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Social Media Resources Updated

Check out the resources on Ag Communication's updated Social Media page.  Whether you're a social media newbie and want to learn more, or have been using social media but want to know improve your strategy, check out the resources on the updated Social Media page to learn more.

Social Media Icons

A great way to learn the social media ropes is to see what others are posting, tweeting, YouTubing, etc. Each section of the updated Social Media page gives examples in action. Take a peek at what they're doing to get ideas, or follow them to share their knowledge.

If you need help getting started or have questions once you've started on social media, contact or Bob Bertsch.

Sonja Fuchs, (701) 231-6403; Bob Bertsch, (701) 231-7381, Web Technology Specialists

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Write the Right Word: That vs. Who

The pronouns “who” and “that” should not be used interchangeably, despite common usage.

Always use “who” when referring to people and animals with names. For example: “Producers who were forced to delay planting in the spring may have lower yields at harvest.” “Bootsie, who doesn’t like riding in the car, yowled all the way to the vet clinic.”

Only use “that” when referring to inanimate objects and animals without names. For example: “The trees that were killed by Dutch elm disease have been removed.” “All of the cows that were pregnant this spring have calved.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Preparing to Contact the Help Desk

Contacting the ITS Help Desk can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Issues such as long wait times or the seemingly never-ending stream of questions can cause our tempers to flare. Before you begin planning out your next salvo against the help desk personnel, here are a few tips that will help you prepare for the call and hopefully alleviate some of the frustration.

Let them know who you are

Provide your name, e-mail address, phone number and location. If you are in a county office or a REC, be sure they are aware of this as well. Support can vary greatly depending on your location, and the more information you can provide on who your support providers are (NDSU, NDACo/NRG, county, etc.), the easier it will be for the technician on the phone to determine what they can do and who may need to get involved.

Sometimes you will be asked for your EMPLID. The EMPLID doesn’t just identify you to the technician; they need it to be able to view and/or change your account settings. Everyone with an NDSU email has an EMPLID, so county-paid and other staff can be identified with their NDSU email.

Be prepared to identify your computer

Provide the NDSU inventory number (green metallic tag) and your operating system and version (Windows 7, Mac OS, etc.) if possible.

Describe the issue with as much detail as you can

Begin by explaining what has happened. Depending on the complexity of the issue, you may asked to repeat part or all of your explanation for the technician to get a good grasp on the situation. Please do not be offended if you are asked to repeat; they don’t want to miss any details that could help them resolve the issue more quickly.

Providing information such as what you were doing and/or what programs were running at the time can be a big help. If you can, note the time and date when the problem happened in case the technician needs to look through logs. If you are having trouble accessing a Web page, be sure to have the Web address (URL) handy. Lastly, try to write down any error messages you received. This will be a huge help when searching for symptoms and/or solutions.

The Help Desk is best able to assist you when provided with the information above. While they may not always be able to help you get it resolved on the first call, this information will certainly help streamline the process, resulting in a faster overall resolution.

Jerry Ranum, Desktop Support Specialist; ITS Help Desk, (701) 231-8685

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Talking About Digital Badges

On March 25 at 1 p.m. (Central) I'll be moderating a conversation about digital badges in Cooperative Extension. The eXtension Network Literacy Community of Practice is presenting "Critical Conversations: Digital Badges" to introduce digital badges as a way of recognizing achievements, successes and experience.

Digital BadgesGuests Tony Cook of Alabama Cooperative Extension, Brett Bixler of Penn State University and I will discuss how digital badges might be used to recognize learning people gain with the help of Extension, how digital badges could change the way we view credentials, and how badging might impact social and informal learning.

Brett Bixler works with the "latest educational technologies and learning theories to produce learner-centered active and collaborative learning environments."

Tony Cook leads the For Youth, For Life Learning Network project, leveraging the power of online networks for youth learning. Last year, the project won $150,000 in the Badges for Lifelong Learning competition.

I interviewed Dr. Cook for the "Working Differently in Extension" podcast. Check out that podcast and join us for the Critical Conversation on March 25.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Have Your Elevator Speech Ready

We all have read, heard or seen legislative news stories coming out of Bismarck. With these news stories fresh in our minds, it is a good time to think about what you would say if you had a few seconds with a legislator.

Are you prepared to deliver a short message (30 seconds) about why the work you do is important to his or her constituents?

That short elevator speech is what you want people to hear and remember.

  • Introduce yourself – My name is [your name], and I work for [insert name] as a [job title].
  • Give him or her a few quick facts on how the organization has made a difference. I know, there may be 10, but you have only 30 seconds.
  • Ask a question back. Is there more I can share?
  •  Jot down what you want to emphasize and memorize it.
  • While delivering your message, do it with confidence.

Some examples:

Hi. I’m Rich Mattern, and I work for the NDSU Extension Service and Research Extension Centers across the state. I take research-based information and write about it so it can be passed along in various media to those who want it in quick and an easily understandable form.

I’m Jack Spah. Glad to meet you. I am a pulse crop breeder in the NDSU Plant Sciences Department. Pulse crops, such as lentils, play an important role in North Dakota agriculture because of their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil and the healthy benefits of eating pulse crops. My job is to develop new varieties that will grow well in North Dakota, which will improve the state’s economy.

Hi. I’m Brittney Olson, a food and nutrition specialist in Mercury County. I use my expertise to help individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes so they live a longer, healthier life. The food and nutrition information is based on research by leading scientists.

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Write the Right Word: Numbers or Words

Trying to decide when to use figures or words can be confusing.

The general rule is to spell out numbers below 10 and use figures for 10 and above. However, like most rules, this one has several exceptions. Here are a few of the common instances when you would use figures for amounts below 10:

  • Measurements such as cups, gallons, teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, pounds, tons, kilograms, milligrams, feet, yards, inches, miles or kilograms per gallon or hour, and temperatures
  • Money ($1, $1 million, 5 cents)
  • Ratios, scores, vote totals and ages for humans or animals
  • Percents/percentage
  • Chapter and page numbers
  • Clock time (1 a.m., 4 p.m.) except for noon and midnight

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Use Google Maps in Ag CMS

You can insert Google Maps into Ag CMS pages, events and news items, making it easy for people to find county offices and events. Check out this How-To on YouTube (3:02).

By the way, if you need to get screenshots or do quick recordings (less than 5 minutes long) like this, you can download Jing for free. It's easy to use. Download Jing 

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 241-6403

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If CRAAP Doesn't Work for You, Try SMELL

In my recent post, "Think Before Hitting 'Share'," I suggested using the CRAAP test (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose) to evaluate online content before sharing it.

Image courtesy Luke Gattuso, McManus offers another useful tool for testing online information in his post, "Don't Be Fooled: Use the SMELL Test To Separate Fact from Fiction Online." Here's the SMELL test.

S stands for Source. Who is providing the information? 
M is for Motivation. Why are they telling me this?
E represents Evidence. What evidence is provided for generalizations?
L is for Logic. Do the facts logically compel the conclusions?
L is for Left out. What's missing that might change our interpretation of the information?

Whether you use the CRAAP test, the SMELL test or both. Make sure you take the time to see if something stinks before sharing content online.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

Image courtesy Luke Gattuso

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Marketing: Photos are Important

Girl in greenhouse

Images have never mattered more to marketers, brands, social media managers and customers. How can you use images to create an emotional connection? One strategy is to give context to your images by showing people in their natural setting, such as in the field, home, cafe' or office compared with cold, static shots.This helps people envision themselves in the same setting and may inspire them to use our services or products.

Bruce Sundeen has some tips on taking high-quality photos, Please share your photos on the Ag Comm Flickr group.

As with all marketing strategies, keep in mind your long-term, big-picture goals. Using images and visual social media strategies should be just one part of a comprehensive, integrated marketing strategy. The key to marketing success on social channels and beyond is all about producing engaging content,and your visual strategy should be no different.

(Some information used with permission from PRWeb)

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Tegrity & CMA Replace Streamed Recording & ConferenceMe

All meetings and classes offered over the Interactive Video Network (IVN) now utilize Tegrity for recording. This recording is done at the host site rather than on the IVN servers. Tegrity requires some equipment modifications in the video rooms. It can record a live event and pre-record presentations. Tegrity requires a computer in the room, a free software download and audio adaptations. Minimal training is needed since the presenter needs to set up the record feature. For more information and recommendations for adapting, contact David Belgarde with NDUS Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT) at (701) 777-4232.

Also, Polycom’s Converged Management Application (CMA) has replaced ConferenceMe. CMA is desktop-based software that allows users to connect to classes or meetings from their computer if they do not have access to a videoconferencing room. A webcam, USB headphone with microphone, user account and brief training are required. To create an account or learn more, contact Daniel Erichsen at (701) 231-5136 or David Belgarde at (701) 777-4232. For technical difficulties during the event, call the ALT help desk at (701) 777-6486.

Linda McCaw, Ag Videoconference Scheduler, (701) 231-7881

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