The people we meet on Twitter…

In February 2011, it’ll be 2 years since I became acquainted with Twitter and started to “tweet.” As of today, I’ve “tweeted” 2,778 times! Time flies when you’re having fun!

During the past 21 months, I’ve enjoyed “meeting” people I never would have had the opportunity to connect to without a communication medium like Twitter, with its worldwide reach. Almost 1,800 people are following me on Twitter. I’m following most of these people, too. (But, sometimes it’s hard to keep up, I admit…)

There are more than a few people to whom I feel closely connected to through Twitter. — I think you know who you are! 😉 — And I’ve also had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some great people, including @AlexBlom, @SandyDfromNJ, @MrsMoNJ, and @ItalianAmerGirl. These are all friendships that started on Twitter and continue today. (Speaking of @ItalianAmerGirl… she met with my class at Rider University just yesterday and wowed us with her social media and blogging knowledge — and she’s a Rider grad! — Thanks, Margaret!)

I tell my students that good communication and good business are based on making connections and “engaging” with good people. Twitter is a great place to start! Do you agree?

Please tell us about the people you’ve met on Twitter and the people who continue to inspire you today.

I look forward to your comments on my blog. Thanks for reading, and, until next time, take care!

Kathy Magrino

Getting intimate with blogs

Over the past six weeks, students in my COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions class at Rider University have been “getting intimate” with blogs, analyzing what makes a blog work (or not). In September, each student selected an active blog to follow for six straight weeks. Each week, I posted an assignment related to the writing of those blogs so that my students would need to take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at what goes into writing a blog. At the end of each week, they recorded their observations in online “Blog Analysis Journals” on Blackboard.

I’m grading the online journals now, and I’m happy to report that the assignment seems to be a big success! I’m so grateful for the energy and passion that most of my students pour into their work and into the overall learning experience. Their energy keeps me motivated to learn more, too!

Now, I need to analyze what I’m doing here on my own blog, and I need to make my blog more active and a model of “blogging best practices”Do you have any suggestions for me? If you write a blog, what works for you — and what doesn’t? What “blogging best practices” do you recommend? Please share your comments here!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Kathy Magrino

Learn More About How We Learn…

How do you learn best? Over the years, I’ve discovered that taking action helps me to learn. I call this “learning by doing.” After teaching for seven years now, I’ve seen that my students seem to enjoy “learning by doing,” too. Research backs up this approach. A few months ago, I wrote a post that included this Cone of Learning from Edgar Dale:

Since we “tend to remember 90% of what we SAY and DO,” according to the Cone of Learning, we take this multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning in my classroom (which is actually a computer lab equipped with brand-new Macs) at Rider University, and we’re seeing great results!

Both of my classes are writing classes (COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions and COM107 Persuasive Writing for the Media), so you might be asking, “How are they taking a multi-sensory approach in a writing course?” It’s simple: We take every opportunity to present our work and our assignments to each other. For some assignments (like the “crisis news releases” we learned to write last week), students are “teaming up” and “competing” as they prepare the assignments that are eventually presented to everyone in class. This approach works for us. How about you?

Please tell us how you learn best and if you agree with the ideas presented in the Cone of Learning above. And even if you don’t agree with the “Cone,” you have to admit that it’s a pretty visual that brightens up my blog! 😉 Until next time, take care — and thanks for reading!

Kathy Magrino

Our Favorite Blogs and Why We Like Them…

Last week, I tweeted to my followers on Twitter, “TELL US: What’s your FAVORITE BLOG — and WHY? I’ll be sharing your favs w/my students in COM106 at Rider U. (PLS. RT-Thanks!)” Here are the responses I received:

From @nynjpaweather:

“@kathymagrino My favorite sports blog is Mets Blog [http://www.metsblog.com]… Matt does a great job with interviews with players and a fan perspective to the latest Mets news… Plus I don’t have to search all around the internet for different perspectives on the team cause finds other blogs for us to read… @kathymagrino Finally, he’s a fan like us and like us, this season is KILLING us. Thank God for football!”

From @cimiddletwnnj:

“RT @nynjpaweather: @kathymagrino My favorite sports blog is @MetsBlog — ME TOO!!!… I’ve read it for yrs, easy way to get up to the minute Mets info, insights & opinions. Plus interact w/ other fans thru comments section.”

From @RobynMcMaster:

“@kathymagrino My favorite blog is Brain Leaders and Learners http://bit.ly/5bLgJ by @ellenfweber… @ellenfweber provides tactics to rev up brainpower to our benefit based on research.”

From @BSStoltz:

“@kathymagrino -A fav blog that I share w/ my class is @redheadwriting’ – http://bit.ly/b3gnv8. Fun, great writing and good branding example.”

From @Lalizlatina:

“@kathymagrino http://derailingfordummies.com breaks down privilege & the many -isms . http://mrsmediocrity.com just plain… honest, genuine, brave: @mamitamala Nuyorican Life, Love, y Lucha in the Radical Mami’Hood http://www.lamamitamala.com/blog/

From @lgesin:

“my guilty pleasure blog is gofugyourself [http://gofugyourself.celebuzz.com] but that might not be what yr looking for!!”

Hey, it’s all good — and thanks for responding, @lgesin, @Lalizlatina, @BSStoltz, @RobynMcMaster, @cimiddletwnnj, @nynjpaweather — and for helping us learn about blogs and why people like them!

What’s YOUR favorite blog? Please tell us in the comments here — and also tell us WHY you like your favorite blog so much. Thanks!

Until next time, take care and thanks for reading my blog!

Kathy Magrino



How to comment on a blog

It may seem like a simple task to you, but most of my students in COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions at Rider University have never commented on a blog before… So, today, they’re going to be commenting on my blog right here.

Please help us learn more about blogging… If you’ve got some helpful tips or stories to share about your experiences writing or commenting on blog posts, we’d be happy to hear from you, too! So, please share your comments.

Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading (and, hopefully, commenting)!

Kathy Magrino

Looking forward to learning more!

I am looking forward to teaching my two classes at Rider University this semester (COM107 Persuasive Writing for the Media and COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions). I’m anxious to meet my students — and happy to see some familiar names on my roster, students who’ve taken classes with me in the past.

But I’m looking forward to the start of another semester for other reasons, too…

Since I was a kid, I’ve always looked forward to those “first days of school” — and all the anticipation they offered. Lots of questions jumped around in my head: “Who will I meet?”“What will I learn?”“What are the next steps?…” I’ve always loved school (my brothers always thought I was weird because of this…) and learning. And, for me, this “love” continues today — but I’m the teacher now! 😉

Teacher or not, I still consider myself a life-long learner. Each semester we do things differently in my classes, even when I’m teaching the same course from semester to semester. The courses cover the same concepts, but the applications and assignments are “up-to-the-minute” and sometimes change from one semester to the next.

My students and I learn by doing things together in our classes and online: I share what I learn through my own business and through working with my clients and collaborators.  We try to keep up with the ever-changing technology and communication industries. I hope they’re looking forward to learning more this semester just as much as I am!

I’ll keep you posted to let you know how we’re doing. In the meantime, let us know if you’re a “life-long learner” like me — and please tell us why you like to learn more, too! Thanks for reading!

Until next time, take care!

Kathy Magrino

Dream On!

Sandy Dempsey featured me in the “reader profile” in the latest issue of her email newsletter, The Dreaming Cafe. In the profile, I got the opportunity to tell you a little bit about how I’m living one of my dreams… (Thank you for the opportunity, Sandy!)

If you’re not already a subscriber to The Dreaming Cafe, I highly recommend you go to Sandy’s website and subscribe now: www.thedreamingcafe.com.

As I mentioned in the reader profile, Henry David Thoreau said, “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.”

So, let’s all continue to dream on…! Until next time, take care and thanks for reading! 😉

Kathy Magrino

Do you make the grade on Twitter?

The fall semester at Rider University starts in just a few weeks. In preparing to teach my students about writing for social media, I came across an interesting tool: Twitter Grader from HubSpot. The tool is designed to help us measure our influence on Twitter. The Twitter Grader site says, “Twitter Grader is a free tool that allows you to check the power of your twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded.”

It’s easy to use and also offers some tips and suggestions. I entered my Twitter user name (@kathymagrino) and got a grade of 97.5 out of 100! It’s good to know I’m doing things right — The Write Way 😉 — on Twitter!

Try Twitter Grader for yourself and let us know your grade. And please share any suggestions or tips you might have to help us all “make the grade” on Twitter by posting your comments here.

Until next time, see you on Twitter and take care!

Kathy Magrino

#FollowFriday: Do you follow me too?

In the spring of 2009, I started using Twitter (@kathymagrino) and was thrilled when my first “#FollowFriday” (or “#FF”) recommendation came from Alex Blom (@AlexBlom). Since then, Alex and I have been collaborating on a new business adventure that we’re launching soon. (I’ll keep you posted here as things happen, so stay tuned!…)

But, in the meantime, this week I’m being featured in Alex’s “#FollowFriday” blog — a feature that he posts each week. He created this type of feature outside of Twitter (where the whole “#FollowFriday” craze started) because he says he “decided there is little value in doing a flat Follow Friday. Listing 7 names without saying who they are, what their skills are and why it is important is not how I like to approach things.” I agree — and I’m honored to be his “#FollowFriday Number 7.”

Thanks for this, Alex, and for all of your #FollowFriday endorsements over the past 18 months! And to everyone else, thanks for reading my blog — and I hope you’ll follow me, too, on Twitter: @kathymagrino.

Until next time, take care!

Kathy Magrino

Writers need good interviewing skills

I am in the beginning stages of the preparation process for my fall classes at Rider University (COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions and COM107 Persuasive Writing for the Media) and I came across a video on YouTube — an interview of Katie Couric offering her advice on what makes a good interview. (Watch the video by clicking here.) Katie’s comments back up what I tell my students when we’re learning how to interview people to obtain good quotes and information for our writing projects:

  • Prepare your interview questions in advance and try to anticipate responses to help you predict and prepare your follow-up questions.
  • Make your subjects feel comfortable when they’re talking with you — you’re guaranteed to get better answers when they’re more relaxed.
  • Listen when interviewees respond to your questions and be able to pick up on important points to emphasize or expand upon.

In my classes, we’re learning how to write feature articles and news releases, but good interviewing skills are universal and they’re needed for all types of writing projects. Do you have any tips or techniques that you can share with us? Please post your comments here.

Thanks for reading this post and, until next time, take care!

Kathy Magrino