Are you Listening…


Blogging out of ignorance is blogging without listening. Listening provides knowledge and wisdom. You can write about what you care about or what you THINK you know, but will anyone listen to you if you haven’t listened to anyone else?

Netvibes provides a great opportunity to listen. It has a multitude of sources, compiling information, news, conversations and whatever else you want about any topic or issue that concerns or interest you. The bonus to Netvibes is being able to listen in “real time.” This social media tool informs bloggers of the perspectives, opinions, and views that others have shared about their topic.  Listening can give your blog post a backbone. It can also set the tone of your blog post.

What you learn from listening will impact your blog post. So, what do you need to pay attention to? What do you need to learn to effectively inform your blogging experience?

Listen and learn:

  • Audience
  • Perspectives
  • Conversations
  • Supporters
  • Critics
  • Information
  • Facts vs. Myths

How, what, who, and when you listen will contribute to how your blogging is informed.

Listening leads to increased knowledge and awareness.

Knowledge and awareness leads to wisdom.

Wisdom leads to potential.

A good listener has the potential.

What did you learn about blogging?

What I learned out blogging is to be consistent and make your blog visually appealing.

Was it what you expected?

Blogging is not exactly what I expected. Blogging can be what you want it to be, it doesn’t necessarily fit into a box. A blog can be informative, sharing, or reflective (to name a few).

What surprised you?

What surprised me about blogging is you don’t have to be formal. You can express yourself as who you are. Blogging can also be used as a tool for nonprofit organizations and other business related purposes.

How could a blog be helpful to a nonprofit?

A blog can help a nonprofit in increasing constituents and supporters.

What are some examples of your listening (Netvibes) that informed your blog posts?

Examples of listening to Netvibes to inform my blog post include listening to the topics, the audience who is listening, what they are saying, and you is speaking. This informs my blog post by directing the content, and target audience. This helps me to know how, who, and what to talk about.


The Girls

The girls are each about 10 pounds. They eat, play, and sleep at about the same time. At home, the girls have more places to sit or lay then I do. They are high maintenance and spoiled.  Sometimes I wonder who really runs the show. Either way, I love them to the core, and can’t imagine my days without them.


I’m honored to be able to introduce you to the girls: Ginger and Penny. Sisters, from the same set of parents, born on the same day, one year apart. Ginger will be 10 years old next month, and Penny will be 9 years old. They are spunky and full of life and personality.


Ginger is the alpha-dog. She has stayed close to me since the day I brought her home. Although she is very sensitive, caring, loving, and attached to her owner, she can be intimidating. I call her queen “G,” because she is fearless and carries herself like she is THE queen of the land.  Many people are frightened by the sound of her bark. Seriously. Grown-ups. Men and women. She carries herself like she rules the land. Ginger believes she can accomplish any acrobatic maneuver, although her legs are about two inches long. She may not always make the wisest moves, but she is who I depend on as my watchdog.


Penny’s bark is not always accurate. She may carry on like something is going on, and there is nothing to be alarmed or concerned about. Penny is goofy, a little air-headed, and moody.  She will be the first to snap at you, especially when she is trying to rest. I guess she needs her meditation and beauty rest. As you can see in her photo, she has done well in keeping up with her youthful image. She hates baths, clothes and getting her nails cut, she prefers to be free and all natural (compared to her sister, who will rock a stylish fit in a minute). Penny likes to savor what’s good. She will hide and stash goodies in her bed or under mine. This behavior earned her the nickname, Penny Saver.


Are you Brave enough to take Responsibility?

Your actions on social media can affect your nonprofit organization or someone else. Did you think about what you wrote before you posted that status? The Anatomy of a Social Media Policy, asks you to take responsibility:


Understand the permanency of a digital footprint

ENTER…you have just created a digital footprint. It doesn’t matter if you go back and change what you said or even delete it. Consider your online activities are no longer private. Nowadays, there are tools like video capturing software and screenshots that enable what you do online to be tracked and recorded.

Reputation management

Your actions and behaviors online and within social media will create a reputation. All your employer has to do is Google you!


Representing the organization

Regardless if you are on the clock or not, you still represent your organization. Keep this in mind when you are utilizing social media tools. To maintain a positive representation during use and practice with social media tools, organizations may need to establish policies and guidelines on how to share and communicate information in a positive manner.

Positive Actions…

  • Encourage honesty and transparency – Social media is all about real people connecting in honest, sincere, helpful ways.
  • Encourage a conversational tone – Employees are encouraged to be interactive, conversational, respectful and professional, all at the same time.
  • Avoid spamming – Don’t email the organization-wide list that your daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies. And don’t take it upon yourself to send a mass email on behalf of your organization, leave this for your communications department.
  • Respect others – To eliminate workplace bullying, harassment and abuse; respect others both using and not using social media.

Be brave by being responsible

Where are you from?


This is a simple question that I haven’t found a simple answer to. Why? Well I can cease complexities by claiming one city or the other, but in reality my childhood was broken up almost evenly between Georgia and Arizona, although I was born in The Netherlands. I have spent most of my adult life in Arizona (so far). My parents were in the Army, one born in Arizona, and the other born in Georgia, but raised in New York. I know many people who are “Army brats,” but have been raised in one city versus several. To breakdown my whereabouts growing up:

Pre-School through third grade was spent in Arizona.

Fourth grade was spent in Georgia.

Fifth and sixth grade was spent in Arizona.

Seventh through ninth grade was spent in Georgia.

Tenth through twelfth grade was spent in Arizona.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Arizona.

I am completing my graduate degree in Georgia.

When I’m asked that question: “Where are you from?” I typically say: “From nowhere.” Sometimes I say from Arizona, and other times I say from Georgia and Arizona or from the Army. Many military brats will say they are “from everywhere.”  People are usually surprised, no matter the answer I give, as many people think I’m from Africa or the Caribbean.

My question is, “does it really matter?” Based on what you now know, where am I from?



A good story is captivating, relevant and delivers a message (good or bad). How do you formulate a story to meet these objectives? First you need to grab the attention of the reader or the audience at the beginning. This is called the “hook.” Asking a question that people want to stick around for the answer to is an example of a good hook. Creating or having a favorable character that the reader or audience wants to know more about and follow, will assist the likeableness of the story and hold the attention of the audience. We live in a fast pace world nowadays, therefore capturing and sustaining the attention and interest of the audience is most critical during the introduction of a story. If this doesn’t occur quickly, you are likely to loose the interest of your audience.

Its on thing to have a good story and another to tell a good story. Just because you have a good story to tell, if its is not told well, it won’t be a good story. Your feelings and passion about the story will help captivate the interest of your audience. I think it is much more difficult to captivate the interest of an audience when you tell a story that you are not connected to or passionate about in some way.

The emotions and energy displayed by the author gives me more of a reason to want to follow the story and find out what it is that is driving their energy. I want understand what it is I may be missing, or learn something I wasn’t aware of before. This is where the message comes in and a degree of relevance is sought. I want to remember and be able to reflect back on the story. This is what I call good story telling.


Social Media and Social Work

Since social media has flourished tremendously in a short time period, it will be a critical skill and knowledge base to have as a professional, especially in the field of social work. A new generation of social workers is evolving through the emergence of social media tools that seem to be growing on a daily basis. There are several benefits social workers have with the use of social media tools and networks. One of the most advantageous feature of social media tools, is its a free and widely available platform and vessel to the world, providing the ability to reach any group of people. As a social worker, it is important to meet people where they are, which is online.  ” Social media arguably constitute one of the most important cultural milestones in the last half-century” (Robb, 2011).  I recently told someone that this course, social media tools should eventually be a mandatory course for MSW students at Georgia State University. I personally believe it would be a huge disservice to the near future MSW students if they do not take this course, regardless of how involved they are in social media in their personal life.



Robb, M. (2011, January/February). Pause Before Posting–Using Social Media Responsibly. Social Work Today. Retrieved January 27, 2013, from

Personal and Professional Social Media

The social media networks for personal use have grown in numbers quickly over the last few years. Since I have not kept up with the social media trends, I had to do research to learn about networks other than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. This is the first time I’ve heard of BranchOut and BeKnown.  According to a study conducted by TNS for LinkedIn, people utilize personal networks for entertainment, socializing, staying in touch with family and friends, share and kill time. Whereas, people who use professional networks, devote their time to network, seek career opportunities and improve or maintain their professional image (Garibian, 2012).  I personally only have one personal network account, which is Facebook. I signed up for Facebook to replace Myspace and stay in touch and reunite with friends. I don’t keep up with Facebook regularly, therefore I don’t do much sharing or socializing. I’m somewhat of a private person, so I don’t feel the need or interest to do a whole lot sharing. Although I don’t like to tell everyone my business, I intend to improve my association with personal and professional networks. I have recently joined LinkedIn, and view that form of social media as a more valuable use of my time. Social networking is time consuming, and I don’t have time to kill on Facebook, Twitter or any other personal social media networks. Although I have not always been caught up with social media networks and the recent social networking trends, I would like to learn how to use them and begin to stay up to date with the networks I choose to join. I decided to take this course to learn more about social media tools and networks and how I can benefit from them in my personal life and professional endeavors.



Garibian, L. (2012, September 25). Social Media Mindset Divide. MarketingProfs. Retrieved January 27, 2013, from