From an Iowa cornfield to a New York film studio, Eric Stoller’s social media savvy has propelled him into the spotlight
During the day, Eric Stoller is busy advising students in the College of Health and Human Sciences and working on web projects for the college. In the evenings and on weekends, he’s juggling everything from consulting projects to blogging to chatting with his 1,800 Twitter followers.
“Downtime? What’s that?” he laughs.
And these days, he’s added another job to that list of tasks, as a paid blogger for the highly popular academic website, Inside Higher Ed. As one of 13 regular bloggers for the site, Stoller has begun writing at least two blog posts per week, focused on student affairs and technology.
Stoller describes himself as an introvert, but in truth, his passion is communicating and sharing with others, especially when it comes to his three favorite topics: social justice, cutting-edge technology and the student experience. He’s been working at Oregon State since 2007, and graduated from OSU in 2006 with an Ed.M. in College Student Services Administration.
Ever since his childhood days using a Commodore 64, Stoller has always been interested in new technology (he’s just purchased a new Droid X phone and is obsessed with exploring its capabilities). But where he’s attracted the most attention is his work in social media and blogging.
He’s given speeches at conferences around the country, including the National Association of College Auxiliary Services and ACPA College Student Educators International, he’s hosted social media webinars, and co-written chapters on academic advising and technology. But in June of this year he had one of his most surreal experiences, when he was invited by Sodexo Corporation to come to New York and film a segment for the company on social media for campus auxiliary services.
Stoller was put up in a hotel in SoHo and found himself in front of a camera in a studio, surrounded by a professional crew and enjoying a brief moment of celebrity as he mastered the use of the teleprompter. His video will be shown this fall by Sodexo regional managers to their higher education clients. He said the experience was both exhilarating and terrifying.
“I’m just a guy who grew up in a cornfield in Iowa,” he said.
It was just as thrilling when he was contacted by Scott Jaschik, the editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed. Jaschik had read Stoller’s personal blog and liked what he saw, enough that he offered Stoller a role as a regular blogger. While Stoller’s personal blog receives around 10,000 unique visits per month, Inside Higher Ed gets hundreds of thousands of visits on a monthly basis. This kind of exposure can only open more doors for Stoller, and he’s excited to become a part of a news outlet he respects.
“I’ve been a reader of Inside Higher Ed for years now,” he said, “and now I get to see what’s on the other side.”
Stoller will focus on technology and student affairs, but his other passions will find their way into his work as well. For instance, equity, access and social justice are continuous themes in his work, and one topic he’d like to explore is how admissions offices should make their on-line videos accessible for deaf students by captioning them.
As a consumer of media, Stoller has learned how to use different technologies for different purposes. His own Twitter feed has become a networking group that allows him to conference with other student affairs personnel around the country on a regular basis, and he follows 800 other Twitter accounts, as well as subscribing to more than 350 RSS feeds.
That’s a lot of information to absorb, but it fuels Stoller’s passion, and keeps him abreast of the latest advances and topics, and keeps him excited about the future of higher education and technology.
“It never feels like it is work for me,” he said. “It’s still fun.”
To read Stoller’s Inside Higher Ed blog: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/student_affairs_and_technology/
For his personal blog: http://ericstoller.com/blog/
To follow Stoller on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ericstoller/
~ Theresa Hogue