Twitter Limits and Literacy

Up front: as posts are written in my off-time, this blog is mixed and often features my dog- I learn a lot about communication from him. For work related posts only, click the work tag or say hi on LinkedIn

Twitter’s introduction of a 280-character limit may not have received the best response, but people are using it. I’m glad it’s here to stay. It is going to boost connection and reach, I hope. This new limit will expand Twitter’s microblog style and leave some annoying elements behind. Like comprehension, for one.

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My Favourite Typos

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I was reading an article about dogs this morning and all was going well until I hit rolls when the word should have been roles. (I always take things with a grain of salt when reading about dogs and dog behavior, because there is a lot of information out there that promotes old ideas about dominance training rather than evidence-based research on animal behavior. But I digress.) This morning’s read was an interesting article and had solid citations to back up its points, so I didn’t hold rolls against the writer. Read more

Lifelong Learning

Although I’m not a teacher, I follow some education blogs. I’m interested in how curriculum influences thinking on what’s important (or not) in society. In addition to the what of curriculum, I’m also interested in the how of teaching: what are educators doing to engage their students? What are they doing to inspire kids to become lifelong learners?

When I say a lifelong learner, I don’t mean someone goes to school forever, although I suppose it could include that if you had the money and life circumstances. I’m thinking more of the “I can do this” mindset. When I took training in adult education, an instructor of one of the courses said that working with adult learners requires a sensitivity to the fact that no adult likes to look stupid. Walking into an education event isn’t always easy; adults are supposed to be capable and know all. The idea of school in any form is daunting for some. Read more

Beyond Words: Imagery’s Power in Health Education

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Last week I read about a Toronto artist using comics to teach about birth control, which is pretty great. Rebecca Roher teamed up with gynecologist Dr. Aparna Sridhar to create resources that are medically accurate, something Dr. Sridhar says she sees as a needed alternate to Dr. Google and the anecdotal information often found in online forums. However convincing someone might be in a forum, they aren’t a doctor examining you and your medical history. Read more

Writing for A Big Audience of One  

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At heart, communications work is one to one. You may be tasked with writing for a large audience, but connection with that audience is built one person at a time. Think about them. Write for them.

Who is the one person engaging with your words? Where is that face in the conference crowd listening to your presentation? Who has their eyes on the writing- not racing, but reading?

Ask. Read more

The Twitter Twelve

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rushing riverI was talking with a couple of friends recently about the “Twitter Twelve.” This is one of my tricks to balance social media consumption and sharing with productivity in offline work.

It is so easy to fall into the river of Twitter. You sign in and see surge after surge of information go by, pieces lumped together with hashtags, clogging up (trending!) things here and there, creating masses of information on the same topic. It is easy to get lost for an hour or more, following tags and trends. Read more

What are You Looking At? Photo Policy Points to Ponder

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I read this great piece the other day about the use of photos on nonprofit organization sites. For anyone who has worked in nonprofits, you know the importance of fundraising, and nothing helps “please give” like the photo of a person benefitting from the organization’s services. You want donors to see the success in their support. But it isn’t always as easy as that. On the Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Nancy Schwartz writes about establishing a photo policy that respects legal and ethical concerns. Read more

Friday Finds: Communications For Your Eyes

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Cocoon in a fold of paint.
I am crazy about Instagram. It’s my first-thing in the morning, last thing at night channel. Before tea or coffee even, it’s Instagram. I love connecting beyond words with the views of people all over the world.  I think I get a feel for some people through their captions, others use few captions so it’s just about the photos. Some I might sense through their profiles, others are so whimsical it’s hard to tell.

This is part of what I love about Instagram: a lot of it is poetry. It’s like a net. There are strings of words, but it’s really about what you see through them.   Read more

How We Speak of Each Other’s Health

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Vancouver has been unusually bound by snow and ice this winter, reminding me vividly of a couple of things. One- people who drive in Vancouver are inexperienced with snow. We just don’t get enough on a regular basis to maintain good skills. Two- we are all temporarily able-bodied, as an advocate friend of mine says.

At the beginning and end of our lives, and for some of us at other points as well, we will be dependent on others to help with our mobility and often at the simplest things- food, personal care. Snowy and icy sidewalks that were left uncleared reminded me of this as I watched people struggle and skidded about myself.

There is no us and them. Read more

Welcoming Site Visitors Home  

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Websites are made to connect and to move people. You want them to donate or buy. You want them to find resources or support. Whatever your website’s purpose, you need to make people feel welcome and comfortable moving around.

Imagine your website in real life- what kind of building is it? A factory? An office? A home? Read more