Seniors on Planet Xavier
As it currently stands, students from the Class of 2005 – that means the outgoing seniors, for the numerically dyslexic – make up about 44% of the Planet Xavier population. I’ve been asked many times about what I’m planning to do this summer, since the outgoing seniors have obviously ceased to be students at St. X as of last night.
So here’s my plan, still subject to change:
I’m still working on the pX redesign. The general design has been worked out so far. New features will (hopefully) include user preferences, the ability to collapse posts that you’ve already read, and a few themes to choose from. I don’t have a preview ready yet, but I will sometime soon. Expect this project to be completed by mid-Summer.
Sometime in August (probably), I’m going to take the ’05 blogs and split them into their own alumni Planet, tentatively called Planet Xavier ’05 (no surprise there). Entries by the Class of 2005 will appear on this Planet alone, and not the general pX listing. As always, any member of pX ’05 can request to be removed from the site. It will remain functional until there is general consensus that the community should be disbanded, or until so few members are left that the Planet will be pointless. (How useful would a Planet with two people be?)
Taking the seniors out of the general listing will no doubt demolish the blog count that I’ve taken so much pride in building, but more ’08 blogs are beginning to show up as the upcoming sophomores are beginning to network. The trick will be to find all the ’09 blogs. That’ll be the daunting task of my successor; more on that later.
Also this summer, I will be working with Peter Rother to create more alumni Planets. Very little of this project has been worked out so far, but I would like these alumni Planets to follow the future design and naming scheme of pX. Thus, the site for Peter’s class will be pX ’04.
Peter has expressed interest in maintaining the alumni communities at his own domain. It’s unclear at the moment whether all of pX will be moved there. Hosting Planet on Peter’s servers will have the advantage of
cronability, which means the Planets will be automatically updated at regular intervals – I already hear crowds cheering.
With all that out of the way, I’ll hand over pX to my colleague Brad Haines, an upcoming junior. At that point, he will be in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the site. His responsibilities will include searching the Web for new student blogs to list, contacting them about their blogs (in person, via e-mail, etc.), processing hackergotchi requests, and responding to heated complaints. I will remain on hand to help out whenever needed.
Brad, Peter, and I will then have to decide where to keep pX: where it is now, on Brad’s shiny new f2o account, or on Peter’s state-of-the-art servers.
With both the design and domain finalized, we can finally take Planet Xavier out of beta and start advertising it around school. Brad and I have discussed possibilities including flyers on the main bulletin board and in individual classrooms, morning PA announcements, advertisements in the Blueprint, button-banners for people to link to us, and (of course) word-of-mouth.
I’m a bit uneasy about some of these planned initiatives, since we’ll be pulling a USC by getting our word out so much. As I’ve mentioned to many people already, we risk catching the administration’s attention. Even if they don’t then start reading pX, the damage will’ve been done; there might be a “chilling effect”: students would be afraid to post something that their school administrators read. Hopefully it’ll turn out a lot better though; the stunning success of the Swordfighting Club on MusicFest, despite Mr. Odioso’s knowledge of the club, is a good sign.
Another component of advertising pX will have to be something like a “get out the vote” campaign: since so many people are still apparently unaware of weblogs, we’re going to have to educate them about the medium and encourage them to start their own blogs.
There’ll be quite a lot of stuff going on this summer, and since I’m heading off to college come mid-September, there’s quite a bit of pressure for me to actually go through with my plans for once. I have no doubt that this service will be of use to at least someone, and I’m quite glad to have been a part of its creation.