Family night and websites

Last week my daughter’s school graciously held what they affectionately call Family Night – you may have heard of something similar in your areas. It’s a night hosted by the school where the family of students is invited to explore, participate in some sort of assembly-type presentation (topics vary), and then visit various classrooms that have games and activities for the children. I’m sure you all get the premise here – let’s make an effort to get parents and students involved with learning outside of the regular classroom. GREAT! Except… well it’s never so great. We go to nearly every event like this – I am a firm believer in parent involvement in education and think the more we support our schools the better off our children will be. So on these occasion when I am handed an invitation from a very excited 7 year old I take the opportunity to strut my parent stuff. This invitation (as well as the sign board outside of the school that displays reminders on upcoming events) stated that family night would begin at 5 pm. So being a punctual person we showed up right at 5 pm. Apparently that was more of a suggestion than an actual start time. Now in an effort to make sure we were on time and there was nothing we need to bring, etc. I consulted the schools website. There again – Family night starts at 5 pm. So when we arrived there were some other punctual parents there wandering aimlessly around and wondering, much as I was, were we in the wrong place? Had the time changed and no one told us? The few teachers and volunteers that were there simply stared at us and offered little encouragement or explanation of what was going on. So we went out to the playground and played for a bit – periodically coming into the building to see if perhaps anyone else was going to show up. Eventually they did – 1 hour later. Nothing was even started until 6 pm. Now I don’t know about you but poor planning and tardiness are huge pet peeves I have. If you invite some one somewhere at an appointed time – please note none of the time information I received said 5-ish or around 5 or somewhere between 5pm and the next morning – then I believe you need to be there and ready to roll at said time. Now I wonder why parents don’t want to get involved with school activities? Hmmmm… There was a complete lack of direction, very poor planning, no enthusiasm from the staff and teachers participating. It was pretty much just a humdrum event with all the wonder of a deflated balloon and I was very sadly disappointed – again. You may be wondering why I have websites listed there in my title and by golly I’ll tell ya. Isn’t the goal of a company – in this case the school – having a website to relay information about the organization? Upcoming events? Important things you might want or need to know about the organization? Have you looked at your school’s websites? I do believe there will be an interesting post following to discuss the lack of use of social media to relay information to parents. Do any of you have (or are) teachers that tweet? Update your personal teacher websites on your school’s webpage? Stay tuned…

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Topic of the week #10 – Social Media Audit Masada House

The organization I will be working wih for the end of semester project is called Masada House. this is a non-profit organization located in Farmington, NM. It is transitional housing for women completing or having completed a drug or alcohol dependency rehabilitation program. Masada House allows for a safe environment for these women to learn life skills that will help them be successful in their road to recovery in the “outside” world. The largest impediment to successful recovery for most drug and alcohol users is an inability to separate themselves from the things that were crutches for use in the past – friends, peer groups, family, and sometimes even geographic location. Masada requires participants to work outside of the house, has strict rules as far as curfew and what participants are allowed to do during their stay, and offers counseling, mentoring, and healing mostly done by healthcare providers in the San Juan County area who volunteer their time and skills to help these women be a success. So far Masada has been successful in helping approximately 40% of past participants to achieve their goals of a new life and the goal of lifelong sobriety. Since 2011 45 women have participated in the program. This equates to 18 participants that have thus far been successful with the program. Average rates of recidivism look to be around 51%.
The current social media presence of Masada House consists of a facebook page as well as a website http://www.masadahouse.net neither of which is maintained regularly as the organization has limited resources to employ a full-time social media provider and much of the owrk done around the organization is “off-the-clock” by existing employees. Because Masada House is still relatively young (less than 2 years since their doors opened to the first group of participants) and a non-profit organization there is some understability as to the lack of social media presence. Upping the amount of content available on facebook as well as adding content to the website are going to be my first suggestions as these are easily one and House participants can add greatly to content via facebook. Establishing a blog that is dedicated solely to Masada House will increase awareness and drive traffic toward the organization.
The service Masada House is providing to the four corners community is so extremely imprtant and much needed we really need to get them out there to show people what they do and how they can help.

Topic of the week 8 – Twittering???

Okay so I have to be the first to admit that this entire course has been one nightmare after another – I never realized that I was so social media phobic until I tried to actually use it for something other than posting pictures of my kids on facebook. Some of the topics wr have touched on thus far have got me so overwhelmed I go into panic mode every time I get into the class! Case in point – this weeks topic of TWITTER.
The first time I recall hearing about Twitter and Tweets and Tweeting and the like was one lovely morning while watching the Today show. There sat Matt Lauer talking about some “news-worthy” subject (or it very well may have been sone celebrity gossip) when he stated that the Twitter world was abuzz with scandalation in regard to this particular topic (sorry I honestly cannot remember what the topic was but I guess that’s a moot point right now). I remember thinking – what the heck is he talking about “Tweeting”? I wonder what that is? At that point in time I did not take the time to explore the topic – actually up until this point in time I had no desire to truly do so. Perhaps I do not even desire truly to look into it now but I AM taking a social media class so I must have some interest in it… right?
So needless to point at to you I DO NOT have a twitter account – perhaps I need one? At this juncture I am unclear as to how Tweeting could benefit me and my “personal brand”. I have considered using it to promote my hubby’s band but I’m not quite sure if it would generate interest and honestly right now I don’t think I could dedicate myself to the time it would take to be an effective Tweeter. it seems to me that it could be very time-consuming since it’s pretty much a constantly live thing. Actually this whole social media thing seems to be pretty time-consuming. Sheesh who knew?
Last night I was on the verge of setting up my own Twitter account and then I chickened out. I don’t really know what frightens me so much about this… I don’t think the Twitter Monster is going to jump out from under my bed at night just because I don’t follow others bby utilizing this tool. Then again maybe it is just that – the notion that I am “following” others and others may be “following” me. Maybe if there were a better word for it – Admiring perhaps. Ah to be admired from afar be perfect strangers that may be the motivation I need.

facebook in the classroom

Good afternoon readers – today we will be discussin the use of facebook and other social media in the classroom.  Do you think that it would be effective for teachers to utilize social media as part of the learning experience for students in the K-12 grades?  Personally I think K-5 really needs to stay away from the over-use of technology so that children do get that fundamental foundation in skills such as reading and writing.  But what about our older kids – I don’t see many these days over the age of 12 who do not have access to or their own internet capable device whether is be a smart phone, tablet, or computer.  Can a teacher utilize social media to reach out to students and make the learning experience more engaging?  I don’t know about you all but there are lots of things that I was made to learn in school that I have never applied to “real life”.  I’ve never been asked to write in cursive only at work or had any cause to utilize the pythagorean theorem to get me through the daily grind.  By allowing children to utilize the technology available at their fingertips as an integral part of their education can have a variety of effects on students and their interactions with the world they actually live in.  If students find that their teachers are available via academic networking similar to socila networking they may find that level of accessibilty to far outreach any face-to-face interaction they can have in the classroom.  Connection can often be the key to success for students to learn a new skill or idea and not much interestes students more these days than the constant electronic interactions they have with their peers.  Social media can teach collaboration as well.

Topic of the week – 7

Before this incident the Kenneth Cole brand should have had a respected and well developed brand personality.  Their products are known for being higher-end type merchandise so I would expect that they would have a fairly loyal following of customers.

I don’t think that the response that Kenneth Cole made following his mistake could truly have been considered an apology.  The company needs to rebuild its brand by being visible in areas of philanthropy as well as promoting these acts on social media beyond the occasional tweet and FB post.

In order to rectify the situation Kenneth Cole should direct an apology directly to the Egyptian people as well as twitter followers and the general public.  I think a video public service announcement directly from Kenneth Cole that highlights any philanthropic endeavors the company undertakes would be helpful as well.

If Kenneth Cole continues to utilize social media they need to make their brand more people friendly.  Perhaps he should have some one else involved with the company help him post as well as engaging in conversation with his audience.  By increasing their visiblity via social media in a positive light and engaging with their audience they may be able to undo some of the damage that has been done.

The tone of the posts that are made to sites like twitter are equally as important as the actual content. For Cole to have stated that he was making an attempt at humor following his ridiculous tweet demonstrates that he is not in tune with who his audience may be and the appropriate way to interact with them. By utilizing various social media outlets to talk about things other than simply fashion Cole may be able to draw interest to his brand similar to the way Zappos has done. The extent to which Zappos utilizes twitters functionality should be a lesson in marketing to any brand whether big or small. A fun and engaging presence that is not necessarily about the company itself all of the time keeps subscribers and followers interested and engaged.
Here are some links to a couple of interesting blogs I read regarding how to’s on fixing a social media mess http://www.mackcollier.com/social-media-crisis-management/ and

Topic of the week #3

Flexibility and organization are things that make a good social media professional. Whithout these two attributes one would definitely lose followers and have a hard time keeping up with the demands of the job. As was pointed out in some of the anecdotes shared by our instructor it can be very easy to disappoint followers through lack of attention – then again by giving too much attention we can turn followers off too! Being able to access the information “superhighway” at any time of day or night and having the ability to quickly create, change, update, and find information is key as well.
But why would some one read my particular posts to any sort of social media – yet another aspect of a good social media professional is not only having something to say but having something to say about a topic people want to hear about. One may have the most interesting insight into the world of grub worms but if there is no interest in the topic no one is going to read your blog or tweets or any posts. By the same token access to information via the internet and other electronic devices has allowed people with a wide and diverse range of interests to be able to share information. So perhaps somewhere out there is a great number of people who are interested in the grubworm – I just don’t happen to run in that circle.
Occasionally one can become an effective social media professional not only based on what they nknow but on who they know. The trendsetters and those that are willing (and able) to put themselves out there to try new things and explore new topics would certainly be monumental resources for a social media professional. For instance if I had attracted the following of a pro basketball player who happened to be married to a millionaire that happened to have a reality show I may be able to attract followers through association. These followers may only have been interested in what I had to say at first as it pertained to said ball player but over time they could be one over to be a fan of my writing or share in common interests.