Category Archives: Activities and Events

Update: Planning Social Media and Mobile App for An Event

As you know, one of the big projects I’ve been working on this summer is creating and executing the social media event plan for the International Congress of Behavioural Optometry (ICBO) conference in Birmingham, England this September.

This project, which was sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation, has been a lot of fun and a great learning experience. I’ve been working with the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF) who is organizing the conference. OEPF is an international nonprofit that does important work advancing the discipline of optometry.


I thought I’d take a moment to post a status update on the project. After completing the social media plan for the event, the majority of the work has focused on preparing the ICBO 2014 conference app to create an app that helps OEPF meet its goals. The app is titled ICBO Social and works on iPhone, Android, and HTML5.  Once complete (I hope to finish building the app over the next few weeks), we’ll move onto promoting the app as the primary means of social engagement at the conference. We’re also presently working to get buy in from key stakeholders: exhibitors and speakers.

The reason the app is our primary social tool and centerpiece of the plan is because (as I like to say) ICBO Social is no ordinary conference app. OEPF and I have been fortunate to be using DoubleDutch as the platform to build our app. DoubleDutch is doing amazing things pushing the envelope on conference apps and what they offer is like no other conference app I’ve seen before.

ICBO Social (and all DoubleDutch apps) is a comprehensive social network built around the conference and thus exclusively for conference goers.

So attendees won’t just be seeing an agenda, or have the ability to create their own schedule, or see a list of exhibitors. And they won’t be limited socially by Twitter feeds. While it has these features, the app is really designed for the social interaction to occur within the app itself.

It contains an activity feed (like Facebook or Twitter) where you can see what other attendees are posting (comments and photos), liking, and where they are checking in.

Gamification is a great part of the app. Users are rewarded for their app activity. They can earn badges (like on Foursquare) for checking in, posting photos, and more. And, they can earn points for in app activities. I will be creating custom badges and designating higher point values for certain behavior to encourage desired behaviors. There is also a leader board app users can check to see how many points they’ve accumulated in comparison with others. And we may use those points to give prizes as further incentive to use the app.

Each individual has a robust profile that shows their activity, what badges they’ve earned, and connections to their social media accounts.

The app also encourages deeper engagement with exhibitors. Attendees can check in to exhibitor booths, share photos, leave comments, etc. Given these abilities, features of the app can be harnessed depending on what the exhibitor is looking to achieve.

The app also enables us to easily get feedback from attendees by the use of surveys and ratings.

We also plan on  using the app to bolster our Q&A speaker sessions at featured speaker events in order to give more attendees the opportunity to ask questions.

Lastly, we talk a bit about analytics on this blog. By driving activity within the app (as opposed to encouraging its spread it across social networks), I’ll be able to get a more comprehensive look at engagement via the app analytics in the CMS  – such as # of check ins, what events people checked into the most, top contributors, and other engagement metrics.

Having been to many conferences and used social media at many and many conference apps, I know the value of being able to connect and stay current with the conversation at the event. I believe using this app will greatly enhance that experience by centering it and making it super easy for participants to stay up to date with and be a part of the conversation. All of these things will enable ICBO attendees to network, interact, and build lasting connections and thereby further establish the ICBO conference as a highly valuable must attend event.

While the app is the major focus of the social media engagement experience of the conference, we’ll also be encouraging attendees to discuss ICBO 2014 on external social media channels as ways to build excitement before the event, continuing the conversation after the event, and, importantly, increase awareness of ICBO among the wider optometric community and non attendees.

It is exciting to see how the DoubleDutch platform is enabling us to create a true, encompassing social experience for attendees and I’m very fortunate to be learning and using this cutting edge tool.

Note: The app is sponsored by HOYA and the app splash screen shown above was designed by one of their very talented graphic designers.

ICA Conference Panel: Social Media Data

I’m back from a great trip to ICA! The conference was filled with inspiring and informative panels. And it was great to see colleagues and friends!

I want to take a quick minute to share a post summarizing a great panel I attended. Since Mary Joyce (@MetaActivism) summarizes the post here and the capabilities of the software, I thought I’d just let her do the talking. 🙂 But first, a quick overview.

The panel was “Integrating Social Media Data Into Communication Research Using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).” I attended it Friday morning and was fortunate enough to get a chair. The room was packed with dozens of people sitting on the floor or standing in the back or along the wall. It seems interest in social media data in the field of communication research is on the rise.

Here’s a great summary of the presentations by Mary Joyce over at

Back from Poland and off to ICA 2014 in Seattle!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! It is very busy here. Kelin and I just returned from a weeklong trip to Poland. We went to Krakow and Warsaw.

I’m leaving early Thursday morning to head the International Communication Association conference in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! If you are going to be at ICA in Seattle, feel free to stop by and see our poster session for our paper:

Dalisay, F., Kushin, M.J., Yamamoto, M. (May, 2014). The politically demobilizing role of conflict avoidance for participation, efficacy, and attention to information sources. Paper accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the International Communication Association, Seattle, WA.

Location & Time : Sat, at 4:30pm, in the Metropolitan Ballroom.

I hope to see you there!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share just a few of the many photos we took during our trip to Poland. I wish I remembered the names of all of the amazing historic buildings we saw to go along with the photos. I highly recommend visiting Poland, especially Krakow!   For each city, I also listed some highlights. Some photos go along with the highlights. Click the photos to enlarge them.


krakow theater

town square krakow



photos: Theater in Krakow, and the town square in Krakow

The Wawel Royal Castle

The Schindler factory (made famous by the Schindler’s List movie) – Although we didn’t get to go into the factory (which is now a museum), just being able to see it from the outside was an amazing experience.

Krakow Jewish Ghetto – We went through the location where the Nazis forced the Jewish population of Krakow to live in 1 of 2 walled in sections across the river from Krakow. This was near the Schindler factory.


Nowa Huta and the “Communist Bus Tour” – where we learned a ton about the history of the fight against communism in Poland, and got to tour Nowa Huta (the city of the New Steel Mill) which was a planned socialist city. I didn’t know much about how Poland won its power and the years of protest and bloodshed that led up to it, a good bit of which happened in Nowa Huta and during strikes in that city. Interestingly, a town square that was once called Stalin Square was renamed to Ronald Reagan square to honor his fight against communism.


photo: in the distance you can see what looks like a large field. This was supposed to be a made man lake in Nowa Huta. But the USSR never completed it due to a lack of funds. However, some maps showed that the lake was there.


Nearly 90% of Warsaw was destroyed during World War II, including a systematic campaign by the Nazis to make an example of the city to the rest of Europe because the citizens of Warsaw tried to fight back against the Nazis. So most of the buildings are rebuilt. But the city took great care to replicate the buildings as closely as possible to the originals. Highlights included


Photo: The Palace of Culture and Science, the tallest building in Poland was a gift to Poland from the Soviet Union in the 1950s. It used to be named after Stalin.

The University of Warsaw


Photo: The University of Warsaw main entrance

“Old Town”

mermaid statue




photo: Mermaid statue in the old town square in Warsaw, 2) more of the old town’s center.

The Warsaw Uprising Museum – Unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos because it was dark. But this experience was absolutely moving. It was one of the best museums I have been to. This museum is dedicated to the efforts of the Home Army (the small army of Warsaw citizens) who fought the Nazis during a 63 day campaign in 1944 as the Russians approached the city, pushing the Nazis back. After taking Warsaw, the Russians provided very little support for the Home Army and arrested many of their members. Leaders were imprisoned, many never to be seen again. The Russians downplayed the role the Home Army played in the battle for Warsaw. And much of what the Home Army did was not acknowledged until after the end of the Cold War.


That’s all for now. I hope everyone is having a great week!

– Cheers!



My 2014 Summer Plans: Social media planning for an international conference

It is hard to believe that the 2013-2014 academic year is over. Summer is upon us.

It was a super busy year. I had so many ideas for things I wanted to blog about, and never got around to: Like my final project in Communication Research where students build surveys and use iPads to collect survey data around campus. With summer here, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight my big plans for the summer.

The International Congress of Behavioural Optometry Social Media and Mobile App

International Congress of Behavioural Optometry  ICBO    Home

This summer I earned a grant via the Shepherd University Foundation at Shepherd University to complete some exciting and important volunteer work. I will be working to help the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF) create and execute a social media plan for the International Congress of Behavioural Optometry, the premiere international conference in the optometric community. The conference is held every four years and this year’s event is in Birmingham, England in September. The Optometric Extension Program foundation, an international 503c non-profit, OEPF helps advance the discipline of optometry by helping educate optometrists and their staff in addressing learning related visual problems (including performance as well as concussions), sports vision, vision rehabilitation, etc. They also do outreach to the public about these issues.

Planning the social media is going to be a lot of fun and a lot of work. And we are just getting started. A major component of “ICBO Social,” our social media efforts, will be creating a conference mobile app aimed at really bringing the conference experience alive with exciting engagement opportunities for attendees to interact with the conference and one-another.

While most conference apps simply provide a way to get the conference agenda on their smartphone, the ICBO Social app is so much more (we’ll be using DoubleDutch to create the app). The ICBO Social app is inherently social and aimed at interaction. The best way to describe ICBO Social is as a social media platform for mobile devices (available on Google Play and the App Store) that we are creating for and will be specifically used by conference attendees and exhibitors.

That creates opportunities for attendees to build profiles, connect with one another based on interest, share comments and photos to the activity feed, see what events others are attending and commenting on via the activity feed, like and comment on others’ posts, learn more about exhibitors, and build real connections with exhibitors through the interactive opportunities popular on many social media platforms.

It will be an easy-to-use, fun, engaging, and rewarding way to get the most out of the ICBO 2014 conference and build lasting relationships.

While the app is the centerpiece of the plan, there are a host of other components that could be their own blog posts themselves!

Over the summer, I will not be blogging as often. But I will post from time to time on my progress with ICBO Social along the way, as well as discuss other projects (I’ve got a few exciting research projects I’m working on), updates from my classes, and hopefully some fun posts about a few vacation trips I’ve got planned, etc. Not to worry –  I will be picking back up full swing with weekly or bi-monthly posts in the Fall.

In the meantime, keep in touch via Twitter or LinkedIn, blog comments, or email. I will see you all in a few weeks!

“Social Media and Mobiles” Social Media and Politics Research Published!

I hope everyone is staying warm! Here in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, we’ve got some terribly cold weather heading our way tonight!

I want to take a moment to share some news from the research side of my life in academia. 🙂 As you know, I research social media and civic and political participation.

I’m very excited because this past Friday, my latest co-authored study was published online in the journal New Media and Society.

This study, “Social Media and Mobiles as Political Mobilization Forces for Young Adults: Examining the Moderating Role of Political Expression in Political Participation,” is an extension of our earlier articles: “More harm than good? Online media use and political disaffection among college students in the 2008 election” (2013) in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and 2010’s Mass Communication & Society piece, ““Did social media really matter? College students’ use of online media and political decision making in the 2008 election.”

Social Media and Mobiles really seeks to further investigate the seemingly important role of online political expression (such as posting political videos to YouTube, Tweeting about politics, or posting to Facebook, etc.) in political participation. Particularly, the study looks at what role online expression may play in moderating any effects of political media use on participation. Additionally, this study investigated political smart phone app use, something not investigated in the prior two studies.

Here is the abstract:

A web survey of college students was conducted to examine whether online political expression moderates the effects of political media use on political participation. Results showed that online political expression enhanced the effects of political mobile apps, traditional offline and online media, and social media on political participation. Implications are discussed for a mobilizing role of online media in the democratic process for young adults.

You can see my other posts on social media research.



photo CC zoonabar

What Are Your 2014 Teaching Goals? Here Are Mine

Every December, my wife and I write down personal goals for the upcoming year. We sit down, discuss them, write them down, and then at the end of the year, we look at what we wrote down and honestly assess how we did. This year, I thought I should write down my 2014 goals as an educator.


By sharing them, I 1) hope to hold myself more accountable at the risk of facing some serious cognitive dissonance 2) hope it will inspire some people to write down their goals, and share them.

So here are is my list of goals as an educator for 2014:

1) Don’t Lose Sight of Why I got into Academia

If I think about it,I’ve been teaching at the university level for 7.5 academic years (including 4 years of autonomous teaching as a grad student TA). I love teaching. I feel very blessed to have found my calling. As I’ve gotten further along in my career, I’ve taken on new responsibilities that have taken time away from my ability to really focus on making my classes outstanding. I want to make sure that as I add more years of experience under my belt, I don’t lose sight of why I am in academia: the students.  In 2014, I want to make a conscious effort to keep putting my students first as I take on new responsibilities outside of the classroom.

2) Stay Young at Heart

This is also related to my growing years of experience mentioned in #1. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the differences between myself and my students are growing in terms of life experiences. For example,  a few years ago students easily got cultural references I made to things from when I was growing up. Nowadays, I make movie references or mention musical artists and am greeted with blank stares. Anyone who has taken a class from me, knows that I love teaching and love learning, and seek to make the classroom environment fun and engaging. But, creating common ground on common experience is becoming more challenging. Of course, I could learn more about what students are watching, listening to, etc. – it isn’t too hard to chat with students and learn about what they’re into nowadays, that’s not what I’m getting at. I suppose I wonder in what other significant ways my getting older could create distance with my students. As time passes, am I having a harder time relating to the way young adults see the world, and what matters to them? When I started teaching, I was a grad student in his mid twenties – a fellow student living in college housing. My life is much different now. Since I started teaching, I’ve gotten married, bought a house, started planning for retirement, many of my friends have started families, etc., etc. While these things in and of themselves are great, with each year my day to day life and experiences are increasingly different from that of my students. So, in 2014 I want to make a conscious effort to be aware of that and to make a real effort to put myself in the shoes of my students. That includes, being sure to see things from their port of view, trying to reflect on how I thought, what concerns I had, what my priorities were, and how i felt when I was their age. In short, I want to make sure I stay young at heart and continue to be compassionate and mindful of the world of a college student.

3) Teaching Reflection

I am a bit of a perfectionist and a bit obsessive when it comes to my class. I want each class period to be perfect – right down to the order in which I present little bits of information. (I’ve found saying 1 thing before another can have a dramatic effect on how students react to information sometimes. I know. It is probably a bit over the top). When I started teaching, I would go to my office after each class and make notes on how the class went. If I felt a major change was needed, I would readjust a lesson. If something little needed to be done – say, we should have had a discussion about X, or I should have asked Y question, I’d make note of that. Then, I’d then update my binder so that the next time I taught the class, the improvement was made. However, as I’ve gotten busier, I’ve not kept up this routine. Instead, I’ve either 1) made a note to work on the fix over winter or summer break, or worse 2) forgotten about what I wanted to do to improve that particular class and hoped I’d remember the next time around. While #1) was better than nothing and sometimes gave me time to come up with new ideas that were great, sometimes because time had passed, I lost the advantage of having the problem fresh in my mind and thus my ability to create a real improvement to the class was diminished. Of course, #1 was better than #2. When i did #2, I often never remembered to make the change. Then I’d be teaching the class again and be kicking myself. While I’ve learned to be a bit more flexible, I do want to get back to taking the time to reflect on my classes and make more immediate adjustments after a class if I think something should be presented differently.  So goal #3 is: Rather the putting it off, spend time after classes when needed to plan changes to things that didn’t go as I had hoped.

4) Assessment

This is less of a goal and more of a “somethin’ I gotta do.” But still, it is a new challenge and an area I want to really do well in. As you know, I created the Strategic Communication concentration in the Department of Communication at Shepherd. I’m going to be building an assessment plan for the program. Assessment is something I haven’t done before. So i am excited and nervous about it. I’ve created a plan for my Writing Across Platforms class. So I’ve got a start. But the planning and execution of assessment is a big project for 2014. So, creating a complete assessment plan for my concentration and beginning to assess it is a big goal for 2014!

5) Be Thankful

Lastly. I know we get stressed at our jobs and that this is a challenging time for academia. I love what I do. And I’m so thankful that I get to do it. But sometimes, we get so busy and so focused on what we need to get done, or stressed about a project or a deadline, we lose sight of how lucky we are. In 2014, I want to really make an effort to keep on the top of my mind how thankful I am to get to do what I love every day and to work with amazing students and professors.

Thanks so much for reading my blog in 2013. It has been a wonderful year. I’ve learned so much and had so many amazing experiences in my professional and personal life!

What are your goals for the upcoming years? Have you dealt with the items on my goal list – and if so, what suggestions and advice do you have?

Cheers! I wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2014!


photo creative commons  meddygarnet

Born to Blog author talks social media challenges, opportunities, and more!

I always learn so much from our guest speakers! This week we were very fortunate to have the author of our class text, Born to Blog, Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) Skype with our class.

If you aren’t familiar with Mark, he is a very well-known name in the social media field, author of the popular Grow blog, a sought after consultant, and the author of Born to Blog (a book I’ve reviewed on this site and which inspired me to start this blog), and another great book I’ve read Tao of Twitter. I haven’t read his 2nd book, Return on Influence, but I hope to soon.

Here are some highlights from his presentation to this semester’s Comm 322 Social Media class.

Challenges and Opportunities in Social Media – Mark said that a major challenge today is information density. Today, we have so much information that people are reaching information paralysis. How do companies adapt and thrive in this space, with so much competing for our attention? Though not specifically about information density, the article “How the physics of social media could kill your marketing strategy” offers what I believe is a good look at the general issue.

Why do some businesses succeed on social media and others fail? Mark said it really boils down to corporate culture. Questions that come to mind after hearing Mark discuss this topic are: Does the company understand and embrace the social space? Are they agile and responsive? Do they want to adapt?

What Metrics Matter?: Since I’ve been seeking to teach my students basics of Google Analytics, the importance of, and how to track metrics, I ask guest bloggers what metrics matter to them. When asked what the key metrics he tracks are, Mark said there was one that matters: returning visitors. Are they coming back? If people come back, eventually they’ll bring their friends. Traffic doesn’t create business benefits. Returning visitors do.

We’re All Students – the media landscape shifts so rapidly, it is difficult to be an expert. We all are students. And we should strive to keep learning and adapting. As a professor, I loved hearing this reminder. I am always looking to learn, change, grow, and adapt and it is great to hear someone with as much experience as Mark talking about the importance of being a lifelong learner!

Tips and Advice for Students

The Power of Blogging for Students – Mark echoed another class guest, Nate Bagley, when he encouraged students to blog, build an audience, and create meaningful content. He said that it was a valuable tool to show potential employers that you can build and sustain an audience. He said that often times he finds students or grad students are not blogging, and was glad to see students in our class were blogging as a semester long project. I was, of course, very happy to hear this. 🙂 So students, if you’re reading this, keep blogging!

Know Stats – Mark said education in stats is important. Increasingly, data and numbers are driving online business. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be able to ask questions and the ability to think critically, and choose the statistical analysis needed to answer those questions. While many students were probably grumpy to hear this, I agree completely. Stats and research methods are more important than ever.

It is not often that students get to speak directly with the author of a class text, and it meant a lot to me for students to get this wonderful opportunity. So thank you so much to Mark for being so generous with his time and knowledge!



Guest Speaker: Using social media to share the search for true love

Happy Monday!

Last week, my social media class had the wonderful opportunity of having Nate Bagley as our guest.

Who is Nate Bagley (@bigbags)? Nate currently runs the Loveumentary Podcast (and blog!), a podcast that believes “True Love exists… you just need to listen.” The Loveumentary, which seeks to understand true love through interviews with married couples who have found lasting love, has been featured on The Good Men Project, ABC News, Fast Company, and more. Prior to leaving the security of employment to pursue his passion and share it via social media, Nate worked in web, SEO / SEM, and related areas.

I want to share a few highlights that stick out in my mind from his Skype with our class.

  1. People and brands shouldn’t be afraid to take risk, be vulnerable, and to open up about who they are – Nate said that he learned through his experience building the Loveumentary, that his audience began to really grow when he opened up and was vulnerable and honest about his true feelings and concerns when it came to love. People can relate, they  have the same concerns or face the same problems. And that has helped him connect with his audience and build engagement in ways he wasn’t previously able to.
  2. Use Metrics to be Responsive to Your Audience – This ties in to #1: When I asked Nate about what metrics are most important to him, he reminded students it depends on your goals. One thing Nate tracks closely on his blog is “time on page.” He wants to make sure people are enjoying his content, and sticking around to read it. He knows that if people aren’t sticking around, his content isn’t appealing to them. If they are sticking around, it is. He can use this knowledge to find out what resonates with his audience, so he can produce more of what works.
  3. Find your passion and find a need that you have – chances are others have it too. And if you are passionate about that topic, your chances of success go way up!
  4. Students today should be blogging, getting their name out there, and interacting with their field WHILE IN SCHOOL – Nate reminded our class that networking and building connections can be invaluable for the soon-to-be graduate. Students should be blogging, and building themselves on social media he said. In fact, he said he wished his professors had made him blog.

We learned a lot from Nate, and greatly appreciated his insight and passion. The Loveumentary is a great project and a great example of using social media to reach people, share a passion, and build an audience by helping others and providing a valuable service.

If you’re interested in checking out the Loveumentary (@loveumentary), you can find it on iTunes, and all other major podcast streams, or listen at

Best of Luck to Nate and the Loveumentary!

Social Media Educator Google Hangout; Google Drive in the Classroom

Last week was such a busy week I didn’t get a chance to post this content I had planned. So here are a few things I didn’t get a chance to share:

I participated in another great Google+ Hangout with social media educators from our social media educators LinkedIn Group! This session’s topic was: 50 Tips in 50 minutes: Social Media in the Classroom.

I always take away so much from these conversation and that’s why I love participating in them. You can watch all the great tips in the below YouTube capture of the Hangout with some truly innovative professors and wonderful people: Don Stanley, Jeremy Floyd, Gary Schirr. If you’re a social media educator, I encourage you to check out this group!

Second, here is a great article by Taylor Loren discussing the potential uses of Google Drive in the classroom. It builds off of my post last week and offers a number of great ideas I hadn’t thought of. I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in integrating Google Drive into their teaching!

Lastly, this past Saturday I had the honor of co-presenting with my wife, Kelin, at the 28th annual Student Leadership Conference at Shepherd University (@Leadership_Shep). Our presentation, titled “Leadership, Success, and the importance of other people,” was on the benefits of building interpersonal networks in college and in their future careers. Thanks so much to everyone who attended!

– Cheers!