  Vanderbilt homepage; a sample is below (Great job Jenny, Daniel, Steve & John!).

Kudos to the excellent Commencement team on another job very well done.

Congratulations, Class of 2009, and the very best of wishes for what comes next. You were a remarkable class and you will be remembered!

Commencement 2009

Commencement 2009

Commencement 2009

Commencement 2009

One of the pros behind the VU lens: John Russell

One of the pros behind the VU lens: John Russell

Commencement 2009

Commencement 2009

Taylor Stokes

Taylor Stokes

Bring on the strawberries and champagne!

Bring on the strawberries and champagne!

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Senior Day 2009

After what seemed like endless days of rain, the clouds parted this Senior Class Day afternoon for soon-to-be-alumni and their families and friends enjoying Vanderbilt and Nashville as they prepare for Commencement. The festivities are going splendidly, from the always-rockin’ The PARTY, held last night with The Al McKay Allstars who played the happy music of Earth, Wind & Fire, to an excellent Senior Day speech today by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitizer Prize winning author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Many events and parties going on all day and tomorrow, with the big ceremony taking place at 9 a.m. on Alumni Lawn (hopefully! If the weather refuses to cooperate, we’ll be in Memorial Gym). Get the full schedule.

We’re tweeting all this of course and hope you will too – tag all your Vanderbilt Commencement tweets with #VU2009, and go here to see what’s going on so far.

Photos below by our stellar photographers of The PARTY and Senior Day. Hold onto your hats for tomorrow – they’re planning a fantastic shot using Gigapan. Check the Commencement site for that tomorrow, as well.

The PARTY

The PARTY

The Party

The Party

Vice Chancellor David Williams at The PARTY

Vice Chancellor David Williams at The PARTY

Al McKay at The PARTY

Al McKay at The PARTY

Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos addresses the class of 2009 during Senior Day.

Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos addresses the class of 2009 during Senior Day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about her life as a historian during Senior Day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about her life as a historian during Senior Day.

The crowd at Senior Day.

The crowd at Senior Day.

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