How high will today’s largest endowments grow by 2055?

How might the richest American colleges and universities develop in the future?

I’ve been looking at this small yet superinfluential slice of higher education for a while.  For example, since 2018 I’ve been trying to forecast when the most expensive campus will crack six figures for its annual cost of attendance.  (Right now it looks like 2025/2026, so coming up fast) And I follow research from other people.  The New Press published two powerful books, The Merit Myth (Anthony Carnevale et al) and Poison Ivy (Evan Mandery) (also a fantastic Future Trends Forum guest in 2022).

kim_joshua_Darmouth official pageLast week Joshua Kim offered a thoughtful addition to this topic at his Inside Higher Ed column.  He examined college and university endowments, looking back in time, then projecting them forward.  I’d like to draw your attention to the latter today.

(Just a quick reminder about the reality of endowments: only a tiny fraction of America’s 4,000 or so colleges and universities have endowments of meaningful size.  Endowments are not savings accounts, as a good amount of the funding tends to be structured for certain purposes.)

Josh begins with data from NACUBO, an organization I greatly admire and have worked with.  He sets the stage by looking at the endowments of the richest institutions back in 1990, first with that year’s amounts, then adjusted for our time to account for inflation.  I’ll pick the top 21 of Kim’s list:

School 1990 endowment (in thousands) 1990 endowment in constant (July 2023) dollars (in thousands)
Harvard $4,653,229 $11,165,229
Texas U System $3,731,826 $8,954,361
Yale $2,570,892 $6,168,748
Stanford $2,053,128 $4,926,395
Princeton $2,527,140 $6,063,767
MIT $1,404,588 $3,370,250
Penn $808,409 $1,939,743
Michigan $448,209 $1,075,458
Notre Dame $605,630 $1,453,183
Northwestern $983,556 $2,360,001
Columbia $1,494,938 $3,587,041
Washington University $1,365,854 $3,277,309
Duke $472,923 $1,134,759
Chicago $1,074,505 $2,578,230
Vanderbilt $603,708 $1,448,572
Emory $1,153,875 $2,768,675
UVA $487,007 $1,168,553
Cornell $926,900 $2,224,057
Johns Hopkins $560,478 $1,344,843
U of Southern California $495,595 $1,189,159
Dartmouth $593,952 $1,425,163

In case that table waters your eyes, look at the second row. Harvard University’s endowment was $4.6 billion back in 1990, or the equivalent of just over $11 billion now.  (That’s Billion with a “B”.) Harvard’s regional neighbors MIT and much hated Yale also belonged to the billion-dollar endowment club back them, as did Princeton, the University of Texas, and Stanford University.  The campus I was attending in 1990, the University of Michigan, held only a measly half-billion.

What happened to this rarefied club in the decades since?  Something else to know about college and university endowments is that they can seriously grow, if well tended by financial professionals.  Here’s what Josh found for 2022, the year of the latest data:

School FY22 endowment (in thousands)
Harvard $49,444,494
Texas U System $42,668,276
Yale $41,383,300
Stanford $36,300,000
Princeton $35,794,186
MIT $24,739,862
Penn $20,724,351
Michigan $17,347,188
Notre Dame $16,729,299
Northwestern $14,121,488
Columbia $13,279,846
Washington University $12,252,329
Duke $12,116,260
Chicago $10,300,000
Vanderbilt $10,206,067
Emory $9,997,742
UVA $9,858,442
Cornell $9,838,198
Johns Hopkins $8,244,472
U of Southern California $8,100,000
Dartmouth $8,065,743

Growth indeed.   Those 1990 financials expanded by factors of six, seven, eight, or more.  Harvard’s $4.6 became nearly $50 billion.  My Michigan’s ballooned to $17 billion. Dartmouth, where Josh works, soared from $560 million to just over $8 billion.

Now let’s turn at last to future possibilities, the subject of this blog.  Just how high might these endowments reach if things keep going as they do?  (This is a futures method called extrapolation.) Josh picked the year 2055, did some number crunching, and offered this fiduciary glimpse:

Potential 2055 endowment (2023 dollars—in thousands)
Harvard $210,057,439
Texas U System $181,269,704
Yale $175,810,678
Stanford $154,215,049
Princeton $152,066,174
MIT $105,103,554
Penn $88,044,264
Michigan $73,696,899
Notre Dame $71,071,891
Northwestern $59,993,001
Columbia $56,417,413
Washington University $52,052,163
Duke $51,474,094
Chicago $43,757,989
Vanderbilt $43,358,929
Emory $42,473,892
UVA $41,882,097
Cornell $41,796,093
Johns Hopkins $35,025,390
U of Southern California $34,411,622
Dartmouth $34,266,087

These are first-order extrapolations, I say again. They are not rock-solid predictions.  They give us a first pass at where things might be headed.

And Josh offers even more caveats.  For his method, he explains:”The assumptions I used are that returns would equal 10 percent annually, and inflation would run at 3 percent.” He immediately notes that this might not be too realistic:

The reason that I was aggressive in returns and put a lower inflation number is that I did not input any additions to each endowment through capital campaigns or other giving. The calculations also leave out potential future annual drawdowns of endowments.

The assumption that there will be no giving to these universities in the next 30 years is not defensible. An aging cohort of high-net-worth baby boomer alums is set to transfer enormous sums of capital to their heirs and to charity, and universities will almost surely benefit from that eventuality.

Yet it’s a starting point.  Kim goes on: “Still, not knowing what investment or inflation will do in the next 30 years—we can leave out future giving to help with some confidence that the projections below are at least in the ballpark.”

What do these projections tell us?

First, the richest institutions will likely become even more wealthy to a staggering degree.  We can speak of Harvard, the University of Texas, and Stanford’s endowments in meaningful factions of trillions of dollars.  Now, as inflation historically rises, the word “trillion” will lose the eye-popping power it retains today, but looking ahead gives us a sense of scale.

Second, the magnitude of those monies will make calls to use them even more urgent the next time we have a crisis on the order of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Third, *if* American culture shifts away from hyperindividualized neoliberalism towards a more public orientation, perhaps along the lines of the FDR era, we might see calls for these institutions to spend some of those hoards to enroll more students who aren’t rich.

Fourth, the majestic size of these troves might inspire more political moves against them, from tax proposals to contributions into the local community, or other policies. Recall that Thomas Piketty wondered if early 21st century endowments actually contributed to regional wealth inequality. How will these staggering sums appear over the next decades?

Thank you, Josh, for a thought provoking column.

Posted in economics, future of education | Leave a comment

To grow or not to grow? Take this with a giant pile of salt.

One of the great questions of our time is: shall we continue to grow?

I’m referring to our civilization and its massive, complex footprint, which we can measure in many ways.  Will we keep growing our economy, making more goods, services, and money?  Will we keep growing our total population?  And will we decide to keep growing in areas where growth is very difficult?

I’ve been mulling over these questions for years and have a book proposal to fire off shortly, but today I wanted to share one example for discussion.  It’s about the American state of Arizona and how economic and population growth, a/k/a development, is running smack into the natural barrier of not enough water.

(Note: this is a quick post written in haste, as I race between addressing a number of issues and crises.  I’m going to touch too quickly and with too much generalization on giant, complex topics.  I’ve written about them before and will say more later.)

It’s well known that Arizona is very arid. Big chunks of it are desert. Yet for years people keep moving into the state, putting up buildings, expanding towns and cities, developing and developing on the very knife edge of sustainability.  This is well known, I think.

Arizona mountains and plantsNow the state might have hit a hard limit to its growth curve.  In January the state government ordered a halt to development around Phoenix, due to water limitations.  More recently the New York Times noted in a powerful piece that Arizona, like many American states, is overpumping its groundwater.  Yet more people want to move to the state and development is hungry.  What is to be done?

I think of this as a microcosm of our civilization as we look ahead.  There are logistical and practical details, but also a kind of strategy or ideology in play. Are we going to keep revving up growth or will we try some other approach?

All of this came to me, around 2400 miles to the least, as I listened to a very well done Times podcast about a proposed plan for Arizona’s water crisis.  I recommend listening to the whole thing, but the gist is a spectacular idea: building a giant water desalination plant in a Mexican city on the edge of the Sea of Cortez, then pumping the de-salted water far north to Arizona.

The project immediately divided people.  On the pro-growth side the arguments are familiar: we (Arizonans) need to make space for newcomers.  We’re also a state that invents grandly, so this plant+pipeline fits in our tradition.  I would add: it’s consistent with innovation-happy American culture as well.

On the other side, the podcast points out some big problems.  First, it would be huge expensive.  Second, there’s a lot of politics to wrangle, from international diplomacy down to persuading multiple urban and rural folks to go along.  Third, disposing of what would be a giant and growing mountain of salt is a huge burden, one most likely slotted to Mexicans to deal with.  Fourth, the proposed pipeline would stomp on a range of sensitive environments from the sea to consumers.

For me, these are partly echoes of old western debates between development and its opponents, but now with a climate crisis dimension. If human industry is heating the planet, should we respond with more industry or less?  Should we turn to our tested wellsprings of creativity and implementation, or instead haul back on the reins and just… stop?

“But Bryan,” some of you might ask, “What does this have to do with higher education?  That’s what your writing is about, right?”

I see academia all over that great divide right now.  On the development side, we have helped civilization warm the world, as we’ve done our share of educating people in a wide range of pro-development fields from mechanical engineering to business.  We’ve also done generations of research along these lines.  And in the United States we have more or less privatized higher ed’s finances, driving most colleges and universities to reach frantically for dollars wherever they could.  We *need* growth to generate enough of an economy for us to draw upon.

Yet we’re also somewhat on the anti-growth side.  Academic researchers have been stalwarts in researching the climate crisis and calling for humanity to respond.  Some academics have studied and developed ideas around anti-growth political economy, such as degrowth or donut economics. Some academics also teach along these lines.

I’m not sure how many academics want to apply post-growth thinking to their institution’s operations. In the USA we’ve depended on ever-growing enrollment (and hence dollars) for two generations.  Since enrollment stopped and receded, we still raise our budgets and continue to beat the advancement drum.   Yet I’ve heard some campus degrowth talk from individual faculty and staff, who think their institution has enrolled too many students.  And the occasional campus leader has publicly stated they will accept smaller student bodies (I have a post on West Virginia coming up).

How far will the latter grow?  I’m not sure, at this point.  Many academics tell me the solution to their problems involves the spending of a lot more money, often at the state or federal level. I don’t see Americans in general rejecting consumerism, nor have I seen most academics wanting to reduce their professional footprint.  Perhaps anti-development will remain a minority opinion for the foreseeable future.

I wonder how this might play out with Arizonan colleges and universities.  Who will commit to supporting the plant and pipeline publicly?  Which departments will try to work with the project, such as civil engineering?  And who will oppose the idea, and from which sites within the state’s academic ecosystem?

I think the debate is there, both in the state and elsewhere, if only in a nascent stage.  We can see it in the divisions over Arizona’s grand lunge for more water, and perhaps echoes of that within the entire academic world.

More on this to come.


(photo by Quinn Dombrowski)

Posted in climatechange | 7 Comments

One nation mandates climate classes for its entire higher education system

How might academia respond to the climate crisis?

One way is for colleges and universities to teach more content and classes on the topic. This is a path individual faculty who are passionate about global warming can follow, to the extent they have the autonomy to redesign their classes or to create new ones.  At a larger scale, academic leaders, from department chairs to academic deans and presidents, can help support the infusion of climate into curricula, or the creation of entirely new climate-themes programs, such as certificates, degrees, or interdisciplinary courses of study.

…but on the other hand, maybe some academics won’t have the choice to do so, because the decision will be made for them, from outside of academia.

India University Grants Commission logoI’m thinking of a recent development. The Indian government decided that all of that nation’s universities will now require students to take global warming classes in order to graduate.  As University World News put it,

All students at India’s universities will have to study subjects such as environmental education and climate change in order to graduate, starting from the about-to-begin 2023 to 2024 academic year, according to guidelines from the University Grants Commission (UGC), the country’s higher education apex body.

The UGC also published curricular guidelines about such coursework earlier this year.

There are more interesting details in Shuriah Niazi’s account.  This requirement covers all students studying all topics, “including general engineering, medical, architecture, pharmacy, management, among others.”

The required classes are also not based in one single discipline:

the new environment education curriculum will be multidisciplinary and encompass areas such as climate change, sustainable development, conservation and management of biological resources and biodiversity, pollution, sanitation, waste management, and forest and wildlife protection.

(This matches my call for climate change to be the new liberal arts, in the American context.)

The reason for doing this is immediate disasters striking the nation:

Many academics have noted that as India has witnessed extreme weather events in the past few years, including huge loss to life and property, extreme heat waves, unprecedented floods and excess rainfall, landslides, glacier bursts etc, believed to be triggered by climate change and environmental imbalance, the environment as a subject has become of prime importance.

(There is also a professional group for Indian academics teaching the climate crisis.  Hello, TACC!)

This is an important move for global higher education, as I think it represents the first nation to mandate climate crisis classwork for all postsecondary students.  Some nations have encouraged such classwork’s development to various degrees, but not required such, as far as I can tell.  Some individual campuses require such work – indeed, University of Barcelona students struck to compel their administration to issue that mandate.  Yet at the level of all post-secondary education for a country, I think India might have broken new ground.

Will others follow suit?  I’m not sure of the geopolitics here.  Perhaps other BRICS countries will be inspired.  Maybe some individual nations hit hard by climate, or clearly threatened by global warming, will consider such a move.  I imagine national leaderships seeking to build up green job capacity may find this a useful policy tool.

I don’t know what this means for academic freedom and autonomy in India’s colleges and universities.  UGC does have the power to issue such policies.  Is this an unusual step in practice?  How does it connect with prime minister Modi’s policies*?  I am not sure, and would like to learn more.

It might be that years from now we’ll see mandatory climate classes across the world.  Alternatively, such mandates might become superfluous as student demand soars, and wise academic institutions meet it.

*Please don’t interpret this post as an endorsement either of Modi or his leadership.

(thanks to Vivian Forssman for the main link)

Posted in climatechange | 2 Comments

Starting my future of higher education seminar at Georgetown

Today I’m holding the first class for my Georgetown University Learning, Design, and Technology future of higher education class.  It’s one I created from scratch and am enormously fond of.

I’ve taught it several times, and am keeping the majority of the syllabus this time.  Yet I’m also adding some twists and would like to share the whole thing here, in my usual spirit of transparency and openness around teaching.

The goal remains to teach students three things: the best thinking about the future of higher education; how to do futures work; interdisciplinary study.  We do this work through a bunch of tasks and exercises: reading articles, stories, and books; minilectures from me; discussions driven by them; weekly responses; weekly horizon scanning; two mid-term projects. As ever, the final project involves them creating a new higher education institution and portraying it creatively.

Also as ever, this is a student driven class to a substantial degree.  The class shapes “rules of the road” on the first day. They determine one week’s topic and readings for two weeks. Their horizon scanning findings feed into discussions (and this time we record them on a running Google Doc).

One change is that I’m adding AI material throughout the term. It’s a mix of hands-on and critical work. They will do AI exercises and hold discussions about them nearly every week, tied to that week’s topics.

Another change is that I’m increasing the amount of time aimed at the climate crisis.  They’ll read Universities on Fire at the course’s end but precede that with horizon scanning for the topic.  And there are two points where students connect AI and climate change.

Several things are still in the design process now, starting with my Matrix University game.  I haven’t had a chance during the past year to revise it further, so hopefully can carve out some time over the next month to do so.  (If you haven’t seen the game, it’s a kind of tabletop/role playing game hybrid, a simulation of a campus over the next decades.)

I’d also like to make a deliberate effort to include Georgetown’s fine Maker Hub and Gelardin multimedia support center in giving the students more opportunities for creative work. Typically I urge – well, harangue – the class about these awesome campus resources. This time I should loop them in.

Here’s the syllabus.  I’ve deactivated some links which only the logged-in students can access.

Future University in Egypt

Thursday, August 24, 2023 – Introductions

Designing the class: technologies, community, practices, pathways

Forecasting methods: introduction to futuring

Exercise: introduction Canvas thread

Stewart Brand, “Pace Layering: How Complex Systems Learn and Keep Learning”

Exercise: assemble academic systems, 1

Exercise: futures wheel

Thursday, August 31, 2023 – Futures and Systems

Gidley, The Future: A Very Short Introduction, chapters 1-4

How To Run a College, chapters 1-6

Exercise: assemble academic systems, 2

AI exercise: how AI imagines higher education

Thursday, September 7, 2023Systems and scanning

Forecasting methods: horizon scanning, higher education (share notes here)

How To Run a College, chapters 7-9

Stanford 2025 

Exercise: set up digital scanning practice

AI exercise: how can AI help with horizon scanning?

Thursday, September 14, 2023 – Trend Analysis

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

Forecasting methods: trend analysis, STEEP

Exercise: turn this week’s horizon scanning into trends

Academia Next, chapters 1-6

AI exercise: turn horizon scan results into trends

Thursday, September 21, 2023 – Scenarios

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

Academia Next, chapters 7-15

Forecasting methods: scenarios

AI exercise: use AI to create scenario text and images (some extra thoughts here)

Thursday, September 28, 2023 – Speculative Fiction as Futures Tool

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

Forecasting methods: fiction


AI exercise: ask AIs to create future stories

Friday, September 29, 2022 – TRENDS ANALYSIS DUE

Thursday, October 5, 2023 – Delphi Method: Educational Technology

Exercise: horizon scanning  (share notes here)

EDUCAUSE Horizon Report 2023 

Forecasting methods: the Delphi Method

AI exercise: explore for Delphi process

Thursday, October 12, 2023 – Educational Technology 

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

Readings: selected by students

  • (items here)

AI exercise: TBD

Thursday, October 19, 2023 – Gaming the Future

Forecasting methods: simulation gaming

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)


  1. Alexander, “A Web Game for Predicting Some Futures: Exploring the Wisdom of Crowds” 
  2. Practice games

Matrix University game materials (link tk)

  • Individual role briefings (in email)
  • Game board

Role assignments:  TK

Matrix game, 1

Thursday, October 26, 2023 – Student Determined Topics

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

Matrix game, 2

AI exercise: getting an AI to manage a simulation game (some thoughts here)

Friday, October 27, 2022 – STRATEGY MEMO DUE

Thursday, November 2, 2023 – Decolonizing the University

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

la paperson, A Third University Is Possible

AI exercise: to what extent does the technology reflect colonialism?

Thursday, November 9, 2023 – Higher Education and the Climate Crisis, I

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

Universities on Fire (to 111)

AI exercise: use text and image generators to imagine academic futures in the Anthropocene

Thursday, November 16, 2023 – Higher Education and the Climate Crisis, II

Exercise: horizon scanning (share notes here)

Universities on Fire (115-to end)

AI exercise: consider AI’s academic role in the climate crisis

(no class November 23, 2022 – Fall Recess)

Thursday, November 30, 2023 – Student Futures


AI exercise: envisioning the rest of the century

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 – FINAL PROJECT DUE



  • Bryan Alexander, Academia Next.
  • ____, Universities on Fire.
  • Jennifer Gidley, The Future: A Very Short Introduction.
  • Brian C. Mitchell and W. Joseph King, How to Run a College A Practical Guide for Trustees, Faculty, Administrators, and Policymakers.
  • la paperson, A Third University Is Possible.

Recommended readings

  • Adrianna Kezar, How Colleges Change.
  • David Edgerton, The Shock of the Old.
  • David Staley, Alternative Universities: Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education.
  • Tressie McMillan Cottom, Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy.
  • Joshua R. Eyler, How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching.
  • Charles Fadel, Wayne Holmes, Maya Bialik, Artificial Intelligence In Education: Promises and Implications for Teaching and Learning.
Posted in automation, classes and teaching, teaching | 6 Comments

Solarpunk as a way of redesigning higher education for the climate crisis

One well-known risk of working on climate change is depression.  The topic presents so many terrible futures that dwelling in it can be mentally brutal.

In response to this grim issue, people have been offering hopeful ways of thinking about global warming.  One of them became a design movement which strikes me as an antidote, and I’d like to introduce it and its implications for higher education in this post.

The design movement is called solarpunk.

1: What is solarpunk?

I’ve seen people describe it as a way of prompting us to imagine the best possible Anthropocene, and that’s a good start.  Generally solarpunk envisions a positive response to the climate crisis, a way of designing and living that’s in harmony with nature, as opposed to exploiting it.  We rethink everything from transportation to clothing, food systems, landscapes, and social relations.  Put another way, solarpunk is a prompt to get us thinking of a climate future that isn’t horrifying, but actually appealing.

The name is interesting.  On its face the two parts clash: “solar” standing for the sun, of course, and “punk” referring to a rebellious or nihilisitc attitude. In practice the prefix makes us think of solar power, representing renewable energy in general, while the suffix emphasizes creative dissent and an attempt to break with the present day order of things.  The sun also tends to have a positive, warming resonance, which signals the term’s positive aspirations.  For me, “punk” particularly indicates an unfinished, improv, DIY creative energy.

We can tease out a host of concepts under the solarpunk header, starting with biophilic design. This is an architectural school which seeks to reconnect people with nature within the built environment.

For an example, consider this classic image by Imperial Boy:

A solarpunk vision by Imperial Boy.

The city is far greener than most.  Note the plants and trees growing on buildings beyond their first floors, intertwining flora with urban life.  Note, too the centrality of water, both in the canal and (implicitly) running through the plants.  There’s much more to biophilic design, but let’s move on for now.

A second concept is what we used to call appropriate technologies for the post-fossil fuel world.  Solarpunk is neither anti-tech nor boosting tech for its own sake, but seeks instead to pick tools which work and have a minimal footprint.

For an example, watch this extraordinary video which is putatively – of all things – a yogurt ad:

Some days I prefer this version, with the voiceover (and ad copy) removed:

Notice the mix of technologies.  Some are advanced, like human-ish robots, drones for delivery and local rain clouds. Others are not, like old school clothing.   Technology doesn’t dominate the world, but sits nicely within a human and natural context.

A third element is a kind of left-green politics. Solarpunk centers the environment and renewing it within the political sphere, as per Green parties.  It tends to be anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist.  It’s also keen on social justice along multiple axes: gender, race, geography, development, etc.  I’ve especially seen the latter in solarpunk fiction, which often turns around ways of addressing inter-human injustices.

Solarpunk stories and art often speak of growth, but it’s important to note that it’s not in the neoliberal sense of ever-expanding market share, business size, stock value, and so on. Instead, solarpunk growth strikes me as being more about natural renewal. Indeed, that can be at the expense of humanity, whose footprint recedes in many ways.

Additionally, it’s important to see that solarpunk is a transnational, global movement. We can find examples from Brazil, China, India, Europe, and the United States.  The designs show this, with local/national details and remixes of many cultures.  At the same time, solarpunk stories are often very local, focused on a given community.

We can also speak of solarpunk’s visual aesthetics.  They often emphasize green colors, of course.  We also see a mix of Earth tone.  The appropriate technology dimension leads to interesting representations of hardware combined with nature.

There’s a lot more to be said about this design movement.  We can pull up examples from literature, games, and art.  We could dive into the long prehistory of solarpunk antecedents. But I’d like to pause that for now (see below for some links) in order to turn to how we might apply it to colleges and universities.

2: What might solarpunk mean for higher education?

Now I’d like to bring this design movement to bear on academia as we wade ever more deeply into the climate crisis.  My intuition is that solarpunk can inspire us to interesting and useful ways of rethinking colleges and universities.

Some AIs agree. Claude.AI had some thoughts, starting with the physical campus:

Here are some ways a college campus could embrace solarpunk ideals and aesthetics:

  • Abundant plants, trees, gardens, and green roofs on every building to integrate nature and capture carbon. The campus could focus on native species and food production.
  • Renewable energy like solar panels and wind turbines providing electricity. Buildings designed for natural light and ventilation to minimize energy use.
  • Sustainable architecture with recycled and natural materials. Lots of wood, stone, and glass for a bright, earthy look. Decorative elements made through 3D printing or crafts.
  • Rainwater harvesting systems used for irrigation and plumbing. Features like constructed wetlands and bioswales for drainage.
  • Transportation by walking, biking, and public transit encouraged over cars. Paths connecting campus to greenbelt areas and the local community.
  • Makerspaces with technology like 3D printers where students can build and repair sustainable devices. DIY and upcycling emphasized.
  • Communal gardens, kitchens, workshops, and social spaces to foster sharing and collaboration. Focus on circular economy and repair/reuse over waste.

Next, Claude has ideas about the non-physical infrastructure of a college or university:

  • Courses and research involving agriculture, renewable energy, ecology, technology, social justice, arts, etc. with a holistic approach to solving environmental problems and creating sustainable systems.
  • Campus culture values equity, inclusion, cooperation, and democratic processes. Students, staff, and community partners work together on improving sustainability on campus and beyond.

The overall goal would be a closed-loop, carbon neutral or even restorative ecosystem improving the natural and social environment.

That’s a good start, covering a nice range of topics.  Each makes at least some sense, but is by no means the final word.  And we can see the bot hitting some of the domains I’ve previously identified:

How higher education engages with the climate crisis_overall

I would add even more. Does solarpunk suggest collaborations between campus and the local community, such as those communal kitchens?  How might academic research play a role on the wider regional or global stage?

Visual AI services have created some intriguing images.   An early edition of Midjourney depicted some interesting, abstract views, like these:

Solarpunk_university_4 pix JohMag23__Midjourney

Sketchy, but you can see glimpses of nature and various academic signifiers.

Stable Diffusion presents more details:

solarpunk by Stable Diffusion

Now we see buildings deeply intertwined with greenery – forests and farms?  Water lines one side, while solar panels are plentiful.

Nowadays Midjourney offers more detailed visions, like so:

bryanalexander_A_solarpunk_university._glass and blue water

There’s a strong emphasis on water and glass, suggesting greenhouses, perhaps, or passive heating and cooling.

Compare with this one:

bryanalexander_A_solarpunk_university._lots of brown wood

I don’t know what “…ATO SURAN” means but do enjoy the surrealism of AI image generators freestyling new languages.

Again with water and glass.  But the brown/tan colored structures might suggest wood or mass timber, for a very different building design.

Hopefully you, dear reader, may have some ideas which you’d like to share in comments, your own blog, or on social media. I think this is a good prompt for reflection, conversations, prototyping, and workshops.  In fact, I’m going to host a live video Future Trends Forum session this week, wherein participants can develop their own ideas together.  Join us!

There’s a lot more to look into if you’d like to explore solarpunk.  The Arizona State University’s Hieroglyph project’s manifesto is handy, as is this interview with its author.  This article goes into more detail. Here’s one nice has good materials.  Rhys Williams has a good appreciation and critique.

(drawing on sources like Solarpunk Anarchist and Built In)

Posted in climatechange, Future Trends Forum | 4 Comments

More campuses under extreme weather

Yesterday I wrote about two Canadian campuses endangered by fires. Climate change played some role in intensifying those conflagrations.

Today I offer a related story.  This post will be relatively brief, as I’m with my wife, back in a hospital again.

Let me note a group of American colleges and universities threatened by another type of extreme weather.  These are institutions in southern California, in the way of tropical cyclone/hurricane (now post-tropical cyclone) Hilary.

"The Weather Prediction Center’s updated Excessive Rainfall Outlook for August 19–22, regarding Hurricane Hilary"

“The Weather Prediction Center’s updated Excessive Rainfall Outlook for August 19–22, regarding Hurricane Hilary”

How are those institutions responding? At Inside Higher Ed Doug Lederman notes some examples:

Palomar College, a two-year institution north of San Diego, said that “due to a state of emergency,” it had canceled classes at all of its locations on Monday. Sunday afternoon, California State University, Los Angeles, updated its social media pages to say that it, too, would cancel classes and ask employees to work from home Monday.

Sunday night, the San Diego Community College District said all of its campuses and facilities would be closed today, due to the “lingering effects” of the storm.

San Diego State University said in a communiqué to students and employees that it would shift to virtual instruction and telework for “all employees who are able to do so.”

At the same time, “[o]ther institutions, including Pasadena City College and MiraCosta College, were still planning to operate normally Monday as of late Sunday.”

Hilary also crashed through Mexico, killing at least one person.  I haven’t been able to find any news about impacts on that nation’s universities.

A hurricane striking California is very strange.  The last one was apparently in the 1930s.  Hilary is evidently the result of the strengthening El Nino.

Hurricanes hitting the American southeast and east coast are, alas, not at all unusual.  Apparently a series are forming up in the Caribbean.

To what extent can we understand this extreme weather as the result of climate change?  It seems to be too early to tell.  One scientific group, World Weather Attribution, is still researching and deliberating.  Other opinions vary. Which tells us a few things:

  1. To be cautious about too rapidly blaming dangerous weather on the climate crisis.
  2. To learn about how we respond to these storms and fires, regardless of their causes, so that we can apply the results to future incidents.
  3. To remember that the number and strength of such events is going to increase over time.

All best wishes for the safety of people in Hilary’s path.

Posted in climatechange | 2 Comments

Higher education and climate change: two stories from August 2023

How might academics respond to the unfolding climate crisis?

Today I’d like to share two developments which can help us think through that question.

The first comes from Canada, where two campuses (so far) have been under evacuation orders due to out of control fires.  The University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus), an institution with more than 11,000 students, announced a total evacuation yesterday as fires roared nearby.

British Columbia is now under a state of emergency. You can see the status of fires across the province from this governmental website:

British Columbia fires_2023 August 19

The UBCO main page now features this very concise announcement: “A fire is burning near UBC Okanagan Campus. Evacuate.”

At the same time, farther to the north, Aurora College of Yelloknife (their website keeps giving me errors; anyone else getting this?) is delaying the start of fall classes because of fires, which have prompted evacuation in the area.  The College’s Facebook account said this, two days ago:

Due to the evacuation of Yellowknife, Ndilo and Dettah, Aurora College’s Yellowknife North Slave Campus will be closed until further notice. We will re-assess the closure as updates are received from city officials and emergency organizations.

According to one local site, the delay is:

to provide more time for emergency personnel and affected communities to deal with impacts of the fires. In addition to the delay, the college says some of communications have been compromised by the fires, including some telephone lines, email and website infrastructure, and are forced to share most information through various social media platforms.

The second development took place in a Montana court, where teenagers sued that state for failing to do enough to protect their environment from climate change.  A judge agreed, although state officials disagreed.

Why do these stories matter?

To begin with, the Canadian fire stories offer examples of climate change-worsened weather physically impacting campuses, both the grounds and the academic population.  These incidents are very much for what I described in my recent book, titled in a very much on the nose way for today Universities on Fire.  Unless we are very lucky as a species, we need to plan on experiencing more such extreme weather events in higher education.

The Montana case offers an instance of a major aspect of how Americans value the climate crisis.  Note that it was teenagers (with adult help) who brought the suit.  This is very consistent with polling indicating that age strongly shapes climate view – i.e., the younger one is, the more likely they are to be concerned.  We saw this in a recent Pew survey, which offered findings like this:

Chart representing climate views by age and political party.

This impacts higher education directly.  Incoming traditional-age undergraduates are more likely than campus faculty and staff to be concerned about climate (compare the ages 18-29 to 65+, above). This may appear in terms of class and course of study selection, then evolve into research interests as they age up into faculty and staff positions.  We may also see activism among students, taking place on or off campus, as I’ve been forecasting. Suing a state government is no small thing, and points the way to a generation of academic politics.

Let me add a caveat – an obvious one, I think, but worth mentioning – that these two developments are playing out, and will play out, unevenly across the total higher education ecosystem.  Not all campuses are very exposed to fires. Not all colleges and universities will enroll students (then faculty and staff) who are energized by the climate crisis in sufficient numbers to be significant.  Enough will, though, for academics to be mindful, to plan, and to act.


Posted in climatechange | 3 Comments

Are you teaching about climate change and education? I’m available as a guest speaker.

Are you teaching a class this fall which addresses how climate change might impact higher education?

If so, I’m available to contribute, if it makes sense for your pedagogical and curricular purposes.

Universities on Fire on a library bookshelf

Universities on Fire on a local library bookshelf.

To explain: for several years now I’ve been researching the topic of the higher education-global warming relationship.  That’s led me to create numerous blog posts, presentations, articles, and a recent book, Universities on Fire.   My hypothesis is that climate change will have a deep impact on post-secondary education, and that academics have many actions we can take to respond to – and, better yet, anticipate the unfolding crisis.  It may be the greatest challenge facing academia in the decades ahead, starting now.

So why am I interested in participating in classes?  Partly because I’m fascinated by how global warming appears in the curriculum and want to learn more (that’s part of University on Fire‘s fourth chapter).  Yet also because I find students to be more interested in the topic than their faculty and staff elders, generally speaking, and I want to connect with that energy and learn from it.  They might become the prime movers for getting colleges and universities to seriously grapple with climate change.

In a given class I can give a talk, facilitate discussion, take questions, lead a simulation game, or follow whichever pedagogical format best fits class design and goals.  As an experienced presenter and classroom teacher I can make it all work.

Logistically, I’m happy to video into a live session via Zoom, Teams, Shindig, Skype, etc. Participating asynchronously, such as through a class blog or learning management system/virtual learning environment, is also fine.  If you’re within a day’s travel from northeastern Virginia, I could visit in person.

For faculty interested in me as guest on the topic, please reach out here.

Posted in climatechange, teaching | Leave a comment

Personal downsides of 2023, or why I’m a bit quieter than usual

I fear that I’ve fallen weirdly silent at times, on this blog and elsewhere, during the past year.  Some of you may be waiting for me to reply to emails you’ve sent.  Others have pinged me via LinkedIn messages, Twitter DMs, and even snail mail, and wonder where my typically garrulous self has gone.

Alas, I have a reason for being dilatory for the past half year.  While 2023 has had some high points, like the launch of my new book and the 10th anniversary of our business, it has also been pretty awful on a personal level.

Yes, this is one of those nonprofessional, personal posts.  Feel free to skip or wait for the next post.

I can sum things up as two blows.

Nelson Case smiling happily

Not sure of the year – perhaps 1980.

The first was the death of my father in Michigan.  It wasn’t unexpected.  He was 91 and had been declining steadily for decades.  Formerly a vigorous athlete, a self-styled jock, his body gradually lost strength, tissues, and functions. Cancer took a lung, then other diseases sapped his strength and cost him the ability to lift his arms above his chest. His mobility decreased until he was restricted to a wheelchair, then surgeons amputated a leg.  Affliction after affliction gnawed and reduced him.

In May he called my brother and I from yet another hospital stay, and wished us farewell.  Not a very emotional man, as per his generation, this was a brief message, but he had clearly determined that the end was near. After that stay he entered hospice care.  My wife and I visited him there and found him splendidly well cared for, but a shattered, barely living remnant of his former self.

A week later he died.  My brother, my wife, and I traveled back to take care of things.  This meant a welter of boxing, tracking down financial details, sending items away, notifying people, and many more logistical items.  It meant and still means dealing with the emotional tearing of losing a parent.  That work sprawled over the next month, intertwining with the rest of our lives.  It still continues.

From the obituary Nelson wrote, which I amended slightly:

Nelson Case, beloved father, writer, and producer, and avid tennis player, died on June 26, 2023, at the age of 91. He died of natural causes. Mr. Case retired in 2000 after a professional career spanning 50 years, chiefly in the field of entertainment, from stage managing on Broadway and acting in Hollywood and New York, to becoming one of the premier writer/producers in the field of corporate communications for over 40 years. He is survived by his sons, Kevin Case and Bryan Alexander, his daughter-in-law, Ceredwyn, Kevin’s partner, Terri van Valkinburgh, and two grandchildren, Gwynneth and Owain Alexander.

Bryan, Kevin, Nelson

From left to right: myself, Kevin, and Nelson, during the pandemic.

I have been too busy with professional work to do the emotional work of grieving.  I know this is not good, but economic needs are paramount, at least in American culture.

Then the summer’s second blow fell, this time upon my wife, Ceredwyn.  Early this week she suddenly suffered a heart attack.

Early Monday morning chest pains appeared and worsened, then showed classic heart attack signs.  We called 911 and in a couple of minutes were surrounded by efficient, kind, and skilled EMTs, who transported her to the hospital.  Ceredwyn spent a day and night there, being tested, prodded, observed, while I stayed with her.  Tests showed that it was indeed a heart attack, as one enzyme was heightened, which is what occurs when there’s heart tissue death.  The technical term is NSTEMI, for non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction.

“Heart tissue death” is not a phrase I anticipated typing this year, especially about my splendid wife – who’s younger than me and far wiser about health than I.

Ceredwyn's hand reaching out, with pulse-ox meter and more cords running in.

That’s a pulse oximeter glowing on her fingertip. The wires below her palm lead to various spots on her body.

The next day the hospital conducted a cardiac catheterization, which astounded me as a husband and as someone who follows and thinks about technology.  The cath team inserted a probe in her right hand, then drove the thing up through an artery all the way along the inside of her arm, then across her chest and into her heart. There they found a major artery 90% blocked. The team cleaned this out then withdrew.  (I waited helplessly in her room; a kind nurse visited me to ease my dread.) Ceredwyn spent the next day recovering and being monitored, before being discharged.

Now she’s at home, resting and recovering.  We’re exploring changes to her diet and exercise, which is complicated and at times either galling or contradictory.  She’s also on a stack of medications, and here follow two observations about American health care:

  1. One of the drugs cost nearly $400 US after insurance had done its thing.  Thankfully a local pharmacist spent an hour doing high level bureaucratic finagling to reduce this, but just think of what this might have meant.  I’m shameless in advocating for my family and have other advantages (age, education, extroversion, race, gender, etc) and I shudder to think about how people have to deal with this financially.  Think of how much this might have cost to someone without insurance, or whose policy didn’t do anything to help.
  2. At no point until the medication did we make a rational economic choice. We did not, for example, cost out different ambulance services or sift through evaluations of hospitals. Instead we grabbed what was nearest and fast. Yet our medical system is predicated on patients and caregivers as rational economic actors.

Ceredwyn is still processing all of this. Physically, she’s still in some pain and her arms are seriously bruised at at least ten points where medical staff tried (and sometimes succeeded) in getting entrance to her veins.  Mentally she’s processing the trauma of a sudden, near death experience.  That particular artery  being blocked is nicknamed The Widowmaker (perhaps a widowermaker, to be more precise or pedantic) and it’s a radical, fundamental thing to nearly be killed by it.

Ceredwyn arm after heart catheterization 2023 August

Ceredwyn’s arm after the catheter invasion.  Note the hand being dark; that’s due to the tourniquet above.

My wife, my father: I can’t describe how much their respective suffering horrified and enraged me. There is so much going on here – my adoration of professionals who provided them with fine, compassionate care; endless frustration at bureaucratic strata we’re forced to tunnel through; the difficult in expressing any of this as a GenX male in American culture.  My futurist mind kept generating scenarios and outcomes from the most optimistic to the most direly pessimistic.  The planning and strategic part of my mind ceaselessly worked, developing workarounds for problems and setting priorities in careful echelons.

I want to say more, but as you might expect from the preceding, I feel awkward as hell writing this much. So I’m behind schedule and will be so for a while, as the fall semester bursts into life starting Monday (yeah) and I struggle to catch up with everything that fell by the wayside this awful year.

Please, everyone: take care of yourselves and each other.  Be safe.


Posted in personal | 74 Comments

What I’m doing with social media now

Greetings from a pleasant early August, at least in terms of weather. I’m back home in the Washington DC area and the heat wave has moved on.  It’s still very warm (84 degrees F) and humid, but not so beastly as it was a couple of weeks ago.

I have a stack of analytical and even polemical posts in the pipeline, but today wanted to offer one of my irregular posts about my digital habits.  The reason is that in one particular area things have become chaotic, and I thought I could:

  1. pin down my practice at this moment in time, at least for my own records, but also as a documentary sample of social media use in August 2023
  2. elicit feedback and suggestions
  3. stir some conversation on the topic

The topic is social media, broadly construed. 2023 has pushed the technology and its user behavior into all kinds of directions, between Elon Musk’s demolition of Twitter (I still can’t write or say “X”), the boom and bust of a supposed Mastodon succession, the emergence of new platforms (Threads, Bluesky), and whatever is happening to Facebook as Meta gives up on its Metaverse.  Not to mention the impact of generative AI.

For my own practice, I make decisions based on several factors, mostly balancing research interests and professional productivity.

Here’s what I’m doing now.  Links if you’re like to connect:

Traditional social media

Twitter/”X” Since the service first launched during the failure of a web-based podcast project (oh yes) I’ve used Twitter extensively, primarily for professional purposes. I share what my research turns up and try to get feedback on it, while learning from the people I follow.  I’ve been a long-time event live tweeter and also studied how people use it for storytelling. I’ve also taught people how to use it in various ways over the years.

On the desktop, I rely on Tweetdeck, where I have a bunch of searches and lists running, all regularly tweaked and tuned.

Tweetdeck sample 2023 August 6

About 20% of my Tweetdeck span.

When I can’t use my laptops or desktops I fall back on the mobile app.  The mobile app is also how I do most of my photo posting, since I either take photos with my phone or send photos from my camera there.

Since Musk purchased Twitter the one change I’ve experienced (besides the name and having to buy verification for how extensively I use it) is some decline in users and activity, due to some number of people cutting down activity or leaving.  The volume of Twitter-bashing has gone up, and is now much more political in content, but I’ve been used to that since the start.

I haven’t found a platform that replaces or succeeds Twitter yet.

LinkedIn This is purely professional for me.  No fun posts, no cat pics. I never post anything there natively; instead, I share links and observations that I’ve found or made.  Conversation isn’t very high in volume, but does tend to be nicely focused – i.e., little chaff.

People do use the heck out of LinkedIn for professional contacting.  I’ve seen a lot of people offer their LinkedIn profile page as their main URL.  I get a lot of connection requests… but little conversation follows.

What I don’t do, and should, is make a point of checking the LinkedIn news feed regularly.

Facebook This is both successful and frustrating.   Successful in that I communicate with an awful lot of people here, and a wild range of folks to boot, from elementary school friends to scholars around the world.  There’s a lot of conversation, especially when I avoid Facebook’s tricks to decrement posts, like sharing URLs. And yet Facebook’s algorithm apparently thinks my most interesting content is nothing to do with my work. Academic and futures posts reliably vanish from my network’s ken, while posts about just about anything else – cats, food, practical technology questions, politics, movies – receive far more attention.

So why use it at all?  To begin with, a lot of my Facebook connections use that as their main social media site, and I’d lose them by exiting. For another, Facebook groups can actually be useful. I appreciate a bunch: one on the Reacting to the Past educational game, another on general higher ed, one on instructional design, etc.  For a third reason: some academics contact me there with professional questions and opportunities.

For being a supposedly “dead” platform, I get serious use out of it.  And speaking of Zuckerberg –

Instagram This is probably my most frustrating platform these days.  For some time now I’ve been teaching myself (and learning from very generous friends) photography. I like to share my best results, especially so I can get feedback: validation of what works, suggestions for how to improve. I also like to document some things: my work, my travels, my vegan cooking.

So I post to Insta fairly regularly, yet this activity doesn’t get much traction. Each post usually nets a handful of notices and very little feedback.

I’m thinking of rebooting my Instapractice, but am not sure how, or if it’s worthwhile, as I may have been doing it wrong long enough to depress that account.  I *could* do all vegan all the time, perhaps by expanding to include images of ingredients, cookbooks, etc.  I know there’s an audience for it. I just haven’t connected.

I’d like to emphasize the future of higher education – my work – instead, but that’s harder to do. A lot of what I do doesn’t really work in square photos. Articles and books I write don’t get much of a response.  The Insta desktop experience isn’t great, and I’m not sure about thumbing out the equivalent of blog posts there. Perhaps there is a higher ed community there and I just haven’t found it.

I’m open to suggestions.

Dix Hills library aisle

My most popular pic on Flicks, according to stats, and one of my favorites: an aisle from my childhood library.

Flickr is in some ways a better experience for my photos.  It’s a far more satisfying desktop experience. The amount of stuff you can do with images is far richer. I love that it’s web native. In fact, one of my main Flickr uses is searching Creative Commons style for photos to use in presentations and videos. I love having multiple choices here, plus the ease of posting a URL as credit.

And yet Flickr’s user base seems to have fallen since they missed the mobile boat. I rarely get much in the way of on-platform action, although it’s gratifying when people in other venues use my visual work.

Emerging social media

Threads I’ve been using this for a few weeks, and don’t have a feel for it yet.  I post and read, but it seems scattered.  I really with it had a desktop/web client.

Bluesky Just got on (they’re very size limited) and am exploring.  Haven’t had an extended conversation there yet.

Mastodon I’ve been trying this for years, going between different accounts and many servers, and I think I’ve settled into one combination at last.  Conversations are high quality, albeit small in scale.

I don’t have time to issue my full critique of Mastodon here, but a few notes: it’s still awkward, especially the inter-server issues. Some users are very helpful, which is badly needed, since onboarding is a pain.  So much depends on the identity and administration of a given server.

Remember Web 2.0?

Ah, back in the 21st century’s first decade some of us spoke of web 2.0, a successor to the 1990s’ web, once that was more social, cocreative, with lots of microcontent and more. It was the glory days of blogging, wikis, and RSS.  (In fact, perhaps the most popular article I ever wrote was one I authored with the excellent Alan Levine, on web 2.0 storytelling.)

I persist with some of those historical platforms:

The blog I’ve run many blogs over the years, and keep writing at this one.  I’ve praised it before, so here I’ll just mention that it’s a delight to write here.  It’s also a key part of my professional work, a place to share ideas, host conversation, and develop concepts over time.

Medium I’ve been using this site for a few years.  Usually I share blog posts there, which takes some significant formatting, because Medium’s import engine kept failing, and so I have to manually fix bad quotations and embeds.

On the one hand I enjoy the clean look and feel of articles on the site.  On the other, there’s very little material about colleges and universities, and not much discussion.

I’ve thought of writing more stuff there, natively, to push discussion on higher ed.

I actually managed to monetize Medium, although the results are paltry, a few pennies an article.

RSS reader – this remains central to my workflow.  I follow a bunch of feeds, organized by categories: libraries, futurists, progressive politics, clients, etc. Inoreader is what I use, as it’s reliable and clear.

When social media and email blur

We can define social media in narrow terms, to focus on recent social platforms. I like to include email on this, partly from my historical sense, and because email just won’t die.  In fact, it’s central to a lot of digital practice.

What do I do with email, besides pursue the Sisyphean task of trying to get the number of emails in my inbox down below four digits?   Mostly I maintain a series of email announcement lists about various projects, notably the Future Trends Forum.  Thousands of people are on those lists.

Recently I launched a Substack about AI and the future of higher education.  Substack is interesting here, in that it’s amphibious.  On the one hand it’s a classic email newsletter, while on the other it has all kinds of web 2.0 and social media affordances: comments, sharing, liking, and so on.

I’m also thinking about setting up a discussion list on the topic of how the climate crisis and higher education intersect.

Rich media as social media

Another angle of the social media definition question is which media we include.  Usually it’s simple text (posts, comments) and images, plus the ability to embed audio and video files.  I’d got a bit further and include platforms focused on audio and video.

For video, YouTube looms largest to me.  I post some stuff to Vimeo for my Patreon supporters, but YouTube remains the giant. There I share mostly Future Trends Forum videos, plus whatever else I can make. I hope to do more.

For audio, I’m a big podcasting fan.  I’ve been a guest on many programs and have been planning on launching my own for a few years.  (It’s always a question of time.) I’m a daily listener; my current podcatcher is the Google Podcasts app on my Android phone.

Social media I’m not using

Here I’ll take up the fairly expansive definition I’ve been developing in this post.

Slack – I’m not sure what lands me in the no-Slacking community.  Partly it’s the “oh ye gods, another app to worry about” problem, as I mostly live in web browsers. Partly I need to be actively involved in a project or team with a lot of Slack going on, and I haven’t been for a while.

The Metaverse – I’ve been studying, researching, teaching about, and working on this subject since the 1980s, but I’m not currently part of any social virtual world. Mostly it’s time and a lack of audience.

Tiktok – I have been bouncing off of this one for a while, mostly because I really want to control my feeds. I don’t like giving up my incoming content to a black box.  It reminds me of the broadcast tv I grew up with in the 1970s and offends my well practiced RSS habits. Plus I prefer content that has some time to breathe and make an argument.

I’m open to being able to make Tiktok work for me, at least until the United States prohibits me from doing so.

A note on practice

During the day I regularly check my social media feeds.  Inoreader I read first, followed by a sequence: Twitter, Mastodon, Instagram, Bluesky, and Threads. That’s to check up on various topics while also getting a kind of pulse for the world.Facebook comes later, as it feels different: less news oriented, more checking on people.

When I want to share stuff… it depends on its source and nature. Often I’ll share a thought or a lightly amended link to a source in line with my research interests, and there I run it across each platform, lightly edited for context (@-ing someone who’s on one platform but not another, adding alt text for Mastodon, etc). So I’ll post it to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Mastodon if I’m at my desktop or laptop machines; Instagram, Bluesky, and Threads if on my phone.  Remember my goals of sharing information, learning, and sparking conversations.

In contrast, when I’ve created something, I try to blog it first of all, because I’m a blogging diehard, because I own this blog, because it’s on the open web, and because people can index and comment on it.  Then I spread the word across as many venues as possible, hopefully including an image, and always with a link. Sometimes I make something not on the blog – video (YouTube primarily) or Substack, or something hosted by another entity (interview, article) – and then follow my blog-based habit of sharing it across platforms.

Back to old social media: I also email people based on their interests, reaching out to them about something I did or found. Sometimes that’s just habit, as when I remember a certain person is interested in a certain copyright issue, say.  Otherwise I check a spreadsheet of friendly folks, their interests noted, and ping them.  Again, the idea here is to spark conversation.

…and that’s all for August 2023. Today I’m not going to forecast where these habits and platforms might be headed.  Instead I just wanted to document a moment in time, a snapshot of technology practices.

Please feel free to share your own in comments.  I’d also like to hear your recommendations.

Posted in technology | 5 Comments