Monday, March 28, 2011

You Are What You WUPHF; Or The Changing Face of Independent Educational Consulting

Recently I was catching up on some shows I had recorded on my DVR, and I found myself involved in a 3 hour marathon of “The Office”. One episode which really stood out was last year’s season finale where Ryan developed a new social media mega-site called WUPHF. On WUPHF (pronounced Woof) you could link all of your contact information into one account so when you received one thing, say a fax, it would come through on all of your accounts. There is one great scene where Ryan is in his closet/office and everything starts ringing/buzzing and chirping at him at the same time… Of course typical of the show, they beat the joke into the ground (anyone who knows my family, knows why I love this humor so much) and by the end the WUPHF sounds completely ridiculous.

But is it?

Sure we don’t WUPHF, but if 15 years ago I had uttered this sentence; “Hey, got your RSS Feed, and I’m going to link it through to my Facebook and Twitter in a few; you mind if I blog about it too?” You most likely would have looked at me as quizzically as you would if I told you you’d be struggling with the decision of whether to get the iPad2 with or without the 3G capabilities. It’s true, what once seemed crazy is now normal.

In a similar vein, the field of Educational Consulting has grown in ways no-one could have imagined. While 15 years ago there were some incredible people doing amazing work, it was in many ways, a cottage industry. One was able, through hard work and word of mouth, to build and maintain a strong, profitable business. For good or bad, that is no more. The new normal is that there are now over 800 members of IECA , the majority of these new members go through a 5 day rigorous training session, the IECA Conferences now draw over 1,000 participants per conference on average and IEC’s, in general, are more trained and specialized than ever before. In addition, most IEC’s have websites, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and many Blog (which is an awesome verb by the way). And, most importantly for those of us who are IEC’s, more and more families are utilizing our services. Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all of this change is for the better; I feel that many of our more seasoned consultants can teach us all a thing or two about more traditional office practices, like phone calls, face to face time and word of mouth advertising, but this change is, for better or worse, normal.

At Loeta we look to these new ideas as opportunities, not only opportunities to present and promote Loeta Educational Consultants, but, more importantly, to promote the field of Educational Consulting. As members of today’s IECA, we are able to combine these new technologies, both within IECA and the schools themselves, with the more traditional aspects of school or program evaluation to assist us in developing not only a strong rapport with the schools, but also a stellar reputation as independent voices for our clients. There isn’t another profession which can lay claim to that fact.

Now we don’t have the hubris to think we know where all of this electronic media is going, but we do like the fact that IEC’s, partnering with IECA, are able to use these various social media tools, known and future, to spread the word of Educational Consulting as a profession. We look forward to that day when the first thing a family thinks of when they have a educational decision - whether it be for college, boarding school or wilderness therapy - will be to reach out to their neighborhood Independent Educational Consultant…

And who knows, maybe they’ll WUPHF us…

Learn about WUPHF here…