My monthly report: triumphs and questions

As of today I’ve been publishing my Future Trends in Technology and Education (FTTE) report for one year*.   I’d like to reflect on its progress here, then ask you all for advice on a two questions.

FTTE logoTo begin with, FTTE has found a growing number of subscribers.  That number now stands around 1046, which makes me very happy.  Thanks go to each person who signed up – and stuck around.

Out of that number comes a good amount of feedback.  Every week, sometimes several times a day FTTE subscribers send me a steady stream of recommendations, pointers, pushback, and suggestions.  I’m deeply grateful to them, and try to acknowledge each one by name in report notes.

FTTE also has a vibrant if largely unnamed online presence.  During each report’s production month I fire off ideas across social media venues: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and this blog.  People who aren’t FTTE subscribers (yet!) hurl back very valuable perspectives and general input.  Each report therefore owes a lot to the crowd.  Each report is the result of many conversations rippling across cyberspace.

So, June 2014: so far, so good with FTTE.

Questions:

  1. At this far FTTE doesn’t have much of a formal Web presence, beyond its two signup and info pages (here, here).  The report lives primarily as a pdf document** sent early each month to subscribers; secondarily as conversations with me.  Should I expand this, by, say, setting up a LinkedIn or Facebook or Google group for FTTE?  Perhaps place stories to Diigo or Tumblr?
  2. To publish FTTE to loyal readers I email lots of PDFs.  This seems to have hit a wall called “Google worries Bryan might be a spammer”.  Is there a good service which can help me with this?  Mailchimp helps, but not for attachments, and the feedback I’ve received is that people prefer FTTE as a standalone document apart from email.

Any questions or comments about FTTE from you, the reader?

*Well, more than two years, if we include its earlier incarnation as a NITLE service.  The first issue of that run appeared in February 2012.

**A handful of subscribers prefer each FTTE report pasted in to the body of email messages.  I’m happy to do this for them, but they only constitute 1-2% of the total subscriber population.

(many thanks to George Lorenzo, Jim Groom, my wife, and other generous brain trusters)

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6 Responses to My monthly report: triumphs and questions

  1. Bryan, my question is how does the content in FITE differ from what you are publishing in other channels? I am usually interested in hearing what you have to say, but I have no interest in getting a PDF to read via email – it just sounds like the wrong format to me. (Obviously, it’s working for others.) I’d rather follow your blog.

    • It’s pretty different, Michael.
      First, my blog posts are short essays, really, while FTTE is telegraphic in style and organization.
      Second, FTTE has a continuous set of trends being checked and re-checked. It’s a kind of matrix, while this blog is discursive.

      There’s a lot of overlap, of course.

  2. CogDog says:

    A solution for emailing and maybe using Mailchimp is sending a link to the PDF rather than the PDF itself. Mailchimp gives you elegant templates, one click subscribe/unsubscribe, and you get data on amount of reads and clicks.

    But I also agree with Michael, a PDF is a lump of information, you have no way to cite to a portion of it via a link. If each item was a standalone web referencable piece of content, people might be able to remix or make custom collections.

    I’d be glad to discuss help put together a web version that can also do the PDF generating.

  3. Alan, you know I prefer to Web up everything. FTTE, though, meets a need. Like an mp3 carried in an mp3 player, or a print book, or a game slotted into an Xbox, it meets some people where they want to read…. well, sometimes offline. I hear from readers who like printing this out.
    Some do read it on a machine with browsers; that’s why I made the footnote links active to reference points.

    Hm, a URL for each one…That’s a sound idea. Let me ask readers.

  4. Hi Brian – re #2 – you could publicly host the PDF via Google Drive or Dropbox, and then include a link to it in emails sent via Mailchimp. Let me know if you want more info and hope that helps.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Intriguing hosting idea, Mike.
    But would I run into limits on either G-Drive or Dropbox? 1040+ downloads on a single day (assuming all readers click upon receipt) sounds like a lot.

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