(Above: My home office. L-R: Korean-made Gibson Explorer knockoff purchased by my Dad for my fourteenth birthday in the basement of an athletic shoe store in Cascais, Portugal; Bobby Rattlehead in pre-Halloween storage; custom Peavey Tracer with rendering of the banned flyer from my college radio show)
I'm proud to say that, starting the week before Halloween, I will be delivering unto this world probably one of the scariest things imaginable:
In addition to my Edelman duties, I will be teaching an online master's-level course for Kent State about PR and digital communities.
Basically, this is the closest I've yet come in terms of building the kind of overview course on this topic that I've always had in my head. It will be an exploration of online communities in all of their "best, worst, and, above all, most vital forms" to quote Katie Hafner's wonderful story about The WELL. (A required reading in the first week.)
Rather than treating online communities as a relatively sanitized place that will enable you to sell lots of t-shirts, this will be an attempt to look at these communities in a way that marketers, leaders, reputation managers, and many other audiences can build upon and adapt as they like.
Seven weeks will certainly test the art of compression, during which time I will throw everything at my poor learners from state-of-the-art analyses to seventy-year-old treatises from Austrian economists.
Many thanks to Bill Sledzik at Kent State for reaching out to me, and to the university for allowing me a remarkable amount of latitude my first time out.