Introducing Burck Smith – get ready, world.

As President and CEO of Promo Web Innovations, a company focused on the development of web and technology tools for the online classified employment advertising industry, which is set to grow to $11 Billion by 2011, part of my position is looking at the world based and how we are changing due to our collective movement toward the incorporation of web and communication technologies into our everyday lives (and of course, how it affects my business). In short, albeit now all encompassing and certainly not simply, our world is moving online.

This phenomenon is to our world like the skin is the largest organ of our body – its influence is now so profound that we are behaving and living, in many ways, without any more conscious thought of “logging on.” The ramifications are broad and interesting to study.

We know based on statistics that “high-speed” Internet connectivity is what was the real “big boom” of Internet technology as it is the “virtual web” (as opposed to the “screech” of dial up with text-only web pages) – it grew from about 40 million using broadband in 2001 to more than 1.5 Billion today – that’s hard to grasp.

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Today’s “new jobseeker” and clearly the emerging jobseeker market, moves freely between the real and Internet worlds as though there is no membrane and with no conscious thought of doing it. This is a powerful symbol and truth regarding the need to appeal to their Internet life with classified employment advertising that contains proactively produced Internet content. Being online is – I’m not stretching this – becoming in many ways more intergral to their existence and more important than what exists outside of their email account, their Facebook page, and what’s on their computer devices.
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Because I am in focused on the employment advertising business, I like to advise my clients (and encourage the older garde who still have some discomfort with the Internet) that the last two graduation cycles of graduates (8 years) have “grown up online” – they think, communicate, react to web content, have defined expectations, and indeed now live on the Web as second nature. Clearly, my student Interns would die without the Internet (I’m almost not kidding). Today’s “new jobseeker” and clearly the emerging jobseeker market moves freely between the real and Internet worlds. This is a powerful symbol and truth regarding the need to appeal to their Internet life with classified employment advertising that contains proactively produced Internet content. Being online is – I’m not stretching this – becoming in many ways more integral to their existence and more important than what exists outside of their email account, their Facebook page, and what’s on their computer devices.

Meet Burck Smith.

Straigherline is the brainchild of Burck Smith, a 39 year-old Internet entrepreneur with degrees from Williams and Harvard, who is bent on altering the DNA of higher education as we have known it for almost 500 years. Rather than students being tethered to campuses or an anonymous computer campus, Smith envisions a world where they can seamlessly assemble credits and degrees from multiple online providers, each specializing in subjects – and competing on price.

How does $99 per month grab you to take college-accredited courses, and take as much time as you need to complete them, no books, you already have room and board at your home, or cave with your wireless laptop, and your professor is available 24/7?

Most people are so invested in the idea of education by institution that it’s hard to imagine another way. Because Web-based higher education is still new and considered a “working class” or “second class” education by perhaps society and possibly employers (whose administrators are “old school” – pardon my pun), consumers see online courses in the same negative light.
Consumers are going to change their tune. It’s an absolute fact – here’s how I know:

First, college is becoming impossible to afford for many. Students are graduating with massive debt. There seems to be an endless spiral of tuition hikes due to a variety of hard costs of running traditional colleges (and their massive football programs, the light bills, maintenance, tenured professors, et. al). If Burck Smith doesn’t offer extremely cheap college to the hungry hordes of consumers seeking higher education and a college degree, which is the ticket to a better job and a better life, another will. The day is coming when it will be a sheer financial decision, anyway.

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– at one time music and mathematics were the only universal languages – today a third language is booming and it is that of the virtual Internet.
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Second, we’re already at a point where high school students have been accessing the virtual Internet since they could read and write. They are comfortable and many prefer dealing and communicating with others online – clearly social networking sites are metaphors for the new virtual language – at one time music and mathematics were the only universal languages – today a third language is booming and it is that of the virtual Internet. Frankly, if you haven’t stepped foot in a high school or onto a college campus lately, it is clear that students are masters of this new language already, on Wi-Fi campuses. There are entire city blocks, even small towns which are Wi-Fi. Soon we will all have a Smart Phone.

All it takes is for one generation of college students to see online courses as no more or less legitimate (that’s a college generation, which is four years – not a lifetime), and a whole lot cheaper, for the consensus of the general public to change.

Older folks remember when the computer was looked at as a curiosity and many resisted giving up their typewriters. Even today, my staff deals with employer recruiting professionals who do not buy into the need to develop proactive recruitment content to appeal to today’s obvious tech-savvy jobseekers – as though they insist on using the typewriter to continue doing their work and are oblivious to the huge losses in efficiency and opportunity.

Another college degree offered by the same professor who teaches at Duke but for $99 a month? Count me in. And set up the turnstile to count the masses that will follow me.

Check out Straighterline at http://www.straighterline.com/

To contact me directly, email me at carlbrickman@yahoo.com. I am also on Facebook. Learn more about my work at http://www.onlinejobtour.com/

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