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Agriculture Communication

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Use Anchors on Web Pages to Get the User to Your Content Faster

anchorIdeally, web content should be concise. Our online attention spans are short and people don’t like to scroll on their screens. But in Extension and research, sometimes content needs to include detailed information. Web page headings are a great way to break up content on a screen, and so are anchors.

Examples of anchors include County Office listings – just click on the first letter at the top of the page of the office you want to contact and you will be brought to the group of listings for that letter – no scrolling needed. Learn how to use anchors in Ag CMS.

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

 

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Write the Right Word: Quality

Have you ever heard someone say, “The choir gave a quality performance tonight”?

Unfortunately, you don’t have a clue about whether the performance was good or bad because, despite the way “quality” often gets used, it is not an adjective (a word that modifies a noun). “Quality” is a noun meaning the character or nature of something, so you need a modifier, such as “good,” “excellent” or “high,” to describe the kind of quality.

So you’d say: “I need to find good-quality child care” or “The choir gave a high-quality performance.”

But don’t forget that quality isn’t always good, so you need to add modifiers such as “poor” or “bad.” For example, “The excessive rain this spring could result in a poor-quality crop this year” or “This afghan didn’t turn out well because of the bad-quality yard I used.”

, Information Specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Bad Audio Can Ruin Good Video

BruceSoundIf you’ve recorded a video but the audio is too distracting because of wind or background noise, or you just can’t hear the subjects, here are some alternatives if re-recording is not an option.

Adding narration over the top of the video using basic video editing software like Windows Live Movie Maker is one option. In Movie Maker, you can reduce or turn off the recorded audio and add voiceover narration by recording it within Movie Maker or recording it with Sound Recorder on your computer and importing it into Movie Maker.

 Another option in Movie Maker is to add captions in the video where it is difficult to hear the audio.

 Here’s a 5-minute YouTube tutorial on getting started with Movie Maker.

 If you’ve already uploaded your video onto YouTube, you can add captions in hard-to-understand areas without having to edit and re-upload the video. Here are written and video instructions on how to add captions in YouTube.

 For more tips on recording good audio as well other recording video tips, see Ag Comm's video how to capture quality video.

 Scott Swanson, Electronic Media Specialist, (701) 231-7086

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Use Notifications to Respond to Facebook Comments and Messages

You’ve set up a Facebook Page and have been posting away, gaining Likes along the way. “Likes” are one thing, but they don’t necessarily mean engagement. When someone takes the time to “Comment” on your Post or directly “Message” you, Facebook sees this as engagement and will get you in their News Feed more prominently.  

What happens when someone posts on your Page or directly messages you? It’s important to respond as soon as you can, as
83% of Facebook users expect a response within a day. This sends out the message that you care about what you are posting about and what people’s reactions are. You care about the community you’ve built. If it takes awhile to respond or you don’t respond at all, trust is loss.

To be sure you’re not missing an opportunity to engage with your followers, make sure you have your “Notifications” set up. You can modify your notifications by either logging into Facebook or having them sent to your email. No matter which notification method you choose, you should check them at least once a day and respond if necessary.

Getting Notifications Through Facebook

When you log into Facebook, you will clearly see any notifications or messages that have been sent to you. They will be called out in red in two spots - in the notifications tab above your cover photo and in the globe icon in the upper right. You can choose to get notifications as they come in, or two to 4 times a day. In the example below there are two notifications. This is the same with messages. Some people prefer to use (direct) messages when they want to ask you something privately vs. putting it out on your public Page.

Notifications_001.png


Getting Notifications Through Email

If you don’t log on to Facebook every day and are more easily accessible by email, you can get notifications and message that way instead of through Facebook. But be sure to check the email you use to sign in to Facebook, not necessarily your work email.

A Note About Pages with More than One Admin

If there’s more than one Facebook Admin on your Page, all of you would get the notification. If another Admin replied to the comment or message, you would also see that so there’s no need to worry about duplication.

Other Notifications

Many Notification types are available, as you can see below. You can choose which ones you want to be notified of.

FB_notifications_001.png

Here’s an example of when you have all Notifications turned on. In this case, Shares, Page Likes, Photo Likes and Photo Comments display.

Notifications_002 pixelated.png

It’s important to stay part of the conversation on your Page and interact with your customers when they ask questions. This is what Facebook engagement is all about. Using notifications will ensure you’re not missing out. For more information about Facebook Notifications, see their Help Center or contact me.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403.

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Printing PowerPoint Presentations to a Black and White Printer

Have you had trouble printing your PowerPoint presentation to a black and white printer? If you are using a dark background with white or a light-colored text, you can run into trouble getting a good result when printing.

Below is an example of printing to Pure Black and White - the Extension Service text will not print.

Example of poor printing when printing pure black and white

Below is an example of printing to Grayscale - in this case the text or copy will get lost in the dark background.

Example of printing using grayscale setting

Go to print (“File,” “Print”) and select the printer to which you will be sending the file. Now look under “Settings.” Select how many slides you want printed and how many you want to print on a page.

The last item under “Settings” will give you the opportunity to select how you want them printed (Color, Grayscale or Pure Black and White). For best results when printing slides with white or light text on a dark background, select “Color” from this drop-down menu, even if you’re printing to a black and white printer.

If you want a clean black text on a white background printout of your slides, select “Pure Black and White” from the drop-down menu. However, to get this function to work, you first must go to Microsoft Support . Click on the “Fix it” button and then click on “Run” in the File Download dialog box. Follow the steps in the “Fix it” wizard.

Once you have installed this fix successfully, you will need to restart PowerPoint. Open your presentation and go to Print again. This time, select “Pure Black and White” from the “Settings” drop-down menu. This setting now will drop the dark background and convert your light-colored text to black. However, there is a drawback to printing this way. If you have logos or other graphics that are light-colored, they still will print as a light color. For instance, a white NDSU Extension Service logo will print white and therefore not be visible in the printout.

David Haasser, Graphic Designer, (701) 231-8620

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Ag Comm Hiring Instructional Designer for Virtual Communication Camp

The NDSU Extension Service and Agriculture Communication are searching for an experienced instructional designer to lead transitioning an in-person Communication Camp into a distance program for Extension educators across the country.

Learn more about the Instructional Designer opportunity

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Check Closed Captioning on YouTube videos

YouTube uses speech recognition technology to automatically make captions available. If you upload videos to YouTube, take some time to check the closed captioning and fix the incorrect words. YouTube’s translator software does not always do the best job, and it sometimes can be comical.YouTube logo

It’s really easy to do. Follow the written instructions or watch the video instructions

You also can upload a script or other text and create your own captions and subtitles. Again, written and video instructions are available.

Captioning makes your content available to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers, plus the text can be translated into multiple languages to reach an even larger audience. 

Also, transcribed videos rank higher in searches since they allow access to information in multiple formats.

Scott Swanson, Electronic Media Specialist, (701) 231-7086

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Liking Your Page's Post on Facebook

Over the years, Facebook has continued to make it easier for a Facebook page administrator to like or comment, as themselves or as another page they admin, on a post from a Page they administer. Confused? Let's walk through how to do it, and hopefully it will become clearer.

I am an administrator of the Nourishing Boomers and Beyond Facebook page. I also liked that page using my personal Facebook profile, so the posts from Nourishing Boomers and Beyond show up in my newsfeed.

If I see a Nourishing Boomers post in my newsfeed and want to like it or comment on it, I need to know whether I am liking/commenting as Bob Bertsch or as Nourishing Boomers and Beyond.

Shows a post from a Facebook page I am an administrator of, indicating the icon in the lower right which shows which page or profile I am using to like or comment on the post.

In the image above, the arrow shows you where to look to tell which profile or page you would be using if you clicked "Like," "Comment" or "Share" on the post. Because I see the image associated with the Nourishing Boomers and Beyond page, I would be liking, commenting or sharing as Nourishing Boomers. To change that, I just need to click that image.

Shows you can change the page or profile you are using to like or comment on a Facebook post by clicking the icon in the lower right corner of the post and selecting another page or profile.

Once I click the image, I can choose my Facebook profile or any of the Facebook pages I administer. Once I have made the selection, I can like, comment on or share the post from my Facebook page as the profile or page I've selected.

Facebook Page Post Commenting

That's it. Liking or commenting on the posts from Facebook pages you administer is a great way to reach new audiences. Give it a try and see if it improves your reach and engagement.

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

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Screencasting with Skype for Business

A couple of weeks ago, Amelia Doll, NDSU Extension Service - Burleigh County, asked me about a tool to use for screencasting. She was looking for a way to show families how to complete various 4-H forms.

I suggested she use Skype for Business (formerly Lync), since she already had it on her computer. Here's one of the screencasts she did using Skype for Business and posted to Facebook. It's a great example of meeting client needs in an innovative way!

Check out the short video below to learn how you can record your own screencast using Skype for Business.

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


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Use Headings on Web Pages for Better Results

I just finished listening to “The Great Paragraph Hoax” in which a marketing pro says web sentences should number no more than three per paragraph because readers are looking for an excuse not to continue reading with all of the distractions around us.

Writing concisely can be hard, especially in Extension and Research where there’s often a need for proof and citation.

In Ag CMS, word count per page is unlimited but that doesn’t mean you have to fill up a page just to fill it up. The quality of your content is most important but when you just can’t cut it down, a good idea is to break it up into smaller, more digestible reading. An easy way to do this is to use headings in Ag CMS.

Here’s an example from North Carolina State University that shows how much more the page page on the right is appealing  because it uses headings (and images) to break up the content. 

 

Without Headings

With Headings

 

Images are from  Mike Vysocka’s “Building the Web Backwards” presentation on Slideshare.

Get more tips on writing for the web.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403



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