Ag Communication Web Services

Tech info, tips & tricks

Engage for Learning

Getting started with your online personal learning network.[Read More]

Working Differently

The new year is fast approaching and its time again for the ritual of resolutions. It’s the perfect time to incorporate some new habits in your work processes. Here’s a few to consider to start working differently in the new year:
  • Open/revisit a Twitter account: Find at least 50 accounts to follow. Check the account twice a day. Add more interesting people/organizations to follow.
  • Subscribe to a blog: Since you can do this in Outlook, there’s no excuse any more. Blogs are everywhere on the Internet. Do a Google search and put the RSS feed in Outlook. Don’t know how? Google that too.
  • Start your own blog: There are several options for starting a blog, including one from Ag Comm Web Services. It’s easier than you think. And make it your resolution to add something to it at least once a week.
  • Subscribe to a podcast: If you’ve got an area of interest, there’s a podcast (an audio/video blog) on that topic. iTunes has an entire section devoted to podcasts, but you can find them elsewhere. (Once again, Google is your friend.) And, you don’t need an iPod to listen to them. You can listen right on your computer.
You don’t have to do all of these, and you don’t have to become highly proficient at or addicted to any of them. But give one a try until you understand how it works and it’s providing you valuable information. If it seems like it’s not worth your time, you need to devote a bit more effort to find something/someone of value. You should be able to devote less than an hour a week to this and get a good payback on the time invested. And it an easy place to begin working differently in the new year.

Happy Holidays!!!

-- Julie Kuehl


You may have heard us Web Services folks talking about “Working Differently in Extension.” As part of that discussion we’ve mentioned that there are several ways to move forward in the social media arena. And the first of these is listening.

In unfamiliar territory, it’s always a good idea to keep your eyes and ears open. Whether that territory is a foreign country or an online environment, there’s an existing culture that needs to be understood and respected. And learned from.

There will be accepted ways that people interact with each other. There will be courtesies expected. There will be topics considered in bad taste. There will be hot-button topics sure to bring a heated discussion every time. And people will reach out to the stranger, the new person unsure of themselves, and let them get away with faux pas that more native members would be chided for.

Like children growing, listening is a great place to start, but eventually you will want to, and be expected to, participate in the conversation. Because you’ve been listening, it should be an easy, comfortable step to take. You’ll know your way around and understand what people have been talking about.

There are many places to listen such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, etc. You don’t have to listen to all of them, but you should be listening. There are conversations going on about your area of interest and expertise - all currently without your interest and expertise. Like kids trying to describe things they don’t understand, sometimes the stories can get fanciful. Sharing your expertise can go a long way towards a better understanding. Which makes you a trusted source of information in their eyes.

-- Julie Kuehl


Who Are You Talking To?

One of the great things about the Internet is that it reaches most everybody these days. One of the difficult things about the Internet is that it reaches most everybody these days.

So when it comes to doing things online, whether participating in social media or writing for a website, just who are you talking to?

You can’t talk to everyone, all at once, all the time. Just like in “real life,” you speak to different folks in different ways. You wouldn’t address a group of 4th graders in the same manner you would a group of PhDs. Those same skills apply online. Communicate with each group appropriately. You already know how to do it.

But what if you don’t know who your audience is? Pick one. Pick a group. Pick a person. Make it up if you have to. Make it specific. It is much easier to communicate if you have someone in mind to talk to. That particular group/person may never even see it, but you’ll sound more coherent if you keep one group/person in mind. Plus if they do find it, they’ll know it was meant for them. And yes, just like in “real life” conversations may get overheard. You intended to talk to the 4th graders and the PhDs dropped in. Keep talking to the 4th graders; the PhDs will understand. And also, just like in “real life,” you’ll very probably have more than one conversation going at a time and have to shift styles appropriately. (You know, like when your talking with the PhDs and the 4th grader tugs on your elbow.)

There’s no doubt that the online world has opened up communication to more people, many of which you may have never communicated with before. But people are still people. Don’t forget you are talking to an individual person on the other side of the screen.

-- Julie Kuehl

Author: Julie

Copyright 2009, North Dakota State University