David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Can't A Guy Eat His Lunch In Peace

March 21, 2023

There seems to be two times a day when I get a ton of junk emails at work: early morning and lunch time. I suppose I can't call them Spam since my Spam folder is not catching them, but all of them are basically "selling" some kind of higher education product or service (with the occasional Costco slipping in there because I once used them to order something in bulk). I don't mind the early morning ones, as they are all deleted immediately while I sip my first cup of coffee and scroll through my email on my phone.

The lunch time ones are a little more annoying. I can go away for an hour (although I usually eat lunch in my office) and come back to 20-25 messages, almost all of which are junk. Today, for example, during my lunch hour I got 17 junk emails between 11:55 and 1:00. (By the way, my Spam folder did catch an additional 2 junk items during that same period.)

Today, was a usual day of closing my door for lunch, trying to work on a project, and occasionally glancing at email. In the end, I was junked to death.

Throwing out the ubiquitous Costco ones ('Buy More, Save More! Trending Appliances, Mattresses, Patio and More Delivered to Your Door" -- I am not sure I understand how a Patio can be delivered to my door), I got duplicate copies from Innovative Educators promising a "Mental Health, Depression & Mood Disorders: How To Identify, Support & Refer Students" webinar that could cost me anywhere from $495 to $5000, depending how many "innovative" webinars I wanted to commit to. Talk about depression.

Kaltura offered me a webinar about training webinars, a training session build around a survey LOADED (yes, they went all caps on my ass) with data, tips, and insights. I suspect it was free; no pricing information showed up anywhere as I got dangerously close to committing to register pages.

Top Hat delivered to me "20 Icebreakers for your class," which isn't a bad idea except that I have no class(es) and haven't for about 15 years. When I click on the link, it takes me straight to a blog. What poor stupid bastard would I burden with a link to this blog? (Volunteers, anyone? Anyone?)

Ready Education then informed me about "how to enhance student success with technology." Not the most innovative recommendation. I could receive the "free guide" if I offered up my contact information, a sure indication that they will not enhance their success with me with technology.

After that, Full Measure provided "your roadmap for boosting enrollment," offering me not only the free download but also the opportunity to schedule a meeting. Now you see why they are the "Full Measure," Ready Education!

Gates Bryant, which sounds like my local car dealer, took a different tack by offering me money as opposed to taking it. I am told I can "earn $50 for your perspective on student supports in higher education." They say I will need to just spend 20 minutes completing a survey, a suggestion which is about 18 minutes too long, even before I inevitably read the survey and find it almost certainly flawed. Too bad I can't get the $50 by simply recommending they download the Ready Education free guide.

Campus Technology mixed it up a bit, by offering me a newsletter as opposed to a pitch, although upon further review, there are 4 news stories, 1 college spotlight (a pitch disguised as a story), 12 upcoming events (pitches hiding as professional development), and 8 upcoming or on-demand Webinars.

More webinar offerings came in an email from Academy Engage (or maybe Engage Academy, it's hard to tell), all "AI-powered strategies for better student enrollment."  In essence, I am being encouraged to embrace my inner 'bot. I haven't trusted 'bots since Lost In Space and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Next I am asked "why did your peers choose GiveSmart?" GiveSmart is an apparent Mobile Bidding and Auction app. Knowing that, I am pretty sure my peers did nothing of the sort. Not unless my peers are at a livestock auction at this moment.

One more traditional sales pitch in this mess came from Brucelli advertising, specializing in graduation stoles, pins, lanyards, tablecloths and more. Given that Brucell's examples include Pitt, Marshall and University of Michigan, I am thinking they didn't research their audience very well.

The Higher Edge's featured podcast episode "Data Tells, Story Sells: How A Community College Leverages Good Works" will be presented by a dude in a bowtie. Not happening. My favorite part of the email: "New Episodes ALMOST every Tuesday." Yes, the uncertainty is what is all capped!

I ended up back in the world of webinars with Tooling-U's "Bridge the Gap Between Education & Industry with Apprenticeships." Honestly, I am too tired to even comment. 

The Director of Marketing at Inside Higher Ed then encouraged me to attend a webinar that will direct SMC towards "Building a Diverse Class Without Affirmative Action." Inside Higher Ed has a Director of Marketing? The things I realize much too late to take advantage of.

And then finally, my last lunch time bombardment was for another Webinar, this one from Sendoso's Head of Product Marketing. Like almost every other webinar referenced in this hour's worth of emails, this one is scheduled within 24 hours of the email. As if I am likely to have the time even if I find the interest.

I ruminate about all of this because part of what I was trying to do at lunch was think about professional development options for the Michigan Community College Chief Academic Officer meeting this summer. Many of us mention that some kind of session on managing our roles would be most advantageous, yet with all of these pitches, webinars, and offers, none of them seem applicable to our daily lives. Where's the webinar on eliminating webinars from your lives and actually getting work done? I might pay $5000 for that.