This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
The Newseum – Any media scholar or fan should see this!
Night Life? Georgetown is great for nightlife. Adams Morgan is another area with a lot of night life and has a bit more of a party scene. But there are bars, clubs, etc., here. If you are looking for something more low key, I would avoid Adams Morgan.
Music – The 9:30 club is a famous club for all sorts of music!
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.
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!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.
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:
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.
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.
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.
There is so much out there to see and do beyond the glow of the screen.
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. 🙂
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!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.
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.
A Social Media Education Blog by Matthew J. Kushin, Ph.D.
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