Linkage Love

Every morning while drinking his coffee, my partner works methodically through the pages in the “morning” folder on the bookmarks bar in his web browser.  His favorite blogs, newspapers, and cartoons are all right there, ready and waiting.  In contrast, my morning web surfing routine is anything but.  So for today’s Linkage Love, I thought I’d invite everyone into my not-so-routinized brain, and share a sampling of things that have piqued my interest during some recent morning web travels.  Enjoy!

  • The Well-Appointed Desk.  Oh my freaking gosh, do I ever love this site.  One description could be “retro hipster office supply porn,” but it’s so much more beautiful than that.  Gorgeous photographs of vintage objects for your desk and office.  Just go see for yourself.   The archive is photographic…genius.  My favorite item: retro handset for your smart phone (or other device).
  • This piece from ProfHacker, “Blogging, Extinction, and Sustainability.”  At the risk of being too meta- (seeing as how this is an academic blog post citing another academic blog post about the phenomenon of academic blogging), I thought Jason Jones made some smart points here.  There’s been some anxiety lately about the tenuous nature of blogging — “what if it all goes away?” — yet isn’t it just like anything else in academe?  “In truth,” he says, “I would guess that most academic projects, either in teaching or research, are abandoned prematurely, usually without any indication at all, or continue indefinitely without any prospect of publication.”  Good point, I thought.
  • Alexis Madrigal’s recent Atlantic piece using API (Application Programming Interface) as a metaphor for the organization of the #Occupy protests.  I didn’t know exactly what that meant until I read the article, but it’s incredibly clever.  The point?  “Many successful social movements have had this self-replicating quality. In one way or another, organizers hit on a protest strategy that speaks to a national issue but that can be executed at the local level.”

Linkage Love

Linkage Love

by Kristen Abell

So when I was making up this schedule two months ago, Brenda was all, “Maybe we should take the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off.” And I was all, “No, no, no – we need to keep blogging. I’ll take that day if I need to.” Yeah, great idea, Kristen. Will someone PLEASE tell me to put a sock in it the next time I say something like that?

So, in light of the upcoming holiday and the fact that I’m in no mood to blog, I decided to do a little pre-cooking work for you. Since I don’t really cook, I don’t know that I’ll ever find these sites useful, but if I did, this is exactly how I’d go about it – by Googling “how to cook a turkey” and finding the most descriptive site possible. So see, here I’ve gone and done the work for you.

So I have to think that someone who takes the time to register the domain name www.howtocookathanksgivingturkey.com must know something about cooking turkeys. Or just wants to screw with all of us. But after looking at the site, I’m gonna go with the former – this site is extremely detailed, down to thawing time and everything. Definitely going to use this if I ever have to cook one.

Then, of course, there’s the Butterball site – www.butterball.com – long known for its helpfulness on all things turkey. There are recipes, tips and ideas for cooking your turkey all in one place. And with it being Butterball, you know these are tried and true.

But we all know there’s more than turkey to Thanksgiving – there’s stuffing! And Food Network has all the stuffing recipes you could possibly want to try. And then some. But in case you do try all of them, and you’re looking for something else, you can find more at allrecipes.com.

And of course, no Thanksgiving would be complete without pumpkin pie. Now this, I do know how to make. This is one of my favorite recipes – a two layer pumpkin pie with a whipped cream/cream cheese layer that is absolutely heavenly.

And my older sister swears by Charlie Gibson’s pumpkin chiffon pie – which tastes yummy, but takes longer to make than I want to spend on something that will be gone in five seconds.

And if you’re a cheesecake fan like I am, the pumpkin cheesecake recipe from The Cheesecake Factory is sure to be a hit (and sure to be one I’m trying in the near future – yum!).

Of course, when all else fails, I find a phone call makes a great recipe – and saves lots of prep and clean-up time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Linkage Love

Blog Prompt Monday: What technology tools do you use to stay organized (list apps, calendars, etc.)?

by Meghann Martinez

As the holidays sneak up on me I find myself turning to technology to keep me focused and on task. From potlucks to website updates, I’m covered. The easiest way to introduce these tools is by walking through my day.

12AM: Appointment and deadline reminders are sent to Outlook, iCal on the iPad and the Android phone for the next day. My personal Google calendar is synced to my iPad and phone as well so those reminders come through.

7AM: Nightstand application awakes the living and dead (so loud!)

8AM: Check iTeamwork for work to-do list. iTeamwork is a free web-based project management tool that can be used with a team of people to assign tasks. I use it just for me to keep everything in line. I love that it is really simple to use, I can track the progress and make a daily to-do list. I wish there were an app for this!

8AM-5PM: Meeting reminders come through an hour before and 15 minutes before the start time. This is really helpful because oftentimes meetings are stacked on each other and run late so this lets me know that I need to move-on into the next meeting.

Often times when attending meetings there are action items assigned to myself for completion. I take notes on my iPad using a stylus and the Penultimate app and place the specific action items in my iPad Reminders app, which syncs to my Outlook to-do list on my PC.

Hootsuite is my daily lifesaver. My job is social media so being able to pull reports, schedule tweets and Facebook updates, and interact with the students away from my desk on the iPad or phone is flexible and time sensitive.

Dropbox helps me keep my work up-to date and everywhere I need it. I can work on assignments at home, work or at another computer using this cloud technology. No more USB drives to lose.

Post- 5PM & weekends: At home and school life becomes more simplified using mostly Google applications to keep moving forward. Additionally, I keep my bills and expenses in line by using Mint.com and it’s corresponding app, my bank’s app, Fidelity app (401K) and the Debt Free app. Debt Free has been a great tool to use as a new professional to combine all of my credit cards, car payment and students loans into one app, set a debt “budget” for monthly payments and see my progress (most rewarding!) towards being free from “the man”.

Whew, that is a lot! If you haven’t noticed almost all roads lead to the iPad. It never sleeps and has an outstanding battery life! The best bonus is that it fits in my purse.

While I live life by the bell there are days I block out my calendar for “me” time and that’s the best reminder.

Time management cartoon

Blog Prompt Monday: What technology tools do you use to stay organized (list apps, calendars, etc.)?

Blog Prompt Monday

As you may have noticed, we here at Student Affairs Women Talk Tech love to be organized – lists, calendars, you name it, we use it all. So now we want to find out what you’re using – and what we’ll be checking out next!

What technology tools do you use to stay organized (list apps, calendars, etc.)? If there is one you’d like to see, what would it look like?

We are looking forward to adding some new apps or tools to our resources! Remember to link back to your post in the comments below and tweet it out using the #sawomenblog hashtag. Share the organization love!

Blog Prompt Monday

Measuring the impact of online messaging to students.

Born in 1872, E. St. Elmo Lewis was an early pioneer in advertising. In 1898, he proposed a theory of communication commonly referred to by its acronym A-I-D-A or awareness, interest, desire, action. This theory, based on studies of the life insurance industry, described “four cognitive phases that buyers follow when accepting a new idea or purchasing a new product”xvii These phases are hierarchical and start with the presumptions that in order for a motivation to act or purchase to occur, several antecedent conditions have to be met that are typically dependent on external stimuli such as advertising, public relations, or direct sales.

These necessary and sequential stages are:
• Awareness that the product or service or service exists
• Interest in the product and the benefits the product or service offers the buyer
• Desire for the product or service

It is only by moving through these first three stages, that the fourth stage – Action or the actual purchase of the product or service – takes place. This four stage process has traditionally been represented as a “sales funnel”.

Public Relations Journal Vol. 5, No. 2, Spring 2011
ISSN 1942-4604
© 2011 Public Relations Society of America

Standardization in Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation
David Michaelson and Don W. Stacks

_________________________________________________

To me this information is great start to planning out how to approach starting your own brand, or analyzing the way we market our offices to students. This article goes further to say the the PR field started to add customer satisfaction to the list of things to measure but now:

At later stages in the lifecycle, the analysis needs to shift to determine the proportion of messages that communicate knowledge, interest or intent to act.

Are we sending out enough messages to students that are directly proportional to the amount of attention, usage, or real time communication we’re looking for?

The PR world seems to look for standard info the way that we assess say our Late Nite program. Number of folks participating, how much we spent per person, number of events, and the ‘volume of coverage’ or maybe the types of students attending these events. They want to expand however to look at two other measures. The first is “measuring the impact of communication activities on the target audience”. The second is “measuring the delivery of those messages through third parties or intermediaries such as the media.”

I definitely feel like this is an immediate topic for many folks who are interested in social media and making connections/building community through these outlets with their students. We need to learn how to measure the impact of social media on our students. Are we getting our messages across? Our we using social media to bring the students to us face-to-face? Are we creating an environment that pulls students in based on our content etc.?

Should University websites include Meebo-type chat rooms to give off campus students and others a chance to ask questions “after hours.” Should we have printed materials like brochures any more? Should we have online videos? And if we go to the trouble of doing all this – how do we measure the outcomes?

Some ideas from this journal article suggest the following:

(Awareness) Recall Assessment – Find out what they remember: “Thinking back to what you have just (read/ observed/ reviewed/ saw), place an X in the boxes for the (brands/ products/services/ issues/ topics) that you remember (reading/ observing/ reviewing/ seeing).” Aided or unaided assessment done with someone or by themselves.

(Awareness) Knowledge Testing -Quizing students to a certain extent on what they’ve learned about said program, event etc.

(Interest) Measure the Interest – Does our office/program etc. offer you something you are interested in?

(Desire) Measure of Preference – Which page on our website do you look at the most? What offices do you need to know the most about?

(Action) Measure of Specified Action – “Based on everything you have (seen/read/ heard/observed) about this (brand, product, service, issue, topic), how likely are to (purchase/try/support) this (brand, product, service, issue, topic). Would you say you are “very likely”, “somewhat likely”, “neither likely nor unlikely,” “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to (purchase/try/support) this (brand/product/service/ issue/ topic)?”

The second measure this article suggests is getting feedback and doing an evaluation with outside parties. I really like this concept. Who better to judge your website than a “rival” office on campus? If there’s an office on campus that’s just killing it in terms of an awesome website, or Twitter feed, or whatever that you find valuable and interesting – why not have them evaluate it for you? I don’t necessarily mean your Communications & Marketing folks either. I mean another office that you truly see utilizing their online resources to the best of their ability.

Have them look for:

• Presence of key messages
• Presence of erroneous messages
• Absence of key messages

Please let me know if you are currently working to develop standards for your marketing, web presence etc. Let’s start a discussion!

Measuring the impact of online messaging to students.

Linkage Love for Transgender Remembrance

by Jess Faulk

Transgender Remembrance Day

TDORTwelve years ago Transgender Day of Remembrance was created to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred.  On November 20, 2011 we will pause to honor those transgender persons who were forever lost to the world.  If you don’t have a transgender remembrance memorial or program on campus or in your community, consider sending out information and links to shed light on this very serious topic.

From Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition:

  • 13%-56% of transgender people had been fired
  • 13%-47% had been denied employment
  • 22%-31% had been harassed, either verbally or physically, in the workplace

From Youth Pride, Inc.:

  • 33.2% of transgender youth have attempted suicide. (2006)
  • 55% of transgender youth report being physically attacked. (GLSEN, 2003)
  • 74% of transgender youth reported being sexually harassed at school, and 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression. (GLSEN, 2001)
  • In a survey of 403 transgender people, 78% reported having been verbally harassed and 48% reported having been victims of assault, including assault with a weapon, sexual assault or rape. (1997)

To find out about events happening around the world, visit the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website, http://www.transgenderdor.org/.

It Gets BetterIt Gets Better
@ItGetsBetter, #ItGetsBetter
The It Gets Better project was created in September 2010 to share with LGBT youth a positive future.  The hope is that these videos which allow LGBT people to share their own stories of survival and success will help a younger generation get through difficult times and feel supported through their teen years.

I recommend viewing the It Gets Better page focused specifically on the experiences of Transgender individuals for National Trans Remembrance Day

Show your Campus Pride!Campus-Pride-
http://www.campuspride.org/
@campuspride

Campus Pride is an organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students. The organization is a volunteer-driven network “for” and “by” student leaders. Campus Pride hosts a number of resources available to college students, and provides a place for LGBT teens to look for queer-friendly colleges through http://www.campusclimateindex.org/  Consider getting your college listed on the index!

Listen to a recent interview with Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer (@shanewindmeyer) and Eric Stoller (@ericstoller) on Student Affairs Live

Linkage Love for Transgender Remembrance

Moments that Matter: Why I Work in Student Affairs

by Kathryn Magura

Tell us about a special moment with a student that highlights why you work in student affairs.

When I saw my blog prompt for this week, my mind immediately began spinning with memories of how I have assisted students over the years. I serve over 4000 students in our residential communities on campus, and push myself to find new ways to serve them daily. I also supervise 40 students, who I strive to mentor as they navigate their college experience. What story will I pick??

It would be easy for me to say “I can’t pick just one!” But that is a bit of a cop-out, in my opinion. As student affairs professionals, we all have that moment that happens when things just sort of click, and we determine, “YES!! This is why I do what I do!”

For me, my most recent stories revolve around helping parents help their students. I work hard to build collaborative partnerships with parents, and strive to see them as allies (rather than enemies) in the educational process. If I can help a parent understand our policies, and how they can inform their student of the consequences of violating these policies, then I have succeeded in my job. My newest charge has been taking angry parent phone calls in my office. I almost see these conversations as a personal challenge: If I can turn this conversation around, I can do anything!

One day this past spring, I had the opportunity to take one of these parent calls. It was about a week after our cancellation deadline for students who were planning to return to campus for the next year, and the student in question had missed the deadline. The result was the assessment of our $2000 cancellation fee for breaking the contract. Naturally, as the person footing the bill, the parent was not too happy with this fee.

When I took the call, I checked our online Customer Service Log to catch up on the story. Side note: if you don’t have a way of tracking customer calls, I strongly encourage you to find/develop one. Knowing the story behind the call eliminated the need for the parent to rehash the story. I was able to provide a synopsis of the situation as I understood it, and then provided an opportunity for the parent to add clarity as needed. As I listened without interrupting (this is my #1 rule for customer service: shut up and listen), I could hear how the parent was frustrated with the process as well as with the student for missing a known deadline. The transition to college life can be difficult for a parent who is navigating the experience along with their student, especially when they are physically removed from the environment. This parent was clearly struggling with helping their student understand deadlines, but was also frustrated with some confusing information received from my office.

After the parent finished venting to me, I acknowledged how the information received from my office was confusing, and apologized (rule #2 for customer service: know when to apologize). I clarified some pieces of the puzzle for the parent, and then asked some questions about how the first year of college was going for the student. This is when the parent really opened up to me about some concerns felt regarding the student’s study habits and lack of solid friendships. Furthermore, the student was canceling the housing contract because they had a lead on a potential house off campus with some people the student met online.

At this point, it was clear to me that the cancellation fee was just a symptom of a greater problem. Knowing this, I was able to say, “Before we move on, I want to let you know that due to the conflicting information received from our office, I am going to waive the cancellation fee.” For me, it was important to set some context before offering resources. I knew that this cancellation fee issue would be a sticking point that could prohibit progress. Removing the cancellation fee changed the whole tenor of the conversation, and allowed us to take the conversation in a different direction. I was able to build trust with the parent and offer some resources available to the student on campus. I was also able to alleviate some concerns about the housing situation by offering the opportunity to contact our office in August to explore potential on-campus options, should the off-campus situation fall through.

My goal for that conversation was to build opportunities for future interactions, which provided me my “A-HA!” moment of why I work in student affairs.

So now it’s your turn to share. What experiences have you had with students that articulate why you work in student affairs?

Moments that Matter: Why I Work in Student Affairs

Blog Prompt Monday

We’re back to reflecting on that fabulous field of student affairs – and why we love it like we do.

Tell us about a special moment with a student that highlights why you work in student affairs.

We can’t wait to hear these stories – and tell our own! These are the things that really make us love our jobs. Remember to post your response in the comments below with a link to your blog, as well as tweet it out using the #sawomenblog hashtag. Who can’t use more good student stories in our field?

Blog Prompt Monday

Tech Savvy Tips for Holiday Shopping

by Jenn Prentice

santa on computer

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  I know. I can’t believe I wrote that either.  But it’s true.  TV commercials have been touting the holiday season for weeks now and chances are your local shopping mall is already doing some decorating.  To be fair, there are actually only 14 more days until Thanksgiving, 15 more days until Black Friday, 40 more days until Hanukkah starts and 45 more days until Christmas.  And if you’re like me and hate to procrastinate, those numbers seem scarily small.

So, given the shopping lists that we all need to start making—and the fact that this will be my last post until December 21st (which is MUCH too close to Christmas to still be shopping)—I thought I’d share some tech-savvy tips for shopping—and saving money—online.

  1. Create an Amazon Wish List—and encourage your friends and family to make one too.  In case you’re not familiar with the Amazon Wish List, it’s a plug-in that you install on your browser that allows you to add items from any website that you might want to ask Santa to get you for Christmas.  You can share a link to your Wish List via email with friends and family, making it easy for them to purchase exactly what you want.
  2. Get free shipping with Amazon ClickFiller.  You know the scenario: Amazon offers free shipping on items totaling over a certain amount, but your order comes in 50 cents short of that amount, so you spend the next two hours searching for a cheap item to top off your shopping cart.  Fortunately, Amazon has now given us ClickFiller, which lets you search for the items you want in the price range you’re looking for to round out your shopping basket.  Or, you can always get free shipping by signing up for Amazon Prime or Amazon Mom. And be sure to encourage students to check out Amazon Student.
  3. Shop for bargains. These days there’s five different sites with five different reviews for any item you might want to purchase.  To get a quick baseline for how much you should spend on any given item, check out Google Product search, Worth Monkey and eBay closed listings. Then, stick with a few trusted sites to find reviews on the specific products you’re wanting to purchase.  If you’re specifically looking for tech gadgets, the DealNews app, SlickDeals and CNET’s Cheapskate are fairly reliable sources of information.
  4. Have fun. The Holidays can be a stressful time for all of us.  It’s the end of the semester. Family often comes to town and there’s a party every other weekend.  Don’t let shopping for gifts be the thing that stresses you out, when it can be really simple.  If it helps, pick one specific day to do the majority of your shopping, grab a cup of coffee (and be sure to animate it) and cross those items off your list.

What about you? What online—or offline—shopping tips do you have? How do you keep your stress level  low during the holidays.

Tech Savvy Tips for Holiday Shopping