Testing Social Sharing

3 09 2015

Was trying to get an easy way for people to do a custom share to social media from a newsletter. Idea is to get some of the readers to do something simple to see who are some of our most engaged readers?

Show your support for hiring people with disabilities by sharing Disability Employment Month on
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Built those links using Share Link Generator, which was found after an hour of other piece meal solutions.

Public Speaking

20 07 2014

I used to be terrified of public speaking. I now really enjoy it. When I go to a conference, I like to present and share my thoughts on the themes.  It is a great way to meet people.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve adapted my presentation from the traditional “here are my slides listen to me talk” to a more back and forth interactive sessions.  My new motto is “make it fun.”  In fact, I think you’ll be much more likely to remember what I share, and who I am, if I “make it fun.”  Because boring is boring and at conferences with of sessions and hundreds of people, most people forget more than they remember.  By “making it fun,” people are more likely to remember who you are, what you do, and think of you for opportunities to collaborate on like minded projects — or in other words, make more fun.

Here are some ways I’ve “made it fun” while speaking at conferences.

  1. A simple one.  If you are still in the “here are my slides” mode of delivery, add a video.  Don’t worry about fancy embeds in PowerPoints, and don’t count on the wifi (you can download that YouTube video easy enough) — bring it with you on your computer and a thumb drive.  Play it where it makes sense in your presentation.  Video is very powerful, always the same, gives the audience a break from you, and you a break.  Good video can really pull in an audience that has sat through a lot of people “speaking at them.”  Right now, I’m using this 3 1/2 minute video explaining 30 years of the Neil Squire Society.  Don’t forget to bring speakers and wiring to connect to sound systems.
  2. I’ve used PollEverywhere a few times now to interact with the audience and connect the online and offline worlds. I can pose a multiple choice questions and participants can vote using twitter, texting or a webbrowser.  The results of the group are shown as a bargraph to the audience. These are used all the time in webinars to get a sense of the audience, and provides a solid measurable benchmark on the room on topics. I’ve used this mostly when speaking at educational technology conferences as the audience is super connected techy people, most recently in at ETUG for a gameshow trivia presentation — it is a group version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”
  3. Continuing my gameshow love, I did a Family Feud style presentation.  I did this with an audience I’ve presented to multiple times.  Instead of, once again, “this is what we do” presentation, I framed it as “do you remember what we do?” This flips the presentation and haves them drive it, while I keep score.  This is complicated to use well but I was able to do this a couple of times by following this Family Feud Powerpoint with no mouse blog post and rehearsing a few times.  Not for the weak of heart or one with fear of computers.
  4. Don’t want to use fancy tech? In a presentation I made to an audience of 500 sponsored by the Government of Alberta, instead of showing stats, I asked audience to guess the stats. I was in the “after lunch on the last day” slot, everyone appreciates anything that will keep them awake after an overload of information and usually, a carb-packed lunch. An example question, “What is the disability rate in Canada” is posed, and I work through the audience getting them to guess the answer. I respond “higher” or “lower” until we hit it. Nothing fancy, just a wireless microphone to help the entire audience hear the participants.
  5. Finally, one of the easiest for me to perform but most impactful was just using twitter.  When I presented at Pecha Kucha New West Volume 1, I had some help from CHIMP, an online donation platform. Everyone that used a specific hashtag in a tweet at the event were given $20 to give to any charity of their choice. It was an easy way for people to become socially engaged beyond my allotted 6 minutes and 40 second presentation.

There are certainly better speakers than me, but I promise to always make it fun. The next time you are given the opportunity to speak at a conference, I encourage to think how can you engage the audience to speak and share at your session. And please, make it fun. I ate a lot at the lunch and am feeling tired.

Thinking about information consumption and keeping the good stuff.

11 12 2013

I’ve been thinking about the way I receive and process information.  And I think writing about it will help.

I’m working to conform to the inbox zero, though I fall off that bicycle every now and then.  Right now, the latest problem with my web-consumption is how I interact with things that require some more in-depth reading and research.  I often come across reports or videos or guides or whatever…. stuff.  Good stuff.  Stuff worth going through, but not stuff I always have the time for. So I email it to myself at work.

And then it sits there, for when I have the time to read it.  It sometimes sits there for a while.  A LONG WHILE.

But I do get there.  Maybe.  Perhaps I save a pdf onto a harddrive.  Or my worst sin, copy a URL into a Windows folder, and then make a word “notes” file?  If I am doing a deep topic dig in a short time, I’ve made a notes .doc for a dozen papers and URLs, copy in all the juicy bits, and use endnotes for documenting source.  Dropbox has made this easier across platform and devices, but still is lacking.

I’ve tried other ways to catalog and keep things.  Words like “favorites” are on many webservices – RSS, twitter; watch later on YouTube; give something 5 star on my iTunes library, etc etc etc.  Every one of these things has a “Good stuff” way to flag, but leaves me with two problems

  1. That good stuff is all over the place.  In a browser. In an app.  On a device.  Printed out with highlighter marks on some random pages. I have to go find it, remember where it came from, and hope it doesn’t get retired (Google Reader), die (harddrives), or get upgraded (smartphone).
  2. The other problem is the good stuff sometimes needs to be marked up, and those good stuff bins don’t always allow an easy way to do it.  If I sit through a 20 minute video once, I want to remember exactly what part I need in the future.  If I find a useful stat in a 180 page pdf, I don’t want to search that paper again for it. And I certainly don’t want have to remember what channel I “favourited” it on.

I need a space for my good stuff.  I think Evernote is the solution, here’s a few reasons why.

  • Cross Platform. As an app, it works consistently on all devices – Windows, Android, iOS. I spend time on all three, and I’ve spent way too much time sending stuff from one to the other.  Usually via email.
  • Easy markup with searchability.  Jotting thoughts is easy regardless the media type, which was critical.  But the search-ability is amazing.  Tags help group, but truly amazing is the scanning from a photo you shot. PDF annotations. Notes regarding webpage. I’m playing and learning here, but it looks super robust.
  • Even for that great text resource I didn’t read but looked full of gold? It doesn’t sit in my inbox until “when I have time” and stare at me for days at end.  It’s placed in a proper bin that, even if never read, is scraped for when a future question needs answering and the resource is forgotten.  A “google” of just my good stuff, my own magic crystal of fuzzy memories.
  • Easy to feed, especially using IFTTT recipes for evernote.  Add starred email, share via my Android phone, favorite tweets, read laters in feedly, watch laters in YouTube.. It seems to hook into everything.  I didn’t think about the recipe for Google Calendar notes – but it makes perfect sense. It takes the good stuff out of it’s respective container, and puts it with all my good stuff. Even if for some reason I can’t find a way to elegantly push something into evernote, you can still email into evernote.

I’m optimistic.  I’m trying the 30 day free pro trial of evernote over the holidays.  I have a few weeks to look at stuff, and hoping Evernote easily keeps that goodness together.

Olympic Post a Day #3: Website mashup – things to do.

11 02 2010

Info about events, participants:



Info about things all over the place (and free guide with map):




Free music concerts list:





Best way to know what is happening RIGHT NOW!!!


Disclaimer: no site will have everything, there’s just too much going on – especially as there are many “not official” Olympic parties happening.

See you out there!

Getting Stonger

29 06 2008

Queue the Rocky music!  Slowly but surely my arm is getting better.  I’m able to use my arm for limited periods of time for typing, computer, small tasks… but it’ll be a while before it’s things like baseball, tennis, golf etc.  It’s amazing the little things you take for granted, especially when it’s lose of use of your dominant arm.  Putting on a sock with one hand is a time consuming experience.  It certainly has given me a fresh perspective of what many of my clients go through on a daily basis.


Happy Anniversary, my concussed wife!

13 05 2008

Second emergency room in 8 days.  This time it was Allison… she took a baseball to the head on her way to third base in our ball game on Monday.  I usually get whacked in when I try to get to third too.

She was pretty confused and is off work right now, but hopefully she starts feeling better soon.  Happy Anniversary, my beautiful wife!