Friday, May 10, 2013

Amanda Berry's Hero
Click the photo to see the video

          Mr. Charles Ramsey is the hero in this story, but it's hard to tell when listening to the voice of the 911 operator. He never wavered from being monotonous. It sounded as if the 911 operator was tired, trained to be non-emotive, or he was judging the caller on the other end. The fact that this narrative is judging the 911 operator is not lost on me, either. I realize I'm being judgmental interpreting what I think I heard without giving the operator a chance to speak for himself.  However, the longer I listened, the more I wondered how the 911 operator could remain go glib.

          When I heard Mr. Ramsey explain he's at McDonald's and heard the animation in his voice, my impatient self wanted him to hurry up and get to the point.  I guess the 911 operator felt that way, too.  At first I sympathized with the operator, however, the longer I listened to the call, the more I started to empathize with Mr. Ramsey. He was trying to be helpful, as best he could, and I could only imagine that he also heard the nonchalant operator and probably wondered why he wasn't acting more enthusiastic. Yes, he was excited, but who wouldn't be seeing a woman scratching her way out of a house.

          But in defense of the 911 operator, he has not had a chance to defend himself.  He may get calls like this all the time and may have been trained to sound uninterested; perhaps that is the professional approach.

          Listen for yourself, maybe you heard something else in the intonation. But, in my opinion Mr. Ramsey started off sounding like someone who needed to calm down, but then the operator sounded like someone who was disengaged from the human condition.  I think Mr. Ramsey is the hero and ought to be treated as such.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sometimes a Cigar is a Cigar

          Kathy stood at the bus stop, pacing. Her hips swayed to the rhythm of her thoughts, oblivious to the car that pulled up slowly to the curb. She looked straight ahead and tried not to appear startled when the horn honked, but it was no use. She felt the skin on her body vibrate and wondered if he--she  was sure it was a he--noticed, too. Curiosity beckoned Kathy to look over at the car. In the time it took to blink her eye, Kathy saw an overweight, over-aged white guy in a black suit, white dress shirt and thin black tie. He looked like a relic from the 1950's version of "Death of a Salesman" or one of the Blues Brothers. His thinly covered bald head was glistening with sweat.  Practically laying down as he leaned on his right forearm, she wondered why his black glasses hadn't slipped farther down his nose.  It was three in the afternoon and Kathy was nervous.  In her car, she felt confident wearing her bootie shorts.  Standing on the bus stop in her cutest leggings EVER, she was sure she was hot, but right now she didn't want to be.  In this outfit there was no room for self-doubt, so Kathy got angry.   TO BE CONTINUED . . . . .

Sunday, May 5, 2013

NPR Asks: Is Massively Open Online Education A Threat Or A Blessing?

EXCERPT:  Over a 160,000 students signed up. About half that many, he explains, participated in some way through to the end. And 20,000 finished the course.
This is an astonishing example of the way MOOCs — massively open online courses — may be able to transform education as we know it, changing it from the privilege of an elite into a shared commons that is open and free to everyone.

There are grounds for concern, though. Some of these came to the fore this week in an open letter from the San Jose State University philosophy department to Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor who offers a MOOC version of his famous class on justice. The letter, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, raises important issues about the use of MOOCs within traditional university settings. Part of the problem, they write, is the danger:
... that two classes of universities will be created: one, well-funded colleges and universities in which privileged students get their own real professor; the other, financially stressed private and public universities in which students watch a bunch of videotaped lectures and interact, if indeed any interaction is available on their home campuses, with a professor that this model of education has turned into a glorified teaching assistant. READ THE WHOLE STORY

Thursday, May 2, 2013

4 Ways to Make Instagram Work for Your Business by Jennifer Dancy

4 Ways to Make Instagram Work for Your Business
by Jennifer Dancy on Apr 30, 2012
I found this page while hunting for news about trends in public relations.  Check the date, 2012.  How fast this industry moves is incredible.
With the popularity of social media and people sharing everything, it’s no surprise the free phone app Instagram has become a wildly popular way to share photos. Although it’s primarily used among smartphone owners and consumers to document their daily activities, businesses can also tap into Instagram’s popularity and utilize the app to reach their customers on a more intimate scale.

1. Embrace the New Visual Trend

Numbers speak louder than words, and the numbers confirm social media users like images in posts. A study conducted by Facebook analyzed journalists’ pages and found posts with images were much more popular than posts without them. Photos received 50% more “likes” from viewers than text posts, and journalists who shared links with a thumbnail image got 65% more likes and 50% more comments than posts without photos. (These findings likely prompted Facebook to purchase Instagram for an impressive $1 billion.)
So how can you benefit from Instagram? First, simply using it shows you’re ahead of the curve, gaining interest from customers and respect from professional contacts. Anytime you plan to post on social media, consider how an Instagram photo might be used to tap into that visual audience. Have a new product? Take a nice close-up and write an intriguing caption. Test different filters, snap different angles, and consider what aspects of your business are conducive to sharing visually. (But don’t worry, customers aren’t expecting you to be a professional photographer—just take interesting pics.)

2. Use Geo-Tag

Whether you’re at a convention or in front of the office, make sure to geo-tag the uploaded images to give followers an easy way to map where the photos are being taken. This is especially useful if you are at a professional event or if you want to try a virtual scavenger hunt with your client base (followers who are at the conference can physically find you). To use the feature, tap the green checkmark once you take the photo and click “Enable Geotag.” Afterward, click “Location” and pick your location option.

3. Involve Followers

Invite your followers to post their own Instagram photos of your business product or service, then retweet those images to create a sense of community among the business’s followers. This can work for a variety of businesses, from manicurists to dentists to even auto mechanics, and is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship with your followers and show others your best work.

4. Be Real

It’s important for businesses to realize the growing Instagram trend and capitalize on it, but it’s also important to be authentic. Users don’t want to see Instagram images they can tell are obvious advertisement tactics; they want to see visual proof of a company they’re doing business with. Most importantly, they want to see that there are real people behind the product. Avoid only posting photos of brand logos or your storefront, and mix in some interesting images of an office ping pong game or a funny piece of wall art in the executive suite hallway.
Take a tip from Nic Adler, who runs LA’s famous venue The Roxy. Adler started an account for the venue after seeing fans snap photos using Instagram. Now the venue has more than 7,400 followers. ”The Roxy posts all kinds of photos now, including art, scenery, and funny thing we come across, while sprinkling in pieces to promote our shows,” Adler told Instagram. “The best thing you can do for your business on Instagram is show people why they should get to know you.”
Do you use Instagram for your small business? Tell us how you make it work for your business in the comments below.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Poverty Excludes Qualified College Students | Teaching Tolerance

Poverty Excludes Qualified College Students | Teaching Tolerance

Google+ Hangout for Video Conferencing

           For the purpose of providing yet another voice in the "pro" corner for Google+, I'm sharing this link of a Hangout video conference because I think it perfectly demonstrates the best use of technology, at this moment, for business; as an aside, I learned about the business of comedy. Financial rewards from Google have NOT been offered to me; I simply love Google+ and its by-product Hangout.

          Sometimes, I think, people are understandably wary of what they don't understand. I know I am.  Hopefully, this recorded Hangout gives additional decision-making information about whether or not to join Google+.  I'm investigating Google+ Hangout because I rarely use Skype, anymore, and word on the virtual street is that FB is dead. My heart sank a little when I first heard that sentence uttered. Now that I've heard it echoed three times, exponentially, I'm hoping for the best, yet preparing for the worst. I'm sure that person on MySpace never saw it coming, either.

          But, I'm not ready to get off of FB.  It is just too easy to connect with family all over the country. They'll have to pry FB from the clutches of my cold dead keyboard, first. Skype, I can take it or leave because I also use Google Voice, another great by-product of Google+, however Google Voice came first.  In the meantime, however, I now have an Instragram account. It really pisses off my teenagers when I tell them that. As I write, they are scrambling to find another app that their parents/grandparents know nothing about. But, I digress.

          For business, I highly recommend LinkedIN for networking and Google+ for functionalities like Voice, Drive -- where you can retrieve and create documents -- and their Hangout feature for video conferencing with multiple users.  Operationally, the Google+ Hangout works more efficiently than Skype and it is still free.   For that price, I am willing to view ads from Google sponsors. Not sure how Hangout works for folks overseas, though.  I'd like to hear from someone who may have tried to connect to users in other countries besides the US and Canada. Until then, I am a cheer leader for Google+ Hangout as a video conferencing tool. You should take it out for a spin.