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

Mental Health Monday

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bird singing

Britain’s Prince Harry went public this weekend with his mental health struggles. He spoke about the shutting down he went through after his mom died when he was twelve. It’s not a surprise that someone who was so young when he lost his mom in a very public and publicized accident might have some residual depression or anxiety. His disclosure also explains the Heads Together campaign I read about a couple of weeks ago. He’s started a mental health awareness campaign with brother Will and his partner Kate. Love or hate the British monarchy and all it stands for; fighting mental health stigma is a good thing in my opinion.

Harry’s story got me looking up some other mental health stories circulating right now. 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

Blog topics go beyond 9-5. For work related posts only, click the work tag or say hi on LinkedIn.

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

Coffee, Connection, and Creativity

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coffee cup upside downThere is no human requirement for caffeine in the diet.” I resist that statement, but I’ll accept it as physiological information. Socially, I reject it because of coffee.

Oh coffee, that tempting, full experience substance. A well brewed coffee is a friend with a good story that has the right amount of detail and depth to make you settle in and smile. A poorly brewed one is biting, the person who’s forever critical and unhappy.

Coffee is a lubricant in work and social worlds. “Let’s get together for coffee” might be the start of a project or a partnership. It helps new co-worker relationships have common ground. Read more

The Art of Steering Meetings Sideways  

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I recently attended a meeting with an impressive agenda and we set out with great hope. Excellent presentations prompted conversation which slowed the agenda, but it was worth it. With many interesting minds in the room, we hit many, but not every agenda item.

The facilitator remarked on the fact that even though we weren’t progressing as planned, good conversations were happening, and he was right. You could see it on everyone’s faces- discovery and connection in the shape of smiles, nods and slightly pursed foreheads that go with new ideas bubbling just below the surface. It was that energetic mix of shared knowledge and possibility. Read more

What Coats Communicate To Your Team

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Communicating between work mates is an important part of work culture. Anyone who has worked with me knows I think about how coats start the day. Coats? Yeah, coats – they signal change. Whether your work team is small or large, how you communicate internally is important, and coats play a role. Read more