Follow Friday: A Few Twitter Higher Ed. Shout Outs

By Kathryn Magura

Hello everyone! Before I get to my list for “Follow Friday,” I wanted to congratulate you on making it through another week. If you live in the U.S., why don’t you go ahead and take Monday off? Don’t say I never gave you anything. šŸ˜‰

As I sat down to put this “Follow Friday” post together, I was initially stuck in trying to figure out who/what to post. Then, in a moment of sheer dumbstruck inspiration, I looked through my list of people I consider “friends” in a Tweetdeck feed, and was immediately inspired. I decided to shine the spotlight onto 3 people I consider friends who don’t usually seek out the spotlight for themselves:

  1. Kate McGartland: Kate is one of my favorite Canadians ever, and is quite proud of her Canadian roots. I first got to know Kate through our ACUHO-I experiences, but what started as a friendly acquaintanceĀ soon became a strong friendship. Kate can be found tweeting about everything from Canadian sports to higher education to pop culture. When I get caught up on my feed throughout the day, I typically find myself reflecting on a question Kate posted; one that will usually make me a better higher education professional.
  2. Erica Thompson: Erica is also another higher education all-star whom I have the pleasure of calling a friend in real life. Erica is a staunch advocate for social justice, and is also someone who champions other professionals. Erica is a talented photographer, runner, and can often be found posting about living a happier and healthier life. Furthermore, if you like big dogs, you will love how often Erica’s great dane Laney makes an appearance in her feed.
  3. Chris Stone-Sewalish: I actually met Chris about 8 years ago when he was interviewing on my campus for a graduate school position. Fast forward to the fall of 2013, and I’m at the ACUHO-I Business Operations Conference being asked to give a high-five to Chris from a mutual friend, Clare Cady. Always one to oblige a reasonable request, the following ensued:

Tweet from Kathryn Magura

Since that conference, Chris and I have gotten to bond over operational issues in on-campus housing. Chris makes me think and laugh, which is a welcome conversation. Furthermore, Chris and I are hoping to present together at the next ACUHO-I Business Operations Conference, which is fitting considering how we first really got to know each other.

If you don’t already follow these three on Twitter, what are you waiting for?

Follow Friday: A Few Twitter Higher Ed. Shout Outs

The New Professional Life ā€“ Finding Balance (And Keeping It)

By Lauren Creamer

Not a single one of my graduate classes or experiences truly prepared me for life as a new professional.

ā€¦ Okay. Thatā€™s only partially true. You just donā€™t know what itā€™s like until you live it.

This past July I began a my job in Residence Life at an elite institution that is approximately 13 hours away from my home in Rhode Island and 15 hours away from my graduate life in Boston.Ā  Iā€™m down here with a very limited support system and in full swing with my new job. As you can imagine (or potentially remember from your own experience), Iā€™ve been a tad bit overwhelmed. And it wasnā€™t until this month began, that I finally started to get myself grounded.

Let me start by saying, that I have some of the worldā€™s greatest frolleagues (you know, friend-colleagues). They have been incredibly supportive and great mentors throughout my transition. Without them, I would be completely lost. Ā 

While I once would have liked to believe that I was the captain of my own ship, Iā€™ve recently learned the following: you cannot do it alone. You cannot do it all. And you cannot forget that.

I typically work a 50+ hour work-week. Itā€™s never less and sometimes itā€™s more. I answer emails all day, every day. I let my staff members text me with questions. I live where I work. I work where I live.Ā  I continue to talk about work with anyone who will listen at any point in any day. And Iā€™ve recently discovered just how stupid I am being. That is a great way to burn myself out in year one. So, what have I done (and what can you do) to bring back the balance?

  • Leave the office at dinner time. Yes, we all stay later. And thatā€™s fine. But not at the expense of your own health. For the love of Pete, there will always be more work to do. Leave it and eat a sandwich.
  • Stop checking your email all night. Oh, hello iPhone, you devil, you. While it truly is wonderful to check email on-the-go, those nights where I let it charge and ignore the buzz are the ones where I am the least anxious and most relaxed. If there is an emergency, someone will call you.
  • Go off the grid on the weekends. It isnā€™t until I leave town that I truly feel free. No laptop. No ā€œhomeworkā€. No nothinā€™.
  • Donā€™t be afraid to ask for help.Ā  I think I spent eight straight weeks avoiding asking more questions than I thought were appropriate. That was dumb. Itā€™s better to know than to assume.Ā  Plus, everyone wants you to do a good job anyway.
  • Call your friends and family. Do you remember that wonderful invention called the telephone? Use it. Friends and family keep us sane. At the end of a long, hard day, it helps to hear the voice of someone you love.

The moral of my story? Unplug when you need to and donā€™t be afraid to ask for help. Since Iā€™ve recognized the need to change in me, my mood has improved, my overall happiness has increased, and I feel more confident in my position. (And itā€™s a good thing I didnā€™t agree to write more blog posts this season, otherwise there would have been more on my plate and less in my outbox).

The New Professional Life ā€“ Finding Balance (And Keeping It)

Blogger’s Choice: Networking IRL and F2F

by Valerie Heruska

I don’t think it comes to anyone as a surprise when they hear that social media and technology changed the way that we interact with one another. Ā Of course, it bolsters relationship building to a whole new level. I think that networking online is great, but what about when you take the networking offline and network in person?

I’ve been to receptions and Ā social gatherings where the phrase “Oh hey, I follow you on Twitter” has been said. In fact, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that, I could probably afford to renovate my residence hall and then name the building after myself. I’m not sure if there are best practices to taking the networking from online to offline, but here are a few of Ā my practices:

1. Do not stalk someone from Twitter. Seriously.. I’ve seen this happen. I’ve heard people say: Oh I must find (insert twitter handle here)… let’s go look for them. Holy stalkeratzi, Batman. Why not set up a time to meet. You can begin by sending them a DM and asking if they have time to meet for coffee. Don’t creep on them at a conference and hover… that’s just weird.

2. When you’re getting coffee with said person do no… I REPEAT DO NOT say… remember that thing you said on twitter. Really? Why just not tweet at them. Talk about something other than Twitter. You’re there to meet the person who could be a potential mentor or supervisor or professor. There needs to be a reason to meet with them and to not just boost their ego.. though… I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a little ego-stroking every now and then. I digress. Have a reason for meeting with someone. Don’t waste their time, be insightful, and don’t mention twitter.

3. Keep the networking going. Don’t just stop at people who are on social media – meet people whom you’ve never met before. Have your colleagues introduce you to someone new. Go in, be bold, and talk to someone new. Additionally, after any conference, social, gathering is over: keep in contact and keep building that relationship. Just because you are separated geographically, doesn’t mean you can’t talk. Ask them to Skype lunch (Skyping while eating lunch) or something along the same lines.

What are your tips for talking networking offline? Share them here!

Blogger’s Choice: Networking IRL and F2F

The SATech Un-Conference Series

By Kathryn Magura

This past weekend I had the pleasure to participate in the first of the 2013 SATech Un-Conferences hosted on the Oregon State University campus. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to attend one of these un-conferences if you get a chance. Not only are they free professional development, they’re a great way to network with colleagues in your area.

Before I get into the details of my experience, let me take some time to explain what an un-conference is. An un-conference is basically an attendee-driven conference. There are no program proposals to submit months in advance that usually result in stale or out of context presentation sessions. There are rarely keynote speakers, and there is no true prescribed format for the day. People come and determine on sight what they want to discuss. Furthermore, if a side conversation starts, that’s totally fine and even welcome. Basically, creativity and an open mind are all that are required to attend an un-conference.

So where did the SaTech un-conference begin? For that I will link you to Ed Cabellon‘s post on how he started the un-conference program, and how the idea for multiple un-conferences this year began. Side note: Ed is amazing, and I do hope you’re all following him on Twitter. If you aren’t, you are missing out on one of the most genuine and talented Student Affairs professionals out there!

Since Ed was able to convince Ann Marie Klotz to bring one of the SATech un-conferences to Oregon State, I had the pleasure of being part of the planning committee. As our group came together to plan out what would become the first of the SATech un-conferences of 2013, there were a lot of unknowns about what this would look like and who would even come. As it turns out, Ed was very wise to think the Pacific Northwest would be a good venue for an un-conference program. Sure enough, as the day grew closer, we had over 120 participants registered to join our conversations!

As we started our day for the SATechOR un-conference, there was an energy and excitement in the air. Personally, I was eager to connect with professionals who had found ways to utilize technology as a way to enhance services on campus. We began the day introducing ourselves to our 100+ colleagues in attendance and explain why we were all there. I was amazed to hear the variety of reasons listed for why people chose to attend our un-conference. I was also humbled to see how many people from my own Oregon State community decided to participate in this day of collaborative learning.

I encourage you to read through the Twitter backchannel of posts from the #SATechOR un-conference to see the conversations that took place last Saturday. Feel free to add your own thoughts to the conversation, as the learning should continue even after we leave the confines of the un-conference setting.

Before I wrap up this post, I want to send a thank you to Ed Cabellon for seeing his vision for this un-conference format through to fruition across the country this year. It was wonderful to see this un-conference become a reality on our campus, and I look forward to participating in the conversations that happen at the other un-conference locations over the next few months.

P.S. Don’t you think my colleague Jeffrey and I make these un-conference t-shirts look good?




The SATech Un-Conference Series

App Highlight: Card Munch and Evernote Hello

By Jennifer Keegin

I am currently writing this post while attending the Women’s Leadership Institute in Amelia Island, Florida.

The Women’s Leadership Institute is the premier program for women leaders across campus. The programĀ is heldĀ at aĀ resort-style locationĀ to maximize learning and minimize distractions, and isĀ designed for women who aspire to new leadership positions on campus.Ā TheĀ instituteĀ features a curriculum withĀ an overall focus on building the next generation of leaders in higher education administration and student affairs. This is a wonderful program for women of all ages to come together to learn and network with one another, forming bonds that will last a lifetime.

So now that I’ve shared the purpose of this Institute, one of the major components is networking. I had two apps on my iPhone that I couldĀ utilizeĀ to enhance this. Card Munch and Evernote Hello.

Card Munch was an app that was recommended by Teri Bump via the #WLI12 Twitter hashtag feed. I know Teri networks like CRAZY and travels all the time, so it was definitely something I wanted to try out. I also have been wanting to try out Evernote Hello since I’m very much into using Evernote every day and this is another app of theirs.

I collected 15 business cards and three Evernote Hello profiles. Here are some thoughts:

Card Munch:

I use apps all the time to scan documents. I’ve already said I like Evernote and I’m always taking photos of documents, my hotel room door the first night to remember my room number (just in case), pictures ofĀ souvenirsĀ I’m pondering buying for my 3 year old, and etc. So, I liked the idea of an app where I’d collect the cards, take a photo of them and then they would upload into a program that would hold them for me so I could search through them. Here’s what I didn’t realize it would do – after I took all the photos, LinkedIn profiles starting popping up so I could also connect with these folks via LinkedIn. Brilliant! Definitely made me realize that there are a lot of women out there that really need to work on building their profiles on their social networking sites. Those with photos – I’m going to remember them even better!

Evernote Hello:

I love the idea of Hello. You can either pass the phone to someone and ask them to fill out their info and let them take their own photo, or you can fill out the info yourself. I asked some women I was having lunch with to fill out their info and take their picture. It was an awkward process for them. Figuring what the heck I was talking about, realizing it was an app, trying to figure out what info they were supposed to fill out, what they wanted to fill out…then navigating the picture was the worst. They get four chances to take pics…and these are ladies! We ladies want GOOD pictures taken of us at all times. BeingĀ unfamiliarĀ with the system lent itself to terrible photos and I felt bad asking more women to try it which is too bad, because the photo part was the only real hurdle. I also tried entering info myself, but it took longer with repeated questions of “How do you spell your name?” and “Your twitter handle is what?” and with the number of people I was trying to connect with – business cards were a much better solution. If you were meeting one on one with someone in a more intimate setting, I think this would be more fun.

I will most likely be blogging on my personal site very soon about my WLI experience, but for Tech purposes – I wanted to share these apps and I’m interested to hear about your thoughts on either of these apps AND any other apps you may have tried to help you keep tabs on all the new folks you are meeting in your journeys.

Be well all!


App Highlight: Card Munch and Evernote Hello

Developing relationships online and offline at conferences.

by Jennifer Keegin

It’s conference season. Time to pull out a piece I wrote for my blog a while back , but I think should be something we all think about as we start meeting and greeting at various conferences over the next month or so.

Social interactions in real life with folks that you have come “to know” via Twitter chats or Facebook etc. can be many things in reality. They can be awkward, disappointing, and surprising. You might find out that someone you thought would be a great friend, if you were to hang out offline, turns out to be a pretentious jerk. You might find out that someone who you imagine would be supercilious* has two Strengths Quests themes similar to yours, is really down to earth and fun to be around. Some might make the bridge to “Facebook Friend Land” or some might just disappear from your feeds altogether.

*Notice me Using My Words.

I didn’t go into this with “You’ve Got Mail” on my mind. As I was looking for images to add to this post, I found this one though and thought – well yes – it’s this kind of concept. You can’t take your online relationships for granted.

Maintaining human connections face-to-face becomes a topic as we talk more and more about adding “tech” to our repertoire as Student Affairs professionals. You can have podcasts, but you’ll want to add guest speakers. You’ll have Twitter chats, but to make the conversations go deeper, you want to spend some time offline to keep it going. You may spend a lot of time and money marketing your office and getting students to visit your websites – but the ultimate goal should always be to bring those students into your office – to meet in real life and form a relationship based on mutual interest and trust formed OFFline.

Several folks will be presenting this season with people they had never met. I did that. I’ve actually done that twice. It’s strange when you feel like you know someone after spending so much time developing a session via Skype, chat, Twitter etc. to actually be in the same room with them and then suddenly realize, “We really haven’t ever met in real life.”

What this also brings to mind though is something that I’m always trying to drill into my Graduate Assistants as they go out into the world of professional conferences and professional relationships via Twitter etc. People are multi-faceted. (Says the person with Individualization as my #1 Strength.) For example, I know someone is who extremely witty and funny on Twitter, but have heard that in real life this person doesn’t seem to have much personality. Seems at odds with the awesome Tweets that I see.

People can be different at conferences. I know someone who is very comfortable with his sexuality and lives his life “out” in the open. However, the way that manifests itself is different when he is at a conference vs. when he’s at work. After witnessing him at a conference, a misguided grad student went back to his institution and told others in his cohort all about about how fun and entertaining my friend was. One of these grad students then came to apply for a job and mistakenly used that information assuming that my friend liked to talk about this aspect of his life at work. Wrong. People can be different…and it’s important to remember that.

The same is true online. People look different in real life. They use pictures that are old, that highlight their ‘good side’, they don’t show height, weight, personality, passions, sense of humor…come on folks. Nothing with this is different from online dating. You have to take things with a grain of salt and maintain that human connection – the personal one-on-one, face-to-face time with those that you chat with.

I’ll be the first person to want to start conversations online – use email instead of calling if it’s someone I’m not too familiar with. If a business doesn’t have a website I joke that they don’t exist. However, when you truly have a “meeting of the minds” with someone you’ve only known through a series of tweets online, in those moments when you’re sitting there talking with them in the hotel bar and realize that you don’t want the conversation to end…that’s it man. That’s the true bliss.

As Student Affairs professionals – I think you know what I’m talking about. The rare friendships and relationships we build with students and those days you know you’ve chosen the right profession. But there are professional relationships as well. Sure you follow people and have Facebook friends. But have you taken the time to have real conversations with these folks at conferences or some other outlet? I encourage you to do so. Take the time – don’t be shy!!! – and have those blissful moments when you’ve found a new friend in the profession.

Some where out there is a new mentor. Somewhere out there is a new person to listen to your work challenges. Somewhere out there is the person who will know you before you were XYZ. Someone out there who will support you no matter what. Someone who will challenge you to become involved. Someone who will take you seriously. Someone who will always invite you to go out with them when you don’t have a dinner date. Someone who is in the same position as you and understands what you’re going through. Someone who will always make you laugh when you need a pick me up. Someone you love to hang out with, but should never work with. Someone who may bug you to work for/with them and will make you feel valued. Get out there and meet them…and I mean OFFLINE.

This ended up being my love letter to a few fabulous folks (old & new friends). I can’t wait to meet so many more of you out there in the future!! I’ll be headed to ACUI on Sunday in Boston. Presenting a Pre-Conference session called “Technology 101”. It’ll be one big show and tell so I can’t wait!

Developing relationships online and offline at conferences.

Friend Me, Follow Me, Subscribe to Me

by Kristen Abell

Oh the drama that has been Facebook this week. Subscriptions! Changes! Newsfeed! Oh my! What will we do? How are we going to make it now that the all-powerful Facebook has changed it’s format…again?

Seriously, people, haven’t we been through this like a thousand times already? I mean, I have to admit, I was a little befuddled by the new page this time around, but still – I’ll get used to it, just like I did the last thousand times.

I remember back in the day when Facebook made some of their changes, and I was all in an uproar – I can’t find things anymore! And I’m pretty sure I joined some “We hate the new Facebook” group. And then I got used to it, and I just didn’t care. The next time Facebook made changes, I was frustrated, too, but realized that hey, I’ll get used to it again. As I do every time.

Let’s have a little history lesson, folks. Facebook was created as site for people to connect, to find out more about each other, to meet a potential date or hook-up (hey, these were college guys, let’s be realistic). It was not created as a way to protect your privacy or anyone else’s. That has never really been their shtick. So why are we all in an uproar about how they are suddenly obliterating it? If you don’t want people to know everything about you – DON’T POST IT. The only change Facebook has really made is making it easier to see what you’re doing – it was all visible and easy to find before, it’s just easier. Facebook is meant for people who are wanting to be open and authentic and connect with each other. If that’s not what you want, this isn’t the place for you. But don’t get all upset because it continues to do the things it’s proclaimed it wanted to do all along.

Of COURSE it’s going to try and adapt some of its features to be like Google+ and Twitter – why wouldn’t it, as so many people proclaim the advantages of those networks? What website, business, product doesn’t try to improve itself – even if those improvements aren’t always what people want? Why do we have to assume that Facebook is evil and out to get everyone, when really, they’re just trying to be better?

Go ahead, disagree with me, I’m curious to hear other arguments on this. But if you really hate Facebook so much, don’t expect me to be sympathetic – it’s a free service. No one is requiring you to use it. Sure, it’s only the largest networking site out there, but like I said, if that’s not what you’re wanting, you don’t have to be on there.

For me, I’ll continue to use Facebook, and I’ll continue to be more open, and I’ll continue to be responsible about what I’m posting. Oh, and Zuckerberg, you might be a conceited pain in the butt, but I think what you’ve done here is pretty freaking awesome, so have at it, dude. You deserve a little kudos – but don’t let that go to your already larger-than-life ego.

Friend Me, Follow Me, Subscribe to Me

Follow Me

By Kristen Abell

The other day, my partner and I had one of a series of conversations we’ve been having about Twitter. He’s recently amped up his usage, specifically in regards to connecting with work colleagues. Our conversation went something like this:

Sean: So I had this really good Twitter conversation with a couple other student affairs people today, and afterwards I followed them, but they didn’t follow me back. I find that really annoying.

Me: Yeah, but they probably just see your tweets in their #sachat feed and assume they’re following you.

Sean: But wouldn’t they get the notification that I’m now following them and make sure they’re following me back?

Me: Possibly, but they could be like me and do a sort-through of those at the end of the week and follow you then. Or maybe they don’t believe in courtesy follows and only follow lists or searches. Blah, blah, blah (I’m pretty sure I kept going on for several minutes in my social media expert tone).

How do you choose who to follow on Twitter? Personally, I follow a broad mix of people – mostly based on my interests: a lot of student affairs folks, several local and tech folks, any friends I know are on Twitter, some book and mommy bloggers, and a couple celebs I find entertaining. I have some basic rules about who I follow – I generally get anywhere between three and five new followers a day, so these come in useful.

1. I almost never follow anyone whose bio claims they are an SEO expert, sells something, or tells me nothing about them (hint: always fill out your bio! Many people use this to decide who to follow).

2. I almostĀ always follow student affairs professionals that follow me – it’s part courtesy, part interest. And frankly, it’s also a good move in building my network.

3. I follow people I find interesting – if they’re going to add information or entertainment to my stream, I go ahead and add them.

I do try and go out to actively follow people periodically, or when I see them show up in someone else’s tweets, but mostly these are my rules for follow-backs.

I do know of a couple people in the student affairs community on Twitter that don’t follow many others – and frankly, I don’t really understand that. Maybe they can explain why, but I find this a poor use of Twitter, which is at least partially about relationship-building. Is not following others a power move? Or can you just not keep up with all of the people you might follow?

I know that we all have slightly different uses of Twitter, so I’m curious how others decide who to follow, and when. Do you do “courtesy follows?” Do you consider them courtesy follows if they are in the same profession as you and will more than likely continue to contribute to your stream? How do you use Twitter to build relationships?

Follow Me