Veteran reader Paresky Lawnbowler points out Williams People:

Anyone with a Williams account can get a web site here – simply log in at the right using your regular Williams username and password.

1) Good stuff! Is genius WordPress maven Chris Warren ’96 behind this effort?

2) My alumni login does not work. Does yours? Is this intended for alumni use? It ought to be!

3) Recall our discussion of Williams Blogs from three years (!) ago.

An update on Williams Blogs. Chris Warren reports:

I talked with our Office of Career Counseling and our Alumni Office about setting up blogs on our new server. They were definitely interested. More importantly, it got the ball rolling on building a blogging policy. We’re still in the early discussion stage, but there are enough people with enough interest that I think we’ll get somewhere.

One of the big questions to be resolved is blog ownership / authorship. We aren’t establishing just a general blogging service here, we’re setting up Williams blogs: departments, offices, student groups, etc. That means that the college brand and identity will at least somewhat be tied to them. On the other hand, the blog authors aren’t there just to be a mouthpiece for the college. Sanctioning official blogs means giving up a certain amount of control, which is scary from an administrative perspective.

Interesting times. Once we hash out something I’ll post some kind of summary here (but don’t hold your breath).

Ridiculous. Does anyone in authority have even the faintest clue about the operation and culture of web life? To be clear, I do not think that this is Chris Warren’s fault. He can only provide good tools for people to use. He can’t make them use those tools.

But the whole concept of “official” Williams blogs is ridiculous because there is an unavoidable continuum of connectedness with Williams. The “brand and identity” of the College is associated with every Eph, near and far. Just because a blog sits on a Williams server or has the name “Williams College” on it or has Williams employees as authors does not provide it with meaningfully more or less status as an “official” blog.

The excellent rant continues. Read the whole thing.

4) With luck, this marks a new page (new post?) in the relationship between the Williams bureaucracy and the web. Make it maximally easy for Williams people to make content on webpages provided by Williams. Create an online community — open to the world and empowering all Ephs. Good things will follow.

5) With luck, this tool will facilitate the creation of Eph Communities of Interest: EphCOI. Background reading here and here. Virtually all the alumni office’s efforts in this regard have been total (and expensive!) failures. They should listen to us more.

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