emutalk.org: Who's interested in this experiment?

First off, I have no real strike news. I’ve heard a few interesting stories/pieces of gossip in the hallway that I might share once we have a deal, but not before then. All I really know is what Howard has sent around, that offers and counter-offers have been made and talks continue. It is too early to tell, but it is worth noting that the latest email from Bunsis tells people to be ready to picket tomorrow morning.

But while I still have the attention of a lot of you EMU folks (I assume most of you won’t keep reading this blog after I return to my usual posts on computers and writing stuff), I want to run an idea by everyone:

One of the things that has become very clear to me is that people have been coming to this site because they’re seeking information about the strike from a first person perspective, something not edited, something that can be commented on, etc. I suppose you could argue that this has come about because of the lack of press coverage and the challenges of some of the other resources, but I like to think there’s something more to it. I like to think that this was a place where people could “talk” too.

That’s been really cool. It’s helped keep me semi-sane during this stupid strike, and I think it’s helped others too. So that got me to thinking: what if we were to take this energy to launch a blog that was dedicated to this sort of “talk” about EMU issues, matters that are about news, personal observations, cheers, jeers, rumors, gossip, sports, classes, security, the union, the New Union (the building, that is), whatever.

So here’s what I am suggesting:

  • Let’s start a blog– I’m suggesting emutalk.org, but I’m open to other ideas.
  • I am willing to administer it, but I don’t want to be the main writer of it. Rather, I’m looking for at least a handful of different people to be, at least initially, the main posters/writers. Ideally, these folks would come from a lot of different parts of EMU– faculty, students, maybe even some administrators, PTs, clerical, whatever.
  • I am thinking that folks who want to be a writer– that is, someone who would have access to create posts of their own– would need to let me know who they were, but they could remain anonymous on the blog if they wanted.
  • This space would obviously have no affiliation with EMU– at least not officially. Rather, I’d suggest that we use a commercial provider, and the one I use (and have been very happy with) is ICDSoft.
  • This wouldn’t cost much– $72 for a year. But here’s the thing: I’m not willing to bankroll this myself for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is I’m still not sure how this strike thing is going to turn out. But I will chip in $10 or $15. So that means I need to find six or so more people to kick in $10 each.
  • And then we’ll see what happens. I am certain that there would be a TON of problems that would have to be worked out along the way. But hey, that’d be part of the fun.

So, who’s interested? Leave a coment or send me an email to let me know.

19 Replies to “emutalk.org: Who's interested in this experiment?”

  1. I think it’s a great idea. I don’t know how much I can contribute from my on sabbatical perspective, but I’m up for it. I’ll chip in a bit of cash, too…

  2. I’m willing to host it for free.. I have a webhosting business that I run and I’m willing to host it for as long as I have the business. (which will be for quite a while).

    Mike Garrison

  3. I also think that this is a great idea. Many students at EMU simply aren’t involved, and maybe something more “anonymous” will provide the impetus to draw those students in and give them information on things that affect them, but also give them a forum to inform everyone else. I, for one, would be willing to chip in $10 or so.

  4. I have about 4 active blogs. I think this is a great idea. I’ve been using this in classes for quite some time and have brought the idea over to EMU for some classes I am teaching (new faculty, so can teach). Have a look at the linked blog. Another example comes from a course I taught at U-M:

    http://thecommunityengine.com/bit320

    My approach has been blog aggregation. I think that’s what Kos is doing with his site and his diaries. I’d be willing to discuss the mechanics of this with you. That way, each person gets his own voice.

    I’ve appreciated your blog during the strike. No matter what you come up with, I think you need an editor.

  5. I love it! I was just talking to a colleague today that regardless of the issues surrounding the strike/union/adminstration I had some great and interesting conversations with colleagues in my dept and out of my dept. Such conversations about academic life.. university life are few and far between. I’ll chip in. Do we also talk about what people wear?

  6. Hi Mike–

    I guess I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I really want to support a local company and such. On the other hand, I’ve really tremendous luck with the ICDSoft people. Quite literally, I have never had to wait more than 3 or 4 minutes at any time of day to get an answer to my questions. And since I already have an account with them, I might be able to get a deal on a new account.

    But contact me via email and maybe we can work out a deal.

  7. Sign me up. I think it is a great idea that I would be willing to work on to get started. We, as the whole community at Eastern, need this to bring us together to share our experiences and learn from each other. I will also promote the idea to others.

  8. Thanks for the thoughts, Bud. Yeah, I think something like Daily KOS is a potentially interesting model, too. The basic layout of that site seems to me to be one that just allows lots of different voices to be heard, and that’s always a good thing.

    And I hope you mean I need an editor in a good way! : )

  9. I think that is a great idea. I would be very interested in the technical side of it. I am a student at Eastern. I used to maintain a weblog (http://www.socialenigma.com/). I have been trying to get a web design company going for some time, but have realized that I really need to build a portfolio before I start trying to sell my services. I build standards compliant sites using XHTML for markup and CSS for style. For what you describe, I would use what you use on this site, WordPress to manage content. As I will have the opportunity to build a production site that I may use as an example to future clients, I am willing to pay completely for registration of the domain and host it on my current DreamHost account. I have had good luck with dreamhost. If you would like me to show you some of my unpublished design work, or otherwise discuss this further, please e-mail me.

    Michael Camilleri
    mcamill2@emich.edu

  10. Steven:

    Regarding my remark about needing an editor. I think this site is good. You’re the editor. It’s coherent. Multicontributor sites many times could benefit from an editor. So, I meant I think the new site would need an editor or at least a strong guding vision. However, you are the writing guy, so I would defer to you.

    At any rate, I’d be interested to see what you do after the strike is over, particularly regarding writing in electronic media.

    Bud

  11. First off, while I of course appreciate my latest fans here, I somehow think that when this all ends (if this ever ends), and I return to posts like this one or this one, I think my readership will drop quite a bit. I think this stuff is interesting, but….

    Second, I might be getting in touch with you Michael because it would be kind of cool to get a more unique design than I am capable of doing.

    But third, I’m beginning to think that it might be easiest for me to just start this thing for a year and see where it goes. And I’m also thinking about looking into running some ads on it to pay for it all. I’m not interested in making money off of this of course (and I’d be pretty surprised if I could make money off of ads for a site like that), but it would be pretty nice if this was self-funding, too.

    I don’t want to be a control freak about this, but I think to get this thing off the ground, I think I might just have to do it and then go from there.

    Of course, I want to make sure that I get paid on Friday first….

    Oh, and one more thing: I’m thinking there ought to be plenty of emus on this site. Why we didn’t go that route instead of the eagles when we changed mascots is beyond me.

  12. Hi Steve,
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog, after I stumbled across it a few weeks ago, looking for readable information on the strike. Thank you for giving me an alternative viewpoint. I love your idea for an EMU blog…I would really like to be one of the bloggers if you start up emutalk…I am willing to chip in for the hosting as well. Let us know what you decide. See you in cyberspace, I look forward to future postings.

  13. There are plutocrats in America who would degrade or crush any public institution that they can’t outright privatize and control.

    H.L. Mencken on American plutocrats.

    “Imagine a horde of peasants incredibly enriched and with almost infinite power thrust into their hands, and you will have a fair picture of its habitual state of mind. It shows all the stigmata of inferiority: moral certainty, cruelty, suspicion of ideas, fear.”

    From “The National Letters.”

  14. EMUTalk is a great idea, Steve, and I see it’s working. Count me in for a few bucks and for posting comments, feedback, etc. mark

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