ShinyDoor was contracted by eTech Ohio to encourage participant interaction, online and offline at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference. I had intended to take my 11 year old and 13 year old to the conference for one day but school was canceled due to the ice storm and they go to attend 2 days! Below are links to the blog posts they wrote about their experiences at the conference.
Written by Jonah, age 13.
I have just finished a two day conference with my mom, it was about educational technology and I helped her with some of the stuff she was doing. The first day I went to a couple of sessions. I did a little with “Cover It Live” a website that allows you to stream video and host a chat at the same time. I also sorted out the presenters that canceled because of the weather and edited the website to show that they canceled. My sister who also went, got so engrossed in “Fashion Hack” that she didn't stop for lunch and just had us bring her back some food.
For lunch, I went out with my mom and one of her friends that was at the conference. We went to North Market for lunch. I got a chicken breast from a middle eastern place and some “Ugandan Vanilla Bean” ice cream from Jenny's®.
All of the sessions I went to I had to leave because of computer problems. I had a Mac with me and the sessions I went to required windows software to participate in. One of the sessions I went to was on python (a programing language) and I had to download python but the download was funky on the mac. The other session was on game design and the software required for the class was available for free on windows alone and I wasn't willing to pay for it before I even knew if I was going to like using it to make games or not.
On the second day of the conference I was tasked with getting video interviews with the conference goers, presenters, and exhibitors. At first Dan and I were doing it together, but later it turned into me going and getting the video interviews and Dan doing all of the video editing.
For lunch we went to North Market, this time Tess and Dan came. At lunch, I got the same thing as the previous day and it was just as good the second time around. That day, I didn't go to any sessions because they hadn't gone very well the day before. After lunch was when I started getting the video interviews on my own, and Dan started only being the editor. We started doing this because I couldn't edit the videos and Dan couldn't go out to get the video because he had to do something else for the conference. For the video I interviewed people who were solely viewers, exhibitors, and presenters, I also got to interview one Keynote speaker.
Over all, I got a lot of great interviews and learned a lot.
My mom does some really cool work.
Written by Tess, age 11.
The Conference: Day 1
I didn’t go, but Joyce, Dan, and my mom went.
The conference: Day 2
Today I have been at a conference with my mom; Well, actually I hardly saw my mom at all. Today was a “bring your kids to work day” for Jonah and I. We went to the Ohio convention center where my mom was hired to help out with a very big conference.
While my mom was off working, Jonah and I went off on our own and decided what we wanted to do. Jonah had already previously signed up for some sessions. I, on the other hand got invited to be a model and create some really cool clothing that involves technology.
I headed over to the Fashion Hack area where I ended up having a ton of fun. First, I just hung out and finished my bagel, as Allison (the stylist in charge) and Jim (the etech staff) thought of a way to make a manikin, because the students were supposed to bring manikins. When they came up with a plan, they asked for my help and of course I said “o.k.” Then I stared ripping duck tape into long strips which were then put on a super skinny reporter that had agreed to stand still while all of this happened. A few people helped me rip duck tape. We kept putting tape on Jennet, the reporter, while other reporters came and interviewed Allison and jennet. When we were done building the manikin, it looked really cool and I couldn’t wait to see it when it was on the tri stand. We then stuffed it and put it on the stand. It was awesome. Then we dressed it in a light up skirt and a wrinkle top that was so cute.
About an hour later, Allison asked me if I wanted to make something, I said “yes” and then started sketching out what I wanted to make. After I decided to make bandanna, I cut out the fabric. I tried it on, but it was too small so I made a bigger one and it was too big so I cut it down a bit so that it fit my head perfectly. I started sewing the edges down to create the smooth seam.
Once the seams were sewn and the designated area for the lights was chosen, we added the conductive materiel. After we sewed the lights down we found out we sewed them on wrong so I had to re-sew them with conductive thread and take all the stitches out.
Mom then sent Jonah over to see if I was ready to go to lunch. I said I didn’t want to leave and Jonah said that he would bring me back some mac’n’cheese.
I ,then, started sewing the battery holder on. After I was finished with that, we tested the lights and found out the conductive fabric wasn’t actually conductive. So we had to sew a new piece on top of that, which turned out looking really cool.
Mom came and said it was time to go, but I wanted to stay longer. She said I could stay if went to the tweet up later. I agreed to go and then I went back to work.
When I was almost done connecting the conductive thread to the lights and the battery, Dan came and got me because it was time to leave. Allison said she would finish it for me so that it would be ready for the fashion show tomorrow morning.
The Conference: Day 3
When we arrived at the conference the next day I went straight the Fashion Hack place but no one was there. Minutes later, I got a call from mom saying that all the fashion people were looking for me and that they were at the ballroom. So mom came and got me and we went to the ballroom where we immediately started running through what was going to happen during the fashion show. There was a band from Capital University that was really good. There was one girl that played an electrical violin and she had a great voice. After the lady that was talking about the conference was finished Allison got on stage and talked about what she does for a living and what we have been working on. Then she introduced me and told everyone what I had made as I walked the runway. Next she introduced Bree, a girl who had also been creating things with Alison. When Bree got off the stage, Brooke went up and Allison introduced her and the things she made. Brooke stayed on the stage as Bree came up and walked slowly toward Brooke. (Bree and Brooke are sisters.) The closer Bree got to Brooke the brighter the lights on the dress glowed. Then everyone came down and it was time for the news reporters to show what they had been working on. When they were finished we had our picture taken a million times.
Later, I went back to the Fashion Hack area because my bandanna stopped working. Allison helped me fix it. Then Bree, Brooke, and I started making string jewelry. A few minutes later, Jonah came over and told me to go get popcorn balls. So Brooke and I went over and got popcorn balls and a ton of candy. When we got back, Mom said it was time for lunch. We went to north market and I got cheese and butter noodles.
When we got back, I stayed in the area my mom was working in and I played games on my computer. About an hour later it was time to leave.
I had a great time at the conference making my bandanna and walking the runway.
When I hear news articles about the importance of small business, I think "Hey, that's me!". Its both terrifying and exhilarating to own a business.
One strategy I use for handling the up swings in business is to pull in experienced partners. These folks all have either a full time job somewhere else (involving social media) or they are independent contractors juggling various gigs.
This works for ShinyDoor because it helps us to grow without taking on the expense of permanent payroll costs. It is also a prime example of how an economic hit gets passed on. If ShinyDoor's clients need to cut back on a ShinyDoor contract, I take that impact myself and my team members take that impact. When a ShinyDoor client increases a contract, I and the team members are positively impacted.
When I first started ShinyDoor at the end of 2008, I received lots of support from my network. Those folks were instrumental in helping me figure out a direction and strategy. I hired a couple of folks to help on various projects. When it all shook out, Laura Rees was the most enthusiastic, the most involved. I provided leads and she followed up. She found her own leads and she followed up. We worked together to provide stellar services to our clients. She was amazing. Last month, she decided to take a full time position with Ologie. I'm very excited for her. I was bummed for ShinyDoor. She is not totally gone. She's around to give us expert advice but I realized I needed to beef up the ShinyDoor team as I had been relying on her a lot.
Laura's fabulous new opportunity came at the same time that ShinyDoor's workload went up.
As a proponent of having a strong network, its no surprise, I turned to my network to expand the ShinyDoor team:
Shane Haggerty. Shane is a marketing and communications coordinator for a top career-technical school district. He is a leader in the field of using social media in education. For ShinyDoor, Shane is working on the Ohio Education Technology Conference.
Ryan Squire. Ryan is the program director for digital and social media at one of Central Ohio’s largest hospital systems. Ryan is a leader in the field of using social media in healthcare. For ShinyDoor, Ryan is coordinating the 2011 Government Social Media Conference, held in partnership with MORPC.
Dan Simrak. Dan has taken a leap off a professional cliff. He wants to work more with nonprofits and their technology issues. Since I took a similar leap off of that cliff, I appreciate Dan's willingness to take a risk to find work he loves. For ShinyDoor, Dan is working with us on multiple projects - research for the 2011 Government Social Media Conference, training module development for Connect Your Community, email marketing research for MORPC, and more!
I am honored to have these gentlemen on the ShinyDoor team. Humbled. And honored.
Having a social media presence on the Internet such as a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr, is becoming increasingly important for anyone especially those in business. But is there value in social media for community government? Based on the research I completed, I would have to say YES!
This past January a group of individuals from differing governmental offices in Ohio came to the Government Social Media Conference. While some of the groups are still figuring out the benefits and how it fits their community, there were others that immediately got it and have implemented some strategies that were right on.
Before I give examples of some of the good, I would like to say a few things to anyone who might be reading this.
- Celebrate Experimentation - It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. For reasons too numerous to mention people think they need to have the perfect social media strategy before they try anything but that simply isn’t the case. If you aren’t sure what to do or how to use the tool don’t just wait until it comes to you, do something, anything and see what happens. If people don’t like it, they’ll tell you and you can rework your strategy.
- Reasonably Commit– Implementing a social media strategy will take time and commitment. If you aren’t sure how much time you can commit, that’s okay. Figure out what you can do and start there. Maybe the depth of your commitment is posting to Facebook one time a week. That’s all right, start there. As you figure out what you are doing, it will get easier and you’ll most likely find that you want to, especially as people start to respond.
With that said, we’ll move on to the good.
There was a lot of great stuff I saw as I looked over the different Pages that were put together. The City of Dublin, Ohio has a great Facebook Page and it was stellar to see how they were using their Facebook Pages to keep the community informed with what was going on in the city. On the OSU Medical Center Page someone asked about hotels in the area and he got an answer! On the Canal Winchester page there was a discussion on the pool closing early this year. It’s not shocking that people would talk about the pool closing but it’s great the City allowed it on their Page. After all, isn’t that the sort of feedback they want to hear?
I found some wonderful examples in the Twitter-sphere also.
- The City of Columbus did a great job of showing what is going on all over Columbus.
- MORPC did a great job of educating its followers on using the # to create a hashtag to follow what’s going on at #morpc.
The list of good goes on and on. The fact that any of these groups are developing a social media presence is a big deal and deserves to be commended. The challenges can feel huge but these groups took the challenge and are showing that there is a use for social media for the local government and it brings a lot of value to the community.
As for the bad, what can I say that was bad? There are things that could use improvement such as making sure all of the social media sites are easy to find from the website, and conversely, including website links on Facebook and Twitter. With that said, all efforts of building an online community through social media deserve to be commended.
Now if I could only get my small little borough in Bucks County, PA to take the hint and implement a social media strategy of their own. Maybe I should get them to show up to the next Government Social Conference in Columbus in March of 2011!