Virginia Tech’s webmaster speaks about his experience

May 2, 2007

Here is another fascinating real life interview with someone who has just been through the ringer–the webmaster for Virginia Tech.

The headline (once again I complain about the headline writer at Bulldog) suggests that Mr Dame doesn’t agree that the media played the blame game. That’s wrong–he says he doesn’t blame them for playing the blame game. Because, he notes, they are in the business of filling a humongous news hole and attracting audiences:

It’s not fair to go after the press for that. The media were doing their job. Having been in media for 20 years, I can say they were doing their jobs. If I was in that situation, I would have done the same. They were just trying to get to the facts. Assigning blame—that’s part of the culture of cable news today. As soon as something happens, the pundits want to assign blame or give credit before they get all facts. Cable news is a game—it’s all about ratings and keeping viewers glued to the channel. So they sensationalize to do that. We’re not the only group who has experienced that.

There is no doubt that Mr Dame and his team did a great job with their website. Nevertheless, there are some problems especially seen in light of what we are aware that many other companies and organizations have put in place:

– their site greatly slowed under the heavy traffic–having crisis sites served by crisis capable servers would help this problem

– their “dark site” consisted of a stripped down homepage removing Flash and other bandwidth hogs. That is good, but a fully prepared dark site would be loaded with rich information needed in the case of a major situation, therefore relieving considerable burden from those responding to media inquiries

– the ability to send info to students and other audiences was great–what was missed as is now commonly known, was their ability to send voice messages, text messages, and reach students via cell phone and social media sites

It is unfair to suggest that they did more wrong. Clearly, they did more right than wrong and should be congratulated on doing an outstanding job. But these situations provide the valuable learning experiences for everyone else. Thank you Mr. Dame, for sharing your very valuable and painfully gained knowledge.

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One Response to “Virginia Tech’s webmaster speaks about his experience”

  1. robert Says:

    Yes i agree that Mr Dame and his team did a great job with their website.
    Their “dark site” consisted of a stripped down homepage removing Flash iit’s good but they should be fully prepared dark site would be loaded with rich information needed.


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