Tag Archives: facebook

Bringing health to social media

As part of an initiative to reach out to a larger audience, the Michigan State University Extension Health and Nutrition Institute has enlisted the help of Julia Terhune, MSU Extension educational media coordinator, to establish a presence for the institute on social media. Julia and the team have created a Facebook page, Twitter handle, Pinterest account and more with the title “MI Health Matters.” They have been working tirelessly to reach the public with a steady stream of new information and content.

One of the projects that Julia has been working on to reach the public is a monthly podcast. The first episode, about nine minutes long, was posted on their Facebook page at the end of September.

The podcast talks about the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Project Fresh Program, and features Teressa Young, MSU Extension nutrition program instructor in Saginaw County, as well as James DeWise, mid-Michigan farmer. The Project Fresh Program provides vouchers to recipients of the WIC program, which allow them to purchase fresh Michigan-grown produce at local farmers markets. This is helpful both to the recipients, who have more fresh options with these vouchers, as well as to the local farmers who receive new business because of this program.

Listen to the whole podcast to learn more:

Great job, Julia!

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Filed under Accomplishments, health

Videos tell our story

One of the things that I’ve been impressed with in coming back is the astounding jump Michigan State University Extension has made in technology. Facebook and YouTube are now included in the many methods we use to promote Extension and to do our job of educating.

During Extension’s centennial year, Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications is producing videos that highlight the individual stories of people who have a unique story to tell about Extension. (Dr. Coon mentioned this in a previous blog “What Does MSU Extension Mean to You?” in which he gave the link to the testimonial of MSU student Danielle Bott.)

In case you missed them, three new videos are up. In one video, Doug Lewis,a Washtenaw County 4-H volunteer, talks about the impact Michigan 4-H Youth Development has on our youth. I watched this one over the weekend, and my heart was literally pounding with emotion!

In addition, listen to MSU Extension nutrition and food safety educator Joyce McGarry, talk about the importance Extension had throughout her life, culminating in her becoming an Extension staff member.

And finally, Rep. Roger Victory: when he isn’t representing the 88th District in Michigan’s House of Representatives, he runs Victory Farms in Ottawa County. With the guidance of MSU Extension agents, he started his farm at a very young age, and has since then worked with MSU Extension to facilitate the guidance of other farmers to keep our farm economy thriving.

Watch all four videos by going to the MSU Extension YouTube page.

Check Facebook and YouTube for additional videos as well as the latest information from Extension.

Thanks to ANR Communications social media manager Paula Sheynerman for producing the videos as well as her colleagues Jamie Wilson and Dave Ellis who assisted.

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Filed under Media

It starts with social media

You’ve heard our communication’s folks talk about leveraging social media to tell our story. Karen Waite gave us a good lesson in the power of social media when trying to spread rich, educational information.

On Jan. 29, Karen, a Michigan State University Extension equine specialist, used her Facebook status update to remind horse owners to be mindful of extra precautions they should take during the extreme temperature drop about to occur.

Beth Stuever in ANR Communications saw the update and made this simple suggestion, “This would make an excellent post on msue.msue.edu.”

Within an hour, Karen forwarded a short, science-based article called “Watch Horses for Hypothermia When Temperatures Drop” to ANR Communications. Fifteen minutes later the article was live on the MSU Extension website.

From there, ANR Communications worked to push the information out via Facebook and Twitter. By 5 p.m. on Jan. 29, it had been shared at least 35 times by people and groups on Facebook. By 9 a.m. on Jan. 31 (right about the time the temperatures were beginning to drop), the article had been viewed 841 times. More than 630 of those views were from people who saw it on Facebook. As of Feb. 6, the article has been viewed more than 1,000 times.

One of those early views was by Rosemary Parker, a Kalamazoo Gazette reporter and MLive contributor. Rosemary used it as fodder for two articles: “Horses, Livestock May Suffer Hypothermia, Colic With This Week’s Weather Swings, MSU Expert Says” and “Wednesday’s Weather Swing in Southwest Michigan Can Be Deadly for Horses.” Though we don’t know exactly how many people saw these articles, Rosemary tells us they received “wide readership.” And we know that they were shared collectively on Facebook by nearly 800 people.

So what’s the lesson here? Timely information is important. Our MSU Extension News articles don’t have to be long or time consuming to gain a following. Timeliness is key. And when the media calls, we need to be ready to talk.

Some may argue that Facebook spreads a lot of false or misleading information. Unfortunately, that’s true. But let’s not let that stop us from using social media to educate with facts.

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Filed under Social Media

Mind your (electronic) manners

We’ve discussed email etiquette in past Spotlights, but the information is important enough to repeat. Nowadays, this advice also applies to Facebook posts, blog responses, Twitter tweets, text messages and any other type of social media.

 Whenever you take part in any communication, do so as if everyone is going to read what you have written – because it’s possible they will. An email can be easily forwarded and often an email that was never meant to be forwarded will end up in a long string of emails. Stop and think before you send an email. Would this be better handled over the phone? Save sensitive issues for phone calls, or better yet, face-to-face conversations.

 Avoid sarcasm in an email or social media post. People may also wrongly interpret a joke as a serious statement.

 Be sensitive to others’ points of view. Avoid adding quotes after your signature that may offend. Remember that you represent a publicly funded university, and all communications must be politically and socially neutral. That includes your signature lines.

 When responding to a string of emails that may be five or six – or even more – emails long, it’s helpful to delete the quote or any extraneous information under the signature.

 Check the names of all of the recipients on the email. Think before you hit “reply all.” Is it necessary for all of these people to hear your answer?

 Avoid writing in all capital letters. It’s often perceived as yelling. Check spelling and grammar.

 Though the smartphone is a common and convenient method of communication, it can create its own communication problems. Smartphone users should take special care to check their spelling before sending a message. Those of us who are sending emails to smartphone users – and that is most likely all of us – need to be aware that smartphone users may only see the first part of our email. It’s helpful to give a heads-up in the first line of our message such as “There are five points in this email that I’d like you to address” or “Please answer the two questions in this email.”

 Your MSU email address is legally official university communications. And since we are representing Michigan State University Extension, we want to present ourselves in a professional light. Read over your emails before you send them. Make sure that what you’ve said reflects positively on our organization. Many individuals have a separate email account from a private provider that they can use for voicing their personal opinions with friends, family and decision makers. I encourage you to make full use of the Internet for personal and professional expression. Just remember to communicate as a professional when your communications are a part of your work and to communicate as you wish to present yourself personally when you’re off the clock.

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Filed under professional development

Register now for Fall Extension Conference

As everyone knows, redesigning Michigan State University Extension has not been easy. But we’ve faced a lot of those challenges by going right through them. With that in mind, the theme of the 2011 Fall Extension Conference (FEC11) is “Go Right Through.” We’ve taken the phrase right out of our MSU Fight Song from the line “Go right thru’ for MSU.”

 FEC11 will be chock-full of interactive learning to help us go right through those challenges. The conference brings you the best of both worlds: two days of face-to-face sessions Oct 11-12 at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center and two days of virtual interactive sessions Oct 18 and 20.

 Only online registration will be accepted for this year’s conference – both for the face-to-face and free virtual sessions. Please remember all employees are encouraged to participate in the free virtual sessions. Registration for both types of sessions is now open at http://web2.msue.msu.edu/fallconference/registration.cfm. Registration will close Oct. 5.

Before you register, you will need to decide which sessions you want to attend – both face-to-face and virtual. Visit http://fec.msue.msu.edu/fec/2011_schedule to view the FEC11 schedule.

 There will be a $50 per day charge for the live, in-person conference Oct. 11 and 12 to help cover meal and break costs. Registrations after Oct. 5 will be subject to a $50 late fee. Credit card payments will not be accepted until next week. Currently, you can register for the conference by check or by account number.

 Associations will again have time for their annual awards programs following the Staff Awards Luncheon. Association meetings will have a $10 per person charge to help cover break costs.

The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center is the host facility for lodging, offering a $90 per night rate. However, accommodations at Kellogg have recently sold out. You can call the center at 517-432-4000 to check on possible cancellations. If you do stay at Kellogg, account numbers cannot be billed for lodging. MSU travel policy states that individuals are to pay for their travel including lodging, and then seek reimbursement. To find other local hotel and motel accommodations, check this website: http://www.ctlr.msu.edu/cotravel/hotels_msulocal.aspx

SNAP-ED employees, please watch your inbox for an email from Ben Chamberlain, Extension associate program leader, regarding your registration instructions.

 Visit Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #FEC2011) for the latest FEC chatter. Check out http://fec.msue.msu.edu for the latest FEC announcements, the conference schedule, lodging information, host and presenter information for live and virtual sessions, award information and most importantly, registration information. Check back often as we update the site daily.

 If you have any additional questions regarding FEC11, contact Megghan Honke at honkemeg@msu.edu or Doug Brahee at braheeup@msu.edu.

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Filed under Fall Extension Conference

FEC10 by the numbers

What do you get when you mix –

  • 22 hosts
  • 120 presenters
  • 33 calls to the library help desk
  • 123 teaching hours
  • 334 people simultaneously online
  • nearly 600 total participants
  • 3834 person hours of education
  • 4294 visits to a Facebook page (last week alone!)?

 That would be Fall Extension Conference 2010 (FEC10), our first major online conference. Not long following fall Extension conference 2009, we began discussing the possibility of an online conference for 2010. Consensus was that we should give it a try, though I’m not sure we knew what we were asking for at the time. We had a great experience last week and want to thank all those who helped make it possible – and that’s all of you!

Michigan State University Extension is leading the way by creating a model for the virtual conference. We’ve been given support and encouragement from Dean Armstrong, Provost Wilcox and President Simon. In fact, Dean Armstrong was moved to adopt Adobe Connect for an important meeting he is holding with the CANR College Advisory Committee tomorrow regarding college restructuring.

 If you’d like to go back and view a session that you missed – and that’s one of the positive aspects of having a virtual conference, go to http://fec.msue.msu.edu/fec/proceedings. Scroll through and click on the presentation of your choice.

 We are conducting a comprehensive evaluation of FEC10, and you can participate by completing the survey available at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22BCNAP3KY5. Your feedback will be key not only to future conferences here in Michigan, but to the Extension system as we intend to share what we’ve learned with other Extension professionals across the nation. Please take the time to give us your thoughtful feedback. And I’ll share some of what we learn with you through Spotlight and other outlets.

 The Facebook discussion is ongoing, too, with a couple new questions on technology and FEC 2011 for your input. Please continue to visit there. Meanwhile, if you didn’t take the opportunity to evaluate any of the concurrent sessions you participated in, there’s still time. Please visit the FEC Sessions Survey to provide this important feedback.

 See you next year at Kellogg Center, October 11–13, for FEC 2011!

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Filed under Fall Extension Conference

The face of Extension, online and off

I was pleased to learn that our first virtual conference encouraged several people to become active on Facebook for the first time. Social media is an outstanding way to deliver information to people in a new way. However, it’s important that we take a close look at how we mix our personal lives and professional lives online. “Personal” does not equal “private.” What we say as Joe or Jill Resident is interpreted by many as an official recommendation from Michigan State University.

 So how do we ensure that our personal opinions are not misconstrued as our professional views? Molly Frendo and Jillian Tremonti gave an excellent presentation during FEC10 about Social Networking Boundaries and Professionalism. I encourage you to watch it and learn from their examples. A few highlights: 

  • It is against Facebook’s terms of use (TOS) to have more than one profile. Therefore, DO NOT create one profile to communicate with close friends and family and another one to communicate with colleagues and clients. If discovered, Facebook will remove both.
  • Use your privacy settings to ensure you are not sharing your personal views with Facebook “friends” you only relate to on a professional level.
  • If you have a lot of information you want to share about programming, consider creating a Facebook fan page and concentrate on that as a place to share professional information. Phil Durst’s Young Savvy and Into Dairy page is an excellent example.

Another suggestion you may consider is to use one social media site as your “personal” site, and another for your “professional” site. For example, you may use your Facebook site for keeping in touch with family members, former classmates and friends, and a LinkedIn site for remaining connected professionally. If you’re a relative newcomer to social media, you may want to check out Intro to Social Networking and The Ins and Outs (and Ups and Downs) of Social Media. If you’re a veteran, take a gander at Advanced Social Networking.

Regardless of how you connect, if you want to use social media as a way to express your political thoughts and advocacy for a candidate or a cause, it’s a good idea to remind folks

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Filed under Social Media