Jake and David, two Mendoza undergrads, sat across the table from me with a look on their faces that let me know they are way too polite to say what they were actually thinking.
Which was: Lady, you’re a dinosaur.
I was enlisting their advice in answering a straightforward question. How do we communicate with our students? Say we have an announcement from the dean, or a really cool speaker is coming in that they don’t want to miss! What’s the best way to get the word out to the Mendoza student body?
Email? No, they shook their heads. They get too much email. They don’t look at it.
Facebook? Posters? Mail? Show up at their dorms??
Suddenly, it seems that for all the channels of communication now open to us—thanks to mobile phones, tablets, laptops and heaven-knows-what coming down the pike—there seems to be no way to actually reach students. The constant and ever-increasing stream of communications is becoming digital kudzu, ubiquitous and obscuring. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook posts, overflowing inboxes … it’s just overwhelming.
Jake and David aren’t here right now, but I can sense that somewhere they are rolling their eyes.
For the “selfie” generation, trying to raise awareness about the proliferation of communication is like saying, we breathe oxygen. Yeah, so?
In December during finals week, we set up a hospitality table in the atrium and gave out doughnuts and coffee to stressed students traipsing to exams. Jake flipped open his laptop, and within the space of minutes, executed an integrated digital media plan worthy of a pricey ad agency. He posted a video he’d created earlier that day, shot photos with his phone, emailed updates to a student listserv (sure, they looked at his emails) and kept up a steady stream of updates on the BBA Council Facebook page.
All while eating snacks and messing around with his friends.
There’s the old saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same. But it seems like the saying should be, the more things change, the more they change.
This has implications for us at Notre Dame Business. You’ll notice one change for this particular issue: We’ve included the Dean’s Report inside. The Dean’s Report—comparable to an annual report for companies that highlights the College’s achievements—will now be integrated into the fall edition of
Notre Dame Business.
To our young Millennial friends, a change like this wouldn’t warrant a retweet. To a magazine staff that’s “always done it this way,” it’s like re-engineering a GM assembly line.
Ultimately, it’s not about mobile platforms versus print, or Facebook versus Snapchat. Putting out a magazine has become an exercise in constantly re-evaluating how we reach our audience, and what kind of stories we need to tell in order to tell “the” story of Mendoza.
And we’d love to hear your ideas about this. Send us a tweet @NDBusiness.