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Conten-tainers? Publi-forms?

I need some help here.

We’re reviewing curriculum here in the CMMA department; specifically our web page and web site classes. We don’t do a lot of coding in these classes…just enough to get CMMA students familiar with HTML. We concentrate more on the look and feel of a web page/website and leave the heavy lifting to the computer science/web development folks.

It’s a no-brainer, right? Communication professionals need to know how the web works and how to create stuff for websites. Right? But, it seems to us, the way people access content on the web is changing, which should influence how the content is created and delivered. Right? Think phone versus desktop. There’s a huge difference in the way you build a web page and create content for a full-sized screen with a powerful processor versus a mobile device.

The web is so ingrained in our society that consumers think the magic just happens...’the information I want will, as if by magic, fit in the device I happen to be using.’ We know better. It takes loads of testing, tweaking, retesting and revising. And it’s never, ever finished.

Yet we still grapple with making ‘our web’ pretty or making it load quickly and easily on our device. Can’t we have both? First world problem, I know.

As we examine the more popular social media sites there seems, to me, to be a trend emerging: specific apps for specific types of communication. Twitter for quick, short, newsy bursts and brief updates, Facebook for more leisurely chatting, Linked-In for career networking, Pinterest for specific topics, Instagram for images, Snapchat and Vine for stuff you find mildly amusing for a brief moment and…and….and, what’s next?

Here’s where I need your help. Tell me the communication/networking apps you use the most and why. You can reply in a comment to this blog or via email to bmchugh@stfrancis.edu.

It’s foolish to base our courses on specific technologies  (for all you media folks as old as me, remember paste-up, grease pencils and turret lenses?) but I think we can generalize a bit so that CMMA students understand when and why one app is better than another for a specific communication issue. At least I hope we can.

So please, help me out.  I think that, in the near future, communication via the web will be about designing content to fit specific containers...publishing for specific platforms. What do you think?

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