Category Archives: Scout

More on Google and News Releases; New Google Tools; The Death of iGoogle

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

It has been a very busy few weeks here. Good news: It is Friday and time for another web roundup! And I will be turning in my mid-term tenure review portfolio today! wahoo!Scout on the stairs

Great articles from around the web:

Recently, the great blog SpinSucks posted an article reminding practitioners about the recent changes from Google that can have a negative impact on your news release. Here are their tips on how to avoid a Google penalty! I wrote about this several weeks ago if you care to learn more about the WHY behind these needed changes to news release writing online.

Wendy’s Hilarious and Clever Social Media Campaign – Here’s a great article about the latest from Wendy’s – a series of nonsensical soap opera style videos with real user tweets as the script. Absolutely clever. Absolutely hilarious. Check them out!

And, since I like to talk about cool tools for both in the classroom and for productivity for professors, here is a great list of 14 Google tools you may not know existed. While I knew a many of them, I found some cool new tools from this list, some of which are useful in the classroom – like Google’s NGram viewer that would be great for infographics! Btw, I’ve got a few more productivity post tips in the works.

How Social Media Killed iGoogle – Do you remember the customizable landing page? I do. I never got into it. This post helps me understand why – information gathering via social media, including incidental exposure, has killed the personalized portal.

Lastly, happy to see, though I suppose you already knew this 😉 – more professors are using social media in the classroom to teach.

How would you use iPads in the classroom?

Recently, another faculty member and I secured funding to get 10 iPads for our department (6 minis and 4 retinas). While we have some great plans on what we’d like to do with the iPads, I’d love any ideas and suggestions you have on how we can maximize our use of the iPads for learning. What creative ideas and suggestions do you have for using iPads in the classroom? If you’re using iPads in your classes, how are you using them? What has your experience been like? Please share your comments below, via Twitter, or G+. Thanks so much!

Scout update!

Lastly, a quick update for the Scout fans! Scout is growing up so very quickly! I have lost count of how many weeks old she is now, but she’s 27 pounds (she was 14 when we first brought her to the vet a few weeks after we got her).

We’ve spent a lot of time training her (I highly recommend The Power of Positive Dog Training) and taking her to a “puppy kindergarten” class. She recently passed her first puppy class, and we are hoping to enroll her in the next stage. She has been a joy and I have learned a lot – it has been a growing and learning experience for me!  A few weeks ago, we traveled to Pittsburg for a work function for Kelin. During that time, Scout got a chance to visit the breeder where she came from. She got to see her mother and sister. You can follow Scout on Instagram! Scout was confused by  her first Halloween, barking at the children! But she soon settled in. Thanksgiving will be fun!

The fascinating origins of the iPhone and Twitter you didn’t know

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

What is the story behind great technological innovations?  What was it like for those involved in making them? What were the struggles? The “aha!” moments?

I recently came across two great articles from the New York Times Magazine that tell the story (both myth and reality) of two of the biggest innovations in recent history: the iPhone and Twitter.

I share a lot of content across the social web (follow me on Twitter 🙂 – @mjkushin). But I want to take a moment to share these in depth articles on my blog and talk about them a little bit because they are two of the most insightful and enjoyable reads I have come across in months. While both are a bit long, I strongly encourage you to take time and read them.

Now I’ve been a Twitter user for several years. But I’ve never owned an iPhone. In fact, the iPhone came to be when I was in grad school and though while all my friends back home who were working had one, I couldn’t justify the expense on a TA’s stipend.  And besides, I grew up a Windows kid ever since we got our Packard Bell 486 back in the early 90s. While I use a Mac now, I wouldn’t say I’m a full-fledged Mac fan.  But the iPhone story below really gave me new respect for the innovation that was the iPhone and just how groundbreaking it truly was. It has been a few short years and we take for granted the multi-touch, the great picture, and the ability to do so much with a little computer in our pockets. But it wasn’t always that way…

“And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’” From NYTimes Magazine tells the stressful and secretive story of the invention – from concept to reality – of the iPhone through the eyes of Andy Grignon, an iPhone engineer. It is a lengthy and thorough article that tells the story about the launch of the iPhone by Steve Jobs at MacWorld in San Fran, 2007.  It is absolutely fascinating to see the guts and forcefulness of Steve Jobs. Though the audience probably never realized it, the iPhone presented at MacWorld barely worked. So how did they make it happen? You’ll have to read the article to find out.

All Is fair in Love and Twitter” from NYTimes Magazine is the story of a simple idea – a service that allows people to share what they’re doing right now. That idea became Twitter, which we recently heard is going public. What you may not know is that Twitter exists perhaps because another company failed, a podcasting company called Odeo. Interestingly, this also has to do with Apple… but I’ll let you read the article to find out.

I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did. These histories, and though recent that’s what they are, area fascinating!

– Cheers!


photos: top – Creative Commons wikipedia | copyright Twitter

A Professor and a Puppy: Bergamasco Scout now on Instagram

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

Matt meets Scout for the first time.
Matt meets Scout for the first time.

I know… I know… this blog is about social media education. But I thought I’d quickly share an update on our adventures into dog ownership as many people have been asking! Kelin and I have been planning to get our puppy since last semester – I told my students all about it and we talked names – so we are both very excited to have finally brought home Scout last night.

Scout (a literary reference, of course) is a bergamasco and right now peacefully napping! The car ride home was peaceful and she remained calm through the night. We spent the morning wearing her out, freeing me up to writ this quick post.

As a way to combine my need to get more hands on experience with Instagram along with my desire to be an ambassador of this rare breed, I’ve decided to create a Scout Instagram profile. If you are interested in following the puppyhood and beyond of our new bergamasco scout on Instagram, check out  I promise lots of photos. I’ll try not to overdo it but in all honesty I probably will post far too many photos.

What is a Bergamasco?

Not many people have heard of bergamascos before. I hadn’t. And in fact, some people mistake bergamascos for komondors while others incorrectly think that bergamascos are messy or unclean due to their unique coat (more on that below).  This unfamiliarity is a major reason why I want to share our adventure with Scout.

Bergamascos are Italian sheep herding dogs and come from the Italian Alps. Their unique feature is their coat which consists of 3 different types of “hair” and forms flocks that look a bit like dreadlocks. They are hypoallergenic. Despite appearances, they shed very little and coat maintenance is minimal.  They are said to be very clean dogs and the coat does not smell.

According to the American Kennel Club, “The Bergamasco is a sociable, highly intelligent breed that possesses a deep desire to please its master. The breed thinks independently, however, and often sees itself more as an equal partner than as a subordinate to the members of his family.”  The Bergamasco (Comprehensive Owner’s Guide) describes these dogs as “intelligent and balanced,” “peace-loving,” loyal, great with kids, among other qualities that drew me to the breed.

When doing research on what type of dog would match our lifestyle, the bergamasco came up again and again. I did a great deal of research (I tend to overdo it sometimes!) on this and other breads and Kelin and I decided this was the right dog for us.

From time to time I will post updates on this blog about our life with Scout as I know many people are interested. But this blog is a social media blog and I know that is why you read this blog. I promise not to lose sight of that. I will also label all Scout-related blog posts under the category “Scout” (see “blog topics” on the left menu).

Feel free to contact me via other social channels (twitter, G+, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) or via a comment below if you have any questions about Scout or our experience with her, or thoughts on raising puppies. While I am a novice with dogs and bergamascos, I am more than happy to share my experience.