Social Media at Conference

The Opening General Session is only ONE WEEK away! Can you smell the Atlantic Ocean yet?

One of our final posts before workshops start is to go over social media. We will be blogging during conference and giving recaps of great sessions and events. If you were at a session and had an amazing experience, let us know! We can set it up so you can blog during your breaks at one of the computer stations donated by Florida TechNet. You also can reflect on the experience as a whole and submit something after you’re back home. Either way, we’d love to hear about your experiences.

We’ll also have a text/twitter updates going on. If you text “Follow FlaLitCon2013″ to 40404, you can get text message updates on room changes, silent auction updates, and session reminders. If you plan on checking twitter frequently, follow us at @FlaLitCon2013.

For those who love tweeting great ideas! Be sure to include #flalitcon so those not at the conference can follow the conversation.

Don’t forget to check out our Conference Pinterest to stay updated on all the hotspots and happenings!

Can’t wait to see you there!

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Leadership Institute Session Review- Digital Storytelling with Social Media

Last week FLC hosted its 10th annual Leadership Institute, where speakers came to share their knowledge with representatives from various literacy-based organizations from around the state of Florida. On Friday of this two-day event, Annie Schmidt and I presented on using social media to help expand your digital storytelling efforts. For those of you who were there, thanks for attending, and for those that weren’t, here’s a brief review of what was covered.

Social media isn’t like traditional marketing. Instead of the typical one-way marketing scheme where you share content with others in hopes that they will be interested enough to reach out to your organization to join your cause, social media works best when you engage in a conversation with your audience. The hit rate for the traditional type of interaction is far from ideal. Luckily, social media has transformed the way organizations can use marketing and storytelling strategies to better suit their mission.  This transition which social media has made allows for us to engage in real time communications with our community. Knowing this difference is crucial to having success with our social media platforms, whichever they may be.

As stated in mine and Annie’s presentation, social media isn’t about follower count and accumulating “likes” to get a better klout score (yes, in this case with a K, not a C). Social media is about connecting to people. True, social media is used to increase your reach on your target audience, but it all comes down to building and maintaining relationships. Increasing reach is important only to drive traffic to your social media platforms and then subsequently to your website.  Furthermore, what’s most important is that your storytelling is effective so that members of your community become more active with your organization. Whether that means volunteers becoming annual donors or donors becoming advocates, getting followers to take that next step is key.

Once you realize the fundamental goals of social media, it’s time to choose a platform, or platforms, which will best serve you and your community. Questions to consider are:

  • Who am I targeting, and what is my audience’s demographic(s)?
  • What content do I want to share with my community?
  • Has my organization already established a presence on social media, and if so on which sites?
  • What’s the best medium to help effectively tell my organization’s story?

There are many different social platforms to choose from. The most common are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and WordPress; each of these has its pros and cons. The trick is finding out which site is right for you. For help in making this decision, please look at Digital Storytelling with Social Media where you can see the Prezi which we used at the Leadership Institute.

Social Media at Conference

The Opening General Session is only ONE WEEK away! Can you smell the Tampa Bay water yet??

One of our final posts before workshops start is to go over social media. We will be blogging during conference and giving recaps of great sessions and events. If you were at a session and had an amazing experience, let us know! We can set it up so you can blog during your breaks at one of the computer stations donated by Florida TechNet. You also can reflect on the experience as a whole and submit something after you’re back home. Either way, we’d love to hear about your experiences.

We’ll also have a text/twitter updates going on. If you text “Follow FlaLitCon2012” to 40404, you can get text message updates on room changes, silent auction updates, and session reminders. If you plan on checking twitter frequently, follow us at @FlaLitCon2012.

For those who love tweeting great ideas! Be sure to include #flalitcon so those not at the conference can follow the conversation.

Don’t forget to check out our Conference Pinterest to stay updated on all the hotspots and happenings!

Can’t wait to see you there!

Nonprofits and Google +

Last week, a LinkedIn group sent me a white paper on the 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions. One of it’s biggest claims?  Google + would be big this year. Even though the social site launched this summer, many have been reluctant to “make the switch” from facebook, haven’t considered it, or perhaps started one but didn’t do anything with it (I fall in the latter category). The more I read about Google +, the more possibilities I saw for nonprofits.

Google + is the perfect social networking tool for nonprofits. With all the different features, nonprofits can collaborate and create community among all the different groups of people they work with; volunteers, community based organization, the board, the people who they work with, and the public to spread their message. AND Google has created tools and ideas specifically to help nonprofits get started with this new social network.  What could be a better fit?

Let’s start with circles. As an organization, you can divide all the people you interact with into circles. Then, you can share information that can go directly to one circle, multiple, or the public. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are trying to deliberately hide information from someone, but some things are much more applicable and pertinent to volunteers vs. your Board and vice versa. On facebook, you wear multiple hats as you try to appeal to the people you are serving, your volunteers, other literacy organizations, and potential volunteers. Google + allows you to create community without worrying about burdening readers with useless information.

You can also use the Hangout feature to have video chats with multiple people. You can engage all of your volunteers in different lesson plan ideas or teach a lesson to the people you work with. It’s a virtual conference call that is free for anyone who can be involved. If you have interns at your site, you can an FAQ hang out session with those interested in working for your org and the interns currently there. Both of these tools, circles and hangouts,  encourage collaboration and makes it fun over an easy/less confusing medium.

Are you excited about this? Because I definitely am. The problem right now is that not many people are using it, so it cannot reach it’s full potential. And we all know, anything you want to happen must start with one. SO, You need to step forward and start this for your page if you want it to happen. Encourage your co-workers to jump on board and tell their friends. Highlight this new page to your volunteers. Spread the word! It can happen and you can do it.

Here is a “how to” page to get you started. And don’t forget to add us to your circles once you start! 

Top Stories in Literacy: December 19

23 Twitter Tools to help you Tweet like a pro
As Margaret Atwood reiterated last week, a presence on twitter is beneficial for your organization and for students. Here are some tips to help you start a twitter campaign.

Digital literacy can boost employability and improve student experience
The nature of knowledge is changing and, in this digital age, our definition of basic literacy urgently needs expanding. With an estimated 90% of UK jobs requiring some level of IT competency, the notion of digital literacy – those capabilities that equip an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society – is one that needs to be taken seriously by colleges and universities.

Florida law results in more denials of unemployment benefits
The House Republicans unveiled a proposal  (H.R. 3630) to dramatically scale back federal unemployment insurance. It included language that would deny unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who do not have a HS diploma or GED unless they are enrolled and making satisfactory progress in classes leading to one.

Study: Income, Not Race, May be the Biggest Predictor in Health Habits
We know that racial health disparities and differences exist, especially when it comes to weight, diet and exercise. Researchers from John Hopkins believe that income level better explains why these differences are so prevalent in the U.S.

Top Stories in Literacy Nov 20

Studies show that people who are generous are in better health
Whether people are donating for tax purposes, or because they are genuinely empathetic, research shows that they are happier and live longer. You might want to include some of these statistics in your next fundraising letter.

How to create a social media marketing schedule
In the nonprofit world, there are a million things going on at once and only time to give attention to half of them. While you might feel like you don’t have time to devote to social media, here are some tips to make the process easier.

Medicare Plan to be shut down
Quality Health Plans, a Medicare HMO with 10,000 Florida members, has been ordered into liquidation after failing to come up with the cash reserves the state says were needed. While the members will be moved to a new plan, this information could be useful to your students.

Nationwide Financial Literacy Campaign Empowers Citizens to Share Personal Financial Lessons
The National Financial Educators Council is starting a campaign called Financial EduNation that will provide organizations and communities with solid resources for combating financial illiteracy at the local level. This program will start at the New Year and provide resources for students, parents and the rest of the community.

Suzanne Ensmann: Technology and Playing games

According to Facebook statistics, there are over 800 million active users on this social network.

The US Census Bureau’s reflection of 312 million residents in America seems to pale in comparison.  If 50% of these Facebook users logon daily (and, yes, those are the actual numbers who do), that number is still higher than every resident living in our country.

How many of those 400 million do you think are in your classrooms?  Oh, I know, your students are a different population.  They don’t have computers (or those skills), right? Do they have a smart phone in their pocket?  Take a poll.  A quick survey in a few of my Student Success classes informed me that 100% of my students had cell phones (AKA computers), 100% of them have laptops, and 100% of them had a Facebook account!

The physical classroom where I am currently teaching does not have computers, but my students do!  Don’t know an answer to a question I pose?  Google it!  Amazingly this engages the students and eliminates that “deer in the headlights” look.  Taking a quiz and not certain if you answered correctly or not?  Immediate feedback returned when they hit that submit button!

One third of my students polled were kinesthetic learners.  They learn through playing games.  So, we play a game to review prior lessons every class on our cell phones.  Think about it.  Do you think students prefer to do classwork or play games while they learn?

The power of words goes a long way in my class.  We clarify if they “have to” come to class or “want to”.  After we break down the cost of their education (tuition, gas, time) and focus on the value, power of positive thinking, and the career pathway goal they are setting out to achieve, their attitude changes.  We’re in our sixth week this semester and I have close to 100% attendance, with the exception of those who’ve experienced the common cold here and there.

Use of technology and affirmations in the classroom are a starting point to foster student persistence, but I can’t say it’s the only ingredient for improved attendance. Since “cell phone” is no longer a dirty word in my class, though, my students will actually use the technology outside of class for their education like they do with every other world activity they partake in.   Communication, communication, communication!  They text me if they’re running late, out ill, or forget what chapter we’re reading.  I remind them of their test on Tuesday, that project that’s due next week, or post a popular motivational video to our Facebook class page.  Literally, I’m placing the reminders in their face where they’re playing.   But, I know your students can’t do these things.

A literacy teacher just boasted to me about the high completion rate she had for her students over the last few months.  Interesting, she has them all listed under her contacts in her cell phone.  Text messaging is a common occurrence (24/7) with her students.  Too much work?   I guess it’s about perception. A full classroom and completions?  I call it fun.  She seems to also.

Not a believer yet?  Read stats from the Deputy Director for Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

If you want to support student success in your classroom and move them into Career Pathway in today’s digital revolution era, think Connect to… Complete to… Careers!  Analyze, create, and plan, but most importantly act on incorporating social media and digital technologies in your classroom today!