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Social Media for Business and Tweeting the F-Bomb to 8,000 Followers

Monday, June 30, 2014

The risk of going social for business
Many experts advise that businesses should open company social media accounts to its employees, while others advise against it. Proponents tout the advantages of relationship and trust building with customers and positive interactions with your market.

Opponents, on the other hand, may cite events like the recent Twitter debacle where Chrysler Motors posted this beauty of a tweet: "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f**king drive". The original message was NSFW, and while many chuckles ensued, imagine the horror and frantic scrambling for the phones when Chrysler execs saw this doozie!

It came to light that an employee of the company that handles the automakers social media campaigns was responsible for the slip-up, most likely tweeting to the Chrysler account instead of a personal one by mistake. The company deleted the errant tweet, and issued an apology to Chrysler's followers, for which I'm sure most understanding people will soon forgive and forget, but it does go to show how a company's reputation can be affected by social blunders, even with the best of intentions.

Employees as ambassadors for your brand
Despite the occasional folly, I'm still inclined to recommend opening the lines of communication for employees of your company through social media. For one, your employees are already on Twitter and Facebook throughout the work day anyway. Yes, they are. So you need to consider: do you set allowable workplace distractions, or let your employees choose their own? I'll advise to let there be no shame in it, so long as it doesn't interrupt productivity (hint: with a written social media policy in place, it may even increase productivity).

Second, employees are more likely to become passionate about the services they provide, given that they essentially become public figures with a level of expertise and implied authority that customers will look up to. So why not train employees to represent your brand effectively, and give managers and/or employees the crown of being ambassadors for your business through social media marketing.

Establishing the ground rules in written format will let every manager and employee involved know what is acceptable and what isn't. Most importantly it will convey to everyone exactly what the goal is regarding the company's social presence online. Are you going social for reputation management? To provide customer support? To show transparency in your company? To increase your marketing reach? Maybe a combination of these ideas? When all parties know what it is they are striving for, you will see your social media effectiveness - and your bottom line - skyrocket.

Also, let only those who have the desire take on these additional responsibilities, as these people will best represent your brand. It's important to note here that taking on a social media role in the company should be completely voluntary!

Establishing Social Media policy in the workplace
When establishing company social media policy it's important to cover such aspects as divulging proprietary company information, revealing information of a personal or private nature, use of profanity, keeping a positive voice, time allowed on social sites vs. actual workplace activity, when and what personal social media activity is allowed, etc.

Also document what the consequences would be for an employee who violates the rules of the policy. Educate your employees on this document during the process of training them for their social media role, and have them sign a copy that goes into their personnel file.

Start small, keep it fun
Obviously, you can't just go company wide with social media right out of the gates. There are likely to be plenty of glitches and concerns, and a bit of upheaval until new roles become routine, so it makes sense to start out on smaller scale. Choose a small core of people, like department managers. Give them a few weeks and have them report their experiences in monthly meetings. This is a great time to discuss insights on what does and doesn't work, and provides the opportunity for brainstorming on a regular basis. Throughout the process, keep in mind the short and long term marketing goals of the company regarding social media.

As your businesses social networking experience unfolds you can refine your social media policy further, and eventually reach a point where you're comfortable passing social media roles to other employees. While a project manager may have great information to provide to customers and potential clients through your business' social networks, employees with more specific roles and "hands-on" responsibilities will have even more insight to provide concerning your company's products and services. Everyone can play a role in the customer support your company provides.

Don't rule out the thought of having contests and offering incentives that can be awarded individually or to entire departments to keep employees motivated and engaged. Offer your employees prizes like catered lunches at work, extra days off, "early-outs", and even pay bonuses for reaching specific milestones you set. Make sport of it, and watch your business sail.

Remember, this should be an enjoyable way for your employees to contribute to reaching your company's goals. If and when social media becomes more of a chore than a desired responsibility, things will spiral out of control. It will always be imperative to keep an open channel of two-way communication up and down the ladder. Establishing a social media committee, meeting on a weekly to monthly basis, is a simple way to accomplish this. Round table discussions will promote brainstorming and give everyone involved their own voice in the process.

In the end you'll find that the benefits of all this far outweigh the problems you might encounter. The one real problem you may find is just getting started with social media in the first place. There is a sizable learning curve involved, especially in using social media for business purposes, and it can seem quite daunting. You could appoint a knowledgeable employee as your company's "social media manager", or hire an outside consultant or marketing firm.

There are social media marketing agencies both large and small that can provide training and education to your staff and/or take on your company's social campaigns either entirely or in part. Don't be afraid to seek help from outside sources, as they can provide insights you may never have thought of, and remove a lot of the hassle and worry if you are not familiar with social media marketing for business.

Recognizing Navigational Tools For the Future of Education

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I have to laugh when I think of the times I watched the television program, "Flash Gordon," as he putted through outer space in his make-believe space ship, talking on his make-believe wireless radio, and dressed in his make-believe space suit. Well, I'm not laughing anymore. Today we have shuttled astronauts into outer space, have men living in a Space Station, have space suites that take your temperature and gauge your heart rate, and wireless communication devices that send pictures to Planet Earth. Far fetched from reality? Not anymore. As we speak, the future is starring us in the face, waiting to see how we will promote her in the next 5-10 years.

How did science-fiction become reality over the past 50 years? Let's consider one aspect of innovation: the learning environment - post secondary education. Why post secondary education, you may ask? As post secondary education population increases, programs to accommodate students will develop into curriculum that affords students the freedom to create and design systems they toy with on a daily basis. Are there risks involved in this adaptation process? There are risks involved when change occurs, and leadership should be aware of how to diplomatically confront the risk areas that could slow down progress. Some of the risks that could be encountered due to change are:

o Systems risks

o Subsystem risks

o People

o Financial/economic risks

o Societal/Cultural risks

If communication between systems, subsystems, people, and cultures within the organizational environment has established a strong communication system, risks factors will be at a minimum as long as the creative teams are honest and upfront about their reservations to change.

Let's look into the future through 'futureoculers' and see how the universe of learning can be brought into the present. I want to introduce to you five (5) key trends that I believe affect the current learning environment, can create change, and renovate the perspective of learners and educators for students of the future. These trends could be the key in creating a new perspective in post secondary education for an institution. The key trends are:

o Competitive classroom learning environments - campus on-site/online/distant

o Increase in technological tools

o Teaching/learning environments-more hands on

o Global expansion capability-internal and external

o Student input in the creative learning process

Navigational Systems

Before the five (5) key trends are defined, there needs to be an acknowledgement of how the trends will be supported and regulated through a changing environment. According to de Kluyver, and Pearce, II, having the right systems and processes/subsystems enhances organizational effectiveness and facilitates coping with change. Misaligned systems and processes can be a powerful drag on an organization's ability to adapt. Therefore, check what effect, if any, current systems and processes are likely to have on a company's ability to implement a particular strategy is well advised. Support systems such as a company's planning, budgeting, accounting, information and reward and incentive systems can be critical to successful strategy implementation. Although they do not by themselves define a sustainable competitive advantage, superior support systems help a company adapt more quickly and effectively to changing requirements. A well-designed planning system ensures that planning is an orderly process, gets the right amount of attention by the right executives, and has a balanced external and internal focus. Budgeting and accounting systems are valuable in providing accurate historical data, setting benchmarks and targets, and defining measures of performance. A state-of-the-art information system supports all other corporate systems, and it facilitates analysis as well as internal and external communications. Finally, a properly designed reward and incentive system is key to creating energy through motivation and commitment. A process (or subsystem) is a systematic way of doing things. Processes can be formal or informal; they define organization roles and relationships, and they can facilitate or obstruct change. Some processes or subsystems look beyond immediate issues of implementation to an explicit focus on developing a stronger capacity for adapting to change. Processes/subsystems aimed at creating a learning organization and at fostering continuous improvement are good examples. As an example, processes or subsystems are functional and maintain the operation of the system; the system may be Student Services and the subsystem may be the Financial Aid office or Admissions. Subsystems can be more in depth in relation to office operations, which involves employee positions and their culture; financial advisors, academic advisors, guidance counselors. These operations are functions performed on the human level and could have a positive or negative impact in the development of key trends. If employees are valued and rewarded for their dedication and service, the outcome will be responsible, committed employees for the success of their subsystem.

The Navigator

Every navigator needs a map, a plan, a driver to give direction to for a successful trip. In this case, the driver is several elements:

o Service integrity, reputation

o Affordability with an open door concept

Hughes and Beatty relate drivers as Strategic drivers; those relatively few determinants of sustainable competitive advantage for a particular organization in a particular industry or competitive environment (also called factors of competitive success, key success factors, key value propositions). The reason for identifying a relatively small number of strategic drivers for an organization is primarily to ensure that people become focused about what pattern of inherently limited investments will give the greatest strategic leverage and competitive advantage. Drivers can change over time, or the relative emphasis on those drivers can change, as an organization satisfies its key driver. In the case of post secondary education, drivers help measure success rates in the area of course completion ratio, student retention, and transfer acceptance into a university and/or the successful employment of students. Because change is so rampant in education, it is wise for leadership to anticipate change and develop a spirit of foresight to keep up with global trends.

Drivers can help identify the integrity of internal and external functions of systems and subsystems, as mentioned previously, by identifying entity types that feed the drivers' success. They are:

o Clientele Industry - external Market - feeder high schools, cultural and socio-economic demographic and geographic populations

- Competitors - local and online educational systems

- Nature of Industry - promote a learning community

- Governmental influences - licensed curriculum programs supported by local, state, and federal funds

- Economic and social influences - job market, employers, outreach programs

o College Planning and Environment - internal

- Capacity - Open door environment

- Products and services - high demand curriculum programs that meet, local, state, and federal high demand employment needs

- Market position - Promote on and off-campus activities that attract clientele

- Customers - traditional and non-traditional credit and non-credit students

- Systems, processes, and structures - trained staff and state-of-the art technical systems

- Leadership - integrity-driven, compassionate leadership teams

- Organizational culture - promote on-campus activities promoting a proactive environment for students

According to Hughes and Beatty, these functions can assimilate into the Vision, Mission, and Values statements to define the key strategic drivers for developing successful environments.

Navigating Towards a Destination

With the recognition of systems, subsystems, and drivers, we can see our destination in the distance and their value in building a foundation to support the five key trends. The five (5) key trends will help define strategic thinking in a global perspective; the understanding of futuristic thinking that encompasses: risk taking, imagination, creativity, communication among leadership, and a perspective of how the future can fit into today's agenda. The five (5) key trends are:

1. Competitive Classroom Learning Environments - campus on-site/online/distant

One of the major attractions in education today is to accommodate a student at every level: academically, financially, and socially. These three environments are the mainstream of why one school is selected over another school. Today there is a change in tide. Students who once competed for seats in post secondary schools are becoming a valued asset as post secondary schools compete between each other for students. High schools are no longer the only feeder into colleges. Today, students are coming from home schools, career schools, charter schools, high risk schools, private schools, religious schools, work environments, and ATB tested environments. So, how can the educational system attract students and keep them motivated in an interactive learning environment they can grow in? Wacker and Taylor writes that the story of every great enterprise begins with the delivery of a promise, and every product a great enterprise makes is nothing but an artifact of the truth of that promise. So what great enterprise can be created to attract new students? By creating learning/teaching environments, post secondary schools can prepare students to meet the demands of everyday life and their life in the community. Schools can consider incorporating a learning model to enable professors and/or community leaders/entrepreneurs to team teach in the classroom/online environment. Team Teaching will contribute valuable views into the learning environment, as well as, give students the working community's real-time perspective. In an excerpt from "The University at the Millennium: The Glion Declaration" (1998) quoted by Frank H.T. Rhodes, President Emeritus of Cornell University, for the Louisiana State Board of Regents report, Dr. Rhodes wrote that universities are learning communities, created and supported because of the need of students to learn, the benefit to scholars of intellectual community, and the importance to society of new knowledge, educated leaders, informed citizens, expert professional skills and training, and individual certification and accreditation. Those functions remain distinctive, essential contributions to society; they form the basis of an unwritten social compact, by which, in exchange for the effective and responsible provision of those services, the public supports the university, contributes to its finance, accepts its professional judgment and scholarly certification, and grants it a unique degree of institutional autonomy and scholarly freedom. To experience education is learning, to exercise knowledge is freedom, and to combine them is wisdom.

2. Teaching/learning environments-more hands on

As post secondary educators relinquish hands-on-chalk-board teaching styles and establish group teaching models, students will develop a greater understanding of the theme of the class environment as well as the professor in developing an understanding of the class cultures' stance in learning. Educators are discovering that inclusive learning styles are revamping the teaching model and becoming a positive influence in retention, better grades, camaraderie among students, and a greater respect for the professor. As professors learn to develop relationships with students, interaction will transpire, lecturing will be condensed into a time frame and interactive learning between students and professor will enhance the classroom environment.

3. Global expansion capability-internal and external

Students are surrounded by virtual global environments or are impacted by global elements: the clothes they wear are made overseas, the games they play on their electronic toys are created overseas, the war games they play are created to identify with global war games, etc. The only draw back to this scenario is a truly global learning experience. What they are seeing is not what they are getting; a real time global experience. James Morrison writes that in order to meet unprecedented demand for access, colleges and universities need to expand their use of IT tools via online learning, which will enable them to teach more students without building more classrooms. Moreover, in order for professors to prepare their pupils for success in the global economy, they need to ensure that students can access, analyze, process, and communicate information; use information technology tools; work with people from different cultural backgrounds; and engage in continuous, self-directed learning. Christopher Hayter writes that post secondary schools need to be 'Globally Focused' for the 21st century that includes a global marketplace and be internationally focused. This means ensuring that skills needed to compete in a global marketplace are taught and that the mastery of such skills by students is internationally benchmarked. It may also mean a new emphasis on learning languages and understanding other cultures and the business practices of other countries.

More and more businesses are expanding into the global marketplace, opening corporate offices in foreign countries and hiring and training employees from those countries. Are our college graduates being trained to assimilate into cultures and work side-by-side with employees who may not be able to relate to them? Developing curriculums accommodating social and cultural entities will propel a student into higher realms of learning and create change in the individual student as well as support their career for their future.

4. Student input in the creative learning process

Professors are the gatekeepers in education. However, as Baby Boomer Professors begin to exit the educational workforce and head down the path of retirement, younger generation professors will take their place bringing with them innovative teaching methods that can expand the learning process. Are post secondary educators equipped to prepare for the onslaught of younger generation educators needed to be trained for this mega shift in the workforce? Most important, will those professors caught between Boomers and Xer's be willing to adapt to change in the education industry to accommodate incoming generations? I believe younger generations will impact even the technological industry and challenge change that will equip them for their future. Previous generation students slowly adapted to technological advances. The good news is change can occur, and educators can utilize life experiences from students familiar with technology tools and create fascinating learning environments.

5. Increase in Technological tools

In an Executive Summary written for the National Governors Association in a report called "Innovation America - A Compact for Post Secondary Education," the report reads that while post secondary education in the United States has already achieved key successes in the innovation economy, the public post secondary education system overall risks falling behind its counterparts in many other nations around the world-places where there have been massive efforts to link post secondary education to the specific innovation needs of industries and regions. According to this report, American post secondary education is losing ground in the race to produce innovative and imaginative realms in education. Can this trend be counteracted? With the cooperation of post secondary educational institutions within each community, leadership can create co-op learning environments that can be supported through e-learning and online teaching that can provide virtual reality technology to enhance real-time learning environments. Through Business Development operations currently established in post secondary institutions, a shared technology program can be created that will afford students access to ongoing virtual business environment settings and prepare students with knowledge and insight into a specific industry. As students prepare to transfer, graduate, or seek employment after completing a certification program, virtual experience in the job market can help a student assimilate education and work experience to their advantage. This concept could challenge Human Resource departments to create new mandates in accepting virtual-experienced college graduates as they enter the workforce.

Reaching the Destination

As Flash Gordan lands his Spacecraft on unclaimed territory, you imagine yourself slowly turning the handle to the spaceship with your spaceship gloves, opening the door with explosive anticipation. Your heart racing, sweat running down your brow, and your eyes at half mask waiting to see a new world; a world filled with beauty and potential when suddenly, the television shuts off and your Mom is standing in front of you telling you to get up and go clean your room and stop daydreaming! Ah, Mom, you say to yourself, you just destroyed my imaginary planet! Oh, by the way, did I mention that this was you as a child growing up and using your imagination?

Now that I've created a visual world of potential for you can you see the power within to see the future from the present and help others visualize the potential benefits of change in their lives and the lives of others in an organization? T. Irene Sanders states that thinking in pictures helps us link our intuitive sense of events in the world with our intellectual understanding. Now, more than ever, we need to integrate the techniques of imagination and the skill of intuition with our analytic competencies to help us see and understand the complexities that vex us daily. Visualization is the key to insight and foresight-and the next revolution in strategic thinking and planning.

Can you SEE the systems, subsystems, drivers, and the five (5) trends with a visual perspective in a post secondary educational environment? This is the nature of Strategic Thinking, which can or is taking place in your organization; a cognitive process required for the collection, interpretation, generation, and evaluation of information and ideas that shape an organization's sustainable competitive advantage. The need to stay abreast of progress, technology, and global opportunities will be the change in drivers that will validate the creative elements needed to stay attuned in a global perspective. The author's intention of introducing Flash Gordan into the paper was to create a visual image and demonstrate imagination fulfillment to a present day reality. Is there anything out there that cannot be done if it is fine tuned and prepared for a service of excellence? What are the risks involved by not exercising strategic thinking in the elements mentioned in this article?

Education is not about the present it's about the future. The five (5) trends are only a beginning adventure into an unknown space. Do you remember when you were in college and wished things were done differently, be more exciting, more adventurous? Consider the age groups becoming proficient in technology. Will post secondary educators be prepared to teach/instruct future students? Educators must invite strategic thinking into the system and take the risks needed to build post secondary education back into the global futuristic race of achievement. In an article written by Arthur Hauptman entitled "Strategies for Improving Student Success in Post secondary Education" (07), he concluded his report listing four elements:

1. While there is a growing rhetorical commitment to student success, the reality is that policies often do not mirror the rhetoric. Whether intentional or not, policies in many states are at best benign and often antithetical to improving student success.

2. Policy focus in most states has been to lower tuitions or the provision of student financial aid. This ignores the importance of ensuring adequate supply of seats to accommodate all students as well as providing a proper set of incentives that encourage institutions to recruit, enroll, and graduate the students who are most at-risk.

3. Some progress has been made in developing contemporary practices that have great potential for providing the right incentives in place of redress this traditional imbalance. But much more needs to be done in this regard.

4. Efforts to create incentives for students to be better prepared and for institutions to enroll and graduate more at-risk students have the potential for greatly improving rates of retention and degree completion.

Can the five trends be a stepping stone in rebuilding or strengthening the weakest link in the system? The evidence of deficiency is public, and that's a good start. Educators have the choice to rebuild and prepare for the advancement of our future; our students. I encourage you to take the five (5) trends and see how they can accommodate your institute of higher learning.

Children's Books And Educational Toys - Can They Still Be Fun And Have Educational Value

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It was no contest. Given a choice between a ball and a book, my son would never have cracked a book binding. Giving him educational toys was a lot like giving him medicine. He didn't want any part of either one. Fortunately, things have changed a great deal in the 20-odd years since he was a youngster. Educational toys, just like children's medicines have come a long way. Children's medicines taste good enough that tiny tykes will resist taking them only a little and learning toys have become a lot more enjoyable. For example, today there is great educational software for the family PC.

Now, that isn't to say that you can walk into a toy department or a top quality toy store such as Toys R Us and randomly start slinging items labeled 'educational toy' in your shopping cart. You must take care when selecting educational toys. Fortunately, the 'educational' aspects of the toy can be kept well hidden behind the fun the child derives.

Toys such as jigsaw puzzles, word games, Disney games, word puzzles and other learning toys are great cognitive educational toys. These toys require that the child use his or her imagination. They develop creativity. They make the child think.

These games and educational toys have another, more important, aspect. They are fun. The child has fun while learning to use his or her imagination and reasoning skills. Children learn through play and these toys are the tools of play. They are the tools of learning.

The key is selecting cognitive development skills and educational toys that are appropriate for the child. For example, teaching a three-year-old to read or do multiplication may seem like a cool idea for your little prodigy, but it is much better to make sure the child is having fun reciting the alphabet and counting numbers with the help of interactive Disney toys, books on tape and other such toys. When the learning play is fun, the child will progress at his or her own pace with only minor supervision from you. Frustrating the child by expecting too much, too quickly will actually retard learning.

Jigsaw puzzles are another example of great educational toys. They teach the cognitive skills of learning the relationship between sizes and shapes. They also teach fine motor skills in putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

The second key is to tie educational toys and learning to the child's current interests. These interests change as the child develops. Learning is much more fun if it is associated with something that has already captured the imagination of the child.

Educational toys do not have to be about thinking and learning. The second category of educational toys is those toys that develop physical skills such as coordination and fine motor skills. Babies begin learning coordination with a rattle. Legos are great toys for teaching the fine motor skills required to assemble the blocks.

It is much easier to encourage most youngsters to play with toys that help teach physical skills because stored energy and growing muscles demand stretching and movement. Given the opportunity, what four-year-old won't ride a tricycle miles and miles around the dining room table or up and down the front sidewalk? While riding the trike, the youngster is developing strength and coordination, both of which are important for future development.

The various ball games that children enjoy are important for the same reason. They help the youngster develop strength, agility, speed and coordination. They also go one step further. Because most ball games are team sports, they teach concentration, teamwork, good sportsmanship and strategy. These are all important cognitive and emotional skills that will be necessary for the child to develop into a well-rounded and productive adult. So, Mom, the next time your youngster picks up a ball and begins playing with it, you might look at it as a valuable educational toy.

One of the most important toys in your child's playroom is you. You need to spend some time, enough time, playing with your child to help supervise play with educational toys. You need to spend enough with your child that you can monitor his or her interests, ensure that the educational toys they are playing with are appropriate and encourage them to have fun with those games.

Educational toys are fun as they teach. They are different than schoolbooks and school assignments. Educational toys do not mean tedium and drudgery. Educational toys are designed to teach or develop the child.

This brings up a final point. Another important benefit of parental supervision is the ability to keep track of those toys and games that do little to help develop either your child's cognitive skills or physical skills. There are some games and toys on the market that are so complete that they do all of the work for the child. The child does not have to be creative or exercise growing muscles or developing coordination. In fact, these games can actually be counterproductive by promoting lethargy and laziness.

Google Announces some great new features for Apps!

Google just announced some great new features for Google Apps that make it even more useful and powerful. Schools, like ours, that use Google Apps for Education will be very pleased with these updates and new features.

Google Apps Admins can now restore a user's Google Drive files from the past 25 days. This is great for one someone deletes a file by mistake. https://support.google.com/a/answer/6052340

Google Drive: huge changes here.

  • Document and image viewing is improved
  • there are now dedicated desktop home pages for Docs, Sheets and Slides for easier access
  • you can now edit (and save as) Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in Docs, Sheets and Slides on both Chrome and Chrome OS (Chromebooks). This is really great for schools that still have Office files they need to access (like us). https://support.google.com/docs/answer/6049100
  • Google Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps for Android and iOS now include Word, Excel and PowerPoint editing. 
  • Google Drive app is now more powerful, faster, and redesigned.

 These are some great features that make Google Apps even more powerful, useful, and easy to use.

For more info:
http://whatsnew.googleapps.com/ (click on Wednesday, June 25th)

How to Choose the Best Mass Media College

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Media plays very crucial role in enhancing the personality of the society. Nowadays, mass media courses are considered to be one of the best career options and this is the reason why most students are in search of best colleges. In the last several years, the media courses have attracted lots of students and are gaining popularity with every single day. It is very important to choose the best mass media college in order to give complete strength to the career. Choosing the right Media College is the only key to land for the right job.

The field of mass media is related to the fields like communication, public relations and advertising. All these fields are very important in the real world and it can be lucrative career option for students. Most students are choosing this field because it has many career options in newspapers, public relations, magazines, radios etc. There are numerous colleges available and one can choose the college according to the location and college reputation. It is also very important to choose the best media college for better job opportunities. Here are some of the best tips which can help in choosing the right college.

• One should choose a media college which should be accredited or certified by education bodies or various councils. It is always recommended to select the certified mass media college where one can get better exploration.

• Always check the course contents of the course as there are several colleges which focus the curriculum on newspapers, advertising, television, online journalism, magazines and photography. So, one needs to make a decision in which field one wants to enter. It is recommended that a student should join a college in which one can get the working environment focused only on media.

• One should choose a college in the practical education which is the first priority and the practical training should include the handling of cameras, computers or other equipments that are quite essential in the mass media course.

• Research about the selected college and check out whether the professors of this college have some experience in real mass media, if they have it will be an advantage for the students.

• There are various colleges available which provide the extensive training for students so that they get familiar with media hubs like newspapers, radio stations and TV stations. It will provide a great experience and knowledge to the students about the mass media.

• There are several types of bachelor and master courses on mass media, so one should choose the best that suits them.

• It is always better to pick a college that provides placement assistance to the students. Enquire about the college, if they provide this type of facility or not. There are various colleges available which provide the placement assistance to the eligible candidates.

So, these are some of the important tips that everyone should follow in order to choose the best mass media college.

Forging an Alliance Between Business and Education

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The fact that education is essential to organizational success has never been truer than it is today, with the globalization of information exchange. The impact of education within this global information revolution is even more potent for while it holds out the promise of easy access to information, it runs the risk of selectivity and superficiality in the transmission of knowledge - a situation whereby we could be easily seduced by the illusion of having gained intimate knowledge of a subject, and even worse, act upon that conviction.

As is any rapidly evolving discipline, there are both opportunities and threats and we need to face them. For one thing, the lines of demarcation between formal education, the mass media, and the information technologies are becoming progressively more blurred and difficult to define.

What are the implications of this? If we accept the premise that 'reality is perception' then we recognize that the idea we acquire forms a complex mental construct based on systems of beliefs, values and attitudes, many of which were implanted at a very early age, and carry the weight of irrevocable and unquestioned truths. The force of such convictions can lead to, or at least set the stage for war, death, injury and all the public and private grief that always come with blind violence.

When faced with war or other political upheaval, our educational systems often remain, for many years following such incidents, fragmented, managed or manipulated mainly by groups who are more interested in protecting power bases than in education. Few schools or universities offer genuine opportunities for openness and unbiased mingling among the various communities.

Most governments, while investing heavily in rebuilding the physical infrastructure of the country, for some reason do not seem to place the same urgency on rebuilding the human resources base in parallel. Instead, this need has been recognized as a priority by the private business sector who is investing in the development of what it perceives as basic skills for further education and training to empower its workforce. These skills are English language and computer literacy; both necessary for commercial viability.

In spite of the serious obstacles to reconstruction, in countries faced with rebuilding, there is great scope for optimism. Much of this optimism is derived from a variety of programs specifically designed to increase the positive impact of the educational system. These programs have included nationwide competitions planned in such a way as to make it possible for teachers across countries to have the same opportunity to secure a place in the rebuilding programs. Benefits of participating in these programs include:

  • Promotion and recognition in careers,
  • Changes in the selection of books and educational resources,
  • Greater understanding of the culture behind the people being taught,
  • Flexibility in viewpoint and a willingness to re-evaluate and change.

While these can be advantages, they also place a great burden of responsibility on the shoulders of those who organize exchange activities or develop and produce educational resources.

The effects of such exchange programs are not limited to the group returning to their native country. Perceptions on the part of those in the host country are also affected. As in all long-term programs, and I feel that effective exchange programs fall under this category, the ability to evaluate their impact, benefit and net returns on investment is a very elusive and difficult task; add to this, the need for effective follow-up programs to sustain the communication bridges that were established and the problems of re-integrating individuals returning from long stays abroad into their home culture, and we see how much there is still be done towards developing exchange models that will attract adequate funding.

In conclusion, I would like to say that in spite of the obstacles, international education exchange is a way of helping people see that what they perceived as reality, may only have been a highly edited 'mental construct' shaped by incomplete data from books and media and further distorted by isolation from first-hand experience.

Education could be defined as the awareness that there is no perfect methodology for building knowledge and that learning must be the unceasing search for better methodologies to acquire, explore, formalize and transmit bodies of knowledge.

International exchange programs which offer genuine experimental learning within a non-hierarchical teaching and/or learning model are among the most potent means of shattering myths created by incomplete, outdated or highly selective access to information.

PR Agencies and Social Media: 4 Tips to Power Social Brand Building

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Importance of Social Media for Public Relations

PR professionals today are using social media to either supplement or add to their existing strategies, signaling an evolution in the role of PR over the last few years. Public relations specialists were among the first few to understand the power of social media, making them leaders in the social space. Along with handling website content, more and more PR pros are responsible for their company's and clients' social media presence. The gradual shift towards, what industry experts call 'the social media release', indicates how the traditional long form press release is changing. According to David McCulloch, director of public relations at Cisco Systems, "The press release of the future will deliver its content in text, video, SMS, microblog and podcast form, to any choice of device, whenever the reader decides, and preferably it will be pre-corroborated and openly rated by multiple trusted sources."

eMarketer expects PR as well as ad agencies to witness an increase in their social media revenue in 2011. Findings from a joint study by the Transworld Advertising Agency Network and Worldcom Public Relations Group show:

• In 2010, 28% PR firms said that between 15-33% of their revenue came from social media.
• This number has grown by 44% in 2011.
• The study indicates that, when compared to ad agencies, the PR industry is more effective in leveraging social media.

The Road Ahead...
Industry research firm IBIS World has predicted the factors that are likely to fuel the growth of PR firms in the coming years and the expected rate of growth.

• PR firms are expected to grow at an average annualized rate of 5.7% to $12.8 billion from 2010-2015.
• This spurt will be attributed to the increase in demand by companies who want PR firms to handle daily interactions with consumers and the press on their social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
• The recent shift from traditional media to more direct media (social media) will result in PR firms specializing in or launching divisions devoted to blogs, social networking sites, mobile media and podcasts.
• Over four-fifths of PR firms are anticipating an increase in digital and social media work in the future.

Whether it is consulting with clients from the agency point of view or working with an in-house team, PR agencies need to be social media ready. Position² lists a few guidelines that will help your agency survive and stand out in the digital space:

1. Making a Pitch
Social media has given a whole new meaning to the concept of 'pitching'. While the idea of e-mailing a press release to journalists, editors and bloggers is not completely obsolete, it is easy for the readers to hit the delete button and forget about it. Incorporating social media in your PR strategy will ensure your pitch is heard above the din. In order to effectively use social media in your PR pitch plan, we recommend a few points that can be added to your 'to do' list:
o Avoid the Fancy Stuff:

Too much information laced with fancy catch phrases like 'cutting-edge, mission-critical applications to improve business process, etc' can put off readers. Keep in simple.

o Getting your Tweets Right:

If you are planning on using Twitter to make a pitch, keep in mind, you have 140 characters to get it right. According to Nicole VanScoten, a public relations specialist at Pyxl, getting your tweets right leads to high response rates than e-mail.

o Don't Spam them:

Whether its journalists or bloggers, no one likes to receive random tweets or Facebook messages. It would be a good idea to learn about the journalist or blogger before reaching out to them. Read their Twitter profile or personal blog to find out if these are the contacts that need to be targeted and then make your pitch.

o Build a Relationship:

Once you have figured out your contacts list, the next step is easy. Building a relationship with a journalist or editor involves getting on their radar. What you can do is a) check out their Facebook page and comment on the posts you like b) retweet their messages and c) comment on a blog post. This will ensure your presence on their radar, even before you decide to make a pitch.

Here's an example of a good pitch made by a PR professional to a marketing blogger:

For PR pros, using social media to make a pitch saves time as well as money, besides yielding much higher response rates.

2. Delivering Value to Clients
The last 2-3 years have seen PR agencies don an entirely new role in organizations. A large part of a PR specialist's job involves educating clients on the benefits of social media. Handling a company's or a client's account these days includes everything from building brand loyalty to promoting and monitoring content on various social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn). In order to be a successful, we believe a PR firm should deliver value to its clients. Here are a few simple suggestions:

o Creating Content:

PR companies are expected to be experts when it comes to writing. Therefore clients expect your agency to figure out how to turn a boring announcement into interesting content. This could either be a campaign or a company blog. Churning out good content will not only get the required media coverage, but will also help generate leads.

o Identifying the Influencers:

Identifying and developing relationships with the 'influencers' in the PR domain is an added advantage. Instead of simply looking for bloggers and journalists who are magically expected to create buzz and drive sales, it will be wiser to:

o Determine who the real influencers in a noisy market place are. This can be done by connecting with reporters, bloggers and journalists who cover the topics that are closer to the market your client is interested in.

o Keep in mind, the size of one's audience does not always translate into influencer popularity.
o Engaging and Monitoring Conversations:

Social media monitoring and engagement is vital for any PR agency that wants to deliver value to its clients. Brands understand that they not only need a social presence, but are also keen to work with PR agencies to know what is being said about them in the market. By using social media monitoring tools such as Brand Monitor, you can:

o Measure your influencer scores: Social media monitoring tools make it easy to identify journalists and bloggers with high influencer scores.

o Handle Crisis Situations: By keeping a watch on blog conversations, twitter messages and Facebook posts, your agency can help identify signs of trouble. Following this, you could either diffuse the situation yourself, or alert your client asking them to respond as necessary.

o Measure the consumer sentiment for clients' brand (s) and products (s) and quantify impact.

o Measure the connection between press releases and news coverage with social media activity.

o Assess the effectiveness of your communication strategies.

o Provide you clients with domain expertise based on the data obtained.

o Measure detailed metrics such as popularity, share-of-voice etc.

When videos of rats running around at a Taco Bell outlet in NYC were posted on YouTube, owner Yum Brands saw its stock sink to an all time low, with customers doubting Taco Bell's hygiene standards. Within hours, duplicates and versions started multiplying. Customers looking for reassuring information from the brand had a hard time finding it. Although Yum Brands' PR team was not entirely ignorant (the CEO posted an apology on YouTube), monitoring the situation better and engaging with customers in real-time could have averted the PR crisis.

With the public relations industry evolving rapidly, the need to monitor social media channels has never been more important. According to Daryl Willcox, founder of PR industry information firm Daryl Willcox Publishing, listening is a critical part of social media strategy - a proactive process as much as a reactive one. A survey by his company indicates that almost 60% of PR agencies and departments that monitor social media channels spend less than two hours a week doing so. These statistics indicate the growing need for PR companies to monitor social media.

3. Sorting Out your Social Media Toolkit

With so many social media platforms to choose from, how would you know what's best for you? As professionals in PR domain, it's not always about putting a PR pitch on Twitter or Facebook; the social media platforms with the most value must be used to connect with a client's target audience and should function as a meaningful place for brands to connect with journalists, bloggers and consumers. We believe that each social media tool has its own benefits, depending on what your agency wishes to achieve.

o Facebook & LinkedIn:

While Facebook and LinkedIn are almost perfect for establishing and maintaining relationships with media, these tools are slightly more personal than Twitter. It would be wise not to start sending friend requests to every reporter possible. After using Twitter to initiate a friendship with a journalist or a reporter, you can then follow this up by connecting with them on Facebook or LinkedIn.
If you are looking to increase engagement or reinforce your brand's reputation for value, then Facebook is the place to be. For instance, when the Healthy Choice brand aimed to grow its fan base and increase engagement, the company decided to target its huge Facebook fan base and launched a progressive coupon on the Healthy Choice Facebook Page. This was supported through a variety of PR tactics. Efforts by the brand's PR team resulted in the Healthy Choice's Facebook page growing from 6,800 to nearly 60,000 fans. The PR team also distributed over 50,000 buy-one-get-one-free coupons.

o Twitter:

Twitter is a great tool:

o If finding influencers in on your agenda: What you can do is look for influential blogs in your industry, subscribe to them and start following the authors on Twitter.

o For connecting with other independent PR professionals: This will help establish valuable relationships with other PR agencies and professionals. By using Twitter, you can connect with the rapidly growing independent PR community to exchange advice, references, and suggestions in general.

o For Increasing Tweetability: Writing a headline with 'tweetability' in mind can influence the number of tweets or retweets your press release registers. This will help get your agencies or client's name noticed in the social web. While writing a tweetable press headline you must: a) keep it short enough to include a Twitter handle and link b) ensure that the company or product name is in the beginning so that it does not get cut off c) add relevant keywords to make it searchable d) and keep it attention-grabbing enough to generate retweets.
o Blogs:

Blogs can be useful for sharing multimedia content and news that does not always require a press release, but is important enough to pique the interest of the media. Blogs are beneficial:

o If you have a small budget, but want to influence your customers and increase readership.

o For creating a sense of community with your present and future potential clients and customers.

o For providing valuable content to your clients or their customers instead of simply advertising to them.

o For publishing successful case studies; this will also help build your brand.

o For designing campaigns for your clients.
When the BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire decided to use social media to stand out in the digital space, the hotel partnered with agency bobdonpaul. The agency's PR strategy involved selecting one 'resorter' from several entries and allowing him to blog and post videos (in addition to other social media activities) about his experiences. The campaign was a success and saw 20% increase in hotel bookings in a month.

4. Measuring ROI
How can you tell if your public relations efforts in social media are working? To determine the success of your PR strategy or programs, we suggest measuring the return on investment (more appropriate in case of PR- return on efforts). The benefits of measuring ROI include:

o Knowing if your efforts are generating the desired results.
o Helping you decide if your current strategy needs to be reworked.
o Bringing about positive changes in popularity and online traffic.
o Helping your client make informed buying decisions.

How to calculate your social media ROI?

o Assess you reach: Evaluating how many Facebook fans or Twitter followers you have. How many 'likes' has your Facebook page registered.

o Tracking how many 'likes' on your clients' Facebook page are actually converted to sales.

o Comparing Results Before and After Launching Social media initiatives: Has your newly launched Facebook page or your new twitter account make any difference to your brand's reputation online?

o Listen, Measure and Engage: Social media monitoring tools like Brand Monitor offer you a platform to listen, measure and engage with customers across the social web.


What gives the modern PR firm the edge over its yesterday's counterparts is the fact that today's public relations professionals are more open to syncing social media with their existing strategies. Whether it's in-house assignments or working for external clients, PR agencies understand that surviving in the digital space is centered on getting their social media strategy right. While mass social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will continue to be important to a certain extent, niche, industry-specific networks are expected to be of greater value in the future.

In the next five years, the most important tools in PR will be monitoring and measurement tools. PR specialists, as well as their clients, will be more concerned with what happens after a message is out there. We expect PR companies to not only dedicate a budget for their social media efforts in the future, but also hire social media specialists to handle their client's social media activities. The social media world is dynamic; however, the job of the PR person remains the same: generate positive coverage across media to help build brands. It will be interesting to see how PR pros in the years ahead will leverage the power of social media to do what they always have been doing; communicating and connecting.

Make Innovative Use Of Social Media For The Benefit Of Your Business

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Social media refers to the different online communities where participants create and share content and interact with each other on a personal, business or professional level. As every internet user will agree, people spend more time on these social networking websites than on any other web platform.

The vast reach and powerful influence of the social media has not gone unnoticed by the business world. Realizing that the individuals who are active on the social networks are also the ones who make up their target markets, businesses have been quick to make use of the medium to connect with their consumers.

The ways in which a business can leverage the social media include:

Developing Public Relations

Hundreds of millions of people all over the world log on the social networking sites daily. These platforms provide a matchless opportunity of establishing direct communication with and delivering instant messages to a huge number of prospects. A business can use the media for developing public relations by hiring the right professionals who craft compelling messages that shape favorable public perception.

Product Promotions and Customer Education

Through tools such as discussions boards, videos, images, etc., the social networks have become the perfect mediums for educating and motivating customers about your company and products/services, introducing new products and building a fan base for your business.

Branding and Driving Sales

By keeping up a constant flow of information towards the target customers, arousing their interest in a product and making them identify with it, a business can build awareness, recognition and acceptance for its brand. Besides, a number of applications have been developed that can be integrated within the social media platforms to facilitate purchases from right within that media site.

Extending Customer Support

By ensuring consistent, two-way communication in real-time, the social media has emerged as a highly cost-effective tool for providing excellent customer support. The opportunity the customers have to connect to other users of the same product also reassures them in a big way.

Managing Customer Relationships

The social networks offer a business an inexpensive platform for building customer relationships that may last a lifetime. By having their hand right over the pulse of the customers, businesses are able to manage relationships with their customers to their advantage.

Conducting Market Research

Constant access to millions of consumers who express their requirements, expectations and opinions very openly provides (at no cost) a business with a huge treasure of data. This is used for conducting market research that is crucial for making several business decisions.

Your consumers have been present on the social media platforms since a long time and your competitors are also already there. If your business is not yet out there, it is high time it did so. Go online and search through a local business directory to know about the social media marketing companies servicing your area. Take professional help to learn how to reap optimal business benefits from the social networking websites.

Social Media Critics and the Quest For Authenticity in the Culinary World

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Earlier this month, I came home from working the floor at the Driskill Grill. I sat down with a tray of sushi I just purchased at Whole Foods and a Domaine de Canton Kir Royale. The plan was to do a little food pairing homework for our tasting menu, plus I was really hungry. In addition, I had my iPhone's TweetDeck application open. I'm new to social media and am attempting to understand its usefulness and significance. I set the search function to the word "Driskill," so any tweet that contained the word "Driskill" would pop up. Plus, I'd like to know what people are saying about my new restaurant home. As I snacked on my sushi and admired my cleverness in the pairing, I also noticed, "Hey we're being reviewed in real time here." I hurried and read all of the tweets on Twitter from @cookingengineer.

Every restaurant operator, when they find out they're being reviewed, wonders which table the reviewer was seated at and which night or nights the reviewer visited. They will even go through the roster of who worked the floor and which cooks were on which stations. As I was reading reviews in real time, I wondered, "Which table are these tweets coming from?" "Oh! Maybe it's the guy with the super soignee camera setup, hovering over the place setting seated at table 8b, duh!"

In the hotel world, one is trained to ignore so much, to respect the preferences and idiosyncrasies of one's guests and not judge them, but to be accommodating. So at the time when I presented wine service at the beginning of @cookingengineer's dining experience, I thought nothing of the awesome apparatus for capturing images hoisted on the table. The tweets were mostly positive declarations. He didn't like the ginger soup, bummer, but he seemed to enjoy everything for the most part.

In the morning when I awoke, I saw he had written a very favorable review and shot some amazing photos, too. I emailed the review to our GM, Sean Tupper, with a note, "This is the world we live in now." So what's my take on this? Bring it on! There are many changes happening in the restaurant landscape, and the social media critics (SMCs) may be the people to keep us sincere.

The Quest for Authenticity and Hyperreality

This is really a very exciting time in the culinary world. Restaurants are moving to a point of myopic implosion as a return to local, community-focused values is the dominate paradigm. Deeply rooted in this localism is a crucial quest for authenticity. A unique factor of this movement based on localism is that there isn't one epicenter, rather a bunch of epicenters, feeding off each other. Cities such as Portland, San Fran, Chicago, Brooklyn, and even Austin are deeply entrenched in this quest for the authentic and paramount of the community. This applies not to just the restaurant kitchen, but to the wine lists and cocktail programs. I particularly enjoy the cocktail side of the movement, and although there are some very unique wine lists out there, the quest for authentic, ingredient-and-tradition-inspired cocktails is at the chic forefront of the changing dining landscape. I confess I feel a little out-of-fashion when expounding the theories of food and wine pairings to a table when the bar scene is so much more exhilarating.

Intertwined with this quest for authenticity is individuality, manifesting itself as a culinary subculture. I often hear restaurant-players talking about, "People understanding what we're doing." To paraphrase, "People who get it are welcome, people who don't can take a hike. My myopic quest for authenticity makes me special." Another manifestation of the movement moving toward a subculture is that belief in the values is sufficient enough, and that the top performing aspect of the restaurant-solely or any combination of kitchen endeavor or the cocktail and wine programs-makes the service staff special by default. "Chef's food is outstanding; therefore, I'm an outstanding waiter because I'm delivering it." "The cocktails are amazing, thus am I." The mere fact that the server delivers the incredible food or drink makes him exempt from pulling his weight or honing his craft as a professional. Good service isn't part of the program of many authenticity-driven restaurants, rather, a smug, arrogance often prevails.

Even if diners understand the restaurant's mission, they can still be scrutinized by the wait and host staff, evaluated as if they are really "getting" what the restaurant is all about. "You don't like my service. You obviously don't get what we're all about here." In the real world, it is unrealistic to think the most economically viable small businesses are the ones who critically pick and choose their customers. I often wonder why chefs and owners allow their staff to blow it as the myopic quest for authenticity takes precedence over delivering fine service. The service is not as important as the food or beverages? The people who get it, will get it and look past poor service?

There lies the irony: the quest for authenticity does not make one authentic. To be truly authentic in the modern culinary world is nearly impossible as authenticity doesn't happen in retrospect. The last instance of authenticity to emerge upon the culinary landscape may be molecular gastronomy, championed by the efforts of chefs such as Ferran AdriĆ .

Authenticity is only achieved by originality in the present. To understand this concept, ponder this statement: Blues is authentic music, Rock and Roll is not. Blues comes from a place; rock and roll only revisits that place. At this point you're left with a hyperreality, attempting to force an unattainable fantasy-ideal into reality.

The quest is fueled by a single-mindedness to achieve real authenticity, researching traditions, practices and recipes of bygone days, finding only pure ingredients to execute the vision and become economically viable, long-lasting and understood by the general public (or the people who get it).

The quest for authenticity is brilliant as the journey outshines the destination. Although there is a savvy dining populace, for the most part, people remain difficult to convince. Those at the forefront of the quest for authenticity are often there alone. It takes time before the general public, even educated diners, catch on. Someone has to educate guests and deliver the message of the mission. In the restaurant world, this is best delivered by gracious hosts, meaning the floor staff: hostesses, waiters, barmen, floor managers, etc. I see glimpses of the gracious host, but no standard-bearers.

It's so un-hip to be a servant

Everyone wants to be a star nowadays. Examples from the entertainment realm reinforce the idea that you don't have to be a true artist to be famous. Reality TV makes stars and the ParisHiltonization of Hollywood reinforces that the merit of your pursuit can be questionable, if only the icon is seductive or charismatic. Individual pursuit is more important than talent. Individual-first mantras fueled by Facebook, hipsterism, Twitter, iPhones, and YouTube rule supreme. Consciousness-shaping icons such as Oprah Winfrey herald the concept that the greatest sin is to go unnoticed. This prevailing mantra is in contrast to the goal of a true service professional: to take care of the guest in an unobtrusive, near invisible manner. Highly influential companies promoting lifestyle products (such as Whole Foods) exist in an individuality-first, customer-second paradigm. I'll argue that Whole Foods is the biggest advocate of the "our customers are the people who understand what we're doing and are better off because of it" credo in business today.

There is no reward in genuine service. Society fails to celebrate a service professional's endeavor. It's difficult to be a great servant, sincerely caring about one's guests, being gracious, even to those who don't understand what you're doing. It's easier to say, "Chef's great, so I'm great, YOU don't get what we're trying to do, there's the door."

Social Media Critics and Hyperreality

Social Media Critics also exist in hyperreality. As guests become critics, the concept of a simple dinner hyperboles into a serious critique of the restaurant. More importantly is the SMC's attempt to change the reality of their "day job" into the fantasy of playing the role of "food critic" with the added enticement of real metrics. The more followers/fans/subscribers I have, the more the merit of my endeavor increases; therefore, a SMC doesn't need to know the difference between a pate a choux and rillette, he only needs to get out there, blog/tweet/yelp it and hopefully, in the meantime, grow followers.

There exists a very strong example from the real world reinforcing this trend: wine critic Robert Parker. It is argued that Mr. Parker-referred to as the most powerful critic in the world-doesn't understand a wine's harmony and finesse. He awards high scores to wines that are powerful and overt. Should his message have merit? If one measures the cases of wine his positive reviews sell, then "yes." He doesn't have to understand harmonious and pure wines now, does he?

The SMC transcends the role of a traditional food critic as space and time is crossed in an instant through direct and immediate communication on Twitter, simultaneously reaching an audience while reviewing, and in a much more personal manner.

Built into this hyperreality is a certain gunfighter's mentality. Many gain interest in becoming SMCs with the hopes that they will increase their merit by growing their number of followers. The restaurant becomes the "target" as SMCs roll through their doors armed with cameras and smart phones, looking to be the first to catch the restaurant in their crosshairs. To the SMC, this increases the value of their dining experience. "I've heard great things about this place; great for me if it delivers, but even better if it doesn't, gives me something to write about. Maybe I'll be the one to knock it off its high horse!"

I find it fascinating how these two hyperrealistic paradigms converge. A culinary subculture wanting to be the sole judge of authenticity, bent on reaching out only to those who are worthy enough to be "getting it," colliding with the SMCs who seek to be the judges by delivering declarations on culinary endeavors and reaching out to an ever-growing following, vastly ranging in levels of discernment.

Words of Advice

First, for those in the industry who hate the SMC landscape, get over it. It is here to stay. You will have to learn how to handle this type of social schizophrenia. You might be using social media to get the right people through your doors, and SMCs use it to get more value from their dining experience, even if at the annoyance of those dining at the table with them. (My wife put a stop to me busting out my iPhone at dinner. Out of respect to her, I now keep it away from our simple little dinners out).

Restaurant operators who want to monitor what people are saying about their establishments should add platforms such as TweetDeck to the office computer or check it from their smart phones, but preferably away from the guests' view.

The best remedy is to graciously deliver delicious food and drink to everyone who walks through your doors.

Second, for the SMCs, keep doing what you're doing, but try to be as fair as possible. SMCs keep restaurants sincere. There are many changes to the dining landscape; perhaps your efforts will bring beneficial improvements to the service realm. If you're taking the time to review the food and drinks, remember to include your take on service. A chef might want to know their food was described appropriately. Restaurant owners might want to know if they need to step up their game or offer an apology. Floor managers might want to evaluate the quality of service given.

In the case of the @cookingengineer's review, the Driskill Grill's back-of-the-house staff took the account seriously and gleaned it for information to make better experiences for future guests. They were thankful for the feedback. As for the front-of-the-house staff, we strive to deliver unobtrusive, near invisible attention to the guest. In the review, there is nary a mention of service. "Thank you."

How Distance Education Courses Can Work for You

Saturday, June 14, 2014

There is a constant clamour for high quality education; however, certain challenges hindered the advancement of activities that should have made this possible. Lack of funds for the infrastructure of new school classrooms and buildings, escalating prices of tuition fees, low salaries and less benefits for teachers, proximity of schools; these are but some of the factors which learners are currently facing. This is the reason why online learning courses were introduced to answer that need.

Open Institutions are schools of learning that deliver online education courses. They provided the solution in bringing quality education and training to people wherever they may be. There is no need to worry about waking early everyday just to beat the morning traffic and arrive in school on time for class. The challenge of finding time for study has been solved as well because of curriculums that are specifically designed for self-paced learning. Access to daily topics of discussion and online training courses are made available 24 hours a day through the use of modern technology via computers and the Internet. The principles of education, online discussions, group projects and assessments are coursed through different kinds of media which include email, conferencing, message boards, chat rooms and video tutorials, to name a few. All a learner would need to have is access to a computer, stable Internet connection, dedication and focus to finish his or her chosen course.

The training, daily topics, group projects and assessments are delivered via conferencing, discussion and message boards, chat rooms, live streaming, video tutorials, email, and even through innovations in communication media like Skype and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Reference materials are stored in a database that can be accessed any time of the day. These are some of the reasons why online education courses are steadily gaining popularity. Online learning study reaches out to everyone anywhere in the world. When you decide to study online, choose accredited open institutions who can deliver internationally recognized courses. By doing this, you can be sure you are receiving high quality education that have passed international standards. This will also give you the distinct advantage when you try to pursue a career in the global market. Should you need advice on what courses to take, do not hesitate to contact the available online advisors and have them explain to you the different options. You should weigh all options first before making your decisions.

Whether you are a student pursuing a specific course of study, a working professional aiming to further his knowledge or an entrepreneur who is starting a business, Being part of online short courses program will help you gain the necessary skills and information that you will need in pursuit of your goals.

Women's Education

Friday, June 13, 2014

Women's Education is very essential in this world. People are giving importance for women's education nowadays. More steps should be taken to improve education among women not only those who are in urban but also in rural areas.

World Education has a long history of successfully working with local partners to design, execute, manage and evaluate participatory, community-based initiatives to advance the conditions of girls and women. World Education's programs help girls enroll and stay in school and help women gain access to or create new educational, financial, and social resources in their communities. World Education programs help girls and women improve their own lives, the lives of their families and the conditions in their communities. For parents - and especially mothers - this means creating conditions that ensure their daughters have equal access to basic education, are able to make informed decisions about their futures, and are able to protect themselves from trafficking, sexual exploitation, HIV and AIDS, for example.

By improving educational opportunities for girls and women, World Education helps women develop skills that allow them to make decisions and influence community change in key areas. In turn, these programs have a positive impact on some of the most profound issues of our time: population growth, HIV and AIDS, peace and security, and the widening gap between the rich and poor.

Education in India is only one among various other elements that have captured the attention of the world. While the United Nations is worried about the presence of a large number of illiterates, various other countries are amazed by the quality of some of the human resources that the Indian education system has produced.

The growth of the Indian economy in the recent past and the compulsion to sustain it is also forcing the Indian government to accelerate the process of developing all the branches of the Indian education system. Therefore, it would be very interesting to understand and analyze the various structures of education in India, its present condition and future developments.

The leaders of our freedom movement realized the importance of girls' education and had put it as a prime agenda for national development. However, when India attained independence some 60 years ago, it was a formidable challenge that the new government had to face Social and cultural barriers to education of women and lack of access to organized schooling, had to be addressed immediately.

Education has been regarded as the most significant instrument for changing women's subjugated position in the society. It not only develops the personality and rationality of individuals, but qualifies them to fulfill certain economic, political and cultural functions and thereby improves their socio-economic status.

In India, the increase in the educational facilities and opportunities for women and the removal of traditional bars on entry of women to particular branches and levels of education came to be supported by all champions of women's emancipation from the 19th Century onwards. However, the Indian reformers of the 19th Century wanted to educate women to perform their role as good wives and mothers and not to make them as direct active participants in the process of national development of the country. The colonial authorities generally supported this limited view-point of women's education. The expansion of education and health services in the 20th Century, however, precipitated a need for women teachers and doctors which resulted in the incorporation of these two vocations in the programs of women's education.

In spite of the constitutional provision of equality and the recommendations of the committees and commissions about the provision for the same type of education for women as for men, the traditional limited view point of women's education, with a separate role of women in the society. has had a great influence on the planning for women's education.

Thus women's education should be taken as a serious issue and take steps to develop it among every woman both in urban and rural.

Distance Education Delivery - Constraints in Developing Countries

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Education sector in most developing countries is the most neglected sector, which ought to be the sector with the lion share of the budget. The reason for this anomaly is more political than technical as most of the leadership in these countries devoted more fund to perpetuate themselves in power than development of the economy. Principally, most developing countries devote less than 20% of the national budget to education which is the minimum recommended by UNESCO. Most developing countries whose economies are developing fast that have left that category like Singapore, South Korea, devoted much to education and human resources development.
The advent of the internet and the information age has help much to the delivery and cost effective access to the education contents from the fundamentals to the highest emblems of education you literally source for any education contents on the information superhighway. The resources and human capacity development requirements for developing the work force for a developed economy can be found on the internet. It s no wonder then than most developed economies have most of their tertiary education enrollment online - online education in most advance economies have their more than 40% of their tertiary education online.
They leverage on the internet and distance learning technologies to deliver quality education contents for most of their populace especially the working force. The economy becomes more fluid and mobile as the working force have access to education and retraining without necessary taking leave of their work. The purpose of distance learning anyway, is o remove the distance barrier from the access of education. However in this age, it is removing the barrier to both space and cost,. It is known that online education reduce the cost to access more than half.
The readily and noticeably constraint in developing countries are in the border of the following

  1. Inadequate access to education opportunities, such inability to exploit the leverage and opportunities to human capacity development distance and online education afford economies in this information age.
  2. Lack of trained education workforce in education for development in the 21st century especially in online and distance education in this information age
  3. Poor funding, especially on
  4. Primary, Intermediate and Tertiary Education,
  5. Teacher emoluments, Training and Re-training,
  6. Pedagogical and Instructional materials,
  7. Basic Educational infrastructural facilities conditions,
  8. Educational technology system
  9. Institutional autonomy
  10. Poor quality assurance mechanisms and inadequate maintenance system to sustains the self preservation of national education policies and plans.

One main readily observing and dynamic aspect of education in this information age is the use of digital technologies for learning. These have evolved over the decades from adjoining electronic, information, communication and telecommunication technologies that have made online and distance education today a veritable tool for developing human resources both on the short and long term. Adopting these technologies which are very cost effective than the traditional mode of education will help these developing countries to leap frog and advance their economies.

Google announces Google Educator Groups - great resource for educators

Yesterday Google announced the launch of Google Educators Groups. This is a program made up of communities of educators who can connect with each other to learn, share, and help each other. While it is mainly online, there are real-world meetups and events as well.

This is a great resource for educators. See below for more information and to sign up for a group or even create your own (I signed up for the NYC one as there isn't one in Connecticut, YET).

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of Google Educator Groups (GEG), a program supporting communities of educators who learn, share, and inspire each other to meet the needs of their students through technology solutions, both in the classroom and beyond. GEG empowers educators around the world to expand their social and professional networks, and gain skills to deliver the best possible education through open technology.

GEG takes place both online and offline, and provides a space for educators to build relationships, collaborate, and learn through Google+ communities and hangouts or in-person events and workshops. Whether you’re a teacher, professor, or principal, anyone is welcome to join GEG to learn. Each group is organized by a local volunteer (GEG leader) and is entirely independent from Google.

Interested in joining a GEG or starting a new one? Check out the website at www.google.com/landing/geg to learn more, spread the word, and get involved. See you in GEG!

Google for Education Resources

Drivers Education Programs

Driving a vehicle may be a necessity for some and a fun activity for others. A number of people drive to commute to work, drop children at school and for many other reasons. There are a few who choose driving as a profession. Whether for one's own needs or as a source of livelihood, driving is an essential activity that provides mobility. Driving is an activity that requires the driver to be trained and certified by the state they reside in. The best way to acquire a driver's license is by attending driver's education programs.

A number of states have argued whether school-sponsored driver's education programs are feasible and necessary. A number of schools have reported decreased graduate licenses and declining school-sponsored driver's education programs due to lack of funding. For this reason, a number of driver's education programs are funded by the state.

Driver's education programs consist of indoor study work and outdoor driving lessons. Lessons are designed to impart knowledge about road rules and driving rules. Students are taught how different vehicles operate and about state laws that pertain to driving. These programs educate students about penalties, fines and loss of license should laws be broken. Students are shown how to drive a car before asked to take a driving test.

There are special intensive one-week driver's education programs that are offered during vacations. Some programs also enroll experienced drivers who may need extra practice. The courses are all inclusive, designed to answer all questions about driving and driving laws. They meet the increasing demands of educating prospective drivers and familiarizing students about road rules and safety. Driver's education programs are offered in flexible class schedules. These include evening, weekend and holiday courses. This flexibility allows people to opt for programs that are suitable to their needs and can be scheduled during their spare time.

Google for Education CT Summit - June 21-22, 2014, Greenwich, CT

Monday, June 9, 2014

I will be presenting at the Google for Education CT Summit on June 21st, 2014 on Chromebook and Google Apps deployments. The Summit is two days, with presentations and workshops by a variety of educators, Google Certified Teachers, Google staff and more.

It's a great event with some great learning and sharing planned.

Here is the event website: http://connecticut.appsevents.com/

Here is the event Google+ Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cdmsgr0sqmq20iaht6frk95ek6s?authkey=CLeunPTcr9jknwE

Join us!

Drivers Education In California

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A high school student spends over 30 hours each week in a classroom. The State of California requires a student to spend 30 hours in driver's education sessions to obtain a learner's permit. There are also drivers education courses offered online that allow people to study at home at a pace, schedule and time of their choice. A computerized program scores the exams and a DMV Certificate of completion is mailed out to the successful online attendees. The system is designed to work well with PC's and Mac's and with any Internet connection speed. There is no special plug-ins needed.

A few decades ago, driver's education was traditionally taught in regular high school classes in California. However, shrinking school budgets has limited the availability of driver education classes in these high schools. The Internet has created a low cost alternative to acquire driver's education from private driving schools. In California, there are a number of agencies that offer driving education to people.

It is considered a privilege for citizens to obtain a California driver's license. It ensures that the driver knows the rules of the road and what steps need to be taken to get a driver's license at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (CADMV). Services such as dmv.org have a variety of links that enable people to find out the current answers to CA DMV driver license questions.

TeenDriversEducation.com offers online driver's education courses to high school students throughout California. The courses are developed by Golden State Private Schools, an institution licensed by the California Board of Education and recognized by the Department of Motor Vehicles. It has helped over 20,000 California residents obtain their driver's license.

California's Home Study Drivers Education Class is a service of Pacific High School. This home study correspondence course satisfies the California Vehicle Code driver education requirements for students to obtain a DMV learners permit and drivers license.

APS is a unique Internet study and testing system for driver's education in California. It provides California driver's education, online driver's test, California driver's test, online drivers education and driver's test.

Many organizations offer a way for students to study driver's education on their own, instead taking 30 hours of classes in a local driving school. These online services have proven to be a convenient source of obtaining driver's license in California.

Teacher Education

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Online teacher education is for those people who lead such a busy life that they cannot go to a regular university to get trained as teachers. There are many universities on the Internet that offer good programs for online teacher education.

Online teacher education provides teaching information and tips for teachers, as well as aspiring teachers. This is even useful for teachers with regular teacher education degrees.

The University of Phoenix Online is a private university which offers online teacher certification processes and teacher education. This is like any other distance education degree that one takes up rather than attend regular colleges. Students can choose from a variety of subjects and earn credit points required for the online degree. They will cover all the advanced theories and teaching techniques that they would cover in a regular course of teacher education.

The Western Governor's University has certification and graduate programs in teacher education that aim at getting students qualified as teachers in American schools. The university's licensure programs are meant for people who are not certified teachers, and include all major subject areas like mathematics, science and social sciences. WGU also has graduate programs for certified teachers who aim at specializing further. The Master's degree programs offered by the university include English language and learning, learning and technology, management and innovation, mathematics, science, and measurement and evaluation.

Capella Online University has a proven track record with more than 2,400 students who have gone on to have successful careers in teaching. The university offers programs in K-12 education and adult and continuing education. They offer Master's and doctoral programs in core areas like educational administration, professional studies in education and advanced classroom management. They also offer graduate certificate programs in Leadership in Educational Administration.

Websites like teachnet.com, sitesforteachers.com and tcrecord.org are storehouses of information on teacher education, training, development and improvement. These sites have a variety of resources on all topics useful for teachers.

Adobe Releases New Storytelling App for iPad

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Adobe recently released a new Storytelling App for iPad. Adobe Voice, a new animated video app for
iPad, that gives anyone the ability to create and share engaging video stories. Adobe Voice allows you to create these video stories using a combination of your own recorded voice, imagery, music and cinema-quality motion graphics and effects. This is a great app for education, allowing students to create an interactive and engaging school project. Animated videos can be quickly shared via social media, email, personal blogs and websites, by posting a single link, and can be viewed on virtually any device.

Adobe Voice is available as a free download in the App Store. The app requires iPad 2 or higher and iOS 7. To learn more about Adobe Voice, visit http://getvoice.adobe.com/

The Social Media Resume and Keywords

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Keywords and Optimizing Are King

Researching and placing select keywords is vital in ensuring that your paper resume rises to the surface. Media resumes are no different. Here again, it's about creating exposure for you and your background.

Part of this depends on how you structure your social media resume. You might make it a standalone single page like your traditional resume, or you could break it into specific sections (skills, certifications, references, achievements, markets worked in, products sold).

Breaking it into different sections can allow you to target and optimize specific keywords around related content for each page. Conceptually, this is very similar to optimizing individual websites and pages in order to drive traffic and rank high in search engines.

What does optimizing do? When done properly, this type of targeting can help these separate pages rank higher up on search engines when someone searches for you and specific keywords. This can help more employers and recruiters find you, resulting in more potential job opportunities. Try using two to three related keywords per page and its related topic.

Thus, if you have a single-page social media resume, you'll be limited to using just two or three keywords. Also, they'll likely have to be of a more general, broad nature. This can make optimization-and thus visits from interested parties-more challenging.

Make Your Social Media Resume Easy to Share

You have little to no control over which specific people visit your social media resume. However, if they're looking for your skills and have potential interest in hiring you-even if they are only influencers in the hiring process-you want to make it easy for them to spread the good word about you by sending your resume along.

That's right: It's about further improving your odds. Doing all the little extra can add up to a bigger competitive advantage for you:

  • Set up reciprocal links to and from various social media vehicles and tools.
  • Put a small form on your social media resume that allows people to email/forward your resume to interested parties.
  • Get the URL of your social media resume listed on as many networking sites as you can manage. Interest in your skills and experience can come from anywhere. Sometimes leads come from downright obscure and implausible places. Don't knock anything until you give it a try.

Don't Ignore the Stats

The cool thing with web pages-and having your own URL is one of those-means you can capture all sorts of neat information in the form of statistics you can use to your benefit in your search activities.

You can then use this info to help refine your online marketing activities. Are the right people looking for you and finding you? Are the keywords you are optimizing having the desired impact? Are your tactics helping improve your online visibility? The stats will give you plenty of insight here.

The fancy name for this is "website/page analytics." Basically, this mean using a simple statistical package that often comes with web-hosting services to allow you to find out the answers to the aforementioned questions along with other interesting tidbits of information:

  • Number of visitors who come to your social media resume
  • What pages your social media resume links to and what pages are linking back to it
  • Keywords used to find your social media resume

Web analytics can be complex. But if this is an area that interests you, doing more targeted keyword searching on the topic can help you find educate yourself about it.



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