New feature: blast from the past

One of my big goals this summer is to organize and archive what I've been doing at Emerson since I started teaching an Electronic Publishing Overview course there in 2007. Most of the material created for the class exists within a transparent bubble for that class. I hope to add the syllabi and class assignments that were originally posted behind the protected gates of webCT to an Emerson site for everyone to see. I will also start posting other material I can to an Emerson site so that students and other interested parties will have access to what has been developed in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing Department at Emerson (more on that in July).

I also wanted to start reposting and saving some of the blog posts my students have contributed to the class over the years. I've decided to repost the complete text with a link to the class blog. Why? I'm not sure how long Emerson will maintain older blogs for classes. Theoretically they should exist forever as they were published documents, but realistically does Emerson want sites that haven't been updated in 3 years sitting on servers just in case someone searches for it?

Plus, it's worth it to collect these posts here to showcase what publishing students think and talk about when they are given an open forum.

The first post is from October 10, 2007 by Michelle Salzman. Michelle is currently the Web Writer/Project Coordinator at Boston University School of Public Health. Her portfolio can be found at msalz.wordpress.com.

Here's her post:

Web Two Point Uh Oh

Oh Wal-Mart, how interesting that your attempt to connect with your shoppers on a site like Facebook didn't go over so well as noted in Social Marketing Do's And Don'ts. It just goes to show how picky people are about their cheap home furnishings. Ok, what it really demonstrates is that you've got to pick your marketing channels more wisely. Social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace are great venues to hook potential customers because people are already there to make connections. "A new friend? I love Target stuff! Why not?" However, you've got to be sure the audience your targeting to interact with you is your audience. I'm sure plenty of college students purchased their dorm stuff at Wal-Mart, no doubt. Still, for a company that regularly gets dogged for its business practices and how it treats its employees, Wal-Mart was really going out on a limb by opening itself up to people's comments by creating a back-to-school page for itself on Facebook:

Rather than mention the company's bargains and goods, many people—in fact, more than half who have posted—criticize the company's labor practices and corporate reputation. One posting reads: "Wal-Mart is toxic to communities and livelihoods." Another notes: "We don't support this company's use of a space for social networking to further horrendous business practices."


Wal-Mart's response: "We recognize that we're facilitating a live conversation and we know that in any conversation, especially one happening online, there will be some positive posts and some not so favorable. We welcome them all."

I guess if you're going to take the plunge into interactive web marketing, you've got to expect drowning is an option.

Originally published at the Fall 2007 Electronic Publishing Overview Blog at Emerson College.

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