Thursday, May 02, 2013

At Peace with Social Media

You can find The Tao of Twitter here.
This semester my Media Writing students at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester have been tweeting. They tweet whenever they post an assignment to their blogs; they tweet when we decide on a hashtag to promote during class, and many of them have been tweeting about things that are of interest to them outside the requirements of the class.

After reading The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Schaefer, the students were required to blog about the book. All twelve of them did, and they tweeted about it. In perfect harmony within the Twitterverse, Author, Blogger, Professor, and Consultant Schaefer tweeted back to some of them, retweeted many of them, and in some cases even followed the links to their blogs and posted complimentary comments for them.

My students were thrilled that one of the leading social media marketing experts took the time to respond to their assignment. By gaining a response to their work from someone other than their professor, Schaefer instilled in many of my students a sense that social media really is a place for conversations to flow and new friendships based on common interests to flourish.

The Tweet @markwschaefer sent me to share with my class:  @biscottidana Please thank your class for me. I really appreciate the very wonderful blog posts they are writing! Great job!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Wondering What's for Dinner?

Gluten-free corn bread, which can also be made dairy free.
If you're eating gluten free and low acid like me, it's a challenge to create interesting, delicious dishes night after night. After more than a year on my restricted diet, I've launched a page on my "Confessions of a Chocoholic" website, the site that is dedicated to those who are newly diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (or IC, sometimes also referred to as the lovely and sexy "Painful Bladder Syndrome").  I am trying to bring new ideas to the table, posting five recipes a week.
Fish is always a good choice. Striper is delicious when fresh.
(Poster created by my son when he was in junior high.)

Gluten-free yeast bread can be tricky. This was easy though,
thanks to a new mix from Bob's Red Mill. 

Does beautiful Polish pottery make the meal taste better?
I like to think so! Inside the casserole dish is a Shepherd's Pie
waiting to be baked.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tidying Up a Bit

I've been spring cleaning my life: moving from place to place in my house, stopping one day to tackle a bookcase, another to empty the cluttered china cupboard--essentially taking on one room at a time, donating or discarding at least half of what I have, keeping a quarter, and setting aside the last quarter in a designated spot to decide later when I finally reach that point in my tidying.

Over the years I've noticed how the inside of my house reflects the inner me. When I'm scatter-brained and harried, my house looks like a cyclone hit. When I'm feeling more in control of my schedule and of the choices in my life, my living area is, well, while not always eat-off-the-floor clean, it's not completely embarrassing when neighbors stop by to drop off a dozen eggs or a huge bowl of popcorn. (I love neighbors who do those sorts of things!)

"Eggs on Tile" thank you photo for the eggs from a neighbor.
Last year I was sick. I know, you're tired of hearing me say that. What I rarely admit to myself is that I am still sick. I'm able to control most of the debilitating symptoms with a strict diet regimen (see "Confessions of a Chocoholic" for more on that), but when I stray, even if only a tiny bit, I end up in pain. This week has been a painful week for me, so yesterday's massive vacuuming and steam cleaning of the tile and wooden floors was a huge undertaking, but one that actually helped me to heal. Once I got my house looking the way I wished I felt, I actually did feel much better.

Okay, maybe mine is not an exact science, but one can't deny the benefits: a sparkling clean house, in which we could actually have eaten off the floor if we really so desired. And I felt like once again I controlled my pain instead of the other way around.

Today it's off to the University of New Hampshire to teach all day, but tomorrow I think I'll finally clean off my office I start a new freelance assignment that I just landed yesterday. It's good to feel in control of something. If not our entire destiny, at least the short-term chaos that threatens to engulf us daily.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

But what does it mean?

Today I learned I have one of the Top 10 percent most viewed profiles on LinkedIn for 2012*. I applied to a plethora of jobs in 2012, so perhaps that's why. I was also quite sick in 2012, so perhaps my medical team was looking me up. Or perhaps it's just a marketing gimmick at LinkedIn. Though it took me a while to realize it today, my money's on that last item.

And though I'm not yet full-time employed (in the healthcare coverage and 401K sense of the word) 2013 does find me teaching three classes as an adjunct professor at both UNH and SNHU; producing a seven-minute video for the Concord Boys and Girls Club; gearing up to head this year's New Hampshire Film Festival's Screenplay Competition, and being asked to co-write a feature screenplay with a former fellow student at UCLA. Three of those items are actually paid positions too.

The timing of this LinkedIn spread-the-word marketing campaign couldn't be better from a professorial point of view. This Thursday in my media writing class at UNH we'll be addressing the fine art of self promotion as we examine LinkedIn, as well as the craft of resume writing and of penning the perfect cover letter.

This also answers the ages-new conundrum: if a profile is viewed in LinkedIn, does anyone notice? Apparently the technicians at LinkedIn notice since they're obviously tracking and analyzing these things, and then sharing them with 20 million of us to share with our colleagues.

*Along with 20 million other LinkedIn users.... *sigh*

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Micro- & Mini-Micro Fiction

"Snow Tire" by dana
This week my media writing students will be writing micro and Twitter fiction stories.

They'll be working from the Snippets from Suburbia website, which is a catalogue of my sister-in-law Allison's incredible photography, like this photo from the holidays. They will choose one of her photos and use it to inspire a short story of 500 or fewer words.

Next they'll surf over to One Forty Fiction and read and critique a handful of works. Then they'll try their own hand at writing literature in 140 characters. (Extra credit will be awarded to any student who has a piece published by the awesome editor there!)

All this as they expand from their new blogs added just last week, launching tomorrow into the world of Twitter, and adding social media dashboard management at Hootsuite to their repertoire.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blogging, how I've missed you.

I have been away for an entire year. I've been sick for an entire year too, and am currently struggling to pull myself back from the flu. 
Cliff Island, Maine. Heaven on Earth. (Photo by Jan.)

But enough excuses.

Next week I will once again teach Media Writing at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester. As part of that class, my students will be expected to maintain a blog throughout the semester. So I best return to the practice myself. 

This is just one in a number of blogs to come. Am looking forward to a new alliance with Allison Swift Zercher, one of the most exciting photographers on this continent. And, in the interest of full disclosure, my newly acquired sister-in-law (the wedding to my baby brother was October last). My students will visit her Snippets from Suburbia page, choose a photograph and then write a micro-fiction short story inspired by the photo. It is an exercise I so look forward to every time I teach this course. 

Back to my final tweaks of the course syllabus.... Ciao!