Keeping up the conversation with students

I am an avid Twitter user and espouser, as my students in social media and all my classes can attest. One of my favorite parts of Twitter is the ability it gives you to stay connected to students.

In the past week, I’ve gotten comments on the books I’ve chosen for a fall class, a note from a former editing student who says she now is an grammar and punctuation ninja at work and comments from former students wishing they could be in class jammin’ to Justin Bieber (students chose the songs) when my social media class tried out turntable.fm.

Today a former student tweeted that she almost wrote a question lead, but she could see me in her mind’s eye, suggesting other options. (She had me shaking my finger at her, which makes me feel a little old, but it’s probably an accurate mental picture.)

Former students also respond to various calls for advice, help and suggestions for current students. Yes, I do like continuing the conversations. #jmcawesome.

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Social media 101

I had a great experience meeting with a fascinating variety of small business/retail store owners from Rockbrook Village. We talked social media and, as usual whenever I am teaching something, I always learn a lot.

The session, which was lively, reinforced my own idea that social media is a must for small businesses to build their brands and the idea that small training/coaching sessions to work with these talented but busy people may be the answer.  That’s what I want to start working on.

My own interest in entrepreneurial journalism is fed by these kinds of sessions too. Thanks again for asking me, Rockbrook!

Do as I say, not as I do

As I make out a syllabus for another semester, I realize that I have to step up my own blogging game. (Oops. Guess I’ve heard a few too many sports shows over the weekend.)

I require the students to blog. I tell them how good it is for their careers, their futures, how they adapt to new technology. And then I don’t blog.

I have this one. I like to write. So why not? Here are two reasons, ones that I have to get around to be a better media role model.

1. I am not sure anyone wants to read what I have to say. The response: You don’t know until you try. My voice/writing/point of view has value. If people don’t like it, disagree, they can click away.

2. I don’t have time. Not a good one. It doesn’t take that long to conceive, write and rewrite a blog post. It’s not the time so much as the allocation of my own resources. Just like those people who are always late: They could be on time. They just choose not to in most instances.  I am trying to get better at that one myself.

Both these reasons seem easy enough to overcome with planning and the decision to take risks.

How do you make yourself blog?

What is my sentence?

As part of my social media class I’ve asked the students to follow Daniel Pink’s advice and write their sentence. It’s like a mission statement or what sums you up. I want to write my own sentence, but it’s tough.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

I teach and every day try to practice the idea that the power of telling people’s stories accurately, colorfully, compassionately in any medium can help change the world.

That’s a strong sentence. And my students probably think: “Hey, that’s not what I hear from her every day.” They hear: “What’s AP style? Use commas correctly. Where’s the nut graf? How many sources have you talked to? Don’t miss deadlines. Plan. Work hard.

Through all of those statements, I’m trying to show students that every person’s story is important. We owe it to people to tell them accurately. We can use journalism to make the world a better place. We can treat our sources like people and recognize that every story is important to someone.