Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanking our veterans

On Wednesday, November 11, Veterans’ Day, I kept thinking of what I could write in a blog post or tweet in 140 characters that would show my appreciation for the veterans.

My brother, father, grandfather, uncles, and father-in-law served in various wars. Never I have ever expressed to them or expressed to others my deep emotional appreciation for their serving our country.

Of course, sacrifices of others—spouses, children, and other significant others—are seldom recognized, as well. Birthdays, first steps, obtaining driving licenses, and the feel of warm arms at night are never made up. We all know the sacrifices that families make when spouses, dads, moms, siblings, and parents serve our country, but we seldom talk about these sacrifices.

Though Veterans’ Day has passed and today, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US, my mind has been on the sacrifices our military members have made.

Today, in addition to being thankful for family, friends, and our plentiful bounty, I want to thank the Selfless Souls of our military.

Thank You Selfless Souls
by Susan Campbell

I'd just like to say "thank you"
To the thousands of selfless souls
Who serve in the US Armed Forces
And share a common goal.

You leave your family and your friends
To protect us and keep us "free."
You do this for your country.
You do this all for me.

I hope you know how proud we are
Of all that you will do
To keep our country safe and secure
We owe so much to you.

I pray for each of our soldiers
Wherever you may go.
You're making the ultimate sacrifice
For people you don't even know.

I ask God to bless your families
And hold you in his arms.
I pray that he will keep YOU safe,
Protect you and keep you from harm.

So, once again, I thank you
For your courage and your pride.
I feel safe and so VERY proud
To have you on my side.

God Bless our Military!
Susan Campbell
Saturday, November 7, 2009

The poem has a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please share it but give attribution to Susan Campbell and link to this post.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

When is email the wrong method?

We are tied to email because it is so easy and routine we send email rather than considering that there are better ways.

Using email for all communications is like using a rotary dial phone. It still works to make phone calls, but not all calls. We all know that rotary dial phones will not work on any automated system and eventually they became extinct.

How do you know email is the wrong method?

  • You are sending a large attachment, particularly if you are sending it to several people.
  • You are sending information that needs to kept for future reference.
  • You are sharing a web page by placing the contents into the body of the message.
  • You have converted web information into a pdf and attached the pdf. 
  • You are sending information that needs to be discussed.
  • You are sending information that needs to be edited, crafted and developed.
  • You have a quick question to one person.
  • You are giving your professional opinion.
  • You are sending a video or photo.

What are better methods?

  • Organization-based shared file systems (Shared drives, Sharepoint document libraries)
  • Wikis
  • Google Docs
  • Google Wave
  • Instant Messaging
  • Text SMS Messaging
  • Twitter
  • Social bookmarking (i.e., Delicious)
  • Google Reader
  • FriendFeed
  • Blogging
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • SmugMug

What do advantages do these other methods have over email?

  • Fewer resources are being used.
  • More opportunities for open sharing.
  • More efficiency.
  • More opportunities and ease of use for collaboration.
  • Having information in one place, not distributed into several email boxes.
  • Searching within an organization-system or in the open web.
  • Having the ability to tag the information in your own words.
  • Having the information and products available to everyone for easy sharing and access.

If you are leading a group, a committee, a unit, a department, or an organization, stop the madness. Continuing using email for reasons it was not developed for is like continuing using a rotary phone.

Photo:  squircle old phone Originally uploaded by zen Tags: ,

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go where the people are

In the social media presentations, I spend a few moments looking at user participation in some networks.

My approach is for people in these discussions to consider the social networking numbers. However, I warn them to not be misled. These networks are not the only ones you should consider, and don’t be fooled into thinking that they will be the only ones in the future. People will shift and migrate to networks that serve them better, provide them with customized information, niche social networks, or better filters.


  • More than 300 million users.
  • More than 2 billion photos uploaded to the site each month.
  • 14+ million videos uploaded each month.
  • 2+ billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared each week.
  • Fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older.
  • People who use mobile devices to access Facebook are almost 50% more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
  • More than 180 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy Facebook mobile products. Retrieved 10/1/2009
            • If we have not already realized that there is growing of importance of mobile connections, this should be our wake-up call to make our information--text, presentations, pictures, audio, video, or games--more portable and accessible for mobile devices. What are we doing to move our content to be mobile accessible?

An example of an educational approach to “go where the people are” is a Facebook Page Eat Smart Play Hard Together nutrition program. Julie Garden-Robinson, nutrition specialist at North Dakota State University, created this page to extend her web site to the youthful audiences. She partnered with the NDSU Bison Athletic Department and has student athletes (local celebrities) help promote her program. She used this page as a means of directly connecting and interacting with visitors to the web site.

Cooperative Extension, Julie says, “has a lot of research-based ‘static’ information to share, but we wanted a ‘dynamic’, innovative feature on Eat Smart Play Hard Together. Using social media has increased the number of people, exposed to health messages through the networks of ‘friends’ on Facebook. As a benefit, we continue to attract and interact with ‘fans’ from around the country.”


This tells us that the vast majority of Twitter users are not interesting in hearing from lots of people, but rather be selective in who they followed. Another point is niche content and education has an important role for those who really want it. So consider niches, and specific information rather than general information.


  • 50 million members in over 200 countries and territories (October 14, 2009).
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members. retrieved November 14, 2009.


During workshops on social media, the Wikipedia discussion is always interesting because I ask how people feel about using Wikipedia. Their statements and my responses are:

  • A statement: It is a great resource.
  • A statement: I use it as a starting point.
  • A statement: Schools don’t allow the use.
    • My response: It is a great starting point, and we should be teaching kids and ourselves how to use it to begin a search and investigate the sources.
  • A statement: It is not accurate.
  • A statement: Afraid to use it because anyone can edit the articles so I don’t trust Wikipedia.
  • A statement: Schools don’t allow the use.
    • My response: Have you found any inaccuracies?
  • A statement: No, I have not found any inaccuracies, but I have heard stories.
  • A statement: No, but sometimes the articles are gaps of information that should be included.
  • A statement: Yes, I have found an inaccuracy.
    • My response: Since anyone can, add, and correct information, then you have as much ability to edit and add Wikipedia articles as anyone. Wikipedia requires sources so when you make edit, be sure and give the source. Guess where the sources will come from? As educators within land-grant universities, most of your sources will be researched articles such as journal articles, research bulletins and Cooperative Extension publications. In fact, I believe it is our responsibility, as members of land-grant institutions, to edit and add Wikipedia pages to ensure that research-based information is part of the Wikipedia sources.


According to Bob Johansen, video will be part of almost every brand strategy in the future and will be available everywhere—including clothing, Video is and will be provoking and engaging.

The first step for beginners is to start now using video in all kinds of ways by multi-purposing your content. Consider uploading video to several sites, such as:

  • Your own web site
  • YouTube
  • iTunesU

With every video uploaded, be sure and describe it well and provide links back to your site.


What are the implications from these numbers in social networks? It is where people are and we should be there too. As we consider our goals and mission of our organizations, we absolutely cannot afford to not be where the people are.

However, don’t consider only these big networks. You want to find where niche communities are, such as in forums or specialized networks in Ning.


Eat Smart Play Hard Together Originally uploaded by aafromaa

Pointed question Originally uploaded by skipnclick

This outline was taken in part from Ideas for Social Media Strategy by Anne Mims Adrian, Rhonda Conlon, and Jerry Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at .

Keeping Up

Are you keeping up? There is not only a plethora of information available, but the amount of information is ever increasing and is often untidy. In order to keep up with new information on in our areas of work, we must become technically adept at managing the flow of information through using appropriate and customized tools and constantly adjusting the way we managed the flow. We must learn to “drink from the fire hose” by deciding our own filters, not being reliant on old technology nor on only one technology. Also, we don’t want to become dependent on only one source or one authority for information. 

As professionals, we don’t want to get caught not knowing our industry—information and knowledge in our area of expertise and passion.

“Today, if you're not staying current with Web 2.0 technologies' impact on business, then you're just not staying current. Period.”  Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb

The tools allow us to stay relevant if we focus on using the tools to engage and build relationships that help us accomplish our goals. Staying engaged means you know if and how you are effective.

“Friends, it (social media) keeps us relevant.” Andy Kleinschmidt

Keeping up means using different technologies to keep up with the flow of information and beginning engaged in communities that are important to us and our organization.

Using all in one applications like Tweetdeck helps. But, we also need to understand feeds—Atom feeds and RSS feeds. Managing feeds to keep the information flowing to us by using a feed reader, like Google Reader or Netvibes, and incorporating feeds into existing sites is a must in drinking from that fire hose.

Photo: Keeping Up. Originally uploaded by Picture Taker 2

This post was taken in part from Ideas for Social Media Strategy by Anne Mims Adrian, Rhonda Conlon, and Jerry Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at