Monday, July 27, 2015

#SoFabUOTR - Take Aways, Tours, and Thank Yous (A Blogger's Must Attend Event)

This summer, the Texas Social Media Research Institute (@TSMRI) team attended the Dallas (Grapevine) So Fab U on the Road at the Gaylord Texan (Sponsored By: Collective Bias and Social Fabric)! It was definitely FABULOUS and the TSMRI team learned a wealth of information about social media including blogging, vlogging, and photography tips!

The beginning sessions included ice breakers and even a dance session! Most of the attendees were seasoned bloggers and they helped us feel at home!

One of the activities was "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" session for attendees to let the presenter know about their social media experience(s).

Here are some great tips from Blogger Randi Dukes from Dukes and Duchesses.

1) When to post on Facebook - Best (Thursday and Friday). Worst (Monday and Wednesday). Facebook spikes by 10% on Friday. Post when your fans are online.

2) Bring back old blog content (from last year) and repackage it in a new post!

3) Hashtags on Facebook should only be limited to one to two per post. Hashtags on Facebook enable people to see LESS post. Place the [#ad] in brackets. For every three posts, only one post should be yours. Share the content from other people.

4) If you want to have influence as a blogger, you need to know your analytics. You have to have a presence on all social media platforms.

5) Create a call to action, choose the action, you can measure how many people engaged with the post.

#SoFabUOTR featured great signage and everything was "postable"! :) 

Affiliate Marketing is such growing movement for monetizing blog content.

Then, we had an opportunity to utilize the content we learned at the session. Lights, camera, action!

To incorporate the concepts introduced during the sessions, we toured the Gaylord Texan Resort and tasted, experienced, and posted delectable pictures of food on our social media profiles.

The chefs were available for questions, recipes, and even free seasoning samples to take home. We will see if we can actually replicate the recipes!

More food! The street tacos were amazing and we were given social media photography tips to capture the true essence of the dishes.

Now, we are TRUE foodies! We cannot wait to come back to the Gaylord Texan Resort to try more of the dishes!

This team was amazing!

Then, we were on the move again! This time, we had a structured assignment and contest. We had to capture the nature of the Gaylord Texan resort while also highlighting the Crystal Light product! The prize was a signed guitar! How Texas-centric! :)

The reception was great as well! Thank you to Social Fabric and Collective Bias for enabling us to attend this amazing event!

Now, we are following the yellow brick road towards true blogging success! You can experience this success too! We look forward to meeting you next year!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Should You (Peri)'Scope?

Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming platform, has been out since April, but it has yet to gain a foothold among mainstream social media users.

What is it?
Periscope is a mobile application (so you're out of luck if you only have a desktop or laptop computer) that allows users to broadcast live from any location using their smartphone or tablet. Their tagline is "Explore the world through someone else's eyes." The name is borrowed from the periscope used in submarines to view objects that would normally be out of sight.

Periscope's logo.

Why should I care?

Great question (also...ouch).  At the moment, Periscope is in strictly "new adopter" territory, which means that most people outside of the social media industry either haven't heard of it or aren't very familiar with it.
This also means that the people using it currently are most likely to be innovators. Will Perisocope be the Next Big Thing...or The Next Big Flop? Stay tuned.

How is Periscope different than Meerkat?

Meerkat  is also a mobile livestreaming application that burst on the scene shortly before Twitter. They actually have quite a bit in common, as betanews points out, they both have "the ability to tweet a link to a live-streaming video straight from your iPhone....(as well as) options to save the streams to your phone once you finish and both allow public chats within the videos."

What are Periscope's good points?
It's free, it is easy to get started, and businesses are touting it as a great way to get customers.

...And its bad points?
There are no captions, unless you later upload your video (or "scope) to YouTube and add captions yourself. Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, approximately 15% of American adults over 18 report some type of hearing loss . Your viewer may be located in a public place, watching your video without headphones or earbuds. Captions will help him or her view your content while not blasting it to anyone sitting near by.  Some of your viewers may speak English as a second language.  Finally, if being a good Samaritan doesn't appeal to you, there's always the bottom line--captioning (and adding transcripts) helps with search engine optimization. The unfortunate portrait orientation of the video is reminiscent of vertical video syndrome.

By being limited to mobile devices, it limits its pool of possible users. About two thirds of Americans now own smartphones...which means about a third do not.

So..should you "scope"?
Well, that depends.  If you're an entrepreneur (or just curious), and you don't already have a Meerkat account, it's definitely worth a try. Periscope is now available for both iOS and Android devices.
After you download the app, you can watch broadcasts to see what other people are doing, or start live-streaming on your own. Here's a handy guide.

Hooked on social media? Then you'll love our annual social media conference in November.
 And don't forget to join our #txsocialmedia Twitter chat every Thursday at 8 p.m. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bigotry and Social Media

It's good to follow people with a variety of opinions on social media. 


At the very least, it keeps you sheltered from the filter bubble effect of only communicating with people who already agree with you.

Pop Quiz

But what do you do if someone you follow on social media reveals a nasty bigoted streak?
Do you ....

  • put on your social justice superhero shield and educate them ?
  • unfriend or unfollow them (consequences be damned)? 
  • ignore the post, while secretly resolving to give them the cold shoulder?
  • shrug and move on?

                    flickr photo by Lunchbox Photography http://flickr.com/photos/jcorduroy/7016143189 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Newsworthy events can easily trigger strong emotions, and it is all too easy to "spill your guts" on social media without thinking.  Now take a look at the issue from the other side. If someone messaged or tweeted you that they found a post of yours offensive or hurtful, how would you react?

Accounts such as @yesyoureracist and @yesyouresexist on Twitter regularly re-tweet cringeworthy sentiments...but does this social shaming teach people a lesson, or merely open them up to ridicule (or both)? One could argue that these accounts unintentionally teach people to hide their prejudiced beliefs due to their lack of social acceptance. In all honesty, accounts like these appeal to the sense of schadenfreude in all of us. And although the targets of these accounts often use the phrase "Free speech!" when confronted, the concept of free speech (in America, at least) actually refers to the fact that the government is not allowed to censor citizen speech.  It says nothing about people not reacting to the expression of each other's ideas.

What do you think about this issue?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Social Media @ Work...Sal Jade, Clairvoyant Healer and Psychic Development Instructor

Welcome back to our "Social Media @ Work" series, which features great social media advice from a variety of professionals.  This post features Sal Jade, a clairvoyant healer and psychic development instructor who hails from Manly, which is a suburb of Sydney, Australia.

How long have you been in the industry, and how did you get started?
I’ve been in the industry for 7 years and I got started when I was taking a break from teaching and managing a crystal shop. I had graduated from Doreen Virtue’s Angel Intuitive Course about 10 years ago and used to practice readings on customers to ‘tune’ in to see what they needed, and found loads of people would come in and urge me to become a professional reader. From then I decided to do a ThetaHealing course and fell in love with it. I started combining angel therapy and Theta healing with energetic healing, and after about a year of building up clients, I got frequent requests to run courses and workshops on how to do what I do in my sessions. 

So I’m lucky because I got to combine my two great loves- healing and teaching!

What do you like the most about your profession?
 I love working with energy and angels to shift people from life-long patterns and see the miraculous transformations that can take place in someone’s life when they are willing to go into their swamp and heal their deepest wounds and fears. I think it takes tremendous bravery to face your shadow and make a concerted effort to try to heal the parts of your life that aren’t working, so I’m always really excited when I can be part of that process for my clients. I also love doing past-life regressions because they can be so out there!

Sal Jade. Image used with permission.

As a teacher, nothing beats the thrill of bearing witness to one of your students discovering their own gifts, and feeling that sense of ‘coming home’ or belonging.  I also am a big believer in helping my students and clients become so aware of their own magic and power that they trust their intuition enough so that they no longer need to see psychics or healers. 

My other biggest kicks come from helping someone overcome their fears about following a career of passion and joy, and discovering they really have what it takes to succeed at it. It’s an absolute blessing to be able to be a part of someone’s soul journey in this way!

What is the most challenging aspect?
I think the most challenging aspect is disconnecting from your client’s and your student’s pain and patterns. As a healer and teacher it can be really easy to feel helpless when you can see the people you are working with are struggling to sift through their baggage and fears, especially if they are not willing to take any responsibility for their journey. Balancing compassion with ‘you need to own your stuff’ can be a difficult journey- but for the most part I find myself lucky that it’s rare that I attract a client or student who isn’t willing to go within to find the answers- or take some responsibility. (but not too much!) People can often expect a healer to just be able to ‘fix’ everything, and while healer’s can be great facilitators for incredible shifts in someone’s life- everyone really needs to be able to do some work on themselves in order to experience their own power (otherwise they end up just giving all their power to a healer or psychic!)

Whom do you look up to in your profession, and why?
 I have always loved Louise Hay - her books are what started me on my own healing journey 21 years ago and I love her role in helping the world discover the power of self-love and forgiveness.

 Doreen Virtue is a great instructor who I admire for bringing angel work to the mainstream and her tireless efforts to promote a better world for intuitives. 

One of my two biggest inspirations have been healers I have had: I worked with an incredibly gifted anthroposophical homeopath years ago called Lisa Romero who introduced me to the soul’s journey with healing which still inspires me today and I have a Network chiropractor called Euan Macmillan in Sydney who is an absolute magician at helping me clear my stuff.
Sal Jade. Image used with permission.

What is your favorite social media platform (professional or personal) and why?
 Facebook. I like it because it’s the one I use most. I have tried others like Twitter and Google Plus etc- but I never really got the hang of hanging out there- whereas I enjoy the format of Facebook (plus the 144 character thing drove me bonkers in Twitter!:)

What forms of social media do you use to advance your career?
I use Facebook to connect with other entrepreneurs and to gain insight, wisdom and knowledge about the business aspect of my professions. I also have Facebook pages attached to my onlineUdemy courses which helps my students come together as a community and practice the skills my courses teach.  

I also have a Facebook page where I have free daily readings where I interpret cards for the [people who like my page] and offer channelled insights into what may lie ahead for the day and how to manage it. With my Udemy courses I use Facebook a lot to access the Udemy faculty lounge to discover new ways to enhance my student’s learning experiences. 

A screenshot of Sal Jade's Facebook page.

What social media advice would you give a newcomer to your profession?
The first biggie is avoid the beginners mistake of posting anything that resembles ‘buy my course buy my course buy my course.’ Everyone is exhausted with being marketed to- so the best advice is to build relationships based on common interests. Offer solutions when you can and get to know your potential customers. There are loads of ways you can build likes on Facebook- but I suggest never ‘buy’ likes from Fivrr or other sites as this severely damages your Facebook algorithm. 
I have never advertised on Facebook- lots of people have success with it- but I am a bit reluctant to because I have tried to contact Facebook when I have had problems with my page and they have never gotten back to me. I’ve also spoken to other entrepreneurs who have spent a fortune for very little result. I am aware however that FB advertising does work for some people- but it hasn’t been my experience. 

There are loads of courses and Facebook gurus who will promise to ‘double your likes’ be very wary about what you invest in. There’s tons of free or relatively inexpensive information out there. 

My best advice of all is read ‘How to Winfriends and Influence People’ by Dale Carneigie. That has been one of my greatest assets in using Facebook even though it was written decades ago!
Sal Jade's current courses on Udemy.com.

Are there any current or upcoming projects you’d like to plug?
I’ve just started working on an online tarot course which should be ready for publication in about 6 weeks- and my flagship How to Be Psychic online course on Udemy is my current active project. 

The course is designed for beginners who are curious about improving their psychic gifts in a safe and supportive way. It helps you connect with your angels and spirit guides and discover new ways to determine what your next best moves are in your career and finances and relationships. It’s filled with meditations and videos to help you do psychic readings for yourself or professionally – and also helps protect you from negative people and situations.

It has a lifetime access so you can take as long as you need to complete it and I regularly update it with new lectures with the latest skills and techniques to enhance clairvoyance and other abilities. 

There is also a Facebook page [for students] where you can practice readings and receive readings and find access more resources to build your intuitive gifts.

What is your favorite quote?

It’s from the Course of Miracles (and is quoted by Marianne Williamson in her book Return to Love- which I am a huge fan of): “Our greatest tool for changing the world is our capacity to change our mind about the world.”

I am such a huge believer that our minds are the most powerful instruments in which we can implement great miracles and changes in our life.

Sal Jade specialises in assisting those with anxiety and depression heal the most painful aspects of their past so they can learn to trust their soul’s journey and discover their magic to heal themselves and others. She is a qualified  Angel Therapist, ThetaHealing Practitioner and Instructor and Tarot Reader. Sal's formal training includes a Media and Education degree.She has been featured in Sprout Magazine and has read Tarot at MindBodySpirit and Women’s Expos. Learn more at her website.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Battle for Metropolis, Six Flags Over Texas, and #TXSocialMedia - We Battled for Metropolis and WON!!!

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) excited to attend and cover the grand opening of the "Battle for Metropolis" Dark Ride at Six Flags Over Texas on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. This grand opening was one of the most highly anticipated events for the students and board members.

The students captured the grand opening moments, engaged with other attendees on social media, and highlighted their experience after the event by creating a video.

We also captured our experience by posting pictures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Two TSMRI Board members (Drs. Jennifer and Tony Edwards) posing for a picture with Six Flags Over Texas Park President, Mr. Steve Martindale.

Battle for Metropolis event attendees with an Instagram-friendly (square) portable photo frame.

TSMRI Social Media Coaches celebrating the opening of the Battle for Metropolis dark ride with cups of cool, hero-themed soft drinks.

TSMRI Social Media Coaches posing for the Battle for Metropolis photo booth with hero-themed props.

The event featured an amazing photo booth which enabled guests to become superheroes!

TSMRI Social Media Coaches commemorating their Battle for Metropolis experience with a super hero photograph.

We are so glad this team invited us to the event! Battle for Metropolis is a fun, phenomenal ride for everyone! 

Thank you for inviting us to the event! Check out our Storify titled "Six Flags Over Texas - Battle for Metropolis" on May 19, 2015 - #TXSocialMedia.


The Texas Social Media Research Institute (@TSMRI)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Abusive Behavior on Social Media - Twitter Chat Announcement and Recap

Have you ever been called names on social media? Join us this Thursday 8 p.m. as we discuss the problem of online harassment, consequences, and legal remedies. Our hash tag is #txsocialmedia.


Here's a recap focused on the "Abusive Behavior on Social Media" chat! - https://storify.com/TSMRI/abusive-behavior-on-social-media

Monday, May 11, 2015

Are You A Digital Hoarder?

Spring cleaning is in the air.  Kudos if you have cleaned out a closet, de-cluttered a room, or tackled those dust bunnies.  But what about your digital hoard? Do you zealously bookmark or favorite interesting blog posts and online articles that you promise yourself you'll read later (outside of work)?

When was the last time you cleared out your Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter favorites, browser bookmarks, or Pocket (formerly Read It Later) accounts?

                   Audrey Horne from "Twin Peaks" has seen your digital hoard, and it's not pretty.

Before you start feeling defensive, I'll share that I have a Twitter account with over 6,000 (or is it 9,000?) favorited tweets, as well as two different Evernote accounts. However, it is a satisfying feeling to eliminate your digital detritus, even if it is only a bit at a time. Think of it as feng shui for the cloud.


1.  Go in and delete or tag as much as you can in one exhaustive streak, then continue to stockpile digital items on a daily basis until you feel the urge to "clean" again.

2.  Organize (tag) and clean a little at a time as you go.
This is probably the easiest and most realistic option.  Even if you use a rudimentary tagging system such as work and personal, at least everything won't be clumped together.

3.  Start over with a new account, or accounts.
How to delete your..

4. Pay money for premium space. Evernote, Dropbox, and Pocket all have premium options.

5.  Reduce the amount of items you favorite or bookmark on a regular basis. This may be the most difficult option of all. 

Personally, part of the reason I bookmark web pages, videos and other items is "just in case" I need them again. But to be perfectly honest, I only ever go back and look up maybe 10% of these bookmarked items...often, more like 5%.  Yet, if I see something interesting online while at work and don't bookmark it for later, I feel...anxious.  After all...
  • What if I need it?
  • What if it turns out to be life-changing information?
  • What if I could save money and time by reading/watching it, or be better informed than before?

If I bookmark it, I can instantly forget it and move on to the next thing, without those niggling doubts in my brain.

What about you? How do you manage information overload?

Yvonne Mulhern is a board member of TSMRI. She currently uses Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and Twitter favorites.

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