Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mobile Blogging–The Preventionist’s Best Friend

You arrive to a coalition meeting 20 minutes early. Traffic wasn’t as bad as you had predicted, so you have 15 minutes of free time. I can’t tell you the number of times I sat in the parking lot of the Bryan County Health Department mindlessly scrolling through Facebook with no purpose. Oh, if I’d only known then what I know now!

Just yesterday, a new friend on Twitter asked me if I ever blogged from my phone. If you’ll recall, back in May, I wrote my first mobile post. Admittedly, for me, mobile blogging is a little harder. The main reason is that my brain works faster than my fingers can text on a phone or tablet. Only on a real keyboard are my mad typing skills truly put to use (Thank you 8th grade keyboarding teacher, Mrs. Mason!). But as I sit here typing these words on my iPad, I realize that this could be a good thing. I must choose my words more slowly and deliberately, and in turn, it forces me to think slower. However, for many, texting comes more naturally than pecking away on a keyboard, so mobile blogging would be much easier for them.

I think that people often feel that posts have to be brainstormed, outlined, and edited before they can see the light of day. And while the former English teacher in me agrees with that, the preventionist who longs for more coalitions to use social media in me shouts, “POST! POST! POST!” As the real social media experts will tell you, there is a happy medium.

The WordPress app that I’m using autosaves as I’m writing. That means if I get pulled away in the middle of a thought (but that never happens in our line of work, right?), everything is going to be right where I left it when I come back. Furthermore, should I decide to pick it back up on my phone or desktop….

20130222-101929.jpg

…there it is.

So even if you don’t have time to write a full post before your meeting, you can start on a draft and start that story that needs to be told!

I would love to hear your thoughts on mobile blogging. What are your experiences? What apps do you use? Do you, too, like blogging at Starbucks so you can feel like you fit in with all the other aspiring writers?

20130222-102029.jpg

Now go forth and do good things!

P.S. In the name of transparency and Schadenfreude, I can tell you that while inserting the images in this post, I accidentally deleted the entire thing. Thanks to my advanced IT skills (aka, knowing how to Google), I found out that WordPress not only saves drafts, but moves deleted posts to the Trash, which allows an impatient too-tappy blogger to restore her work.

Advertisements

Quick Tip of the Day 1.28.13

This morning, I had an internal conversation (that happens a lot when one works alone) that went a little something like this:

“I can do that.” 

Oh yeah, well then do it. 

“Okay, I will! 

My internal voices are quite smart-alecky, but it serves them well.

While conducting the daily sweep of infographics on Pinterest, it hit me that I should be creating these myself, not just reading other people’s pins. For the past few weeks, I’ve been a little obsessed with Noland Hoshino‘s concept of infosnaps. Rather than long, data-intensive, page-long infographics, these are simple snapshots containing a single fact or message. Because most people who work in prevention barely have time to high-five themselves as they run in circles, this is the perfect concept not just for my providing information to preventionists, but also for preventionists to provide information to their communities.

Here’s my first attempt at an infosnap–just a quick, basic tip to consider when using Pinterest (the primary social network to which I’ve been connecting as of late).

PreventionGeek QTOTD 1.28.13

Using the free website easel.ly, I designed this graphic in about 30 minutes. I think that once I figure out the intricacies of this program (which is currently in beta testing), the amount of time spent on creating will be greatly reduced. Furthermore, because this site allows one to save projects, the graphic could be used as a template for future projects, further streamlining the time spent by merely inserting new text.

Infosnaps are perfect tools for tasks such presenting data to coalitions and communities, promoting events, bolstering support for policies, publicizing calls to action, and more. LaDonna Coy and I will be discussing this concept and others in our workshop “Social Media and Free Range Learning” at the CADCA National Leadership Forum next week. Hope to see you there!

Getting (and staying) on track!

2013 schedule  so far:

Week 1

  • At-home second grader who wishes to share all the adventures that Christmas break holds.
  • Setting up all the logistics for PreventionGeek Consulting (which is a real thing now) including equipment, travel arrangements, supplies, etc.
  • Continue work on my and LaDonna‘s CADCA National Leadership Forum workshops, pushing myself to abandon old habits when it comes to PowerPoint and trainings.

Week 2

  • Assist husband during a week of convalescent leave due to having PRK (laser eye) surgery.
  • File every paper, electronic file, and scrap Post-it note to try to create order in the home office.
  • Continue work on CADCA workshop, still attempting to abandon old habits.

One of the challenges I have faced is maintaining that work/home balance, both timing and tasks. In the first two weeks, I found myself doing housework during the day and work-work in the evenings and on into the night. By nature, I feel more creative and productive after the sun goes down.

Original image source: Chris Paul Photography--Creative Commons; adapted using PicMonkey because I like creating my own memes

Original image source: Chris Paul PhotographyCreative Commons; adapted using PicMonkey because memes make me smile

However, as much as I like working in the evenings, the fact is I have a family that happens to be off-the-clock during those hours, so I need to adjust to their schedules.

Because I felt like I needed a little help organizing my day, I set out to look for tools that would make me more productive in the 8-5 hours. Some of my favorites so far are:

Tom’s Planner–This handy website allows one to map out long-term projects. So say you’re a coalition working on writing a new strategic plan, this tool could help you organize the timing of each step in the process and ultimately meet deadlines, which have a tendency to sneak up on a person. While the free version allows a single user a wide range of features, for only $9 a month (quarterly subscription), a coalition could collaborate on, personalize, print, and export these schedules. Right now, the free membership is enough for me and my smaller projects, though.

Evernote iconEvernote–I’m a list person, so this app makes me a very happy girl. You can use it to make notes to yourself  that can include check-able To-Do lists (my favorite!), pictures, audio messages, and other attachments that you may need. Then you can organize everything into notebooks for easier access and record-keeping. I think back to when I was working with 4 different coalitions and how this would have been helpful in keeping track of all the details for each group. I also think about how easy it is for me to get “squirrelled,” and this app definitely helps keep me on track.

Google Calendar–If it were up to me, I would stick with the pencil-and-paper calendar because I’m a visual/kinesthetic learner. Unfortunately, a paper calendar on my desktop doesn’t allow for much interaction and collaboration. Google Calendar allows me to create events and invite others, much like any standard calendar (like Outlook). You can also create and share entire calendars with others, which could come in handy to any group working collectively on a project. Most importantly, it allows me to integrate my home and work schedules. For example, because my husband makes quarterly trips to Alaska, I have to consider his schedule, making sure I don’t plan any travel for myself during those dates. When I worked in an office that used a networked Outlook system, I had a tendency to neglect adding personal events to my calendars since I viewed it as a “work,” tool. This led to a few scheduling mishaps, which hopefully will now be avoided.

A Post-It Flip Chart and Markers–Like I said, I’m a visual learner, so it helps me to have goals, deadlines, wish lists, etc. within eyesight. The good, old-fashioned flip-chart-sized Post-It allows me to do this. It also provides me with the satisfaction of posting a big red check mark when a task is completed. Everyone knows there’s nothing better than making a big red check mark!

Granted, most of these tools are pretty basic, and anyone who owns a smartphone has probably used them. However, my purpose in writing this blog (for now) is to chronicle the beginnings of learning to integrate technology into prevention. I’m sure as I get further along down the road, I’ll find more advanced tools to streamline life. But for now, as long as I can get a little help when it comes to balancing work/family time when I’m not punching a clock, then I’m one happy geek.