Category Archives: Activities and Events

What Are Your 2014 Teaching Goals? Here Are Mine

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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!

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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

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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

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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!


Creative presentation of scholarship and infographics at #aejmc2013

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A quick post from #aejmc2013 via my tablet.

Though there have been many highlights such as seeing old colleagues and seeing creative and innovative scholarship, I want to take a quick second to share one thing that I have really enjoyed.

I came across this great infographic summarizing a study by Alhabash, Quilliam and Zeldes from Michigan State at my high density session Thursday on Social Media, Attitudes, and Behaviors (I apologize for the poor photo quality). At high density sessions, presenters are supposed to provide a summary handout of their article. This is a visually engaging way of presenting complex info – making me realize yet another great use of infographics I hadn’t considered.

I plan to keep a hard copy to show my social media class as an example for their infographic assignment. Note to self for future conferences: An article summary is a perfect candidate for an infographic. Though I haven’t seen any yet, I imagine an infographic would make for a great poster at a scholar-to-scholar session.

This is why I love conferences.

As an aside, I am getting no service on my phone at the conference. My apologies for the lack of tweeting! Got to run.

Off to the scholar-to-scholar Advertising session at the grand ballroom south. Saw some interesting social media and advertising studies listed in the program!

Heading to AEJMC or NCA? How to Get Around DC and What to See!

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Quick Update: The NCA conference is also in Washington, DC this year. The below information is applicable to folks visiting DC for that conference, or any other conference too! Enjoy! – Matt

The annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, aka AEJMC, starts this Thursday in Washington, DC!

You may not know it, but I grew up in Suburban Washington (near the Dulles airport) and have spent a good amount of time in that wonderful city. So I thought I’d mention a few great things to help you get the most of your visit to my favorite city!

Getting To the Conference!

Flying into Dulles?

Many people think the Dulles Airport (IAD) is in the city. It is not. In fact, it is a good 45 minute drive from downtown Washington in Dulles, Virginia. If you are not getting a rental car or catching a ride from a colleague, your best bet (that is, your least expensive option) is probably the Metro bus system. That is because there is no Metro train from the airport to the city. Instead, you need to ride the Metro bus to the Metro train (aka, subway) station. Then, board the Metro train to get to the conference hotel. Fortunately, the bus system is pretty great and it isn’t too hard. Here is all the info you should need to get from IAD to a DC metro train stop.

Flying into Reagan National Airport?

You can take the Metro train right into Washington DC. No, you are not in DC yet! You are actually in Virginia across the Potomac river. There are great views of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument from this side of the river.

Getting Around the City


First off, DC has a great bicycle program called Capital Bikeshare. You can rent a bike for as little as 1 day! Kiosks for picking up and dropping off bikes are located throughout the city.

Demystifying the DC Metro Transportation System

The DC Metro train is your best bet for getting around DC. In my opinion, the DC Metro is 1 of the best, cleanest subway systems in the US. (tip: You wont’ find any bathrooms in the Metro stations). Here are a few things to help you maximize your use of the DC Metro:

Purchasing a fare card – When you enter the train station, there are kiosks where you buy your ticket. You can buy a paper card or a Smart card (discussed below). Fees are based on the time of day and distance traveled – that is, you buy a ticket with enough $ on it to get you where you are going. A chart above the kiosk will show you how much your ticket is ONE WAY. Peek hours cost more – so check the time of day. The kiosks accept cash, debit, and credit cards. Each person must have their own fare card.

After purchasing your fare, slide your fare card / or swipe your Smart Trip card to gain access to the station. (Just watch what others are doing, it is straightforward). Keep your fare card/ Smart trip card. You will need it to swipe when you get off the Metro to exit the station!

Smart Card versus Fare Card

Tip: DO NOT put your paper card or your smart trip card near a credit card in your wallet. The magnetic strip on the credit card often “erases” your fare card, causing you hassle because the exit station will not read it. It will think your card is empty. If this does happen, talk to the workers at the exit station and they usually are kind and understanding. This happens all the time. If you are unlucky, they may make you buy a new fare card for the distance you have traveled.

  1. Paper Fare Card – When you buy a paper fare card you can put as much money on it as you like, up to a limit. When you exit the station, the amount you used for that trip will be reduced. And the leftover money can be used to ride the metro again. This saves you from having to buy a paper fare card every time you travel. This cute video shows you how to use a paper fare card, and ride the metro!
  2. Smart Trip Card – Smart trip cards are plastic cards that cost $10 – that covers the $5 for the card, and $5 balance on the card to be used for riding the metro. You can add up to $300. However, each ride with a Smart Trip Card costs $1 less ($2 roundtrip) than a paper fare card. If you plan to ride the metro more than 5 times ONE WAY, it is worth it to buy a Smart Trip card. Here’s a great video on how to buy a Smart Trip card and what you will need to do! Here’s another great video on using Smart Trip.

Planning Your Trip on Metro

The metro system contains multiple lines, each indicated by a color. So changing from one line to another is sometimes necessary at interchange stations. Also, in rare cases you may need to ride a Metro bus to get where your going as the Metro train system is somewhat limited. The great news is, you can use the online Trip Planner to calculate the time, cost, and route needed to get from here to there including transfers between train lines and busses.

Maps and Apps

Like any subway system, maps are easy to find in the stations and on the trains. The Metro offers a great “Visitors Kit” with a PDF with maps, fare prices, etc. But if you own a smart phone, there’s a better way to get around the DC metro.

DC Metro Transit for Android and iTrans DC Metro for iPhone are both free and highly reviewed.

FREE Places You Must See in DC!

The best thing about DC is that you don’t have to spend much money to truly enjoy it.


  • The National Mall and Memorial Park Iconic Monuments and Buildings – If there is one thing I recommend, it is to spend the day on the National Mall seeing the icons of DC: The Capitol, the White House, the Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln Monuments, the World War 2, Vietnam, and Korean War memorials, and the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
    The National Park Service offers this great map of the area. It is a bit of a walk from one end to the other (the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial). But well worth it! Bring water as there is little shade on a hot day!
  • Smithsonian Museums – These museums are FREE!! and are located near the national mall (not a shopping mall, but a big field between the Washington Monument and the Capitol) There are a lot to choose from (19 in total!), each with its own focus such as the American History Museam, Natural History Museam, etc. My favorite growing up was always the Air and Space Museum!

Other Great Things to See and Do!


I hope you found this post helpful in making the most out of Washington DC! If you did, please share it on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Got advice, tips, or places you suggest people see? Please drop a comment below!

Masahiro Yamamoto, Francis Dalisay, and I are presenting our paper titled “Social Media and Mobiles: Examining the Moderating Role of Online Political Expression in Political Participation” Thursday, August 8th 1:30-3pm in room 071. This will be my first time participating in a “high-density session!” The theme is “social media, attitudes, and behaviors.” Hope to see you at AEJMC!

Note: This post is NOT affiliated with AEJMC in any way.

Photos: Courtesy of Kelin

Updates: Fall 13 Social Media Syllabus; New Theme and Menu; A Blogging Milestone!

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Hey all,

Just a few quick notes:

1. My Comm 322 Syllabi Now Available on Scribd!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the changes I was making to my social media class for this upcoming fall. I’m excited to say my Comm 322 Social Media syllabus for this upcoming fall semester is done! I’ve published a copy to Scribd. You can see it at the bottom of this post. It can also be accessed via the new menu bar above (discussed more below). The syllabus from last year will remain up as well, accessible via the menu.

I’m stoked we’ll be having some amazing speakers visiting with us this semester:

Leigh-Anne Mauk – Social Media & Public Information Specialist @ Hagerstown Community College Office of Public Information & Government Relations. Leigh-Anne is also a writer, social media consultant, and more!

Nate Bagley – An expert in social media with a wide array of experience, Nate is a graduate of my former institution  Utah Valley University. He’s the creator of a great podcast that seeks to prove true love exists in the 21st century, the Loveumentary!

Mark W. Schaefer – author of our course text this fall, Born to Blog, and super-well known blogger and social media expert!

2. New Theme and Menu

I really want to do a better job of providing access to resources in social media education, including my own work as well as that of others. I get a lot of traffic to the blog from people looking for social media education syllabi, assignments, and more.

I’ve updated the theme for easier reading of articles. Readers no longer have to click on every article they want to read, they can simply scroll down. If you like the new theme, let me know! If you’d prefer the old theme, I’d like to know that too. 🙂

I’ve re-organized the menu on this blog, which is now permanently on the left, in an attempt to help people find what they’re looking for more easily. This includes a reorg of blog topics, pointing to teaching resources I’ve created, and I’ve added a link to all my syllabi hosted on Scribd. What do you think?

Along those lines, if you have links to social media education resources you’d like to share with our readers, please leave a comment below, or contact me via Twitter, G+ or LinkedIn. I’d love to link to them on this blog!

3. We’re Past 25!

Lastly, my last blog post marked a milestone. It was post #25 since starting this blog this past February! I’m so excited that my previous blog post on Mendeley’s new Literature Search was by far the most read blog post since I’ve started this blog. Thanks so much to everyone who shared it. I am hoping to expand the focus of the blog to include more posts like this on productivity, tips, and tricks for fellow professors. If you’ve got a topic you’d like to see a post about, please contact me or leave a comment below!

New Social Media Syllabus:

2 weeks without the Internet: 5 Lessons Learned

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Could you go two weeks without the Internet?

I did (well, almost – see below). And I am so happy I did.

At first, it was more from necessity than choice. You see, Kelin and I recently took a two week belated honeymoon to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and the Coromandel in New Zealand. We hit Rarotonga first. Before we went,I realized that we weren’t going to have much access to Internet on a small tropical island. I was concerned. But I figured I’d spend a good amount of time in Internet cafes replying to emails, checking in on social media, reading news, weather, and blogs, and so forth.


Then a few things happened. First, I saw just how expensive the Internet cafes were – some charging $5 for 10 minutes! On terribly slow computers, not much can be accomplished in 10 minutes except loading Gmail. I’d soon blow my vacation budget on Internet when that money was for snorkeling, sightseeing, cycling, and hiking. Then, I stepped back and realized… Matt, you’re on vacation. You’ve been planning and saving up for this trip for over a year. Enjoy it.

I took a breath and let it go.

Kelin and I decided not to seek out the Internet. We knew it would still be there when we returned.

The only time we used the Internet was for 10 minutes to fulfill our promise to email back home via a personal email account to let everyone know we were safe. And once when we needed to check with our bank on a question, about 20 minutes (international calls are far more costly than 10 minutes of Internet). A total of about 30 minutes.

For me this was a big deal. I had NEVER taken a vacation that didn’t involve computers, smartphones, Internet cafes, or the other things that tether me to the world like television. I’ve spent countless hours (and money) in web cafes in Europe or sitting in hotel rooms browsing the web or watching ESPN. That’s not a vacation. That’s simply being in another physical location. It is not another mental location – away from your normal world.

I had to take a vacation away from the web to figure that out.


Here are five things I learned about myself and my relationship with technology:

  1. How much of my time is spent using technology. I am constantly on a computer or staring at a smartphone. I reply to emails like a person swatting flies, desperately trying to keep unread emails at bay.
  2. Technology should add to my life – not control my time. I love technology – always have.But I should not feel beholden to it. Even as I write this blog post on a Sunday evening, I feel a bit of guilt. I should be out enjoying this amazing weather. I should be getting exercise. But I’m quickly falling into old habits again. It is hard not to.
  3. I can navigate the world without my smartphone – although the smart phone is much more convenient. 🙂 There are so many helpful people out there. You don’t get a chance to meet them if you rely too much on technology to help you.
  4. There is so much out there to see and do beyond the glow of the screen.
  5. And the most important thing I learned – It is healthy to take a break. Just like you, it is vital in my career that I keep up technology and trends. I debated whether I should even admit that I took a break from technology on something as public as a blog. People may think, “A social media blog talking about the benefits of unplugging? Has Kushin gone wonky?” Today, with everything moving so fast, we’re so worried that we might miss some advancement, some critical news, an inspiring blog post. But the truth is that we all need a break, even from the things we love and the things we depend on.

I came back from this trip feeling relaxed and refreshed for the first time.


Of course, I’ve jumped right back in. And I’m glad to back online. But it was good to be away, if just for a little bit. Honestly, I haven’t changed my habits as much as perhaps I would have like to having learned everything I did. But I did have 2 amazing weeks with my wife, saw so much more than I would have behind a screen, and came to develop a better perspective of my relationship with technology and an appreciation for the role it plays in our world today that I would not have without this experience.

If you’ve been considering going without Internet on an upcoming vacation, or even for a weekend, I strongly encourage you to take the plunge. If you have a spouse or are traveling with others, I believe it is important that everyone is on board. I know it was important for Kelin and I. Had one of us been seeking out the web, it just wouldn’t have worked.

Turn off the iPad, put down the smartphone, and unplug. You’ll be glad you did. I firmly believe it is the healthy and responsible thing to do. As Stephen R. Covey wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , you’ve got to “sharpen the saw.”

And trust me, the rest of us here on the social web – we’ll be here when you get back. 🙂

If you’d like to see some photos, I’ve posted a few to a public album on Google Plus. They include photos from around the Coromandel peninsula in New Zealand including the hauraki bike trailKarangahake gorge walks, Tairua, Cathedral Cove, and much more. In Rarotonga, most of the photos are from Muri Beach or the Cross Island Treck. I highly recommend all of these places and activities!

We took over 1,000 photos! If you’ve got any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a comment. I’m more than happy to talk about how to ditch technology for a vacation or just about these amazing places in the world we were blessed to be able to see!

Have a great week!

Cheers! – Matt

Upcoming Events: Speaking on Social Media and Democracy

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I am very excited!  Tomorrow, April 30th, I will be traveling to Washington, DC to participate as a U.S. Speaker and Specialist in the United States State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). This amazing program, which I had the honor of participating in last year, provides informational outreach around the world.

This engagement will be in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava in the Slovak Republic. I will have the pleasure of speaking via video conference with students in Slovakia. The subject I will be speaking on is the rise of social media as a tool for democratic participation, my area of research expertise.

I recently had an opportunity to speak on a similar topic to the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown West Virginia. However, my presentation to the IIP will be focus more on my recent and forthcoming publications.

Thinking over the many changes we’ve seen in social media and political campaigns in the last few years, I’m excited to share some new thoughts and preliminary findings from our 2012 election survey.

I hope everyone’s semester is coming to a close in a relaxing and non-chaotic fashion as possible!


photo: CC y robposse