Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Flowers

Pawprints on our hearts . . .
We bid farewell to our lil' elfin doggie (the half-sized Norwegian Elkhound) as he returned to his owner's family this week. It was an unexpected interruption in what we thought was a doggie adoption process, but we're getting adjusted to the quieter and furless lifestyle, even if we're sad to see him go.

I feel like there are at least one or two lessons to be learned and perhaps even shared, but for now I'm just happy that we were able to provide a temporary home to "My Buddy" (as I came to call Zhanka) these past few months. His short stay with us has left an indelible mark upon us all; his cheerful demeanor was a welcome respite to our cold New England winter and soggy spring.

Thanks to all the animals in our lives--past, present, and future.


Monday, May 03, 2010

A Tweachable Moment?

I'm taking my Media Writing Students to a Seminar on Launching Your Career with Twitter. None of them regularly Tweet (am I supposed to capitalize that?), so we will be in the computer lab the following week signing up for Twitter accounts and Tweeting with the @VistaPrint guy in a Tweet Chat Room (until a couple weeks ago when he suggested this option for meeting with my students, I had no idea this was possible).

But am I buying into our overly plugged-in society too eagerly? I feel like a pusher.... And it's making me second-guess my plan for the fall semester. I'm thinking of requiring all my Media Writing students to sign-up for a Twitter account at the beginning of the semester, so they can practice using the uber short method of marketing communications during their 15-week tenure with me.

My students currently blog. It began a handful of semesters ago as a last class of the term assignment. It soon became a first class assignment, with weekly blog posts and comments to classmates' blogs due regularly.  As a writer, blogging is a great way to practice your skills. As a professor, it's a fabulous tool for tracking the progress of your student writers.

But Tweeting--I'm not so sure that's necessary.

I'm a newbie to the Tweet scene. And like an addict's first taste of a powerful, mind-altering substance, I'm hooked. I Tweeted constant updates at our town's absurdly long and mind-numbingly tedious town meeting. I Tweeted as my husband and I drove to Red River Theatres last week, and later as we left after seeing the incredible GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO. I Tweeted when I was tired of having my floors torn up during our recent home make-over. And I Tweeted when I nearly stepped on a sizable serpent out sunning itself in the woods path where I was running with my dog.

And the responses to my Tweets? Since they are automatically uploaded to Facebook, a surprisingly high number of friends respond to my thoughts and commiserate with me during other harrowing snake-like incidents. 

But in the Twitter world I've been surprised at how one word or phrase woven into my update can spark someone to follow me.  I gained a follower in the "Work from Home" crowd when I happened to mention how much I was enjoying working at home while my car was in the shop. And a local reporter began following me during one of my moments of citizen activism. Meanwhile a do-it-yourself site tagged along after my first update on our home's progress.

So is Tweeting a necessity to furthering your career and/or your business? Or is it a procrastination tool for the terminally chatty?  I'm hoping my friends and colleagues in my Social Community Space can help me find the answer; in fact, you can bet I'll be Tweeting about it.

(Photo above of a chalkboard drawing by Leo for some of the B-Roll footage of the Boys & Girls Video we've been working on.)