Friday Five: No Jokes Edition

April Fool's Day is the most annoying day of the year in the internet, and nothing will ever convince me otherwise. Sure, there is plenty of fun and clever stuff that gets posted, but for the most part it's a testament to poor taste and bad satire. And don't even get me started on all the people who get tricked and post about their outrage/shock/disbelief on social media. Sigh... onto the Friday Five!

1. Instagram Notifications: The Thirst Is Real

Don't miss this article by Molly McHugh in the Ringer's newsletter on all the Instagram celebrities - mainly in the fitness/fashion/lifestyle sphere - begging for people to turn on post notifications now that Instagram's new algorithm is imminent. I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, I'm sympathetic - no matter what, as a brand, it sucks to lose reach/viewers. But I can't argue with the fact that it will make for a better user experience. Will anyone miss posts from celebrities/brands shilling products? Text images promoting sales/events? Quote graphics? I didn't think so. Debating whether or not to ask your followers to turn on notifications? My advice is no. Instead, focus on posting better photos and being more thoughtful about sharing things your followers might actually enjoy rather than what benefits you. (Which is Social Media 101, really, and applicable to all platforms.) But if you do decide to, at least treat your followers with respect and don't outright beg or use scare tactics.

2. Email Debt Forgiveness Day!

Last year, Reply All - one of my favorite podcasts - created Email Debt Forgiveness Day, the best new national holiday since Cook A Sweet Potato Day (yes, it's real, and bad news for you - it was Feb. 22). Celebrated on April 30, Email Debt Forgiveness Day grants you permission to send the emails that have been weighing on your conscience... you know the ones, which are so belated that you have just given up on ever sending them. I love it, and I think it can also be applied to more than just email - call that friend you've been meaning to for the past year! Send that thank you card that should have been sent in 2014! Finally do that social media project that you saw on this blog that you've been wanting to for years! Seriously... it's never too late for this stuff. Start planning now for what you want to do - I promise it will make you feel better about yourself.

3. Higher Ed Tete-a-tete

The Atlantic's Alia Wong dropped a major bomb on the college admissions world with the publication of a three-part series (one, two, three) that sharply criticizes the admissions process, its requirements, and what it does to both prospective students and the colleges that they are striving to attend. It's a pretty compelling read, and it's hard not to nod your head along to many of the points. When you're done with it, click over to Ben Casselman's rebuttal on FiveThirtyEight, which smartly exposes some of the inherent biases that privileged media can bring to higher education coverage - both in admissions and in what makes a typical student. Then check out Wong's response to the response. Fascinating stuff for anyone working in higher ed.

4. Showing Scars

Check out part one of a five part series on communication in higher ed from MIT's Kellen Manning. (And  Kellen admitting that he may or may not end up finishing the series makes him a man after my own heart. I have stopped and started this blog more times than I care to admit, but hey - you get what you pay for, right? Right!) His post is a great reminder that, when looking for powerful stories, it's OK - necessary, even - to look beyond "look at this smart student/alumni - what a success!" and be willing to talk about how college can be hard, and students can struggle, and things aren't always butterflies and rainbows. I was reminded of an admissions brochure that my office was working on a few years ago, in which a student talked about failing classes in his first few years, and how that taught him that he had to be willing to reach out for and accept help and what it takes to improve and get better. It was really compelling, but it was spiked out of fear of having a kid talking about failing in something intended for prospective students and their parents. Instead, we ended up using a story about a smart kid who got a good job out of college. Safer, sure. But better? No.

5. Tim's Take

Tim Cigelske, social media director at Marquette University, is one of the smartest and most insightful people out there in the #hesm world. So I was thrilled to discover that he has a weekly newsletter called Tim's Take, which offers lots of great links about what he's watching, reading, writing, plugging, etc. Subscribe here!

This week's music selection is the always great - and, happily, calendar appropriate - April Skies by the Jesus Mary Chain.

Great Social Media Idea: Adult Coloring Book

Outside Inspiration: Placemaking

Outside Inspiration: Placemaking