Category Archives: Writing and technology

The Google for Media summit, Storify style

Google for Media title imposed over a photo

Journalists and all creative users of video, data, and technology: The Google for Media summit in NYC last week was pretty mind-blowing. From the Google Trends workshop alone, I had dozens of story ideas. And did you know Miley Cyrus crashed her fans’ Google hangouts?

If you’re interested in what we learned, check out this Storify summary. You may see a familiar face in the tweets!

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Filed under Blog, Community of writers, Events, Writing and technology

A Little Life Hack: WordPress Customer Service

laptop screen displaying a red poster

Poster designed by the author via keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Earlier this month, a horrendous customer service call made headlines. Being the glass-half-full kind of gal that I am, I want to share a sunnier experience with people paid to listen to us whine.

It starts with a WordPress blog–just like the one you’re reading now. I’ve used WordPress for nearly eight years now, and currently own or contribute to half a dozen WP sites.

When I’ve bumped up against the occasional website snafu, I’ve always been able to pluck an answer from the help topics or the forums and fix the problem myself. Then I came up against email forwarding that mysteriously stopped. We’re talking about the service where you can take an address like info@funkycucumber.com and automatically forward it to me@gmail.com (if you’re not doing this yet for your own website, look into it!* It’s free. And it works great. Except when it occasionally doesn’t). Continue reading

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Filed under Blog, Public relations/communications, Writing and technology

Cyberspace and the community

What a week.

Thanks to cyberspace, my dear DC State Fair just garnered overwhelming community support on our Kickstarter campaign.

I also have the Internet to thank for both the topic and mode of publication for my latest story on Elevation DC, “Cyberspace connects DC with the businesses next door.

The 50th anniversary March on Washington that I plan to join on Saturday came together largely online. As I write this, buses and vans of participants are no doubt coming together all over the country through a frenzy of emails. Continue reading

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Filed under DC, Events, Gardening, On media, Writing and technology

Twitter in the classroom

Astute readers may have noticed something different about the tweets displayed on the right side of my home page. My short transmissions about food, always frequent, have now taken over the feed. New names appear in my mentions, and the mysterious hashtag #GSR150 accompanies most of my posts.

Well, I’d like to share what I’m doing and some reflections on the project.

In a nutshell, I have worked Twitter into the curriculum of my General Studies 150 class. The course is entitled “La Vida Local: Examining Local Food and Farmers Markets in D.C.,” and is my take on the wonderfully flexible requirements for this course, namely that I use the theme “City as Text” and that I help students develop a foundation of academic research and writing skills.

Better than mucking through dry scholarly articles from an academic database to learn about our topic, I  decided the students would build their knowledge through the Twitterverse. In addition to weekly readings and classroom activities, I gave them a Twitter to-do list. It included setting up an account, adding a bio and photo, and following a list of food markets and organizations focused on sustainable edibles. Most of my iPhone-wielding, Instagram-loving undergrads mastered this handily. But then came the requirement that would prove contentious and sometimes downright loathed: Tweet every day. Continue reading

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Filed under Teaching, Writing and technology

“Are you trying to decide…?”

-“Are you trying to decide between two workshops?”

-“I really appreciated what you said on the panel.”

-[At reception] “Do you mind if I just put my beer here?”

-[Reading name tag] “Hello, Tom.”

    …Four ways to start a conversation with a fellow conference-goer

-Throwbacks coming back: Unedited storytelling, knitting, fermentation

-Child adoption statistics: Where, who, and why around the U.S., a data journalism story

-My memoir about Science Olympiad and snow days in clickable essay form

      …Three story ideas I generated this weekend

    …Two fragments of a conversation

-“A Short List is made from your experience or research or daily life.
You read it out loud for about 60 seconds and then tell us at the
end what the list WAS. It’s a story, with the title at the end.”

      …One explanation Jay Allison gives of his concept

A list of Short Lists inspired by  NarrativeArc: Storytelling journalism goes digital

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Filed under Community of writers, Writing and technology

Walking the wiggly red line

Wigly
Anyone who has seen my Facebook page, Twitter feed, or blog knows that I teach college English and writing. Fewer know that the posts about my failures and triumphs would have looked like drunken freshman scribbling if not for cyberediting.

Since the semester began, I have been checking and double checking the spelling and syntax in every handout or email I write to the students. Then I sleep on them and in the morning, I check them some more.

I live and die by the wiggly red line.

In the midst of this semester, I showed up to take my ASL Proficiency Interview. Walking into the reception room, my goal was to learn where I stand in my second language. Little did I know that 20 minutes, five conversation topics, and one frumpy pink shirt later, I would be redeemed in my first. Continue reading

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Filed under On media, Teaching, Writing and technology