Raysa Leer's Blog

Reasons Why I Tweet at a Conference (Inspired by Kent Brooks’ “10 Reasons to Tweet at a Conference”)

AACC 94th Annual Conference in Washington, DC

AACC 94th Annual Conference in Washington, DC

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is about the descend on Washington, DC, this weekend! This annual conference is where the leaders, movers, shakers and do-ers who work at or affiliated with community colleges assemble. With the theme of the 94th conference being “Great Expectations: Implementing a 21st Century Student Success Agenda“, you can imagine that the conversation will be forward-thinking and inspiring.

The University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) is sending nearly twenty representatives to the conference, taking advantage of the location being our back yard. The divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Achievement and Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning all have poster sessions and various representatives attending. (Keep an eye out for us; we’ll be the ones with the UDC-CC lanyards!)

With a mission that is focused on student success, UDC-CC has made an effort in recent years to send staff whenever possible to this conference in order to connect with like-minded professionals who are working toward similar goals. Every time we have attended we have taken a great deal away from the conference.

Now, most of my colleagues are still not inspired by the world of Twitter. In a previous post, I noted 7 Reasons Why You Should Be on Twitter. That was two years ago, and while I have not won all my colleagues over (*wink wink nudge nudge UDC-CC folks*) I feel it is once again time to take up the call, this time in relation to tweeting at conferences.

Anyone who has seen me at conferences, whether NACUBO or HACU or EDUCAUSE, will know that I’m the one typing away furiously on my iPad, flipping between notes on my Notability app to Twitter where I’m also taking notes and sharing quotes. Tweeting during a conference is one of the best ways I have found for keeping track of all the information I am taking in and for seeing what is happening in other sessions.

Kent Brooks wrote a blog on “10 Reasons to Tweet at a Conference” (which you should read). I love this list, because it quickly points to all the reasons I find Twitter use appealing during conferences.

  • I, too, type faster than I write, so typing my notes is a great way to store them.
  • I like sharing “take-aways” from the various speeches and sessions I attend.
  • I find other individuals who are tweeting their thoughts about the session (or other sessions) and can compare that to my own experience, which helps broaden my perspective.This is also helpful if I missed an exact quote – a fellow tweeter may have caught it, tweeted it, and then I can copy it into my own notes.
  • I meet people! “Hey, aren’t you the one who was posting all those tweets? Those were great!” (I have even been asked to take on a more official tweeting capacity while in attendance)
  • I gain resources, both human and other. A simple example of other types of resources gained is a great picture from somebody sitting closer to the front of the room of a prominent speaker. (At AACC, we’ll have several well-knowns, including Colin Powell and Joe Biden).

If you haven’t tried tweeting at a conference, I really encourage you to do so. I can elevate your experience and broaden your appreciation for the conference you are attending.

And if you make new friends in the process, all the better!

See you all at AACC!

Hashtags of Note:

  • #AACCAnnual (main conference hashtag)
  • #UDCCC (check out what my team is up to!)
  • #comm_college
  • #AACC
  • #DC

Updates

Goodness, been too long!

There has been a lot happening, but I’ll focus on personal updates in this entry. (Side Note: You would not believe all the posts that I started and then never cleaned up enough to publish since the last entry!) There is lots of good news to share, but three very important things will take precedence in this post.

 

1. I Got Published

In April 2013, my article entitled Re-Thinking The Future Of Learning – The Possibilities And Limitations Of Technology In Education In The 21st Century (http://bit.ly/1rTXU2u) was published. This was my first peer-reviewed article on a topic that I’m very interested in (and hope to explore more in the future).

2. I Completed my MBA! 

In December 2013, I finished my Masters of Business Administration (with a 4.0 GPA, no less). Working on my MBA was the main reason I stopped writing in this blog as much. That isn’t to say that I didn’t have a number of ideas for blog posts based on all the interested material we were studying, but when you have to read hundreds of pages a week and write many papers, there isn’t much time for “fun” writing in a blog. And certainly no time for stopping to make posts “pretty”. But the MBA is done!

3. I Got Published Again!

My second article is now out in the International Journal of Organizational Innovation, titled Applied Organizational Study Of Free Jobs Training Program In Washington, DC: Research Case On Structuring Of Workforce Development In The Capital Of The United States, which is really just a long a fancy way of talking about structuring a workforce development program in Washington, DC. (http://bit.ly/1dHtnBg)

 

So clearly things have been busy, but with the MBA behind me it is now time to see where the next phase of life takes me! Onwards and upwards!

 

And I’ll say this (and hopefully not jinx myself): more posts to follow! :)

Personal Discovery: Reading Across Various Media

I just had a moment of self-discovery.

For the longest time, I was a firm believer that I was (rather) incapable of reading articles and essays on my computer (or on any larger screen). I had a lot of personal theories for that, many that were probably baseless (“oh, the screen light bothers my eyes”, blah blah blah). But I knew that argument didn’t hold much water because I could read articles on my iPhone without much complaint and certain websites (such as the NYTimes) were easy reads.

I knew part of the issue was having large chunks of text spread across the screen, especially in a smaller font size. I had tried increasing the font size, but still found reading online to be painful whether it was on websites or PDFs (MS Word documents, apparently, didn’t bother me).

It wasn’t until this afternoon that I realized that it is the horizontal length of the line that is the real issue. This is fascinating to me; I had never made that connection before. I was reading a textbook last week, and the thought occurred to me (in passing), “Wow, this is really easy to read. I guess it’s because they broke each page up into two columns”. But I realize that really is it! If I take a website, increase the font size but also manipulate the window so that the length of a line of text is no more than 7-10 words of reasonable length, I can read through the document much faster.

I seriously had no idea.

Now, I want to know, am I the only one like this? Is this a new phenomenon? After all, reading a standard-sized book is no hardship. Textbooks, however, have always been a struggle for me (and I knew it had to be something beyond the snooze-worthy content). Was it really just a formatting issue? Also, is my brain now trained for shorter line-length because of the amount of reading I do on my iPhone (where short line-lengths are necessitated by the smaller screen size)? But wouldn’t the reading a “book of standard size [in standard-font size] is no hardship” concept negate that? I don’t know! I’m still in the “this is a fascinating thing I’ve just discovered about myself”-stage of all this.

*Runs off to test the theory across other forms of technology and software* %_%

Image Credit: adamr, freedigitalphotos.net

The Transfer and Transformation of Information

Another month rolls by and I open my mailbox to find the latest issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. This was a couple of days ago, mind you, but I carried it with me on the way to work today knowing I’d have time on my metro ride home to read it.

How devastated was I to flip to “From the Editor”‘ page only to find a note from the Editor in Chief talking about how SmartMoney is ceasing print publication and Kiplinger’s is struggling with the same issue! When the editor in chief writes an entire letter about his concern for the future of print publishing and soliciting ideas from readers about sustainable models Kiplinger’s can use to save the print version of its magazine, it’s time to be concerned!

This got me thinking, as the last few days have, about how people get information. In higher education, we struggled with this issue all the time. How do we get students to learn? How do we get them to retain? How do we give them information that will stick with them beyond the length of a class period or an academic semester?

This is a larger issue in our society today. How do we get relevant, valuable information out to the masses in a world where most folks are content to passively absorb whatever is coming at them? How do we break into those relaxed moments with vital info we’re just dying to share with them? (Teachers, feel free to say “Word!” … or “That’s what I’m talking about!” or “Truth!” or whatever else relieves your feelings on how you’ve been struggling with this problem for ages).

I’m passionate about a number of things, personal finance being one of them. I hate to think that the print version of personal finance magazines will soon be a thing of the past. (Kiplinger’s noted that as recently as back in the 1990s, “when magazine revenues were buoyed by a surging stock market and an insatiable public appetite for financial advice”, there used to be over a half-dozen personal finance magazines. Now there are only two, and Kiplinger’s is one of them.

Yes, it might just be a case of time moving on and new technology taking over old media forms. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned for enjoying picking up a newly printed book, newspaper or magazine, but I do find reading across paper pages feels different, feels more solid, feels more comfortable than reading across a lit up screen. Others would not agree, and I’m not knocking tablet or smartphone technology. I want an iPad specifically to read magazines like Kiplinger’s so that I can share my favorite articles across my various social media platforms in a few taps! But I also like reading off of paper. I feel I take it in better that way. Even in my classes, I find I retain information from textbooks and printouts better than any article I read off the screen. (This is interesting, because it doesn’t work the same for everything I read online. Articles in the NYTimes are actually easier for me to read online than in its printed form, and I retain more of the information reading the online version, too.)

Different people gather (and retain) information in different ways. What concerns me about a complete shift to the digital is that folks who actually retain material presented to them in print better will no longer have that option. I’m all for saving a tree, but I think its important to consider the various learning styles that exist among people. Yet, the end-goal for many of these organizations isn’t (just) education. It’s about making a profit. And selling print magazines hurts the bottom line when subscription revenues plummet.

So what to do? How to get information out in a way all types can consume?

It’s a dilemma. It’s also concerning because not everyone in this country is plugged in to the digital world. Let’s be clear: there are huge swaths of this country that are digital dead zones. There is no fiber optic cable reaching them, no cell phone towers, no cell signal, nothing. So if print media goes, what’s left? Television? Well, that’s one option but what if they don’t get cable? And even if they do, you all watch TV…you know how little decent television is out there. Even cable news networks are more like reality TV shows than programs with objective journalism. And yes, there are personal finance shows on TV but they always seem like they go to great lengths to keep it from being “just about the numbers”. Lots of lights and noises and graphics to break up the dull dialogue. Plus, I have yet to see a personal finance show that plays like a Kiplinger’s article reads.

So what’s to be done? How do we get information – all types of information – out there? And even when we get it out there, how do we get people to CARE about it? Some of this information is really important for them to know! I’m not just talking personal finance. I’m talking the latest information in science, medicine, engineering, the social sciences, international relations and more! How do we get people interested in learning more? Learning what’s new? What will help them in their personal lives?

This problem seems to be complex across all generations, but it will be particularly interesting to see how young people respond to this question. Will our generation passively accept the death of print publishing? Will we be the pioneers that push digital to new groups? Will we be responsible with our consumption so as to ensure educational material is venerated right along with fluff/feel-good/just-to-relax media? Here Comes Honey Boo Boo got higher ratings than the Republican National Convention two nights ago. Is that the end of the world? No. Does it raise a troubling point about what people are paying attention to, though? Yes. And does the flow of information directly impact these sorts of situations? Absolutely.

Image Credit: nuttakit, Freedigitalphotos.net

Back in the Swing of Things

Taking a break from blogging and intense social media interaction proved to be a good thing. It all started just before the Olympics, when spare time in the evening that had been devoted to scrolling through my Twitter Newsfeed and Lists, finding interesting things to blog about, was interrupted by the impending Games. I, like many others, become a bit of a fanatic around the Olympics. You can ask me why all you want, I’m really not sure what it is. I could give you a lot of cliche answers about how I love watching the human spirit overcome obstacles, how I enjoy watching nations come together for peaceful competition, how I enjoy watching athletes from the United States rack up gold medals and stand at or near the top of the medal count every night. Yes, I could give you inspirational reasons and self-satisfying reasons. But it really just all boils down to the fact that I love watching the Olympics. Period.

Of course, all that time spent watching diving, swimming, gymnastics (Go Gabby!), and track and field means a lot less time spent on finding meaningful personal branding, personal finance, HR management issues to blog about.

But the summer is pretty much over, and it’s time to continue filling this blog. MBA classes have started, so I’m sure I’ll have a great deal of fodder for blog posts coming out of those class discussions. At the same time, I plan to expand this blog to include the occasional post about personal interests (if I feel I have something worth saying on a topic).

Also, I haven’t commented that much on higher education in here (which was always the plan, since I work in that industry) but it has not been forgotten. Personal branding issues took over my interests in the early part of the summer, but we’ll be exploring the other major topic areas of this blog soon enough.

In the meantime, let’s hear it for a new academic year, for Labor Day (a holiday that snuck up on me) and for the soon-to-be start of one of my favorite seasons: Autumn!

PS. Hope you all had an amazing summer!

What is An Infographic?

Raysa Leer:

In case you didn’t know, this is a simple definition for what an infographic is, done as an infographic…and that they explained it with Legos makes it that much cooler.

Originally posted on Frankie965:

How simple is that? :)

View original

Why You Should Match the Content to the Site

A much-discussed topic of late is the need for social media users to be mindful of what content they are sharing across which platform. In recent posts, I have discussed personal branding and things to consider when it comes to working on your personal brand through social media outlets:

Now that you’re feeling a bit more comfortable with what personal branding is and how you want to use it, there are some things to which you should pay attention. There are things you can do in social media that either help or hurt your personal brand. What you want to do is be a savvy user of social media, demonstrating that you “get” how each platform is a little different and requires different content.

Know Your Social Media

Since Twitter and LinkedIn recently got divorced, it becomes apparent that the various forms of social media have their own plans and feel that “sharing” only goes so far.

I’m not all that opposed to this change. I think it’s important for users to recognize that social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are distinctive. Yes, there are commonalities across the platforms but it’s important to note

  1. Who is using which site
  2. What is the purpose of the site
  3. What type of content works best on the site

Twitter may have made the choice to break from LinkedIn simply because it finds itself going in a different direction with its plans for its company or “for the money”. I can’t say, and I don’t know. What I do know is that I think users will benefit from the separation of content. Here’s why.

Why Posting Content to Match the Site Makes Sense

Have you ever logged into your LinkedIn account, scanned your Updates and noticed that they’re full of your Connections’ latest tweets? Nevermind that the content might be interesting, it’s rather jarring to see hashtags and Twitter-specific abbreviations (ex. “RT”) outside of Twitter. When you’re used to seeing LinkedIn messages that contain pictures and are >140 characters, the style and format of a tweet post looks out of place.

What’s to be done?

First, as a user of various social media platforms, it’s worth it to consider tailoring your content to the site you’re posting it. Perhaps you really did appreciate the link in the tweet you read, and you want to share it with your LinkedIn, Facebook and blog followers. That’s a great idea! But why not take a second and craft your post to get the best result in that form of social media?

For example, say you read a really interesting article and wanted to share it with your networks. First, you tweet about it, including all the relevant hashtags and mentions. That’s great! Now, before you go and copy that tweet to all your other social networks, stop! Consider the value of sharing the post in a way that is relevant on the other platforms.

  1. Facebook, LinkedIn – Add a picture. If the article has a picture, so much the better – make sure it shows up when you post the link to those sites.
  2. LinkedIn – Elaborate on the link with your own thoughts about its relevance to your LinkedIn connections, particularly if it has professional significance.
  3. Your blog/your Tumblr – If you’re sharing a link on your blog, where better to take a few moments and expound on what you found to be interesting in the article? Your blog is the one place that’s all you. No character limits, no posting limits…you could say as much as you want to say, and people can find out even more about what that article meant to you.

This list only things to think about when posting text to some of the most popular text-related social media sites. It doesn’t even consider how you could diversify your posts by taking article pictures and pinning content to Pinterest or sharing a video of your thoughts on YouTube. But that’s up to you. Some of us are solidly text-related personal brand builders. Others love adding sights and sounds to their brand. It’s all about what you want to put out there, but in the end isn’t purposeful posting worth thinking about?

By the way, this post isn’t to condemn folks who post their Twitter content verbatim across other platforms (or, in reverse, those who post content clearly over 140 characters automatically to Twitter without considering that half the message will be cut off). It is just offering an opinion on the value of paying attention to what you put where. You might find that, by modifying your content to match a particular social media platform’s purpose, you might get better responses and greater communion with your followers.

What About You?

Do you cross-post?

If so, with or without editing content to match social media site?

Do you think it makes sense to have content match the social media site it is posted to?

Why or why not?

Please share your comments below! I’m really interested in everyone’s take on this issue! :)

Personal Branding: All of “You” in One Account? Yes or No?

What, oh what, to include when constructing your personal brand?

Recently, while reading Travis Harvey’s recent post, Personal branding: Personal Vs. Professional accounts, I realized how often I’d seen people struggle through this question of whether or not to combine or separate their personal and professional selves online. I also realized how little I see among the streams of tweets and articles and blogs on personal branding about personal branding beyond the job or job search. Most information out there is about how to personally brand yourself within a company, within your company or for your job search.

  • But what if you just want to work on your personal brand to have it there when you need it?
  • What if you’re just trying to be more visible as a person of specific interests and talents?

What is My Personal Brand, Again?

As the infographic in my post How’s This Personal Branding Thing Work, Anyways? shows, your personal brand is all about you – who you are, how you are perceived by others and what you want to achieve. The next steps, talking about creating your brand, show how to go about pulling together your online presence. Whether or not you blog, your online presence is going to be the easiest way other people can access who you are and what you are about.

So here’s the conundrum: When you’re working on your own personal branding, how much “you” do you keep in your account built to showcase your personal brand?

Keep Things Separate or Combine?

Here’s my example: I have one Twitter account (two, if you count my education-related account, but that’s a little different) where I connect with friends and people I know as well as post all the stuff that interests me and speaks to the personal brand I want to showcase. Most of my interests are represented in my posts, so the majority of my tweets are about social media, branding, personal finance, etc. But every now and again there are the personal shout-outs and the odd posts about what’s going on in my local area. Now, I also have a lot of personal interests that aren’t as relevant to many of my followers – say, my obsessive love of the Olympics (starting July 27th!) or my love of HBO shows (Game of Thrones, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire…no matter what season, I’m probably watching something religiously on HBO). Do I tweet about all these other interests in the same account I post my more professional passions?

Keeping your personal and professional accounts separate on Facebook is relatively easy. Create a Page for your personal brand and BAM!, you’re all set. Personal brand-related posts go on the Page, all the truly personal stuff (pictures, status updates, etc) go in your personal FB account. But on Twitter, it’s a lot less fun managing multiple accounts. For one thing, switching between Twitter accounts can be a pain and the site currently doesn’t let you sign in as more than one account at the same time (side note: if someone wants to correct me on this, I’ll be ecstatic to learn that I’m wrong). Tweetdeck and Hootsuite make it easier to manage multiple accounts all at once, but what if you just don’t want to be bothered?

Ultimately, It’s Up to You

In another former post of mine, Why You Can Break Personal Branding Rules, I stated that I felt it was ok to break the “rule” about keeping professional/personal interests separate. I think both make up who you are. But stating this and living it are two different things. I think everyone has to find where they’re comfortable. This is especially important for people who aren’t doing personal branding as a part of a company. If you’re working on your personal brand because you want it to be there when you need it, you have more leeway than folks trying to make the professional “personal and engaging” (<–are we all sick of that word yet?).

Here’s what I suggest:

  • Test it. Try combining your personal branding efforts with all your personal interest posts and see where it takes you. If you find you really want to keep things separate, don’t feel bad about it. Let’s all agree that the answer to “to combine-or-not-combine” lies with the individual.
  • Review and revise as needed. You’re allowed to change your mind.
  • Find what works for YOU. In the end, you have to be happy with what you’re putting out there. It should reflect YOU because that’s the point of personal branding. If you’re hiding half of yourself in an attempt to make other people happy, you’re probably leaving out all the interesting bits that make you who you are.

What About You?

Do you think it’s better to combine personal branding-related posts and personal-interest accounts and posts or no?

What do you do when faced with this personal branding question?

Do you know anyone else addressing this question? If so, post a link to what they have to say below!

Image Credit: KROMKRATHOG, Freedigitalphotos.net

Moving Talent

Continuing discussions around Human Resources topics, I found this infographic interesting.

The infographic below looks at the survey responses of more than 500 organizations across 45 countries to questions about mobility programs. Moving talent is an interesting piece of management. What I found particularly interesting was that most movement is across departments. I also like the list of Benefits of Talent Mobility.

When I think of the organization at which I work, we’re not a large, multinational corporation. Movement is centered in one geographic location across at most ten sites. Most often talent does move across departments rather and is about motivating and retaining talent.

Workforce motivation is a key topic being discussed, especially by those focused on millennials/Gen Y in the workplace. I’m sure I’ll be bringing it up in future posts.

Talent on the move
Infographic by Mercer Insights

What About You?

What do you think of the above infographic?

What are your thoughts on talent mobility within your own organization? Do the above responses ring true?

How do you feel mobility relates to the question of employee retention and motivation?

Back from Break!

Having taken some time off recently, it’s nice to step back into the world of social media and blogging after completely unplugging. It puts some of the obsessive frenzy of social media consumption into perspective, particularly if you’ve spent part of your time off lounging by a Great Lake to a multi-hued sunset with a breeze in your face and sand between your toes.

It makes you realize that everything has its place. As many wonderful times as I had while away, I rarely felt compelled to capture and report them via social media. (I think the most-used apps on my phone during my time away were the Camera app, Instagram, and Waze, haha!) Yes, I made the occasional Facebook status update but I barely checked my Twitter feed and didn’t even think about my blog. Decompressing is a beautiful thing, and we should all take more time out for it.

You get the impression, especially from Twitter, that if you slow down at all then you’re out of the game. Perhaps that’s why you see some of the heaviest tweeters re-posting former blog posts, past tweets or under-140-character snippets of wisdom from the philosophers of our time and those times past. After all, if you don’t keep your name in people’s face than where are you? [Side note: I find that those I follow on Twitter that I appreciate the most are those who have different things to say all the time. I certainly gravitate towards the individuals using Twitter to build their personal brand rather than the businesses using it for social media marketing. The content is often better coming from the individual accounts (and individual accounts not tied to any business).]

While vacation is great and wonderful, it’s time to put the nose to the grindstone once again. I’m actually excited to catch up on personal branding, personal finance and social media posts. I’m looking forward to tracking back posts from Gen Y/millennial enthusiasts to see what’s the latest during my time away. And I’m looking forward to posting in this blog again, which is still taking off but which I enjoy throwing my thoughts into. :)

More to follow soon!

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