Resources from Social Media 101

I have added new resources to the Social Media 101 handout:

Sree Sreenivasan’s Guide to Social Media:

Sree Sreenivasan’s Twitter Guide for Newbies & Skeptics:

10 Most Extraordinary Twitter Updates (Mashable):

Eight Social Media Resolutions for 2011 (Bloomberg Businessweek):

10 Social Media Trends for 2011:

How To: Make Your Small Business Geolocation-Ready (Mashable):

Facebook safety for parents and kids: “Find and Follow Top Business Execs on Twitter”


Reflections from CJS’s “What We Learned Teaching Social Media” webcast

I recently chanced upon a webcast hosted by the Columbia Journalism School (@columbiajourn) on “What We Learned Teaching Social Media.” The syllabus for the graduate-level class is available for reference. The speakers were some of the best in the business:

Having organized workshops for journalism students at the University of Washington on social media, I was interested to find out how other people are engaging student journalists and helping them discover the potential for social media in journalism.

During the conversation I asked via Twitter (hashtag: #cjsoc), “What’s the best way to teach social media to student journalists?” Jennifer Preston said she likes to have students work on a specific project or Tweet a specific event. Examples she used were election coverage and the aftermath of Haiti. I was reminded of the students in Prof. Roger Simpson’s class who live-Tweeted President Obama’s visit to boost Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign.

Preston said the class debriefs after the event by having volunteers share their feeds and discussing what worked and what didn’t.

Each class also develops a list of social-media guidelines.

The shared syllabus is a wealth of resources and I encourage everyone to take a look at it. It includes tools, links to articles about journalism and social media, and links to case studies. It also includes links to articles about etiquette and metrics.

A few notable examples in the syllabus:

1. Examples of journalists using Twitter (

2. @mashable’s Twitter guide:

3. See a collection of 80+ social-media policies, compiled by

4. 8 ways to use social media in the newsroom (by J.D. Lasica and Barbara Iverson)

5. The emergence of location.

6. Journalists in the social media ecosystem: Journalist as curator, as community manager

7. What is a personal brand and why it is important (Poynter – Lavrusik)

8. 10 Commandments of Twitter Etiquette

9. How much of your life is too much to share online? (Verne Kopytoff,
S.F Chronicle, April 27, 2009)

Slides from Social Media 101

Here are the slides from Social Media 101:

An updated version is available by clicking “View on Slideshare.” The embedded version hasn’t updated yet, though I hope it won’t take too long.

Free screencasting tools and resources

I found a great resource on PBWorks about screencasting (a digital recording of computer screen output often containing audio narration) in addition to some tips for creating the content.

Screencasting is great for short tutorials when it is easier to show than tell.

The page lists a number of free tools for capturing and annotating screen images and short screen recordings: Jing, Screen Toaster, and Screencasto-matic. These tools allow for embedding of your presentation on your blog or website.

If you need to create a screencast that is longer than 5 minutes you might still need a for-cost solution: SnagIt or Camtasia Studio have lots of features.

Can’t wait to try these out!

Have you used any of these tools? What did you think?

Planning your digital project: Finding the right tool for the job

As educators, it’s tempting to see an unfamiliar, yet “sparkly” new technology and to want to use it for the sake of doing something “cutting edge.”

This is a normal reaction (much preferred over hiding from new technologies and hoping they’ll go away), and one that can be and should be harnessed to expand our educational toolboxes. Like with any tool, however, we must learn when to use it and how. Would you use a bulldozer for your garden when a shovel will do?

Here are some questions to think about when planning a digital project.

  1. As with any project, a digital project should have a defined goal. Is the goal to convey information? To engage? To inspire action?
  2. Decide how you will measure your success in reaching your goal. Size of audience? Recommendations and comments of audience? Improved test scores?
  3. Next, define your audience. What age group do you want to reach? What education level? How comfortable are they with new technology? Do they have the downloads and plugins necessary to view your material?
  4. Will the project need to be maintained after launch? If so, how will this happen?
  5. How will your project meet W3C accessibility guidelines? This is an especially important question to ask if your institution receives public funding (though really everyone benefits from accessibility principles). Public universities such as the University of Washington are required by law to make their information accessible. (Good accessibility improves the user experience for everyone – consider how some web sites are so much easier to navigate on an iPhone than others.) Examples of accessibility guidelines include:
  • Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content
  • Don’t rely on color alone
  • Design for device-independence (such as screen readers, non-mouse users, etc.)

With these things in mind, it’s possible to start sorting through that digital toolkit for the best tool for the job.

Is there a chronology that could be more easily depicted using a graphic or Flash? Are there images that could tell the story using a slideshow? Would a video collage give the best representation of your work?

If you are working on a web site and you want to reach a broad audience, you will want to limit the amount of high-bandwidth material, such as images and video, on the home page. Put users in control and only make them download information when they choose to.

Is there a way for blind or deaf users to get the content that is in your video? Or the person who isn’t allowed to watch video at work? Or the dial-up connection user who has disabled images and javascript?

What medium best illustrates your project? Photos, video, audio, the written word? Don’t force your project into a mold. Each project is different and should be treated as such.

When working on the web, don’t forget about the power of linking. Can you link to complementary resources? (Bonus: This also improves search engine optimization.)