Four weeks ago today, I went in front of a group of students here at the University of Missouri and told them I wanted to buy them a beer and talk about journalism. And then I went in front of another class. And another. And another.
And told them, a few hundred in all: I wanted to buy them beer and talk about journalism.
The first thing that happened was, a whole bunch of students tweeted at me to tell me how excited they were about the idea.
The second thing that happened was, nobody came to drink with me.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve offered three so-called #BergChat sessions to students so far on Twitter. One student has taken me up on the offer.
So it’s time, I think, for a pivot.
What’s a pivot, you ask? Take it from Eric Ries, author of the soon-to-be-bestelling book, “The Lean Startup.” Says Ries, a pivot is:
“The idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future. “
And, okay, the #BergChat isn’t a startup; it’s just office hours at a bar. Still, the spirit of the pivot works here.
Now, the way I’ve been organizing these #BergChats is by sending out a tweet or three to my followers — among them, a multitude of j-schoolers. I’ve named the day/time for that week’s chat. And I’ve asked students to tweet back at me if they’d like to join me for a drink and conversation.
Except that I’ve forgotten a simple rule: College kids don’t operate on the same time schedule that I do. And that means I’m pitching this to an audience that isn’t actually listening at the moment I’m talking.
Hence the need for a pivot.
So here’s the new plan: The #BergChat is always open and available to you, the students. All you have to do is tweet at me something like:
Hey, @danoshinsky, got time for a #BergChat this week?
And assuming I’m in town, I’ll say yes, and we’ll set a time.
To recap: You tweet at me. We agree upon a time. And then said Beer/Shirley Temple is purchased, and we talk about whatever you want to talk about.
That’s my pivot, and I’m sticking to it.
At least for this week.