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6 Ways Tumblr Introduces Blogging to Students

Tumblr Iconphoto © 2007 Chad Swaney | more info (via: Wylio)
If you are looking for a way to introduce teen students to blogging, consider Tumblr. As a free mini-blog platform, Tumblr has a small learning curve but introduces its users to basic blog concepts they will encounter in more complex platforms like WordPress. Tumblr doesn’t have the bells and whistles of WordPress but works. It helps a new student blogger master the concept of blogging on the go via mobile.

How Tumblr introduces blogging to students:

  1. Themes. Users have some selections for themes – some paid and others that are free. Though it lacks the flexibility of WordPress, it helps a student instantly see how a new theme changes the whole feel of a blog. They will learn technical skills that will give them an advantage if/when they move to more complex blogging platforms.
  2. Public/Private Posts. Students who create public accounts will need to be taught common sense public posting – how to share information without being stupid – to reveal themselves without revealing everything.
  3. Mobile Post as You Go. Tumblr lets students begin to experience posts on the go. This is especially helpful with photos and video. Students who develop this mindset will be well-prepared for the next generation of blogging.
  4. Short is Sweet Writing. This platform helps students develop their writing skills for the new generation of web readers. Studies show those who read on the web scan when they read. Students who learn to write things in short snippets will be better prepared to write for this audience. 
  5. Video. Students can learn to embed video on their Tumblr, following the same steps they would with WordPress. This gives them a first taste of embedding code into a post.
  6. Tags. Students learn to tag their posts via category.

Every student heading to college needs to already know how to begin a blog and post on it. They will most likely need to do so for at least one college class. If they learn those skills before college, they can focus more on the quality of their blog content than the technical stresses of beginning a blog. A student can have multiple Tumblr  blogs.

Both WordPress and Tumblr have frustrating learning curves when you first begin to use them. Keep plugging through that frustration, and it will get easier.

Recommended steps to start and master Tumblr:

  1. Customize your name, graphics, and photo.
  2. Post a photo.
  3. Post a blog.
  4. Post a quote.
  5. Post a link to other information.
  6. Embed a video.
  7. Follow other tumblrs.
  8. Reblog what someone else blogs.
  9. Update your tumblr via a smartphone.

After you master these 9 tasks, you’ll be able to maintain your own Tumblr.

Smile, You’re on Big Screen

Twitter live on the big screenphoto © 2009 John Dalton | more info (via: Wylio)
Just before I teach classes on social media, I post a message on my profile:

“Teaching in 30 minutes. Say hi to my class. Smile – you’re on big screen.”

Friends around the planet, from my own backyard of Indiana to the other side of the planet in Australia, chime in to welcome my students.

My message to friends has a dual purpose.

  1. First, begin conversations to show my classes how we can quickly converse by way of Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Second, warn my friends that their social media comments are about to appear on a big screen in front of a room full of people they don’t know.

With each class I teach, I share my number one rule:

Smile – you’re on big screen.

If you would not be comfortable posting that profile or sending that private message to a room full of strangers, don’t tweet, publish, or send it. This rule applies whether I’m talking to a group of teens, grandparents, non-profits, or business owners.

Think before you tweet. Pause before you post. If the question is asked what’s on your mind, use your mind for a moment to think about it first.

In another era, Helen of Troy had the face that launched 1,000 ships. Today, aspire to write the post that teaches, delights, and builds.

 Today’s thoughtless post could become the tweet that launches 1,000 quips.

When Facebook Friendships Grow Toxic

Facebook Screenshotphoto © 2010 Neeraj Kumar | more info (via: Wylio)
What do you do when a Facebook friendship goes south? Not everyone is your biggest fan or friend, and sometimes bad things happen.

  • You get poison pen private messages telling you how awful you are.
  • Someone tries to be funny and over comments on your wall.
  • Someone is verbally abusive to you or your friends on your wall.
  • Someone is verbally abusive about you on other walls.

Not all playground fights happen in the schoolyard.

Sometimes a minimal response can preserve a friendship. These solutions include:

  • Hide the person’s news stories from your news feed. If someone consistently posts flame bait disguised as a status, just don’t read it. Then your real life relationship can remain intact.
  • Filter the person. Create a limited profile list and filter what posts or information you post to everyone. If you do this, be fully prepared to make a mistake and post something publicly that you intended to go private.
  • Restrict the person. Limit your friend’s ability to post on your wall or comment.

Even with these precautions, if someone launches missiles at your page, the day may come to unfriend that person. It’s not an end to any relationship but sometimes is a matter of personal protection. Your Facebook wall doesn’t have to be a place for you to take abuse, and neither is your home. If the time comes you’re subjected to abuse or treatment that makes you uncomfortable in either environment, it’s ok to opt out.

How do you handle a toxic Facebook friend?

Don’t Badmouth the Hand that Feeds You

Facebookphoto © 2010 MoneyBlogNewz | more info (via: Wylio)
What are the biggest mistakes I see young people making on social media?

  1. Complaining about their jobs
  2. Complaining about the customers at their jobs

Yes, we have freedom of speech. We can say what we want.  Remember the flip side of that freedom:

  1. Your employer has freedom to hire and fire.
  2. Your employer’s clients have freedom to spend their money elsewhere.

When you work for a company, like it or not, you are their brand ambassador. If you badmouth the brand or mock the customers, you potentially harm your employer. If you work there and you hate it, why would new customers want to enter the door or current customers want to return?

If the average Facebook user has 150 friends, then odds are that somehow, if you say something bad, your boss will see it.

It’s a tough economy, and odds are there are other people out there who would love to have your job and will do it well, without the badmouthing.

If you work for a company that is abusive, or that engages in immoral, unethical, or illegal practices, find another job. Don’t vent your frustrations on social media. If you do, and your prospective employers see it, they will assume you make a habit of badmouthing the hand that feeds you and will choose not to hire you.

Discretion 101 matters as much on Facebook and Twitter as it does in real life.

Good things happen if you share the good parts of your job, your customers, and your employer:

  1. You brand your employer as a great place.
  2. You brand yourself as a positive team member.
  3. The more you focus on the positive, the more you’ll enjoy your job and the time you’re there.

Golf Course Hacks

facebook logophoto © 2008 Marco Paköeningrat | more info (via: Wylio)
A new golf course hack is hitting Facebook right now. I’m going to update a writeup on this but wanted to alert you ASAP. Do NOT click on it. It looks particularly nasty. Here’s what it does:

The new Facebook Golf Course hack likes the following:

  • The hottest and funniest golf Course video
  • Get a free meal hurry (Subway)
  • Life in 3 Steps Born Love Live Die
  • I Love Music
  • Oytube
  • Give Respect = Have Respect
  • It’s Fun to be Young
  • Oh My GOD and Who Know Me?

If you like ANY of those pages, you risk getting hacked by this monster.

Please check back on fixes for this and see my featured blog on 8 steps to prevent and fix a Facebook hack.

If you’ve been hit with this and note other things it has done, please comment and share.

Thanks to Nibby Priest for alerting me on this hack and giving feedback on this post.

College Prep Social Media?

facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook mergephoto © 2010 Asthma Helper | more info (via: Wylio)
Facebook is too dangerous for college prep teens,” a student in my Facebook class told me. “We won’t let our 16 year old touch it because he might risk scholarship chances.”

Interesting proposition. I had 2 primary responses:

  1. Learning to navigate social media is like learning to drive. Parents work with their teens to teach them the rules of the road. With both, these are skills you don’t leave home knowing. It’s easier to teach your teen to use social media responsibly, under your own roof when they are younger, than to trust it happens later.
  2. I increasingly know employers who view those with NO social media presence as odd ducks and ill-equipped to interact with the modern work force. Long term, no social media presence = fewer career opportunities.

“We hired a college coach who tells his clients: NO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR COLLEGE PREP TEENS. It’s just too dangerous if they post the wrong thing,” she replied.

Frankly, I was astounded to still have this conversation in 2011. As the parent of 15 and 16 year olds, I disagree. My husband and I were their first friends on Facebook, and a friend who’s a prosecutor was their third. We monitor them and teach them to use it constructively.

But this isn’t about my opinion. What do YOU think? So I’m asking YOU, my readers. Is social media too dangerous a risk for college prep teens? Please comment below.

Branding Yourself

“Why are my sales lagging? Why can’t I find clients the way I used to?” some in business wonder. Maybe it’s easier to blame a tough economy than to determine how technology has changed marketing and lead generation. Last year’s tools may not work. The last century’s tools are probably a total waste of money.

For 11 years, my husband and I have helped ad agencies with successful Fortune 500 campaigns through our digital graphics company, the Copper Lion. Marketing and advertising are changing, and we see many struggling to find their niche in the new normal. We also see many who use the new tools well to grow business.

For those who struggle, social media seems like waste of time without an immediate return on their investment.

The problem is the longer they avoid social media, the further removed they become from the new world. Maybe they are so busy writing white papers they don’t bother learning to tweet.

Those who do tweet and use social media can smell a non-user as readily as a pack of wild wolves can smell fear in prey. But this has the opposite effect; social media users categorize the non-user as out of touch and spend their money elsewhere. How does a non-user become current quickly?

Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy have written a book for this audience, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. They take 4 case studies and give practical examples of how these individuals grow their sales, garner promotions, find new jobs, and change careers. With a step-by-step approach, they show readers how to define and brand themselves. Finally, their case studies create new opportunities through smart networking, public speaking, writing, and job searches.

Bookshelves are lined with how to books that show how to build business and make money. What makes Branding Yourself different is that Erik and Kyle show their humor through Twitter dialogues throughout the book. As their personalities shine through the lines of written text, they lead by example – showing readers how to be who they are, brand themselves well, and find new opportunities – exactly what successful social media branding should be.

Through social media, if we be who we are, we can set the world on fire and build worlds full of new opportunities.

If Dogs Tweeted

Dog Shadesphoto © 2005 Joe Sullivan | more info (via: Wylio)
Note: dogs don’t RT. They RB (rebark). This was a conversation I overheard in my front yard, among our neighbors’ dogs, yesterday morning.

@YippeeSpaniel: Squirrel!

@BlackLab: RB @YippeeSpaniel Squirrel!

@GoldenRetriever: RB @BlackLab: RB: @YippeeSpaniel Squirrel!

@YippeeSpaniel: I’m small but I’m louder! RB @GoldenRetriever: RB @BlackLab: RB: @YippeeSpaniel Squirrel!

@PitBull: @YippeeSpaniel @BlackLab @GoldenRetriever Squirrel! #Snack

Pause – dogs in their own yards.

Ambulance drives by.

@BlackLab: Siren! #Loud

@GoldenRetriever: RB @BlackLab: Siren! #Loud

@YippeeSpaniel: I can bark louder than the siren and you big boys! RB @GoldenRetriever @BlackLab Siren! #Loud

@PitBull: Siren? #Blood #Snack

@BlackLab: I just earned the #GiveADogABone badge on Pupsquare in my own backyard.

@GoldenRetriever: @PursePup is jumping at her bay window again. She wants out.

@PitBull: How much is that doggy in the window? @PursePup #snack

@YippeeSpaniel: Guess who just got out of my collar! Digging under the cell wall now! Great escape soon!

@GoldenRetriever: He just brought me lunch. Dog chow. Again.

@PitBull: Dog chow? #snack

@YippeeSpaniel: Freedom! It’s been real!

@BlackLab: @YippeeSpaniel How bout that?

@GoldenRetriever: @YippeeSpaniel has left the backyard. and fled the block.

@PitBull: Guess it’s just a 3 dog night. Anyone for a #snack? There’s that darn cat.

How to Screw in a Social Media Light Bulb

Energy Star Light Bulbphoto © 2010 Jennifer Durfey | more info (via: Wylio)
This is an evening in the life of Janie Smith, a social media mogul who lives her whole life online. During this episode, Janie changes a lightbulb in her bathroom.

LinkedIn: Organized and implemented energy output and production study in domestic settings for market research.

Facebook: The new energy efficient light bulbs help save the planet and make me tingly inside.

Twitter: Crud! Bathroom bulb went out and we have no more light bulbs!

FourSquare: Janie earned the PartyAnimal badge checking in at WalMart at 2 a.m.

Twitter: I can’t believe how much more expensive new bulbs are.

Twitter: Hello! The store bathroom’s out of toilet paper, the soap is empty, and the dryer is broken.

Facebook Places: Janie checked in at WalMart with 20 other unknown people at 2:15 a.m.

Twitter: Really weird people shop here at night.

Twitter: How loud is the Airhorn app if that parking lot creeper dude follows me?

Twitter: Safe in my car.

Twitpic Caption: Stalker dude I saw at WalMart. Note license plate # if I disappear.

Youtube: How to add flair to your bathroom with new bulbs

Twitter: Broke the stinking new bulb when I was changing it. What’s that environmental stuff?

WordPress Blog Title: Environmental Cleanup of Light Bulb Breakage

Tumblr: Great article on safe cleanup of broken lightbulbs.

Quora: How do I clean up a broken light bulb?

Twitter: Finally! The light bulb is changed.

Janie’s daughter then posted on Facebook: My mom is a social media dork.

To which Janie wondered why her daughter would post such public information online. And why was it so hard to get up in the morning?

Talkers, Not Stalkers

Facebook friends photo gridphoto © 2007 Dan Taylor | more info (via: Wylio)
An imaginary conversation with a Facebook User

Last month, I realized over half the people on my Facebook friends list never talk to me on Facebook. They don’t like anything, and they don’t respond. All they do is stay in the background. They don’t talk to other people either.

If I held a party, and half the guests stood against the walls without saying anything, I would rethink my guest list next time I held a party. Parties are supposed to be fun, and it’s hard to have fun if you won’t talk to anyone else.

My relationships on Facebook are an extension of real life for me. We can use it to build our relationship and get to know one another better. When you have a bad day, I’ll be there for you. I hope you’ll do the same for me. And I really hope we get to laugh and have fun together.

If you never say anything to any friends on Facebook, I get the feeling you’re more stalker than talker. You read what others are doing but never engage yourself.

My life is complicated enough without dealing with virtual stalkers. So I started cutting my Facebook friends list. If you talk to me and others, answer comments on your wall, and engage in real conversation, I’ll keep our friendship. If you are my Facebook friend and don’t talk to me on Facebook, I’ll most likely unfriend you. It isn’t personal.

It’s just that I prefer talkers to stalkers. That’s what friends are for.

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