Friday, November 8, 2013

Guest Post:Leadership and Jazz

This week I guest posted on the Library Futures Blog. Over there, I shared some of my notes from South by Southwest 2013.

You'll find my post on "Yes to the Mess: Leadership Lessons from Jazz" there.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Productivity, Scaling Yourself: SxSW 2013

If more is more, how do we keep up? Sooner or later something has to give. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, texts, news, and on and on. Some days it seems a bit too much. When we need a vacation just for an excuse to "unplug" maybe there is a better way.

Scott Hanselman explored the essence of what it means to be truly productive and how to scale your life online.

Hashtags: #scaleyou

Here are my take aways from the session. Each one is simultaneously so easy and so hard.
  • Don't be an "AskHole," someone who always ask for advice, but doesn't take it. 
  • Triage the inbox of your life. What's beyond help? Cut it loose. 
  • What are 3 things you can get done today, week, year, which will make you feel awesome. 
  • Set an appointment to set these goals and review these goals 
  • Being busy is a form of laziness. Being "busy" doesn't mean you are getting things done. 
  • Challenge-Don't check email first thing. Do work first thing 
  • It's not your time that is important, it's your attention.
Suggested Readings:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Perfection, Algorithms to Optimize Human Existence: SxSw 2013

In this Future 15 session, Byron Reese claimed the widespread proliferation of cheap sensors of all kinds will create a vast "collective memory," a record of every cause and effect. This data will be mined for associations that will be turned into algorithms to optimize every decision we make, from where to eat dinner to what job to apply for.

We learn from our previous experiences, but imagine having the life experience of everyone at your immediate recall. In theory you could make the perfect decision every time. We're not talking about ethical perfection, but technical perfection.

We may not always choose to do those things, it will effectively make every person on the planet vastly wiser than the wisest person who has ever lived. It will be wisdom at processor speed.

This session bordered on the creepy. Our presenter argued that with this sort of technology the point we are at now will be the equivalent of drunken sailors on shore leave. But, isn't it kind of fun to be a drunken sailor on leave?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

10 Tips from Kim Jong-Il About Interactive Docs: SxSW 2013

I was attending everything I could on video this year because the Library had recently launched our video initiative. I had never heard of an interactive documentary, but this one blew me away when I learn about it. 

"The Defector" documents the struggle of those fleeing North Korea. The film is accompanied by an online video game (for lack of a better term) where you are the defector, and you have to make choices to get you and your family across the border. It's a very scary build your own adventure.

For educators who like to bring documentaries into the classroom, this adds a whole new component to to engage audiences (i.e. students) with the content. 

Hashtags: @thedefectormov

Take Aways:

  • Interactive Documentaries add an online interactive component to reinforce the message of the documentary. 
  • Tip #1-Great ideology creates great times: Docs are niche market. Interactive docs broaden that market. 
  • Tip #2 Look at things: What have other people done? 
  • Tip #3-Make Movies by Any Means Possible 
  • Tip #4-A man who dreads trials and difficulties cannot become a revolutionary 
  • Tip #5-Before you launch, test it: Have your project viewed by fresh eyes. Use feedback to adjust what you are doing. Build in the beta time. 
  • Tip #6-Use propaganda: Talk about it early and often. 

Library Applications:

  • With our new video offerings, are there short doc opportunities? Can we think about any of our content in this way? 
  • Are there any interactive documentaries that would be good resources for instruction? What can we do to make those available? 

Suggested Readings:

Suggested Tools:

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Smile Epidemic: SxSW 2013

This was definitely the happiest session at SxSW. The Smile Epidemic session discussed their science-based social sharing tool that increases levels of happiness in individuals and organizations. At first I thought it was going to be a sales pitch. While they do conduct organizational training, the session focused on the research and free services. So, I guess it was actually a really really well-done sales pitch.

The concept: 1. Find something in your day that made you smile. 2. Use the app to take a photo 3. Write down what makes you smile on the digital sticky note 4. Post to the site and share on social media. Although the activity is simple, the impact has a deeper impact; executives claim improved morale, more productivity; students admit they feel more socially supported, and individuals report that they are simply, happier.

Hashtags: #sxswsmiles

Take Aways:

  • We aren't happy when we get rid of problems, we are happy when we do what we are good at. 
  • Lasado line-6:1 positive to neg organizational interactions gets the most done; 13:1 positive to neg interaction is not productive. 
  • Use the negative interactions sparingly and effectively on things that impact organizational success. 
  • Psychological Capital: Hope, Self-efficacy, social/emotion intelligence, signature strengths (hire for strengths your org needs), resiliency (bounce back from disappointment), optimism 

Library Applications:

  • Happy employees has fewer sick days, are more productive (+31%) and creative, and stay with the organization longer. 
  • We have wellness initiatives, how do these incorporate psychological well being? 
  • Add reporting to team meeting: what made you happy, what did you learn. Reporting trains our brain to collect this info. 

Suggested Readings: The Smile Epidemic blog

Friday, October 4, 2013

SxSW 2013 Belated Recap

I am already making plans for SxSw 2014, and it occurs to me I haven't posted any session recaps from this year's festival. In an effort to secure support to attend again, my co-worker and I prepared a report for our Dean about the sessions we attended, what we learned and how it applied to the Library. The final report was 66 pages long. That's a lot of blog posts.

To introduce the upcoming recaps, I thought I'd post a few videos to demonstrate why I keep going back to SxSW, even though it's insanely expensive, overcrowded, and a bit full of its self.

1. Live keynote from amazing speakers you didn't even know you wanted to hear. 

In 2013, I heard Elon Musk (among others). Haven't heard of him? Me either. Evidently, he is the guy Tony Stark (Ironman) is based on. I heard the real life Ironman. Wahh?

2. Demos of the Next Big Thing

What will everyone be talking about in social media/technology this year? Whatever it is, they are probably planning to demo it at SxSw.

3. Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

SxSW is information overload. Between sessions, demos, trade show, events, and chats with random strangers I always come back with so inspiration for things to read, do and especially to think about.

4. Of Course, the Sessions

That's coming up next. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: Quota Sample

Many people confuse this for a random sample, but it's not. It may be representative of your total population, but it's not random and can't be projected onto the entire group.

Front: Quota Sample

Back: A nonprobability sample. Ex. In a school, find 10 elementary teachers, 10 middle school teachers, and 10 high school teachers. Any 10 of each kind.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Time I Met Carl Hiaasen

One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to meet so many different and interesting people. On Sept. 20, I got to meet author Carl Hiaasen. He was super sweet, generous with his time and a great speaker. I will definitely recommend him to anyone looking for speakers.

Before the event I had the chance to interview Carl for O-State TV. This is was an interesting shoot for the team, because it was the first time we did a two-camera set up for an interview. For me, it was a first being on camera as the interviewer. After dozens of on camera interviews as the interviewee, this was a surprisingly different experience.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: Convenience Sample

Hint: it's called a convenience sample for a reason.

Front: Convenience/Accidental Sample

Back: Informal selection process. Provides nonprobability sample. Ex. Drop by the company cafeteria and ask questions of whomever you find there.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: Probability Samples

Front: Probability Sample

Back: A scientific sample drawn in such a way that the probability of being chosen is equal or is known. A random sample is a good example.

With random samples, I find people struggle not with providing the definition, but with really understanding it. Random samples can be hard to create. If you stop every third person to walk through your door, that is not a random sample. Those people are preselected by entering that building on that day.

You have to think about the total population that interests you. Do every single one of them have the same chance to participate? 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: Census

I'm on a research roll with the APR tips. For the next few weeks, I'll highlight different kinds of samples.

Front: Census

Back: A 100 percent sample. Identify all the people in your universe and give each one an opportunity to respond. Especially useful with small well-defined populations. If your universe is under 300, consider a census.

I remember this one by thinking of the most notable census, the US Census. Its goal is to survey every single person in the US. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: Formal vs. Informal Research

On the APR exam, there will be questions regarding a number of research methods we use in PR. You'll need to know the relative strengths and weaknesses of each and you'll need to know if it is an example of formal or informal research. Informal research is not bad, or inaccurate, or less valuable than formal research. It's just different.

Front: Formal vs. Informal Research

Back: Formal research uses the scientific method. The easiest way to distinguish is to ask does it have a random sample? And can it be reproduced?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: Research

From my visits with many APR candidates, I find that research tends to be the most feared topic on the exam. It is a large portion of the questions, but once you start digging into the material I think most PR pros will find this is all things you know. You just have to learn how to talk about them in the right way.

For starters...

Front: Research

Back: Research is the systematic gathering of information to describe and understand a situation; check assumptions about publics and perceptions, and check the public relations consequences. Research helps define the problem and publics.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: 4 Defenses of Libel

Hopefully, this topic won't give anyone bad "Media Law" flashbacks.

I tackled defamation and libel in previous flash card posts. Today's flash card covers the four legal defenses against accusations of libel.

Front: 4 Defenses of Libel

1. Truth: the burden of proof is with the plaintiff
2. Privilege: fair and accurate reports of public official proceedings
3. Fair Comment: on public figure
4. Retraction: a full and prompt apology 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

APR Tuesday Tip: 5 Elements of Libel

Slander, defamation and libel are all terms we here people throw around a lot. If you are studying for the APR exam, or if you are a recent survivor of a media law course, you probably find yourself thinking "I do not think that word means what you think that word means."

Way back at the beginning of my little APR flash card experiment, I covered the definitions for defamation, slander and libel. Here's a belated follow up.

Front: 5 Elements of Libel

1. Defamation
2. Identification
3. Communication (Publication/Broadcast)
4. Fault (malice or negligence)
5. Damage (in absence of fault, provable damage or injury)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting Lucky in Budapest

As I mentioned in my first Budapest post, we arrived in Hungary in the evening, but our luggage unfortunately did not. By the following afternoon, I had resigned myself to living out of the backpack for the week. Viva la adventure!

Our trip was mostly, self-led sight seeing, but I did book at least one guided tour in each city. In Budapest we took the "Hammer and Sickle Communism Tour." It was great. There was only one other couple with us, so it was basically a private tour.

Our guide showed us all over Castle Hill, on the Buda side of the river. And, as the name implies, the tour focused on the history of Communism in Hungary. Since we had such a small group we were able to ask really detailed questions about anything and everything Hungarian. We even ended up having a surprisingly candid talk about the short-comings of the US education system.

For me, one of the highlights of the tour, was getting an up close look at this Budapest landmark.
Equestrian statues are very popular in Budapest, but this one is particularly popular, especially with the students of the nearby university. Notice a particularly shiny spot on that horse? 

Legend has it, if you rub the horse's balls, you'll have good luck. Our guide offered any of us the chance to try it. I figured we'd all take turns, but it soon became apparent that I was the only taker. 

It was much higher than I initially thought, but I scrambled up there and gave that statue a good grope. Our little group got a nice kick out of it, especially John. But you know what? Our luggage arrived that night.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hello, Budapest

We landed in Budapest at 6 pm. We didn't want to waste a minute, so as soon as we were settled (easy with no luggage!) we hit the streets.

On our first evening out we
  • Bought passes and figured out the Metro
  • Found a restaurant with nothing but an address and a map (we’re claiming victory here, but Google Maps failed us, as it often does abroad, and the addresses and street names are bizarro)
  • Saw Heroes Square, a landmark monument, lit up at night
  • Stumbled across a live concert where they release hundreds of balloons filled with glow lights
  • Talked to actual Hungarians while waiting for the train
  • And, most importantly, found our way back to the hotel in the dark.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adventures in Travel

One of the secrets to a good trip is to keep doing things you can well and just try to not care too much about anything else.

One thing I've gotten pretty good at is packing. In fact this time, I hardly planned at all. I just pulled out the list I use every time and tossed everything in our bags. We’re hitting Eastern Europe with one suitcase, one carryon, a backpack and a small purse. At least we thought we were.

Two things you can’t control: flight delays and lost luggage. Our original flight out of Dallas was delayed two hours due to lightening. We landed at Heathrow at the exact time we should have boarding our connection to Budapest, but we were saved by the delay. Our connection was an hour late, which put us right on time.

We landed in Budapest right on time. Except our luggage, that one suitcase didn't  It was last seen in Heathrow according to the database. So we filed a report and celebrated how little we had to carry to the taxi stand.

This is when I surprised even myself with my packing savvy. Because even though we had next to nothing in the backpack and purse, we ended up in Budapest with
  • 8 pairs of socks and underwear each (recycling clothes everyday doesn't sound so bad as long as you have clean socks and drawers)
  • Our camera, laptop, kindles (loaded with guide books), chargers and plug adapters
  • 2 pairs of clothes each (if you count our travel clothes)
  • All our prescriptions and a stock pile of Tylenol and ibuprofen
  • Hats and sunscreen
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Maps, itineraries, and tickets
  • And of course, the only two things we really need: passports and credit cards. 

Holy smokes, we’re traveling across Eastern Europe with nothing but the clothes on our backs. And it’s fine. We have until Tuesday morning for the no show luggage to make it to the hotel, or I suspect they will reroute it to our home. Worst case scenario we need to buy deodorant (we’re very European today) and a brush, maybe a couple spare tee shirts. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Textbooks vs. Zombies, a Public Service Announcement

My team at the OSU Library has been busy at work creating video content for a new initiative at the University. They are churning out some great stuff, and I am super proud. Here's the latest PSA, Textbooks vs. Zombies.

Watch on YouTube

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Jessica Rabbit Moment

How often do you get to lay on a blue piano and sing Elton John songs in front of people who won't "boo" you? Evidently, at least once. Among a number of super fun things that happened at my sister's wedding was an invitation to do just this.

We had the reception in the piano bar with our very own piano player. I cracked a joke about laying on the piano and he said, "Well, get on up there." You do not have to tell this girl twice. Embarrassing video of me butchering "Tiny Dancer" is forthcoming. 

Then we sang "Summer Loving" together. Not my pick, but Mike, the piano player, said, "Don't worry, I don't know all the words either." Well, you can't argue with that. 

After my turn, I offered some sage, sisterly advice to Em. "We only regret the things we don't do." And when I turned around, she was up on the piano, too. It was that kind of party. 

When Sarah returned from taking photos, we all climbed up there again for a quick sister picture. It was so nice of Carnival to paint the piano to match our dresses, don't you think. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Parasailing! Why Not?

A few weeks before we left on the wedding cruise, John and I got in our heads that we should go parasailing. I'm not quite sure what cemented the idea for for us. Probably just they fact that it occurred to us that we'd never done it.

Hahaha, look how much fun we're having and we haven't even started. 

It's a cross between skydiving and water skiing. It requires no training and no athletic ability, a perfect vacation activity, right? And sure, people die occasionally. People die in the bathtub, but that doesn't keep you from showering. And sure, there's the added thrill of doing this on a Caribbean island where safety regulations are known to be a bit loosey-goosey. That just adds to the adventure, right?

Obviously, I'm here to tell the tale.

They hook you up right on the boat. They release the parachute and zip, up you go.

I'm not sure how high we went exactly. It was high enough to see across the island (Grand Cayman) and have a good view of the opposite shoreline. They told us, "Don't worry. Worst thing that can happen is the line breaks and you parachute to the water." Um, no. Actually, worst thing is the harness strapping us to the chute breaks, and we crash to our deaths. But who wants to argue on vacation. 

You don't even have to get wet, but we did. We had the driver slow down enough to dip us in the ocean before they landed us back on the boat.