Newsletter 622 – Two Growing Trends


Podcasts 3
This week I read two articles that describe growing technologies: one newer, the other well established. The first is the subject of the August 17 Time cover story (US Edition) titled “The Surprising Joy of Virtual Reality: And Why It’s [nearly upon us, better than you think… and] About to Change the World.” Put on those increasingly sophisticated virtual reality goggles and our whole perceptions change. This is not just about making video games more dramatic. It can be about treating the effects of trauma, dealing with various psychiatric disorders, and revolutionizing education. I wonder about its potential for changing how we lead, learn about God, or advertise. And are there dangers that we don’t yet see? Apparently we’ll encounter lots more about this come Christmas shopping season.

Much more familiar are podcasts, recently discussed in a Wall Street Journal article (August 8-9.) We’ve all seen podcasts and webinars, some very sophisticated, which move us beyond radio, television or weekly written blogs like this one. Friends have urged me to replace or supplement this Podcast 2newsletter with audio and/or video posts, especially since these tend to be favored by so many people who like to listen or watch rather than to read.

  • A good communicator knows the characteristics of his or her audience. Surely this includes knowing how the audience learns or prefers to get information. Most readers of this newsletter are older, educated, and presumably inclined to learn by reading. Like me. Would a different audience be attracted by a podcast or other non-written, video or audio format? What about using both formats?
  • Experienced bloggers have demonstrated the value of captivating titles, eye-catching images, and succinct introductory sentences. These are more likely to attract and hold readers to the end. Similarly, aren’t most of us grabbed and retained by articulate speakers in attractive settings telling interesting stories with practical implications? Boring podcasts may give us something to hear or watch but they make no more impact than boring blog posts.
  • Podcasts can be produced relatively easily. All you need is a computer with a camera. I have done these with my classes, replacing long lectures with video clips to be watched at leisure.
  • Podcasts and webinars can be produced from anywhere and allow feedback so observers are more involved with the action. Should you be doing this? Should I?

Please comment. Tell us how you have used podcasts, webinars or virtual reality.

Newsletter 601 – Six Hundred Newsletters

blog 3About 13 years ago I wrote a newsletter about coaching and counseling trends and sent it to people with email addresses in my inbox. It never was my intention to continue this for years and neither did I plan to comment when we reached newsletter number 600 last week. But a friend urged me to share some of what I’ve learned about writing newsletter/blogs for so long. So here goes: 

  • Getting started. When this began I was no longer teaching or heading a counseling organization but I wanted a platform to let a few friends share what I was learning. Sometimes lasting things begin for no great reasons.
  • Setting parameters. Most blogs show the writer’s values. I wanted to be practical, relevant, up-to-date, culturally sensitive, and futuristic. These posts are not about self-promotion, selling my books, or (apart from this week) sharing what I’ve learned from a long career. I build on Christian values but try using a tone that is low-key, never preachy nor manipulative.
  • Purpose. These posts share observations about helping and building people, drawn most weeks from contemporary publications in business, education, ministry, coaching, therapy, or leadership.
  • Finding readers. This is mostly by word of mouth. Our audience is relatively small, multinational, older, and people involved in helping others. Many are long-time friends. In addition to these, I’d like to have more academics, students, and emerging professional care-givers and leaders. Probably I should be more focused.
  • Motivation. Why do I keep going? Who am I writing for? This answer is not very noble or spiritual but mostly I write for myself. Producing this newsletter forces me to keep learning, keep relevant, and keep synthesizing what I am learning in 400 words or less. One goal is to keep this engaging and interesting.
  • Coming up with new materials. I never stop looking for new ideas or perspectives so this weekly post shares what I’m learning. If anyone reads, reflects or takes in a lot, fresh ideas rarely are lacking.
  • Quitting. This will happen when I get bored or unable to keep going. Maybe we can reach newsletter 1000. That would come around in-mid 2023. Are any of you planning you to stick with me?

Would fellow-bloggers or blog readers add anything that may be helpful to others? Please share your comments.