Highlighting Women in Technology and Student Affairs

by Kristen Abell

This is a feature of the semi-new schedule on our blog that is probably my favorite. I love getting to read about other women in technology and student affairs, and I believe it’s good for our community to see that there are lots of us out there. And while there are still plenty more to highlight, I did just want to take today’s post to acknowledge some very special, very dear to me, and pioneer women in technology and student affairs: our bloggers.

From day one, when Brenda and I threw this idea out into the interwebs, to either take root or disappear into oblivion, we have had a great response from these women. Whether it’s coming up with ideas for posts, increasing their post frequency for our new-ish schedule, returning as guest bloggers, or staying up until the wee hours of the morning to create fabulous infographics, these women are committed and dedicated to this blog.

And not just the blog – when we have had requests for presentations or podcasts, they’ve jumped at the chance to share their stories and expertise. Each one of them has amazing information and experience to share.

Need I even mention that these women truly make geek chic?

So for this post, I want to highlight the bloggers – without whom this blog would not be possible. With whom, we continue to pave the way for women in student affairs who also want to explore technology. And for whom I want to hold a big ol’ party some day.

You ladies rock my world.

Highlighting Women in Technology and Student Affairs

Altruism and Technology

by Stephanie Wintling

We as technology bloggers obviously advocate for technology and its many applicable uses in people’s lives. Lately I’ve been discovering the altruistic use of social media. It all started with a call for donations from @JoeGinese for an alternate spring break trip funded via Alumni Choose.

Don’t know what Alumni Choose is? That’s okay, I didn’t either until Joe’s tweet a month ago. Alumni Choose is a website that allows students to advocate for special events and projects they need funding for thus allowing alumni and external donators the choice to fund projects at different Universities. This website is breaking the mold of traditional alumni giving and giving alumni the direct choice of where their money benefits the students.

The other great part is Joe had the students capture their trip on Twitter so he could use Storify to capture their trip. Joe then sent the Storify stories to the donors so they could directly see how their money made an impact. Thus creating a beautiful cycle of feedback majority of donors do not experience in the traditional donating way.

Now I’m experiencing this altruism first hand in my venture to fundraise for the St. Baldrick’s organization to fund research to find the cure for childhood cancer. In two weeks I will be shaving my head bald to honor @MonicaMFochtman’s son and to support St. Baldricks. The best part about all of this is how social media has played an integral role in this entire process. I have never met Monica face to face but yet through her story she has impacted me to be an advocate for this cause. Not only that but I achieved my goal of raising $1,000 two weeks before my event (time to get a bigger goal).  Even better is that $55 came from individuals I’ve never met face to face but through our interactions on Twitter they felt compelled to donate and I’m sure others I do know face to face donated because of seeing it on my social media websites.

Amazing stuff, but this is truly the power of technology. Technology has the power to make other’s lives better including our own, connect people to causes they care about, and allows you to see how your contributions directly make a difference. I want to close with this TED video about how a company took a simple website security measure and turned it to how books are translated electronically.

How can you start using technology in an altruistic way?

Altruism and Technology

Linkage Love: More Bella and Katniss

By Brenda Bethman

Yesterday, Anitra wrote about Bella and Katniss from the perspective of female empowerment and YA fiction. For today’s linkage love, I want to continue the Twilight and Hunger Games theme with  links to articles  that discuss both series from a feminist perspective.

The Twilight of Intercourse” is a fascinating read that looks at the series through the perspective of second wave feminism and contains one of the most amusing quotes I’ve read in a long time:

 In short, the millions of tweens trooping in lockstep to the Cineplex to see the latest Twilight saga installment might as well be trekking over Dworkin’s corpse. It’s a wonder she doesn’t just rise right out of the ground, fangs bared, spitting blood, and personally castrate both Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner with a rusty cleaver out of pure spite.

Twilight vs. Hunger Games” from The Atlantic discusses why “grown-ups” love to hate Bella but love Katniss

Katniss vs. Bella: Which One is Your Fictional Feminist?” is a response to the piece above

The Sexual Politics of The Hunger Games” at Salon looks at the two heroines and their power (or lack thereof)

The Hunger Games versus Twilight

Why the Hunger Games Isn’t Twilight

Team Katniss!

And, finally, “Why Katniss vs. Bella Doesn’t Help Anybody

What about y’all? Read anything good about Katniss and Bella lately? Please share your links! Or just talk about the movie if you’ve seen it.

PS: We will get back to talking about tech soon, I promise — but right now, we’re all caught up in the Hunger Games excitement!

Linkage Love: More Bella and Katniss

Katniss vs. Bella: Female Empowerment in YA Fiction

by Anitra Cottledge

So the intrawebz are all aflutter with chatter about the film version of The Hunger Games. I’ll be going to see it, because it’s my pop culture duty to keep my finger on the zeitgeist. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m sitting in the movies behind tween girls (and their moms) who just can’t contain their oohs and aahs when Robert Pattinson enters the frame. I’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy, just like I read the Twilight Saga, and my feelings about both series are fairly similar: in a nutshell, they didn’t need to be series. Both authors could have wrapped up those stories much sooner, and with a much lower word count.


That aside, I’m particularly interested in the comparisons that have arisen between the two heroines, Bella Swan and Katniss Everdeen. I’m going to return to that in a second.

What I find fascinating about both of these series is the sheer amount of writing and cultural critique that’s been generated about them. You, dear reader, already know how I feel about Twilight by now (where is Buffy when you need her?), and maybe you’ve read about its abstinence porn narrative. I’m totally squicked out by the wistful conversations I hear after a Twilight movie, and I’ve had numerous conversations with colleagues about why folks are so swoony over a book about a stalker who looks like he just got home from a rave.

I’ve been equally fascinated by the writing about The Hunger Games: the casting debate, particularly in regards to race, and recent discussion about similarities between The Hunger Games and Japanese movie “Battle Royale.” In short, the books and the movies have become so much more than books and movies. They’ve become locations of cultural symbolism and messaging.

Back to the discussion about Bella vs. Katniss. There seems to be this need to pit the two heroines against one another and to ask people to decide who’s stronger and more empowered.

“Bella Swan is clumsy and largely helpless, a rescue object for Edward and Jacob, the werewolf who vies with the vampire for her affections; Katniss is a tough and competent woodswoman and sharpshooter. Bella is willing to give up everything — her family, friends, previous life, even her humanity — to dote on her beloved Edward for eternity; Katniss sacrifices herself for her mother and sister. Bella is one long, quivering bowstring of frustrated lust (at least until the fourth book in Meyer’s series); Katniss, about the same age, is unstirred by adolescent hormones, despite the two cute, sweet guys who proclaim their love for her.”

Yes, it’s really great that Katniss Everdeen can “incidentally shoot a man’s eye out through his windpipe” (which is indeed a handy skill), whereas Bella seems to pout a lot, but I don’t actually find either of them all that empowering in the end.

But (SPOILERS AHEAD) in the last book of the Hunger Games, we find Katniss taking up a more Bella-like existence with Peeta. (I think I was rooting for her to end up with neither Gale nor Peeta.) All that windpipe puncturing, and we’re left with a very traditional “let’s get married and settle down situation” (although not necessarily a HEA). In that respect, does it make a difference that Katniss spent most of the series running and fighting for her life? Maybe. Maybe not. It just would have been refreshing to have a different narrative: Katniss, as opposed to Gale, in a more prominent leadership role at the end of the book.

This, of course, is an oversimplification of each character, and of the conversations surrounding both books. If I consider the overall picture, both books and both characters are good food for thought, particularly in regards to what they may communicate in terms of female empowerment, gender roles, as well as class and sexual politics. In the meantime, I’ll just search for alternatives to both Katniss and Bella. They’ve got to exist, right?

Katniss vs. Bella: Female Empowerment in YA Fiction

Open Thread: Road Trippin’ w/ Technology

By Colleen Riggle

This past weekend we took a road trip to Florida.  We spent a night in Sarasota, drove to Melbourne for a night and headed back to Sarasota and then home over the course of 4 days.  We spent a lot of time in the van…with an infant.

It was nice road trippin’ with technology though and we used a few of the following to ease the 24 hours (collectively) in the van!

1.  iPhone App – Rest Area Finder

This was a new find on the drive down.  With an infant, we were trying to make our stops as easy and quick as possible.  Popping on/off the highway at the closest rest area broke up the hours in the car.  This app helped us to know when we could expect the next stop for bottle, burp or diaper change!

2.  iPhone App – Trapster

This app was sort of a fail in my opinion, mainly because it’s based on the daily input of others.  I had it on my phone and it was constantly running (ie: battery) and you need to input information when you might see the po-po along the road.  We weren’t breaking any rules, but it was more so out of curiosity.  We had the app running for a good hour and I never got any notices but clearly passed some patrol.  It was hit or miss in my opinion.

3.  Mobile Hotspot to stream Netflix movies

Connecting our ipad to the mobile hot spot on our phone rocked! We were able to stream Toy Story 3 a little larger then it would have on the phone! This was helpful for those couple of hours when baby was getting ancy from being in the car seat!  It’s a great flick and fun way to kill some time!

How do you like to travel?  Air? Car? Train? Is there anything that assists in your traveling experience?  It sure does make for more packing list items, chargers, cases, alcohol wipes, etc.!

Happy Spring Travels!

Open Thread: Road Trippin’ w/ Technology

Best Practices for Social Media

By Meghann Martinez

This post is meant to solicite your own best practices in social media. I will share some of my own however this is not exclusive. With social media growing at a rapid pace I am curious to learn what best practices people are employing.

Plan Ahead

As much as we would like to believe social media is not random or spontaneous. Feel free to plan out a couple weeks of content at a time. Why? Because then you know you have content that is consistent, fresh and relevant. I use Hootsuite for my scheduling and so other who contribute to our social media can see what is scheduled out. Things may change in the world that will effect your content so be sure to check it out every couple of days.

Frequency– How often should you post. I suggest acknowledging the community culture of the social media site you are using. For example, on Twitter you could post 20 times a day and barely make a dent however on Facebook 20 times in a day is a bit excessive.

Content and the 80/20 rule

  • Shake it up! No one likes the same content over and over again. Especially if it does not give one an opportunity to talk about themselves.
  • Don’t forget a call to action in every post. Examples of a call to action may be for someone to share, like, retweet, comment, etc.
  • Finding a home The shelf life of your content and the appropriate social media medium are tricky. I tend to view it like this: If the content is relevant for longer than two days it’s home is Facebook (e.g., events). If the content is dynamic and has a short relevancy (e.g., news article about another university) then it’s home is probably on Twitter alone. This does not mean it isn’t mentioned in other areas of social media but that they are driving the traffic “home”. Home may be a blog post or a news release on the university website as well.
  • Know the space! Each social media channel has it’s own culture. Knowing viral tendencies and fads of the channel are essential. On YouTube certain trends pick up so stay fresh and adapt but don’t catch the end of the train (e.g., Sh** people say). Facebook also has its own trends (e.g., memes) and so on.
  • The 80/20 rule This isn’t just for dating but for marketing as well. I advise my colleagues to post 80% of the time content that is relevant to their audience or area and only 20% of the time the “sales pitch”. Using residential life as an example: (1) article about roommate matching, (2) room decorating photo contest, (3) My favorite thing about living on-campus is ______., (4) Poll for RA of the month and (5) Pay your housing fee for 2012-2013! or event reminder.

Move the party off-line

As much as I love sitting at my computer or on my phone I’ve been told a dose of human interaction is healthy. Don’t be afraid to host a TweetUp or Tweet ‘n’ Greet so students can interact with each other and put a real name to a face. Have the student place their twitter or username on their name tags instead of there given names. (This may also serve as an education moment in choosing an appropriate handle for social media.) TweetUps may center around activities such as a baseball game (boost the attendance!), a hall social or lunch in the cafe.

So now it’s your turn! What are your best practices? 

Student Affairs meme

Best Practices for Social Media

Marketing “Women for the Win” and “Miss Representation”

By Jennifer Keegin

I was given the goal of doing some programming for Campus Activities as its own entity. CA is part of the Dean of Students department and we’ve done some new programs to help establish this new office on campus (DOS). Dean & Donuts, Leadership Awards, etc.

This semester I was asked to bring more to the table for Campus Activities. Luckily, the Dean of Students Program Coordinator had some events she had a personal interest in that matched up with my need for some programming, and we were able to create a new “Women’s Week” of events. So – we are both in our own ways, one person shops. I do supervise a Program Coordinator, but his main responsibility area is Late Nite Binghamton, so I don’t want to add to his plate. I mention this because now we’re talking about putting together a week of events with the two of us. Morgan is great at program details and I have an interest and some background with promotions, so she got the co-sponsored events together and I did the marketing.

I used Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.  I came up with a couple of designs that I thought could work and we farmed them around to see what resonated with women. I was surprised that the design I created was the one that they liked. It has a pink and grey color scheme, a fist of power, women’s symbol, and “For the Win” in a stamp like font. Using that basic idea we did a teaser poster with the logo and a QR code at the bottom. That’s it.

Next I designed a special webpage just for the event. I used our Tumblr website for CA, here: http://binguactivities.tumblr.com/WFTW. This website filters out info to our Facebook page and our Twitter account.

I also had to whip up some posters to highlight the capstone event – the “Miss Representation” film screening and discussion with the filmmaker, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. (In addition to finalizing the contract, reserving the location, getting transportation, securing a moderator).

Lastly, I had to make a large poster with all the week’s events on it.

I had a blast. I never get to do design work and with Morgan on my team, I knew we could  get this done with little effort but big bang. Unfortunately, I missed most of the week due to my attendance at ACUI in Boston, but I know tomorrow night’s event watching Miss Representation will be awesome. Wish us luck. I hope to have more to share about the week in another post.

Marketing “Women for the Win” and “Miss Representation”