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All Around the World, People Want To Be Loved

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His name is Justin Bieber…and I am a fan of his music.

Bieber is talented. He’s also 18. What was your world like when you were 18? I bet it didn’t involve performing in front of thousands of screaming fans, riding around in private jets, and being endlessly covered by the media. Bieber sings, dances, and plays at least two instruments (drums and guitar). Can you do that? I know that I can’t. Bieber was the kid from Canada who posted some videos on YouTube and then was “discovered” by Usher. Okay, that story sounds a bit too polished for me, but the stratospheric rise of the Biebs has been impressive.

The Haterade

When Bieber’s acoustic album came out, I downloaded a couple tracks, and found them to be just as enjoyable as his other jams. I posted on Facebook that “acoustic Bieber is just as good as non-acoustic Bieber.” Several people took my comment to mean that I didn’t like his music. Not true…I’m a fan. Talent is talent. Bieber has it. I love pop music. Sometimes we just need to take a pint of musical ice-cream out of the fridge and dive into it with a spoon. Pop music is about enjoyment. It’s not going to stand up to critical review in the same way that other forms of music do. With Bieber, what’s the point of “hating on” his music? His songs are catchy. He’s maturing right in front of us. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to form an identity in the fish bowl environment that he resides. His world is about having access to everything. Unfettered access to all sorts of good, bad, and ugly. At eighteen! I’m sure his handlers do their best to provide limits as best as they can, but c’mon… It’s a setup. We wring the talent out of someone like Bieber. There are individuals and organizations that make tremendous amounts of money off of his talent. Success has its expense.

For me, it’s not about whether or not Justin Bieber enjoys the same sort of career longevity as other musicians/performers. Enjoy his music. Stop hating. What kind of world do we live in where people hate on a kid because they don’t like the persona that the media presents? In many ways, what we know and see of Bieber is manufactured. I can’t imagine the pressures that that must exert on someone. To be something on stage, and in the studio, while trying to figure out what it means to be someone….at eighteen. Keep singing Bieber.

Written by Eric Stoller

February 8th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Dear Microsoft: Children of the 90s Were Not Born Yesterday

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You might not remember us, but we met in the 90s.

Microsoft’s new ad for Internet Explorer wants to capitalize on our collective nostalgia. Hungry Hippos, floppy disks, Oregon Trail, snap bracelets, bowl haircuts, and slow Internet access. Microsoft just doesn’t understand that while we may fondly remember the items in the ad, we are never ever going to associate Internet Explorer in the same vein. The end of the ad shows Microsoft’s Surface tablet as if browsing via IE on Surface could bring back some sort of mythological experience of yesterday. I loved the ad until the big reveal. All of those memories that it triggers somehow feel betrayed by a company that is completely out of touch with those of us who exist in 2013. A companion website was created to coincide with the ad: “The Browser You Loved to Hate.” Why would they ever want to remind us that “back in the day,” we rushed to Netscape and warmly embraced Firefox. Anything but IE was better than suffering through the default browser on a Windows PC. In 2013, Chrome and Safari have captured our clicks. Microsoft has tried dubstep in previous ads to appeal to our cool sides while this ad appeals to memories that aren’t exactly friendly to good old Microsoft.

With the closing tagline, “Reconnect with the new Internet Explorer,” Microsoft is asking us to do something that feels hollow. Why should we reconnect with something that even Microsoft acknowledges that we “used to hate?”

Written by Eric Stoller

January 24th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Where is Eric?

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Eric Stoller and my watch

Wow. The last post on my blog was in July. JULY! How did this happen? Well, it turns out that being a speaker/writer/consultant is a full-time job (x) 1000. According to my TripIt.com account, in 2012 I took 44 trips and was on the road for 148 days. Coming up, I plan on putting together a post that lists all of the trips/cities from last year. I’ve never traveled so much in my entire life. Whenever anyone asks me if enjoy traveling, I usually respond with “sometimes” or “it depends.” My enjoyment of travel tends to be modulated by my fellow travelers. It’s always more fun when people on flights are happy. Trust me.

One of my foci for 2013 is to be more mindful of my time when it comes to blogging. Writing is something that I did a lot of last year, but it wasn’t always on my terms. As much as I love writing my Student Affairs and Technology blog for Inside Higher Ed, sometimes, it’s tough to generate content when you’re always on the go. Additionally, I realize that many of you are coming over to this blog because of something that I shared on Twitter or because of a Google search for a variety of topics. And, when you get to the blog, you’re probably wondering, “hey, where’s the new stuff?!” Well, here’s the deal, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to post, ponder, write, question, and get my thoughts on “the page.”

Now, I realize that saying and doing are two different things. To that end, I think I’ll reduce my consumption of television programs, minimize my time on Facebook (we’ll see how that goes!), and be mindful of how writing for the love of writing energizes me. There’s always time for writing and thinking.

Written by Eric Stoller

January 23rd, 2013 at 4:42 pm

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A video that tugs at my heartstrings

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I lived in Oregon for 7 years. In all of my travels, and places that I have called home, Oregon remains one of the few places that I love. This video is breathtaking. It makes me feel Portland. It makes me feel the air of Oregon. It makes me feel the trees. It makes my heart very happy.

Written by Eric Stoller

April 27th, 2012 at 11:16 am

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Just keep running

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Yesterday, I ran the Cambridge 5K. It was the second 5K that I’ve done and it was the first time I had run an event that was officially timed. According to the web, the temperature for the run was 24 degrees. That’s right….it was super cold. Fortunately, I was very bundled up…unlike some of the race participants. Several runners had on some sweet costumes!

For me, running has been something that has challenged me throughout my life. When I ran track in junior high, I suffered from exercise-induced asthma. I dislocated my left knee during my first year of high school. My knees have always been cranky. However, running in my 30s has become something that I enjoy. And, my knees and lungs have not bothered me for the most part. I think I’m in better shape now than I was when I was in my 20s. Running allows for a lot of contemplative thinking, helps with stress reduction / sleep, and keeps me more physically fit then I would be if I wasn’t pounding the pavement.

Here’s the start of the Cambridge 5K race.

One of the neat aspects of the course was that it went around Harvard University:

My per mile pace for this race was just under 10 minutes at 9:57. I think I can do better. The cold weather for this run made my lungs feel pretty sore. Next time, I think I’ll be faster. Running really isn’t that complicated. The more you run, the better you feel. The better you feel, the easier it is to run. Just keep running.

Written by Eric Stoller

December 19th, 2011 at 10:46 am

Posted in Running,This and that

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The Art of Moving: Purging and Packing

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Purging and Packing

A friend of mine recently announced that she will be moving soon to begin a new job. She tweeted that she needed tips for how to “effectively and efficiently purge, then pack up, a household.” I have moved twice this year so I figured that it might be useful for me to share some of my thoughts on purging and packing. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eric Stoller

November 29th, 2011 at 9:31 am

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Getting dusty in here

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Dust Bowl 1935

Having been a consistent blogger on this site since 2004, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. My consulting adventures, writing projects, and speaking engagements are capturing almost all of my blog time. I love writing, exploring, thinking, processing, and let’s not forget – typing. However, if you need to find me (at least for right now) I can be found here:

  • My blog on Student Affairs and Technology at Inside Higher Ed keeps me on my toes as technology is a rapidly moving target.
  • Online Colleges – It’s a fun site to blog for as it makes me explore online learning instead of brick-and-mortar.
  • Higher Ed Live – Student Affairs live was on hiatus in October due to my travel schedule.
  • I recently gave a keynote on social media and campus card marketing at the Canadian Campus Card Workshop
  • In Wisconsin, I did an 18-minute-long “Edge talk” on technology and community for an ACUI, SCUP, and Herman Miller sponsored event.
  • EDUCAUSE is the greatest technology and higher education conference of all time! This year’s conference was in Philly and I thoroughly enjoyed geeking out!
  • In a couple of days, I’ll be heading to Newport, Rhode Island for #NASPAtech. I’m participating in 4 sessions in 3 days. I may need Red Bull!
  • In November, I’m giving a keynote for a client’s company in Florida before making my way to San Diego for the NASPA Western Regional Conference where I’m giving a talk on social media, student affairs, and creating connections.

Written by Eric Stoller

October 24th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

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Keep on swimming

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Why focus on keeping your head above water? Grow some gills and keep on swimming. #evolve #gameon
@EricStoller
Eric Stoller

Written by Eric Stoller

September 15th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

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Higher Education + Groupon: Shiny and New…or a Legitimate Strategy

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Groupon - Higher Education Shiny New Tool

From the Chicago Tribune:

National Louis University on Tuesday will offer a Groupon for a graduate-level introduction to teaching course, officials said.

With the Groupon, prospective students can save nearly 60 percent on tuition for the single, three-credit course and earn credit toward a graduate degree, said Jocelyn Zivin, the vice president of marketing and communications for the Chicago-based, private university.

So what do you think. Has National Louis University stumbled upon a legitimate strategy to market their courses or are they just using Groupon as a “shiny new toy” to get people to talk about their school? The tuition break is significant, but will this deal attract students who are interested in teaching?

The course is described as being “tailored for people with no exposure or experience with teaching” and that it was specifically structured for use in conjunction with a Groupon deal. Seems like a PR stunt to me…especially since they make a point of noting that National Louis University is the first “academic university” to use Groupon to “boost student interest.”

It will be interesting to see if National Louis University releases data on whether or not their Groupon experiment actually worked as an incentive for course enrollment. My guess is that National Louis University is elated with the buzz that’s taken place regarding the school’s decision to be the first higher education institution to use Groupon.

At this point, does it really matter if anyone signs up for the class?

Written by Eric Stoller

September 6th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Hello Boston

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Hello Boston

Quick EDS Update: In May, I moved to Columbia, South Carolina. In August, I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. I am writing, speaking, and consulting.

Here’s the view from the apartment. What a lovely city. Cheers!

Written by Eric Stoller

August 24th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

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