Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This blog has moved

Thank you for visiting my blog.

As I take my blogging to the next level, I've made the switch to WordPress! You can find my new posts here: www.kateworldwide.com.

I hope you'll follow me to my new blog and continue the conversation.

Friday, May 24, 2013

#FollowFriday - Public Ethnography as Innovative Learning

In the spirit of Twitter’s Follow Friday, but taking a page from Spin Sucks’ more thoughtful approach, I offer to you each week one communications blog, Twitter account, or website that offers great content. 

Term papers.

You remember them—those time-sucking exercises in futility that, once graded, gather dust in your professor’s hard drive or your bookshelf.

A professor at Royal Roads University is turning that model of academia on its head.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Communication / PR graduates, success is simple.

Confetti - Undergrad Graduation
Photo by Flickr user m00by, used under Creative Commons license
Listen, I know. Every blog you read is shouting at you about how to interview, what to say on your resume, and the dos and don'ts of using social media when you're looking for a job.

It's like open season on recent graduates out there.

So I'll keep it simple. There's just one thing I want you to keep in mind as you launch your career in communications, and it's this:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Follow Friday: Spin Sucks

Twitter’s Follow Friday (#FF on Twitter) is a great idea – in concept.

In reality, I’m not going to follow someone unless you give me a compelling reason to, an approach Gini Dietrich also prefers. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see that I usually recommend just one person each #FF and I’ll tell you why I like them.

That way, you can decide if you might like to follow them too.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The “millennial generation” is a red herring

“Generation Y, also referred to as Millennials, and Generation Z represent those individuals born in the late 1970s or the early 1980s to the early 2000s.”

This quote, from a recent blog post by prominent author Brian Solis, stopped me in my tracks.

I’m not quite sure when the “millennial” generation oozed backwards to eat up my demographic, but I am quite certain that I spent most of my life as a Gen X-er. A latch-key kid.

Reading further into Brian’s post, his statements about Millenials reinforce that I don’t belong. I’m certainly not a digital native.

In fact, I distinctly remember going to my friend’s house in Grade 12 so that we could use “e-mail.” They were one of about 10 families in town that had the internet. I remember learning to code HTML before you could use background images. That’s right, kids, once upon a time every website was black text on a grey background.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Share great content, and be authentic: How to build a Twitter following in 6 steps [curating series, part 3]

There’s an entire industry developing around teaching people to use social media effectively. 

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Just between you and me. It turns out that underneath it all, social media is exactly like the “real world.”

People want to know you like them. And, just like your boss at work, Twitter users will like you if you prove you know what you’re doing and make yourself useful.

Over the past two months, I’ve been tracking my curation activities as part of a research project focused on curating content to build a Twitter following.

Curate, v., to “select, organize, and present (suitable content, typically for online or computational use), using professional or expert knowledge.” Oxford Dictionary
I’ve previously shared why you should curate a collection of RSS feeds related to your profession and how to find those RSS feeds; this post is about the “presenting” part of curating.

It’s simple. Just 6 steps.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Money’s overrated; ducks are where it’s at: What's your definition of success?

Somehow, I have no photos of the ducks, but
our neighbourhood deer also make me happy.
The night my daughter was born, I sat in the hospital bed holding her, crying because she was crying and because I’d run out of ideas on how to soothe her. (And, lets face it, because the exhaustion and hormonal insanity of childbirth didn’t exactly enhance my zen.) The two of us were all alone - Foothills Hospital in Calgary does not allow overnight visitors in the maternity ward – and, looking at her tiny blue eyes, I realised that we were going to be moving back to the Maritimes.

Monday, May 6, 2013

4 hints for finding useful RSS feeds on a specific topic [curating series, part 2]

Great! Now we’re convinced that curating is an acceptable term for collecting and sorting information on a specific topic (you can’t argue with the Oxford Dictionary), and that curating RSS feeds can have some very tangible professional benefits.

But finding useful information on the web can make you feel like a city-dweller staring at the edge of a forest. Where’s the path through that wall of underbrush? How do you find these great RSS feeds?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

6 tangible benefits of curating content related to your field [curating series, part 1]

“If we had to award … top prize [for overused buzzwords], the gold medal would certainly go to "curate" for its excessive amount of pretentious bullshit.”

When I read that quote back in 2011, I agreed.

Two years later, curate is still contentious, making Dictionary.com’s list of “Worst Words of 2012”, and riling up the original curators: people who work in museums.

In tech, communications, and public relations, though, the term shows no signs of going away. This March, I opened up the Moodle site for my second-last Master’s course to find our professor saying that we were going to be “curating” content.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2 simple steps to innovation through learning from your audience

I recently helped to teach an online course called “Public Culture” at Royal Roads University. The incomparable Dr. Phillip Vannini, who I work with, was the professor, and the goals of the course were two-fold: teach the concepts and theories around cultural studies, and give the students real-world experience in popularizing academic research.

The projects were as varied as the students themselves, and it was delightful to watch their concepts come to life and help them learn about pitching, writing for mainstream audiences, video production, and turning academese into plain language.

I learned a few things from the students, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hot Topic: Forbes’ Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers in 2013

Who decides what influence is? Judging by the buzz on the interwebs, not Haydn Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy recently published a blog post on the Forbes website entitled “WhoAre The Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013?” sending tweeps and bloggers alike into a frenzy of disagreement.

JureKlepic over at the Huffington Post takes issue with Shaughnessy’s methodology – measuring influence solely on Twitter, he points out, ignores “the metrics of comments on their blogs, content quality and other social networks” - and the PeekAnalytics tool in general, arguing that it doesn’t measure influence at all. He offers a compelling counter-argument by pointing out the many people who were not included on the list, and I recommend you check his list out. Many of my personal favourites are there.

Mark Schaefer’s critique of the list was also oft-tweeted, and he, too, provides an alternate list of influential people in social media that the original list did not include, saying I have no idea how many Twitter followers these people have. But they have all accomplished something.”

Some, like ErikDeckers at probloggingservice took a softer approach, and of course the original Forbes post was tweeted many a time.

Monday, April 22, 2013

4 things toddlers can teach us about professional communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw

This quote, long one of my favourites, ran through my mind this morning as I attempted to bundle my toddler up and get her out of the house. Not quite two years old, she still has only the most rudimentary grasp of language, and it’s often difficult to decipher her meaning.

“Guldk” she said, looking up at me with clear blue eyes. “GULDK” she insisted, those eyes showing the same mixture of frustration and annoyance I’ve so often seen around conference room tables during difficult conversations.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Knowledge mobilization

You've got a great product or service, or information that could save people's lives, or you need help to change society for the better. But no one seems to be interested. Sound familiar?

I'm currently assisting with an online Master's level course, helping students to push their research beyond the walls of academia. These students, most of whom do not have any background in public relations or journalism, are expected to get attention from the public for cultural studies projects. The projects are phenomenal - interesting, creative, timely - but as many NGOs, not-for-profits, and small companies have learned the hard way, having something wonderful or important to say doesn't mean people will listen.

You have to know how to talk to the media.