Monday, September 29, 2014

10 Must-Have Items at a Blogging Conference

We just arrived back to our university and we are attempting to remember as much information as possible about the conference.

1 - A Tablet or Smart Phone

2 - A Wireless Keyboard (we had a wireless apple keyboard and a Anker keyboard)

3 - A Lightweight Computer
4 - A USB Charger (we had an Anker charger and a generic company promo charger)

5 - Bottles of Water

6 - Kleenex/Tissues
7 - Snacks! You never know when you will have to consume a snack (or two) to sustain your appetite

8 - Charging Cords/a surge protector (You do not want to be known as the person who keeps his/her telephone plugged to the wall all day without being courteous to others.)

9 - Business Cards - During the conference, the students were exposed to various types of business cards (thick, thin, matte, and also business cards created from recycled materials). <- This was exceptionally neat for the environmentally conscious!

10 - A great (professional, high quality camera)

Bonus - A Positive Attitude and a Professional Demeanor - The conference is not a research conference, but positive, professionalism is always desired by all (especially if you are networking with other bloggers and/or brands).

What are other must-have items that you would add to @TSMRI's list?



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Living the "Blog Elevated" Experience: Moving from "Cowboy" Time (Stephenville) to "Island" Time (Galveston)

This weekend, we (Victoria, Diana, Amanda, Dr. Tony Edwards and I (Dr. Jennifer Edwards) attended the Blog Elevated conference in Galveston, Texas.

Stephenville, TX to Galveston, TX" was an exceptionally long drive, but it was definitely worth it. Here is the schedule for this year's conference...

We signed up to volunteer at the conference and it proved to be a VERY rewarding opportunity! We were able to network with the Blog Elevated staff and they definitely included us as one of the team. We exchanged business cards with the Blog Elevated attendees and now we follow many of them on Twitter.

Also, we were able to network with the different brands present at the conference to see how they connect with bloggers through Brand Ambassador programs (and other neat, creative engagement opportunities). This is potentially another applied research topic focused on social presence via influential bloggers. The Social Media Coaches (undergraduate and graduate students) actually left the conference with clarified research interests and a few internal collaboration opportunities.

I was very excited for the students to meet Kami Huyse (@KamiChat) from Houston, TX. She is definitely a top-notch blogger who embraces networking and connections via social media. Kami is definitely one of my aspirant bloggers.

Next year, we would love to be asked to speak/volunteer at the Blog Elevated conference (or a similar conference). This was definitely a great opportunity for the students and also for the board members who attended the conference.

We cannot wait until next year! THANKS Blog Elevated!



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9 Reasons to Attend the 2014 Texas Social Media Conference!

Do you enjoy social media?

Do you enjoy networking and professional development?

Imagine confidently managing social media accounts and achieving your goals.

By attending the Texas Social Media Conference, you can make your dream come true.

1. Actionable Content

Implement what you learn at the social media conference.  You will leave the Texas Social Media Conference with tools you can apply immediate to improve your social media presence.

2. Invaluable Networking

Network with attendees in many fields, business, higher education, K-12 education, and non-profit management.  You are likely to meet someone working in a similar field.  In addition, attendees benefit from networking with people in different fields that are trying the learn to use the same social networks more effectively.

3. Meet Industry Experts

Learn from the success stories of speakers and other attendees.  Find out what's working and how to take your social networking skills to the next level.

4. Testimonials

Discover what last year's attendees said about the Texas Social Media Conference!

Click play to hear what people thought about the 2013 Texas Social Media Conference.

5. Influential Organizations Represented

Previous attendees represented organizations including: Hillcrest Health System, Killeen Daily Herald, Fish Technologies, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, University of Central Arkansas, University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Woman's University, University of Minnesota, East Carolina University, University of North Texas, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, McLennan Community College, University of Oregon, Texas Wesleyan University, Abilene Christian University, and Tarrant County College District.

6. Texas Conference with National Influence

Our location makes the Texas Social Media Conference an economical and convenient choice for Texas and out of state attendees.  Many Texas attendees can only attend in-state conferences for professional development.  Roughly an hour from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, our location is also convenient for attendees who travel by air from other cities and states.

7. Fort Worth, Texas

Approximately 40 minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Fort Worth is an ideal location if you plan to fly to attend the conference.  Fort Worth is also accessible by several major expressways, including I.H. 30, I.H. 20, and I.H. 35W.  With average temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees during October and November, the Texas Social Media Conference is a great excuse to escape colder climates.

8.  Location: Tarleton State University Southwest Metroplex Center

Tarleton State University Southwest Metroplex Center
Tarleton State University Southwest Metroplex Center
Photo by Dr. Anthony Edwards

Located at 6777 Camp Bowie Boulevard, the Tarleton State University Southwest Metroplex Center in Fort Worth is easily accessible from Interstate Highway 20 and Interstate Highway 30.  The location is roughly 45 minutes from Dallas, approximately 4 hours from San Antonio, approximately 4 hours from Houston, approximately 50 minutes from Denton, roughly 3 hours from Oklahoma City, 4.5 hours from Lubbock, and roughly 2 hours from Abilene.

9. Ideal location for Vacation or Stay-cation

The Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex includes great travel attractions including Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Gaylord Texan Resort, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Fort Worth Museum of Nature and Science, Fort Worth Zoo, Dallas World Aquarium, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, LegoLand Discovery Center, and the Grapevine Opry

Click here to register for the Texas Social Media Conference now!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Social media, lies, and more lies

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” 
Mark Twain*

Can you determine the difference between a truth and a lie on social media? This crucial skill could potentially affect your health, your checkbook, and almost certainly your social life.

Below are a few tips for weeding through the morass of "facts" on social media (and online).

1.  Learn how to accurately evaluate information
(both in print and online). 

                                           "The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy"
is something Abraham Lincoln never said.

Common things to look for include authority, currency, relevancy, accuracy, and purpose.
Be aware, however, that these factors can vary depending on the context of the information.  "Currency" for a medical journal is not the same thing as currency for literary criticism, or for a movie review.   Resist the urge to share a mind-boggling "fact" you've found on social media until you can verify it. Otherwise, you'll just be spreading misinformation.

2.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Photo taken by Milton H. Greene (now in public domain); obtained through
Wikimedia Commons. Text added via by Yvonne Mulhern.

Did you know that there are people out there with advanced degrees in information organization and related fields, who specialize in helping people find accurate, relevant sources both in print and online?
They're called librarians.  And they really want to help you.
No joke. 

In the meantime, here are two quick tips for when you're not sure about the veracity of your online sources.

Tip 1:  Perhaps you're not sure if that latest email from a relative warning about what sounds like an urban legend is for real.  A quick check at may help.

Tip 2: Tired of plowing through pages of questionable results for an academic assignment?
An easy way to cut out extraneous sources from your Google search is to insert or next to your search words.  This limits your results to government or education (college and university) websites, respectively.  Is every web page that ends in .edu or .gov necessarily relevant or helpful to your search?  No, but this does cut out a lot of chaff.  It also makes looking for information on potential health problems less horrifying. Better yet, confine Googling your health symptoms to recommended sites.

3.  Verify, verify, verify.
Screenshot of tweet from the Associated Press.
Hint: Googling does not always help with verifying. 

For example, the quotation falsely attributed to Marilyn Monroe (above) pulls up over 130,000 results online.  To verify a quote, your best bet is to find a book of quotations put out by a reliable publisher. In April of 2014 the Associated Press Twitter account was hacked and this message was tweeted to several million followers: "Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured." Less than a minute later,
the Dow Jones took a dive of over 150 points (but recovered several minutes later, as news of the hoax spread).

If you see people tweeting about a celebrity death, an easy way to check type the celebrity's full name for confirmation. Look for results from well-known newspaper websites (instead of blogs or other forms of social media).

The above are just a few suggestions to get you started on the road to becoming a more critical information consumer.  The saying "don't believe everything that you read" is still as true as ever--maybe even more so.

Note: Mark Twain may not have actually said this.


Galvin, Joe. "A Year In Debunks: Separating Social Media Fact From Social Media Fiction." Storyful blog. 

Shapiro, Fred.  "Quotes Uncovered--How Lies Travel."  Freakonomics blog.

"AP Twitter feed hacked; no attack at White House." USA Today


is a cross-collaborative initiative where
Tarleton State University students, faculty, and staff organize
annual social media conference and produce a peer-reviewed social media research journal.
Follow us on
Twitter and Facebook. for the latest social media news, research, and more.

Yvonne is a TSMRI co-director and librarian who likes old movies and new media.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Vote for @TSMRI's SXSWEdu Proposal! - 55 Social Media Tips for #HigherEd Faculty and Staff

This week, I (Dr. J. Edwards) am especially excited about the #SxSWedu proposal voting period! We are entering the second week and here is our proposal for the Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI):

Here are our "sharing stats"for the past week!

We definitely need more shares, please help us! Vote here -

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reasons to Visit the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History @FWMSH

Here are some of the top reasons to visit the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History as part of a vacation, stay-cation, or field trip:

Exhibits families and children will enjoy

From the Children's Museum to DinoLabs, there are lots of activities that children and their parents can enjoy together.

Exhibits adults and parents will enjoy

My daughter (Dr. Tony Edwards) is too young to remember the Indiana Jones movies, but I grew up watching these movies.  The memorabilia in the Indiana Jones Archaeology exhibit are amazing.  History buffs will enjoy the archeology finds in the exhibit as well.  Robert Philpot of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram provided a detailed description of the exhibit.

Source: fortworthmuseum (YouTube channel)
Grown ups and history lovers of all ages would enjoy movies like "Rocky Mountain Express."
Source: fortworthmuseum (YouTube channel)

Hands-on learning for the kids

EnergyBlast and DinoDig are sure to keep the kids busy and engaged at the same time.

Great movies for fans of history and science

From the Imax Theater to the Noble Planetarium, there is no shortage of videos at the museum to entertain both children and grown ups.
Source: fortworthmuseum (YouTube Channel)

Engaging examples of Texas history

While learning about Texas cattle and the Chisholm Trail, you can visit visit the Cattle Raisers Museum and celebrate 150 years of Fort Worth history. Convinced? Click here to buy tickets or purchase a membership. Disclaimer: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History invited TSMRI Board Members and Student Social Media Coaches to visit the museum.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Facebook, Twitter, and Wikis: Social Media in the College Classroom

 Did you know that TSMRI produces its own peer-reviewed, open access peer-reviewed journal? The Journal of Social Media In Society disseminates social media research twice a year.  If you are interested in submitting a paper or becoming a peer reviewer, please visit the journal website.


Below is an article abstract from our latest issue.  Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, a psychology instructor at Abilene Christian University, discusses their campus-wide mobile learning program, and how faculty members used social media in their classrooms.

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by lukew
College student surrounded by mobile devices.
creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo (untitled) shared by lukew


Social Media in the Classroom: Challenges and Strategies in Faculty Development


Jennifer Shewmaker


Abilene Christian University began developing a campus wide mobile learning program in 2008, providing a context of campus saturation by 2010. The re-imagining of teaching and learning prompted by this initiative led to the use of mobile learning and to the introduction of social media components into the learning context. This paper will discuss the promise and challenges of social media in the classroom, explore the use of social media in higher education, and discuss the strategies that the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning has used in order to provide faculty development training for the use of social media within both traditional and non-traditional learning environments


is a cross-collaborative initiative where Tarleton State University students, faculty, and staff organize an annual social media conference and produce a peer-reviewed social media research journal. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook  for the latest social media news, research, and more.