Primary Education

All Things (a)Twitter – Twitter Knowledge!

Even if you are new to the internet, the chance are you have heard about “Twitter”, the micro-blogging platform where the challenge is to have your meaningful say in 140 characters or less. Besides stretching the limits of your imagination and honing your haiku skills, this social networking tool has exploded onto the internet (and traditional) marketers’ horizons with great force, and it seems every one from Oprah (the newest celeb to publicly succumb to the Twitter hype) and President Barack Obama (who is using Twitter to help drive his Health Reform Bill) right through to the Pope has cottoned onto the marketing, brand building and social opinion influencing power of this website.
Such is the power of Twitter as an opinion former (or at least influencing opinion) that even Fortune 500 companies have appointed “Official Social Networking Managers” to continuously keep their brands in the minds of its Twitter followers, expanding on the traditional brand building and brand managing efforts, boosting sales and creating more loyal followers in the process.
The internet being the internet showing no favour just because you are a Fortune 500 company, Twitter has brought tremendous power to the smaller internet and traditional marketer as well, where the small operator can generate just as much traffic to his/her website and create an on-line brand, using the same techniques Fortune 500 companies do. However, some Twitter techniques work better than others do (especially seeing it is a SOCIAL networking platform), and those who manage to tap into the social psyche more effectively than their counterparts can be assured of more traffic and a better response to their Twitter “campaign”. Here is possibly where Fortune 500 companies have the edge – they can afford to employ a Psych graduate (or two or three) or even Post Graduates to manage their Twitter campaigns, especially when it comes to shaping public opinion or influencing the netizen’s perceptions about virtually anything – from politicking to introducing a new flavour of crisps.
The REAL power of Twitter lies in that it incorporates what Seth Godin calls “Permission Marketing”. Instead of the traditional “Interruption Marketing” where what you were doing gets interrupted by a marketing message (think of those television commercials during your favourite sitcom), Permission Marketing is marketing you CHOOSE to be exposed to. Because you choose to hear this marketing message (by, in the Twitter vocabulary, FOLLOWING someone or a brand on Twitter), you are already predisposed to listen to what the marketing message is, and far more likely to ACT on such marketing. Suddenly a marketer is no longer an interruption, he has become a friend that tells you about a product or service because you ASKED him to.
Understanding the power and basic principles of a Twitter campaign is one thing. Executing it effectively can be quite another. Remember the Fortune 500 Psych Grads? They were specifically employed because they understand the human psyche, how we react to external stimuli, especially in terms of how we perceive a brand or “value”, and can employ 140 characters to achieve a desired outcome, one tweet at a time. Great marketing if you can afford the price tag.
Most small and medium companies however, CAN’T afford the price tag, and have to opt for the “self-help” option. The “one man show” almost CERTAINLY will have to opt for the self-help option, and here we meet the first real barrier to making use of Twitter to generate sales. How do you get people to FOLLOW what you are saying tweet for tweet, so that you can build relationships with them to the point where they trust you enough to act on your recommendations? More importantly, how can you be interesting enough that those who stumble across you, will actually tell all THEIR friends about you – the RETWEET phenomenon? And how will you convince these new readers to become followers?
A great number of very informative articles and books have seen the light all about exactly these issues, and can go a long way in helping you create and manage an effective Twitter campaign. In the end an effective campaign boils down to relationships, and Twitter is all about building relationships based around common interests. In this respect human nature has not changed much since the dawn of time – we like those who like us (and think like us) and like the same things we do. The psychological term is “Set”, defined as “Readiness to think or respond in a predetermined way when confronted with a problem or stimulus situation”, and like our offline relationships, our Twitter relationships will be better when we are within our own “set”. The first step in using Twitter as a business tool then, is to carefully design your Biography on Twitter, as this is what other people will judge you (and your suitability to be followed) by. Further to this, choose the people YOU will follow carefully, as even in cyberspace, you will be judged by the company you keep. Keep within your “set”.
The question still remains though, how do you get people to follow you in the FIRST PLACE? Make use of all your other communications to alert people to the fact that you are on Twitter – as part of your email signature, on your business cards and letterheads, on every blog post and website you create content for; even word of mouth works very well to generate a following on Twitter.
Once you have a following, treat them like gold, especially if you hope to sell to them at some point in the future. Make sure that at LEAST 90% of your tweets are NOT sales orientated; there is no quicker way to lose followers than to bombard them with sales pitch upon product offering that has no quality content about your mutual interests, or at least is interesting in itself! Also, a little generosity goes a long way in social networking sites. If you read a Tweet that you found helpful, or interesting, RETWEET it to your followers, including the name of the originator. By using the concept of positive affirmation you not only create goodwill towards yourself from the persons you have retweeted, but you also build your own image as someone who is more interested in providing your followers with quality information, irrespective of the source, than just punting your own products and viewpoints. Retweeting also goes a long way in adding to your follower numbers, as someone you have retweeted will be far more inclined to retweet something interesting you have to say to their followers, broadening your potential follower base.
Wishing you the best with your Tweeting campaigns, and may you dominate your niche one tweet at a time!

General Article

Earning a Certificate in Information Technology Online

Earning a Certificate in Information Technology Online

There really is no excuse anymore not to be able to obtain a qualification in your selected field of endeavor. The internet has now made it possible for anyone to be able to obtain an accredited degree all from the comforts of their own home. Earning a certificate in information technology works in the same regard, you are able to run through a curriculum of classes on your own schedule. Here are a few other things to consider before pursuing your certificate online.

The main thing that you will need to consider is the fact that there are no real classroom settings. Everything that you learn and do will be for yourself and on your own schedule. If you benefit most in learning by asking questions in a classroom setting, an online curriculum may not be for you. Although you will still be able to ask questions and receive answers to your questions, you may have to wait some time for the course professor to get back to you.

No classroom setting also means that you are going to have to be very self reliable and actually do the readings and the homework to make sure that you truly understand what is being taught in the course. Information Technology courses are mainly computer courses and will take some time to really get the hang of how to operate certain programs and hardware devices.

One main benefit of doing your degree online is the fact that you can do your homework and take the courses on your own time. If you do your best learning in the morning, all you have to do is hop out of bed, grab some coffee and hit the computer.

Earning a certificate in information technology online means that you won’t have to worry about changing your schedule around to fit your class needs. You can do just the opposite, work your classes around your schedule. This is perfect for those adults that are working full-time and don’t have the flexibility that most young kids have when they go to school fresh out of high school.

No matter what, a certificate in information technology is not going to be a walk in the park even if it is available online. You will still need to do the same amount of work, but now you will have the burden of holding yourself accountable for getting things done and following the curriculum as posted.

Importance Of Education

Twitter Or Facebook – Which is Better For Business?

Twitter or Facebook? Your starting up an online business and thinking of social networking as a means to market your product or service. You need to know which social networking site is better for that purpose. Twitter or Facebook?
We will start out by looking at Twitter. With Twitter you get 145 characters to say what you want. You need to have followers in order to be read. But, your tweet can reach millions of readers in the matter of minutes if you use the right keywords and hashtags. This can be huge for marketers. You just have to use their service correctly. Learn it.
Facebook is your other option. If you have a personal page on Twitter than you should have one for your online or offline business also. Facebook is great for getting your friends and their friends acquainted with you and your business. Many business owners also use Facebook as a way to connect to others in their niche. While others use it mainly for personal reasons.
As you can see Twitter has its advantages. You can reach millions of readers with interest in your product or service. You just have to use the right keywords and hashtags to get them to read what your saying. While at the same time Facebook can reach millions also by connecting your friends and their friends all with the click of a “like” button.
While it seems that Facebook is better, Twitter has potential. Facebook is definitely easier to reach your audience. But, with the right knowledge Twitter is an invaluable marketing tool. There are internet marketers that use both Twitter and Facebook in conjunction with each other. This type of practice might just give your product or service maximum exposure.

General Article

Online Learning Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners

Online Learning Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners

Adults interested in pursuing an advanced education are discovering increased opportunities because of the growth of online courses being offered by traditional and online colleges and universities. Adult learners are offered flexibility by taking online courses and many online universities develop online degree programs specifically with the working adult in mind. The question often asked concerns the ability of an online classroom to promote effective learning when students and instructors are not physically present.

Within a traditional classroom the instructor is physically present and it is that presence that maintains social interactions and builds relationships with the students. The instructor can gauge the level of student motivation and adapt the instructional methods used based upon what is physically observed. Also visible to the instructor is the student’s level of engagement and participation in the class. In addition, the instructor is available to observe, guide, and discuss the student’s performance and address any potential issues. These physical observations are absent from the online classroom environment.

The online classroom does not change the basic principles of adult learning; rather the format of adult learning has changed when it becomes enabled by the use of technology. The process of adult learning in any classroom environment involves the acquisition of information, interaction with that information through activities, and the creation of new knowledge. The online student’s engagement in the class is usually encouraged through the use of discussion boards and asynchronous interactions with his or her instructor. Performance in an online classroom environment is based upon the student’s work product, whether this is accomplished through group activities, online assessments, or written assignments.

The classroom provides a learning environment that becomes the context for knowledge acquisition by establishing conditions that are conducive to learning. Depending upon the level of involvement by the instructor and the student, the online classroom also has the potential to become very mechanical in nature and it may easy for a student to experience a sense of disconnection from the class and his or her instructor.

The essential element of the online classroom, one that influences the student’s motivation, engagement, and performance, is the performance of the instructor. An instructor can help to create optimal learning conditions through instructional strategies and methods that are student-centered. This can include establishing a strong and interactive virtual presence, modeling active engagement in the class, and being responsive to the students’ questions and developmental needs

General Article

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion Fatigue

My first job as a Registered Nurse was in a terribly busy ER. The hours were long, the paper work was overwhelming, and the patient load was barely manageable. The stress, anxiety and environment began to chip away at my foundational core values of care and compassion. The reality of my eroding foundation didn’t really hit me until, after about a year of employment, an event occurred.

I remember the day quite vividly. It was an extremely stressful day: car accidents, heart attacks, and other serious injuries were streaming in. During the course of my shift, an ambulance delivered a disgruntled patient into one of my rooms. I began to ask routine triage questions. I got the man’s name, age, and then I started asking about his sickness. The man announced that he wasn’t going to tell me anymore until I got him something to drink. I told the guy, “I will get you a drink a little later after I get you checked in and the doctor sees you.” The man kept asking for something to drink, and I kept telling him, “No, we need to get you checked out first.” This volley went back and forth for awhile, and I finally said, “You know what, I will get you your drinks!”

At that point, I went to the hospital fridge and got about thirty little drinks and dropped them all in his bed and said, “Here are your drinks! Now will you tell me what is going on with you?!” At that point the man cussed me out and threatened to kill me. At the time, I felt justified in my reaction; however, my boss didn’t. In retrospect, it wasn’t a good move on my part. It was, however, a telling reaction about the condition of my heart. I realized that my heart had grown bitter, and it was manifesting itself outwardly by infecting me and others. This time it was insulting a patient by dropping drinks on a bed. The next time, maybe I would ignore a patient’s call button, his request for pain medicines, or worse. Unfortunately, my reaction that day wasn’t the last time my “Nurse Ratchedness” manifested itself. I realized that I had to do something in my life to reverse the bitterness, resentment and anger. This disease that infected me is called COMPASSION FATIGUE.

Unfortunately, I have succumbed to this disease more often than I would like to admit. Compassion Fatigue is not just a “fuzzy” word for burnout. This syndrome occurs commonly in those who are long-term caregivers, and it depletes, not just the mind and body, but the very core of a human being. I found my own core values of care and compassion eroding after dealing constantly with sickness, disease and trauma in the emergency room environment.

How do you know if you are succumbing to the effects of compassion fatigue? This malady has many tentacles, and it can infect your physical body, emotions, behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Common signs and symptoms include: anger towards clients, sleep disturbances, mood swings, social withdrawal, enmeshment with clients and an array of other debilitating issues.

The biggest key to fighting off this foe is to take personal inventory and actually realize that you may be suffering from it. There isn’t a pill for compassion fatigue, but there is something called “Take-A-Vacation” therapy. Recognize your own limitations and take proactive steps to remedy the situation. The best thing I did to curb my own case of Compassion Fatigue was to get lost in the jungles of Costa Rica. When I returned to my job after two weeks, I was refreshed, and I began the process of recovery. Ten years later, I am still in the health and human services profession.

However, staying out of the clutches of Compassion Fatigue is not a one-time battle. The fight must be fought day-in and day-out. It is difficult, and you may feel like quitting, but the battle is worth fighting. There is no greater joy than helping others achieve their dreams and contributing to their health and safety.