Monthly Archives: December 2016

Thank you for a great semester!

 

Finally! Done!

It has been a wonderful semester learning about emerging technologies and how they relate to technical communication. Below is the abstract for my final paper. Sorry, it’s late to posting.

I enjoyed meeting you and seeing a lot of different ideas and perspectives. It’s been a while since attending classes in academia, so most of my communication with technical communicators have been with practitioners, which is a different conversation than college. Money is a motivating factor with practitioners.

Using Content Management and Social Media for a Unified Content Strategy

Anyone inside of an organization can create content. Many organizations struggle to develop a sustainable and flexible content strategy to meet the needs of all stakeholders. There are many content management and social media tools available to help manage content.

Throughout my research, I found a bunch of resources that were valuable for this paper from the peer-reviewed articles. One of the surprising items was reading Behles’ work in online collaborative writing tools (2013). She discovered some of the tools practitioners in TC use and that related well with Ferro & Zachry’s article we read for class. (To be quite honest, how I found Ferro & Zachry’s article was via research databases and it didn’t occur to me that I was rereading the same article we discussed in class until I put together my bibliography).

I wanted to find out what some of the aspects that my organization is handling content strategy and ways we are identifying it from the perspective I have. I know that I have worked at other parts of the organization, however content strategy is a wide-reaching topic that covers everything from content creation, content management systems, organizational culture, internal politics, and much more. To narrow this down, my paper investigates content strategy as a means to manage content within a workplace environment, current approaches to collaborative and social tools, and trends where technology and business culture can take us to.  I related this discussion to include experiences at my workplace and suggest ways to adopt certain aspects of content strategy.

To give you context about content strategy, I looked at Kristina Halvorson’s book, Content Strategy for the Web as a starting point. However, there are many others who have chimed in the matter, such as Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper, who wrote, Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. However, we don’t necessarily have to look at these two books to set the tone and follow their guidance. There are many more resources to pull from and there is so much more that can be researched. Such as, how social media tools can be used for content strategy besides research gathering, feelings about people using a melding of social media tools within a business environment, and and what kinds of new technologies that haven’t been invented (or reinvented) that can be used.

Conclusion

This paper really kicked me. But I believe that using the blog and writing the annotated bibliography and speaking via Skype helped out. I wished I could have put my work’s project on hold for a bit longer, but as with any higher education institution, the rush time is usually at the end of the semester and especially so before we take off for winter break.

Lastly, I believe content strategy = future job security.

I’d suggest attending the LavaCon Content Strategy Conference, either in Dublin, IE or Portland, OR in 2017. You can see the perspective of technology tools, business process, and technical communication put into practice.


Bibliography

Behles, J. (2013). The use of online collaborative writing tools by technical communication practitioners and students. Technical Communication, 60(1), 28-44.

Ferro, T., & Zachry, M. (2014). Technical communication unbound: Knowledge work, social media, and emergent communicative practices. Technical Communication Quarterly, 23(1), 6-21.

Halvorson, K., & Rach, M. (2012). Content strategy for the web. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Rockley, A. & Cooper C. (2012). Managing enterprise content : A unified content strategy (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Advertisements

Is technical communication ready for the crowd?

Way back in 2010, I was involved with a platform similar to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, but for editors. A program would break a long document, such as a novel or somebody’s thesis, into 300-400 word chunks. Then a pool of editors (I among them) would edit however many of those chunks they felt like until all were edited, at which point the program would reassemble. The edits were peer-reviewed–having an edit rejected hurt your credibility score, and if your score dropped too low, you lost the ability to edit.

I was (and still am) fascinated by crowdsourcing, especially wikis. When it came time to write my capstone paper for my BS in TechComm, I desperately wanted to write about crowdsourcing in TC, but there was just no literature on it. As Andy Oram states in the Foreword of Anne Gentle’s Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, “A few years ago this book could not have been written, because the phenomena it describes were just poking their heads out of the sea, and no one could predict what form their evolution would take. A few years from now this book will be unnecessary, because we’ll all be participating so fully in the phenomena that newcomers will take to them like ducks to water.”

I wanted to know if the latter was true–is TC, as a field, moving toward crowdsourcing and user-generated content? To determine this, I am performing a review of the literature in TC to see who is writing about it and what they’re saying. The preliminary results say that, yeah the field knows all about it, but academia still hasn’t caught up. Blog post after blog post discusses using wikis, forums, and other Web 2.0 tools to build and feed a community of content-generating users, with the technical communicator acting as a facilitator, moderator, and editor-in-chief. StackExhange and FLOSS manuals are almost entirely written and curated by the crowd. From the practitioner standpoint, crowdsourcing is here, and it’s working.

Yet academia is strangely silent. While there is a seemingly endless supply of books and articles about crowdsourcing, there is very little relating to our field. Only a single book exists dedicated to the topic as it pertains specifically to TC (Anne Gentle’s from above), and a few others (many of them readings from this course) mention crowdsourcing in passing, but don’t focus on it. Precious few articles from scholarly sources mention it, and only one article (from a non-scholarly source) actually uses the term crowdsourcing.

Is academia lagging behind industry, as it is inclined to do at times in this field? Is academia, with its more conservative approach, less open to the reinvention of the field? I don’t know the answer, but it is clear that there is a need for more scholarly discussion and research into crowdsourcing and user-generated content, because they are alive and well in the field. As they become more widely embraced, practitioners will start to search for guidance and best practices–if they don’t find them in scholarly sources, they will turn to blogs more and more, perhaps leading to the extinction of our field’s journals.

Can’t Believe I Made It

Well, we’ve reached the end of this semester and, honestly, in these last couple weeks I wasn’t sure I was going to get everything done! But, I did and I’m so excited to have the next couple weeks to spend not thinking about school 😉

Overall, I’m really glad I took this course, as it has been an excellent addition to my previous knowledge on social media and its uses in TPC. Here is a look at my final project for the course (which ended up being way longer than I anticipated):

Social Media’s Use in Employment

The topic I wanted to research  for this project(all uses of social media in employment decisions) ended up being far to broad to fit into the scope of this paper, so I had to narrow my focus a bit. I ended up focusing my paper on the use of social media in employee selection (screening) decisions – looking at the advantages and disadvantages for both the employer and the applicant.

This topic is of interest to me because, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, I currently work for a pre-employment screening firm so the area of screening applicants is somewhat familiar to me (although we do not use any information we obtain from social media profiles in our reports, we often look at them). Additionally, as I was finishing up my undergraduate career (when social media was blowing up), I was constantly told horror stories of how social media profiles could prevent you from getting jobs, and the strange and seemingly inappropriate methods for gaining access to profiles (for example, requiring applicants to provide login information so employers could look at all aspects of a profile, even that which is password protected). These two areas, along with the fact that social media use is often delegated to the technical communicator in an organization, led me to choose about this topic.

What I found is essentially common sense (at least to me) – don’t post inappropriate things on the internet, carefully monitor privacy settings and what other people post about you, etc. Additionally, organizations should create specific procedures if they are using social media profiles for decisions to deny employment to an applicant, to avoid discrimination and bias. Some of the legal cases I read about were exceedingly interesting, but too long and complicated to retell in this format (though I did talk my husband’s ear off about them on several occasions).

Conclusions

This course was extremely interesting and provided me with a great deal of experience in creating quite a lengthy report and a case study (which I really enjoyed creating). Though quite challenging, I think I am leaving this course with not only a wider base of knowledge on the use of social media and its connections to technical communication, but also a better grasp of creating different kinds of documents (blog posts, case study, etc.) that will no doubt be useful to me in the future.

Where Social Media Brand Communities and Technical Writing Meet

I’ve been intrigued by both this class’s use of social media and readings about social media, as well as the changing role of technical communicators. It made me start to wonder — what if technical documentation was a social media platform?

Companies are already investing heavily in social media brand communities where they create their own internal social media sites so that customers can connect with each other and provide direct feedback to the company. Earlier research has shown that strong social media brand communities have a sense of connectedness, rituals and traditions in the form of storytelling, and a moral responsibility where users want to contribute. All of these seem like a natural fit for technical documentation.

The company where I work has a vibrant social media brand community based on a discussion forum that is accessible to customers only. Customers use it to post questions and offer support for each other. We’ve begun to integrate it with our repository of published technical documentation through shared searching and allowing for commenting directly on documents.

Using my company’s site as the primary case study, my final paper focused on pushing the boundaries of where we can go next. The idea of social media brand communities creating technical documentation fits with the trend toward user-generated content (a la Wikipedia) and would certainly change the face of technical communications. However, it might be premature to begin publishing both company-created content and customer generated content alongside each other and without distinction without a way to validate what customers write. Users need a way to know which of their peers are credible and to identify trustworthy documentation.

Until we tackle those questions of developing a trust system and a way to maintain the quality of technical documentation, there are some baby steps that both my company and other organizations can take to begin leveraging the power of the user community in technical writing. These include:

  • Integrating social media features such as commenting and “likes” with technical documentation.
  • Using viewer data to organize content and help users find what others similar to them have read.
  • Creating collaborative documents where the company partners with a customer in creating a new guide.

I think the big takeaway for me from this course and from the final paper has been how rapidly technical communication is changing. It’s an exciting time to think about all the new tools that are available, and we’ll also have to be agile and aggressive as we redefine our role in a new age of documentation.

open road horizon

Cultural Honesty in a Digital Reality

Hi ENGL 745 compatriots!

We have reached the end of the semester and it has been a long time coming. Looking at the web, digital literacy, and the effect of technology on society and relationships has caused me to ask a lot of questions.

Chief among them, how much of an effect does the ease of online and transnational communication have on intercultural communication and discourse?

icc

Source: (https://www.dal.ca/dept/interculturalcommunication.html)

Does it matter to anyone? Is it in any way our job to question the short-term and long-term effects our digital reality has brought?

Yes, of course it is. As technical communicators, we work in a field that runs on our ability to analyze trends in technology, craft content that has a global audience, and manage communications (social media, technical writing, editing, translation, etc) that represents both ourselves, our companies and clients, and our audience.

As audience members, we must also be aware of what we are taking part in, what we are allowing with the continued subsistence on technology and digital communications.

It is more important than ever that digital literacy become a focal point for study and reflection. Not just for those of us choosing this career. Not just for the audience members who have an interest in the cause-and-effect relationship society now plays with technology. But for every man, woman, and child to take an active part in educating themselves.

You also have to ask yourself: is this really a problem? It is a fact that in order to get something – a job, a car, a house, an education, security, we have to sacrifice something else – manpower, time, money, even more money, free will. It is the nature of the beast.

So in order to have almost worldwide communication, it makes sense that we would have to sacrifice the cultural minutiae, beliefs, axioms, concepts, ideas, and linguistic foibles that speak to a greater identity and connection to history, race, gender, nationality in order to be widely understood. In order to take part in the conversations that are taking place around us (anyone with an Internet connection and the ability to communicate is instantly apart of a greater whole), how we interact with content as consumers, creators, managers, and technical communicators comes from being able to understand and be understood in turn.

So what does this mean for us and for a world of people constantly online?

There are methods to become more culturally sensitive. Professionally, there are training sessions and programs and a gaggle of Human Resources personnel ready and willing to stamp their workforce as “actively seeking diverse candidates and new ideas.”

Academically, there are courses and programs designed around international and intercultural communication like the one at the University of Denver. Our program has two classes along these lines though they are not mandatory and have not been taught in a few years.

We used to be content with our letters. Reading and writing meant power and opportunity. That is no longer the case. Literacy is still not at 100% but digital literacy has become just as important for us all to learn.

web_iicpaintedface

Source: http://www.du.edu/ahss/mfjs/programs/graduate/iic.html)

If there is one other thing I have taken away from this class it’s that I am definitely going to be starting a blog for the new year. This medium is so flexible and a great mix of text and visuals.

It’s been an adventure these past few weeks. I hope everyone has a great end of the semester and rings out the rest of 2016 in style. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Web 2.0 vs Health 2.0

I’m relieved to put an end to this semester; taking 6 credit hours and a full-time workload has taken a toll on my health and social life.

Web 2.0

Whether you grew up without internet access and mobile technology or you can’t imagine life without it, Web 2.0 has enabled all of us to contribute, share, participate, respond, and connect to much more information than the last 2000 years put together (I read this somewhere). Emerging media continues to connect more people across the world and disconnect them from the person sitting next to you or across the table. Of all the texts we read in this course, I was most influenced by Sherry Turkle. Yes, it took 15 years to write Alone Together, but it was worth the wait. Because if she had published the book after a year or two, she wouldn’t have made such a dramatic impact. This was a turning point for me; I took a break from Web 2.0 for a couple weeks (except for contributing to this class) to examine how my attention was keeping me away from what was really important – relationships with people.

 

health-20-patient-empowerment-through-innovative-technologies-3-728

SlideShare.net by Sean Mirk

Health 2.0

As Web 2.0 continues to change and evolve faster than ever before, health 2.0 is slowly gaining web presence and connecting with consumers and patients. Health 2.0, as defined by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn (2008), is “the use of social software and its ability to promote collaboration between patients, their caregivers, medical professionals, and other stakeholders in health” (p. 2). I researched the quality of health information found through social media and evaluated whether health information influenced health behaviors. The following is an excerpt from my final research paper. This will also contribute to my final thesis for this program.

Introduction

Where can millions of people access free health information? The answer  – online social media, health communities and health websites. Healthcare has the potential of reaching millions of people to disseminate information about disease prevention, public health awareness campaigns, nutrition and exercise promotion, dietary supplements, new prescription drugs and other health-related information. According to the Pew Research Center (Greenwood, Perrin, and Duggan, 2016), nearly 80% of all adult Americans online use Facebook for news while adults over the age of 65 and women comprise the majority of all social network users. Web technology has enabled more consumers to have direct communication with businesses, medical/health websites, and online health communities to find health information they need for themselves or family members; however, health 2.0 technology has been slow to reach Web 2.0’s capabilities. A study conducted by Jha, Lin and Savoia (2016) analyzed 34 U. S. state health departments’ social media postings on Facebook and found there was very little interaction between the Facebook page and the audience; social networks were only being utilized as a one-way communication tool and oftentimes the information was not relevant to the audience (p. 177).

Problem

As healthcare and health insurance costs increase and research about new procedures and medicine become readily available, more people are becoming their own health advocates and searching for health and medical answers online. People are searching for information about ailments, illnesses such as cold or flu, natural and herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and side effects of prescription drugs. However, with the abundance of health information online it is often difficult to determine its credibility, relevance, and accuracy. The accuracy of information is neither consistent nor reliable across health websites, so how do people know what to believe to make informed decisions about their health or when to seek advice from a physician? Social networks also promote unethical and inaccurate news sites through advertising and social sharing, which reduces the authority and reliability of health information online.

Furthermore, medical professionals, health officials and government entities are not effectively using social networks to disseminate health information for targeted audiences. Thus, online users are not receiving accurate or timely health information to make informed decisions that could be detrimental to themselves or family members.

… the research continues with this topic, I found more articles of interest as I was writing this post, internet sources elude me; however, I hope you have learned to navigate the ever-changing technology during this course.

Happy Holidays and  Congratulations if you are graduating! Fair winds and following seas, as we say in the Navy.

 

 

DONE DONE DONE DONE

Finals are horrible.  This really nice girl from one of my classes sent a super nice note this morning to congratulate everyone on being done with the semester and I’m like, “Dude, ouch.  Not even close.”  Because today was only day one of the brutality.  Three papers in two days is so mean.  I don’t recommend 9 credits to anyone.  EVER.  Under ANY circumstances.

Anyway!  Here’s a summary of my paper:

TRUE Studio, Yoga Branding, Marketing, and Advertising: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Introduction

As many people may know, the practice of yoga dates back thousands of years to ancient Asia and specifically to India.  The art of yoga itself contains more than just the postures many of us are familiar with today; yoga includes the mental practice including meditation, a spiritual philosophy, a particular lifestyle, using essential oils, and many other “arms” of the practice.  Many yoga practitioners believe that doing yoga, such as going through the postures and poses, is the least important part of yoga and in fact was developed to help young Indian scholars use their energy while in meditation so as to be less distracting to the mental practice.

Yoga was introduced to western society as early as the 1800’s, but gained popularity more throughout the latter half of the 20th century, enjoying a more drastic uptick in popularity since the 1980’s and again in the first part of the 21st century.  While some yoga “essentialists” or “fundamentalists” might disagree with using yoga as simply a form of physical exercise, it is increasingly being used as such and is continually made popular by well-known fitness coaches and professionals, as well as celebrities.  Some “famous yogis” include: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Christy Turlington, Jessica Biel, Hilaria Thomas Baldwin, Reese Witherspoon, Kaley Cuoco, and Miley Cyrus.

In Western culture, the focus tends to be on the yoga poses and postures, also called asanas, themselves rather than yoga and its additional “arms.”  For this reason, yoga fundamentalists disregard modern yoga in western society as true yoga.  But the practice continues to gain speed regardless.

From a technical and professional communication standpoint, it is of interest to communication scholars to study how branding, marketing, and communication is being used to bolster the business of yoga and boost its popularity in this part of the world.  I drew from published research material to bolster my research.  For example, in Branding Yoga: The Cases of Iyengar Yoga, Siddha Yoga and Anusara Yoga (2012), author Andrea Jain attempts to discover why the style Anusara Yoga, developed by an American named John Friend, became so popular in Western culture.  Anusara Yoga is a more modern, contemporary style of yoga than compared to yoga styles that have prevailed in Asia for hundreds of years or more.  In Jain’s study, she “evaluates the context in which yoga became subject to a sequential branding process: selection, introduction, elaboration, and fortification” (p. 4).  She focuses on Friend’s ability to not only brand his style of yoga, but also how he used himself as part of the branding process.

As with many or most businesses in America today, many yoga and fitness studios use a plethora of social media platforms, electronic communication, and other modes of mass communication including, but not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  While we study the constant onslaught of new means and modes to communicate digitally, on the internet, or with smartphones, businesses must understand and anticipate that onslaught and be ready when it arrives.  The question I would like to answer in my final paper is the following:  When it comes to branding, marketing, and advertising for yoga studios, what works and what doesn’t?  I intend to study different forms of digital and electronic communications for yoga studios in the Janesville and Verona, Wisconsin areas to best understand their methods.  I will observe and record their methods and also observe their online communities and how they interact respectively.  The utility for this topic is to determine the effectiveness of social media in the field of technical communication.  There is also a vast amount of professional research on the subject that have aided me in my research and observation.

TRUE Studio Background

In order to provide a better understanding of the purpose of this research project, it is important to illustrate the type of business TRUE Studio.  This information outlines key elements of True Studio, a unique group-exercise, multi-functional studio featuring indoor cycling (Spinning®), yoga (heated), and core strength (TRX) classes.  This specialized niche business will be conveniently located in a vibrant, active area with optimal population density and high household income.  TRUE Studio will be the first boutique of its kind in the area and will provide classes taught by superior instructors, iconic design, intimacy, convenience and exceptional customer service.  TRUE Studio will also feature a café for nutrition-conscious consumers, childcare, and a friendly, community-oriented environment.

Over the past 3 years, the appeal of boutique fitness studios has increased dramatically as evidenced by the rapid spread of independent group exercise studio businesses across North

America and around the world. Planning to launch in early 2017, TRUE Studio will target cycling

and fitness consumers seeking to improve physical fitness, reduce stress, lower blood pressure,

lose weight, and live a healthier, more abundant lifestyle.  Clients will be largely repeat

customers who develop a regular workout routine.

The health and fitness industry in the United States and globally is growing as a whole.  In Wisconsin, the majority of people exercise at large, franchised gyms/health clubs.  However, there is a demand for a premium boutique experience that is not currently being met.  TRUE Studio looks to capitalize on this growth with its unique health and wellness offering.  Indoor Cycling is a popular and effective group exercise that has been around in various forms since 1987.  Participants pedal sophisticated stationary cycles and are coached by an instructor who leads various “rides” set to motivational music.  Today, roughly 5 million people participate in indoor cycling in North America making it one of the most popular group exercises of all time.  This low-impact, high cardio exercise is recommended for people of all ages and fitness levels because the student controls the speed and intensity.  This is an increase of 74% in the past 5 years. (2016, IHRSA).  An increasing percentage of riders cycle at dedicated studios such Soul Cycle and Flywheel, two high-profile New York-based studios.  Reality TV shows have featured indoor cycling instructors, and Hollywood Cycle airs each Tuesday night on E! Channel.

TRX Strength The TRX Suspension Trainer was developed by former US Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick, as he and his fellow SEALS searched for ways to stay in peak physical condition with limited access to training implements and/or space. Starting as parachute webbing, it has developed into a well-made, portable training system that is affordable and user friendly. It’s harness system allows you to use your own body weight for strength training. It allows for the explosive movement of plyometrics without the same stress upon landing. The exercises performed on the TRX are multiplaner, which more closely mimics real life situations that require strength. By adjusting body position, the level of difficulty of a particular exercise changes as well, making it appropriate for people at all fitness levels.

TRUE Studio’s hot yoga class is an invigorating sequence of postures that works the entire body and is appropriate for all levels of experience. The class is led in a heated room with 40% humidity. The heat warms and opens the body, enhances flexibility, releases toxins, and naturally focuses the mind to a single point of concentration.  Within this environment, a truly complete sequence of postures is practiced at a deliberate pace and with thorough instruction from the teacher.  Modifications and advanced variations will be introduced.  With the aid of the heat, the postures will gradually optimize every facet of the body and mind.  Traditional yoga classes including Vinyasa Flow, Meditative, Ashtanga, and Yin will also be offered.

truestudio1

Differentiation

                The idea of a dedicated boutique studio model is not new.  It has thrived for years unique to exercise activities such as yoga, Pilates, and boot camp, even though those activities are widely available in large gym settings.  TRUE Studio offers 3 unique studio environments under one luxurious roof.  Below are 7 keys that will differentiate the business:

Dedicated boutique: By definition, a studio with niche offerings is more focused on the quality of that service than a large gym providing dozens.

Complementary workouts: Indoor cycling is an extremely effective cardio workout and participants can complement that exercise with a strength or yoga class.

Expert instruction: High energy, charismatic instructors will be selected and trained for their ability to attract and retain class attendees.

Pricing convenience and flexibility: Contract memberships or “pay-per-class” options will be available. Pre-paid ride card fees, or monthly passes are purchased online and class credits are debited as customers attend.

Online scheduling: The studio will deploy a unique online sales and scheduling system that users can also access via mobile device. The system vastly simplifies class dynamics for the studio and is a major convenience for customers.

Intimacy and community: The studio atmosphere is markedly different from the feeling at “big box” gyms. Instructors and class attendees interact more directly and the vibe is fun, friendly and supportive. Appeals to all ages, fitness levels.

Convenience and amenities: Clients can get in and out quickly for an efficient workout. Amenities will include towels, filtered water, spa-grade shower products, hair styling tools, lockers with USB charging stations, cycling shoes, environment-friendly yoga mats, complimentary wi-fi, childcare and expansive social area.

That’s the set up.  Essentially what I did afterwards was break down my findings based on my observations of each company I targeted.

Facebook: Anytime Fitness, Capital Fitness, Cyc Fitness, Dragonfly, Fit Moms Transformation Center, Flyght Cycle, Harbor Wellness, Orange Shoe, Orange Theory, Planet Fitness, Princeton Club

Instagram: Anytime Fitness, Capital Fitness, Cyc Fitness, Dragonfly, Harbor Wellness, iGo, Orange Shoe, Orange Theory, Planet Fitness, Princeton Club

Twitter: Anytime Fitness, Capital Fitness, Cyc Fitness, Dragonfly, Harbor Wellness, Orange Shoe, Orange Theory, Planet Fitness, Princeton Club

The commonplace of these organizations having social media platforms go by how they are listed:  Every target studio has one or more Facebook accounts.  The second most was Instagram, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn, and lastly was newsletters.  It was noticed that many organizations also had Pinterest accounts, but my research did not include information about Pinterest.  I observed how often each company posted on each respective platform noting content and consistency.

Planet Fitness: Facebook—at least once a day to every other day; Instagram—approximately four times a week; Twitter—at least once every two days.

Orange Theory Fitness:  Facebook—once a day; Instagram—at least three times a week; Twitter—one to three times a day.

Orange Shoe: Facebook—few times a month, three times a year; Twitter—once a month to a few times a year

iGo Fitness: Facebook—once since July 2016; Instagram—one post 94 weeks ago.

Harbor Wellness Studios:  Facebook—at least twice a week; Instagram—once per week; Twitter—up to three times a day.

Flyght Cycle Fitness:  Facebook—once a day; Instagram—three times a week.

Fit Moms Transformation Center: Facebook—approximately twice a week

Dragonfly Hot Yoga:  Facebook—up to twice a day; Instagram—once or twice a day; Twitter—up to three times a day.

Cyc Fitness:  Facebook—up to three times a week; Instagram—up to three times a week; Twitter—approximately once a day.

Capital Fitness:  Facebook—up to four times a day; Instagram—once a day; Twitter—up to three times a day.

Anytime Fitness:  Facebook—up to twice a day; Instagram—several times a year; Twitter—up to four times a day.

Princeton Club:  Facebook—once a day; Instagram—once a week; Twitter—up to twice a month.

From these observations, and in combination with the scholarly articles I researched, I tried to analyze what was most commonplace and what TRUE Studio could take from that.

Conclusion

Contemporary versus ancient views of yoga branding absolutely stress the importance of understanding the audience and considering which content and imagery to use to send a certain message.  It’s also important to be cognizant of the appropriate amount of posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Lastly, it’s highly important to consider brand consistency among posts on Facebook in addition to how consistent posts are across all social media platforms.  Considering all of these items creates content that consistently meets the needs of each respective audience. As mentioned before, businesses have to understand what technology exists, how to best use that existing technology and appropriately capitalize on that technology, and anticipate up and coming technology and modes of communication.

As modes of communication and technology evolve at an exponential rate, people and companies, fitness or otherwise, would do well to anticipate such changes as quickly as they come.  TRUE Studio anticipates doing just that to create an advantage and improve the potential for success.

Good luck to you all the rest of this semester and into the next.  It was nice to work with all of you this year.  Cheers and Happy Holidays.  I’ma go find a glass of wine.

I’m a Digital Immigrant, Raising Digital Natives

My dad used to tell me that when he was young he had to walk to school, up hill both ways, and carry his lunch.  I know, we’ve all heard stories of the good ‘ole days and how hard our parents had it as compared to our own formative years.  However, when I think of the differences between my own childhood and my children today, I think my dad’s generation saw the greatest amount of change.

mountain-299002_640

When my parents grew up, they remember getting the first black and white television set.  I remember clunking away on manual typewriters, praying that I wouldn’t make too many mistakes and have to start all over.  The teachers only allowed so much erased and typed over content.  We shared a party-line telephone with all of our neighbors.  Technology tended to come to us in the north woods a lot slower than to the rest of the world.

My husband and I entered the age of technology together.  I embraced it and he avoided it.  But technology won and he eventually ended up having to adapt (except he still won’t carry a cell phone). I never thought of us as digital immigrants, however, my research over the last several weeks has given me a new perspective on the differences in generations; and it’s more than simply having to walk to school, uphill, both ways. 

My kids are members of the digital native population.  According to Marc Prensky, in his article, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” digital natives learn, think, and process information differently.  In addition to having a different way of thinking, they also tend to have shorter attention spans and are constantly multi-tasking. It would follow, then, that new teaching tools and methods should be incorporated. A two hour classroom lecture and note-taking will not be effective. 

My 17 year-old son is taking a couple of college level IT classes.  His instructors utilize the “flipped classroom” method.  He is given links and resources to learn on his own.  He watches videos, reads books and articles, contributes to discussions, emails his instructors, researches, and dabbles in the topic of the week prior to attending class.  Once in class, he works on his projects and participates in groups and learning activities.  It’s similar to having the instructor at home with him as he does his homework.  He learns the information on his own (using the resources provided by the instructor) and in class he does the “homework.” 

How many times do students begin homework only to find out they don’t quite understand.  The result is often word done wrong or poorly, handed in, and graded.  With the teacher present while the work is being done, students can find out right away what mistakes they’re making and learn the correct way before completing the work. A teacher once told me that it never made sense to her that we grade students while they learn rather than after they learn (on what they accomplish). 

The flipped classroom is a great way to incorporate social and digital media – which in turn allows the digital immigrant teachers to speak the language of the digital native students.


Resource

Prensky, Marc. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5). MCB University Press. Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf.