According to The New York Times, some college presidents have taken to blogging.

Some command-and-control types are horrified — “Veterans of campus public relations disasters warn that presidents blog at their peril; ‘an insane thing to do’ is how Raymond Cotton, a lawyer who advises universities and their presidents in contract negotiations, describes it.” — while others think it’s a great idea: “Bob Johnson, a consultant to many universities on marketing, said he was mystified that university officials had not generally embraced blogs. Mr. Johnson said student blogs, for example, could be a ‘hugely effective’ recruitment tool, even if they carried the implicit promise — or threat — of uncensored truth, however unflattering.”

Which brings us to Williams. While President Morty Schapiro would be a terrific blogger, I hope Williams doesn’t do the imperial blog thing — assuming, of course, that Williams ever has an official blog.


Instead, I hope it goes the communal route. Over the years I’ve always been impressed with the how thoughtful and articulate Williams administrators are. When I was a student, that included folks such as Prof. Dudley Bahlman (Dean of the Faculty) and Steve Lewis (Provost, went on to become President of Carleton). These days it would include people such as Dean Roseman, Steve Birrell, Mike Reed, and I’m sure others that I just haven’t talked to.

Corporate blogs written by CEOs, after the initial euphoria, have typically struggled. Very few CEOs can be scintillating day after day. To counter a scarcity of content, some companies do the group thing, where a group of employees put up posts. A company such as iUpload offers such a capability, where employees can post to their own individual blogs but also publish to the company blog. I think a Williams blog set up that way could be pretty interesting — with Dean Roseman talking about student housing one day, Mike Reed writing about what it’s like to come back to Williams after 30 years the next day, and Steve Birrell writing about how the college is working to engage younger alumni the following day.

Anyway, that’s my blog wish for the new year.

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