Scheduling time to blog, and today’s update

So, today is going to be the first day of me trying to schedule my evenings, at least from Monday-Friday. For instance, tonight I’m going to write this blog post in a 30-minute window from 5:30-6:00. Then I’ll probably spend about an hour overseeing getting kids to bed. Then the plan is to work on school-related things until 9:30, and then spend an hour and a half drawing before bed. We shall see whether I pull that off. Step 1: Write seems to be off to an OK start.

What I’m Working On
Back in March, I opened an account on Pinterest for work. I have one of my own, but really don’t do a whole lot with it; less than three dozen pins, 15 things liked (and that’s all stuff I saw on my phone and thought “that might be fun to draw at some point”). I think from a consumer standpoint I get Pinterest; following a bajillion people who are interested in things you’re interested in, and then pinning and repinning the stuff you find from their boards and occasionally adding your own stuff to the fray. I don’t really have a handle on it yet from an account-curation standpoint at all; I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the possibilities. I think I have some good ideas floating around upstairs, I just need to solidify them and figure out a plan for managing the account.

Anyway, today saw the first-ever Bemidji State University photo pinned on Pinterest. It’s this photo of our new Glas Scholars House, which will be officially unveiled at an open house on the 24th. I included this photo with a news story announcing the open house, which you can read right here. There really isn’t much to the story; it’s the kind of thing that I would have thrown out into the world and not given much thought to. Today I paid attention. Part of my workflow when posting stories up on the Web is to use to generate short links to the BSU Today story. I do this for a couple of reasons – it allows me to include a short URL that isn’t unruly or overwhelming in the PDF version of the news stories I distribute to the media, and it also allows me to do click-tracking on that short link. When I’m logged in, will tell me how many times each of the short links I create have been clicked. So, if I generate a link and then use that link in my release to the media and I also use it when I post the story to Twitter and Facebook, I can get a pretty good idea of how much traffic Facebook and Twitter are pushing to the story.

This number is usually depressingly low – a dozen or a dozen and a half clicks. Today, however, I advertised that there was a pinnable photo available with the story and announced that the photo was our Pinterest debut. As I write this, the story has been posted for a bit less than three hours. It has 89 clicks. I’ve done click tracking on 91 stories so far this year, and the previous high for most clicks was 65. Only one other story has been higher than 50. Both of those stories were announcements of significant hires at the university.

I can’t come up with any reason other than “people saw you mention Pinterest” as to why people have flocked to this house dedication story. Needless to say, I’ll be doing a lot more monitoring of link-clicks and see if a pattern emerges of Pinterest-friendly stories generating measurably more traffic than stories without photos.

What’s interesting, though, is that the link for the actual photo on Pinterest has only been hit six times. So something is driving people to that story in unheard of numbers, but that traffic isn’t leading to visits to the one thing I can identify as a possible reason for the traffic spike.

There’s definitely a lot more to explore with Pinterest; after today’s experience, I really can’t wait to start doing more with it.

What I’m Watching
Nothing definitively. I spent a chunk of time catching up with last week’s sitcoms off the DVR. Last week’s Community, with Britta lusting for the carnie, was an absolutely genius half hour of television. That show is amazing.  I’ve sortof become derailed from my  massive Fringe kick; I was up to about four episodes a night as I was rushing to get through Season 1, but I hit a wall with it and haven’t watched much in the last two weeks. I’d like to pick that up again if I get the DVR caught up. So good, that show.

What I’m Reading
Still have a few chapters left on Clive Barker’s Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War, and I’ve poked around a bit on Amazon and looked to order the third volume. I have insane piles of birthday cash burning a hole in my pocket (thanks, parents!), and I’ll probably hold off on that until I decide on the massive volume of stuff I might as well have Amazon send me in the same box. It’s hard to narrow it down. I’m sorely tempted to do a “buy every IDW G.I. Joe trade paperback” sort of insane purchase, but I’ve also thought about buying some Copic markers (particularly the Black Ink Pro kit; that seems like it’d be a good place to start for an introduction to Copics), and I’ve also thought about being responsible and buying new clothes, which I really kinda want. But, I also thought about just being silly and spending a bunch of it on an H&K MP5 that’s for sale at a local sporting goods store. I really have no idea.

I also bought a copy of IDW’s G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds hardcover from Amazon; it was one whole cent and four bucks for shipping. I couldn’t not buy it. That should be along shortly. I loved that series when I first read it – half-issue vignettes with an in-depth look at one member of G.I. Joe and one member of Cobra per issue, written by Max Brooks. I am very much looking forward to reading it again.

What I’m Studying
Goal for tonight: work on a written assignment I have due on Friday for Sport Facilities Management, and I also should start a “participate in a forum discussion” assignment for Sports Law & Ethics.  I tried to do some work on my final paper for Facilities last night, and it was a disaster. I took this Friday and next Friday off from work so I can hole up in a coffee shop somewhere and work on this stuff. Most of it is due a week from Sunday. I’m ready for this to be done for the spring; work is keeping me very busy, and is not going to slow down any time soon even with summer, and I need a break from coming home and having to put thought into school.

Well, that’s my half hour. Thirty-seven minutes, in fact! So, that’s all for tonight. I will schedule another half hour tomorrow and be back here; while I cannot guarantee the same Bart time, I can tell you I will be broadcasting via the same Bart channel.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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