Social Media to Keep You In the Loop

Did you see our live-stream Facebook video during the recent Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration in early May?

It was the first time we’ve broadcast live from that event – meaning you could be part of the action, even if you were watching from home!

If you follow us on Twitter, you’re the first to see our posts and news regarding legislative priorities and policy matters important to the Indiana business community.

Earlier this year, for example, you might have been following along as Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar tweeted from one of Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma’s “Tweet Seats” during the Governor’s annual State of the State address.

On Instagram, you’ll get a glimpse of life behind the scenes here at the Indiana Chamber, from learning more about our new employees to how we celebrate the holidays, give back to the community and relax together as a company.

LinkedIn is a great way to learn about our many conferences and seminars, awards and updates and so much more.

You can also find us on YouTube with a variety of videos. Overall, social media is a great way to keep in touch with the Indiana Chamber and to receive breaking updates about the state’s business landscape.

Member news: If you’re looking for broader visibility for your company news and updates, submit your press releases through our Member Press Release submission form. Not only are those archived on our web site, but we regularly highlight this news and information to our 18,400+ Twitter followers and over 2,400 Facebook fans.Our presence on social media is also one of the benefits of membership with the Indiana Chamber. Here are some of the various member-related features you can find across our feeds:

  • Member Spotlight: We also shine the light on Indiana Chamber member companies through their own narrative with the Member Spotlight feature.
  • And we’re regularly interacting with Indiana Chamber member company accounts on social media, with this blog and the EchoChamber podcast, sharing conversations, posts and updates about what’s new in a number of companies and industries around the state.

But the best way for you to find out what we have to offer via social media is for you to follow, like or subscribe (if you don’t already) to our accounts.

You can also contact Communications and PR Manager Charlee Beasor at (317) 264-7543 if you have any questions or need more information about our social media presence and how your company can follow along or join in the conversation.

Take a Writing Lesson from Spiderman

Has anyone seen the new Spiderman: Homecoming movie?

No? You’re all Marvel’d out?

(Just kidding; we’ll never escape the Marvel juggernaut.)

Anyway, back to Spiderman. You know what the writers did to the beginning of the movie? They skipped the back story. Completely skipped it! Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) was already living with his widowed Aunt May.

At this point, everyone knows Spiderman’s back story. You don’t need to rehash it for every single remake.

Why am I ranting about Spiderman? Because I hope this weird example sticks with you to help you improve your writing in the future. Ragan Communications wrote a post recently that linked to an infographic of 20 tips to spice up your writing – skipping right to the point is one of the main takeaways. Other suggestions: brevity, clarity, humor.

As Ragan Executive Editor Rob Reinalda advises, don’t waste precious writing real estate rehashing old information or a non-essential backstory. That’s the quickest way to put readers on a path to Tedium Town, the dreariest village in all of Writing Land. Tell your readers right away why they should read on. Save your 2004 client-crisis heroics for later.

In a similar vein, the infographic dedicates several points to brevity. Shoot for short sentences, delete extraneous words, and get straight to the meat of your story. Simple, direct writing is more forceful and effective. Make it easy for people to glide through your prose.

The infographic offers more tips to steer clear of boredom, such as going easy on the hard sell, varying sentence structure, writing with a playful tone and avoiding unreadable fonts. Also, to increase comprehension, you should complement your words with compelling images, tell interesting stories and “bring unexpected gifts.” Who doesn’t like a handy cheat sheet or a useful checklist for free?

The last point is to “Create something enjoyable” – for your audience, that is. Who cares if you think something’s fascinating? Is it enjoyable, interesting and relevant for your readers? That’s what matters.

Even if you’re not in a communications role, you probably write emails, letters or proposals, etc. Sticking to these tips (just like Spiderman sticks to buildings) can help improve your writing. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the infographic for more tips!

Spiderman

Ball State’s Social Media Center Turns Savvy Students Into Digital Marketing Pros

Today’s college students are immersed into social media while American corporations are looking for employees with such skills after investing heavily into digital marketing.

So, Ball State University created the Center for Advancement of Digital Marketing and Analytics (CADMA), providing students with the certifications, classes and on-site work to prepare them to handle digital marketing in the business world upon graduation.

“In developing CADMA, we found that major corporations have heavily invested in social media command centers, but few universities have created something similar for educating the next generation of technology workers,” said Eric Harvey, the center’s director and a marketing professor. “When it comes to this field, the average starting salary is just shy of $50,000 and companies — from the largest Fortune 500 firms to small start-ups — are seeking well-educated, highly motivated people to fill these positions.”

CADMA includes a social media lab, which is designed to educate students and help them hone skills they learned in digital marketing and analytics courses, including examining consumer behavior, professional selling and content development.

About 100 students have received or are working on social media marketing certifications using teaching modules provided by Google and other major technology firms around the world.

Read more in Ball State Magazine.

Fighting Mr. (Brain) Freeze

Ragan recently featured a useful article on how to handle a brain freeze when you’re speaking in public. Whether you’re a CEO, manager or in the cases they presented, a political candidate, handling such an instance with grace could go a long way toward disaster control.

They use the following two video examples of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as the right and wrong ways to handle this. Although, in fairness, one wonders how Sen. Rubio would have handled the last part of his speech if he was unable to eventually find the final page.

Ball State Communications Program Gets Even Better with Studio Upgrade

CA33pVcU0AACwpVBall State’s reputation for offering top shelf communications curricula is impressive — especially when it comes to sports programming. The school just issued a release on its new Unified Media Lab (UML), and it looks like another state of the art addition to this tremendous program:

Ball State University students are producing a wide range of programing in the newly opened Video News Studio, the final piece of the $4 million Unified Media Lab (UML).

With many of the same features found in the newest professional broadcast studios, the Video News Studio includes green screen technology, animated graphics and other special effects, as well as an audio production booth for radio programming and podcasts.

Ball State President Paul W. Ferguson said the new studio within UML makes the university a national model in the educational experience for future journalists and strategic communicators.

During his recent State of the University address, Ferguson unveiled the Centennial Commitment strategic plan, which includes the three major themes of being student centered, community engaged and a model 21st century public research university. Entrepreneurial learning is a hallmark, built upon such experiences as those available in the Unified Media Lab and nearby facilities.

“This facility will enhance the education of not only journalists but the next generation of communication professionals,” Ferguson said. “Collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are essential for today’s job market, and this Unified Media Lab provides our students with more opportunities that will make them even more prepared for the ever-changing workplace.”

More than an innovative facility, the UML provides a centralized and immersive newsroom to educate future journalists in solid writing, reporting and storytelling through collaborative, cross-platform media organizations. It offers nearly 50 writing and editing stations for student-run media outlets. There is also a digital news desk to coordinate collaboration and classroom seating for an immersive learning experience.

“This newly completed lab is just part of a combination of integrated course work, sophisticated facilities, engaged faculty and immersive experiences to prepare today’s journalists for competitive and rapidly changing industries,” said Roger Lavery, dean of Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM).

Student media operate independently and as cross-platform production teams. There are a printed newspaper, a printed magazine, daily television news programming, a radio station as well as online properties for each of these. The students also provide content for a central news website, Ball State Daily, and an app that offers breaking news, feature stories, commentary and a variety of multimedia content about campus life and surrounding communities.

Adjacent to UML, the Unified Media Advertising Sales and Creative Suite houses a team learning about advertising, sales and how to harness data to grow audiences and drive results. Student sales executives work with real clients, close deals and produce results.

Along the same corridor on the second floor of the Art and Journalism Building, the recently opened Holden Strategic Communications Center fosters a similar collaborative environment for public relations and advertising students. It is the home of two student-run agencies, Cardinal Communications and Adapt, as well as the student chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the American Advertising Federation.

Grab Attention Quickly or Else

How much time do you have to get the attention of readers — particularly in today’s digital world? The simple answer: Not much.

Thanks to Wylie Communications (Ann Wylie is a top trainer in addition to running her own company) for the following:

In the mid-20th century, communication theorist Clay Schoenfeld suggested a 30-3-30 rule for reader attention. As in:

  • 30 minutes: These folks re readers, and don’t we wish there were more of them
  • 3 minutes: They’re not reading the text. Instead, they’re flipping, skimming and scanning for key ideas
  • 30 seconds: These folks are lookers. They’ll learn whatever they can through an image and a bold headline

Today’s reality, according to Microsoft Research, is that web visitors:

  • Decide whether to stay on a page within 10 seconds
  • Are likely to stay longer if they make it over the 30-second hump
  • At that point, may stay as long as two minutes or more

Ann’s advice: The good news is you may be able to move these folks up the ladder of attention. If the 10-second view is interesting enough, you might turn a looker into a skimmer. if the display copy reveals real value, you might turn a skimmer into a reader.

But event if you don’t move visitors up the attention ladder, you need to reach each group where they are. You need to write for all your readers.

Email Flood Keeps Pouring It On

I’ve tried, unsuccessfully for the most part, to reduce the stranglehold of email on my business life. I’ve followed some of the guidelines — only check at certain times of the day, create folders for next steps, etc. — but that doesn’t seem to stop the unending flow.

A recent New York Times technology column noted that a research firm study calculated that people send 182 billion emails each day around the world. The annual total: More than 67 trillion messages. (In 2012, the numbers were 144 billion a day and 52 trillion total). Active email accounts increased from 3.3 billion to 3.9 billion, with 6% growth expected in each of the next four years.

Here are a few other observations in the Times column:

“It’s behavioral economics 101,” said Clive Thompson, author of a new book, “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better” and an occasional contributor to The New York Times Magazine. “You make it easy for people to do something, they will do more of it.”

Studies have shown that all this email leads to an unproductive and anxiety-ridden workplace, said Gloria Mark, an informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine, who has been studying the effects of email in the workplace since 2004. Ms. Mark’s research has found that people who stopped using email at work felt less stress and were more focused and productive.

Mr. Thompson said that in the workplace, email had become a major barrier of efficiency. “People feel the need to include 10 other people on an email just to let them know they are being productive at work,” he said. “But as a result, it ends up making those other 10 people unproductive because they have to manage that email.”

Branko Cerny, founder of SquareOne, which bills itself as a stress-free email client, said that technology could help solve the problems of email on the receiving end, which SquareOne does by presorting and flagging important messages, but that only human awareness could stop senders from inundating us.

In the past, with physical letters, people put thought into what they were going to write before they sent it, Mr. Cerny said. With digital, it’s send first, think later.

The author closes with the following: “For those who can’t seem to handle the onslaught of email, there is always the extreme option. When messages pile up, select all, hit delete and declare email bankruptcy (his lead shared that was his strategy in going from 46,315 unread emails in his inbox on Dec. 31, 2013 to none on his first day back to work in the new year).”

Throwback Thursday: Spinning the Wheel of Fun!

At the Chamber, we've recently undergone a renovation of sorts, which has featured a good deal of fall cleaning.

Today, we feature an item pulled out of some nook — an old-school carousel slide tray (an Apollo 3280, to be exact). So back in the day — long before Powerpoint — if you wanted to display images, graphs, etc. during a presentation, you utlitized one of these bad boys to wow your audience. Granted, it was just a still image, so the dancing hamster was not yet available, but still…

Here are some fun facts from Wikipedia (so you know they're legit) about the slide tray:

  • A carousel slide projector is a common form of slide projector, used to project slide photographs and to create slideshows. The first carousel slide projector was invented by Louis Misuraca, who immigrated to the United States from Naples, Italy when he was a child. Louis was paid a one-time fee for his invention by the Eastman Kodak Company and did not earn royalties. He used the money to take his family on a trip to Italy.
  • The carousel slide projector was highlighted in the popular TV-series "Mad Men" (Season One, Episode 13, titled "The Wheel") as a product for advertiser Don Draper to pitch. There, it was named the "Carousel," instead of "The Wheel", because it was nostalgic and let its viewers travel through their memories as a child would, "around and around and back home again to a place where they were loved."
  • A common series of carousel projectors with a horizontally mounted tray was introduced in the spring of 1962 by Kodak (Kodak Carousel/Ektagraphic). The earliest Carousel models (mostly known as the 500-series) are compatible only with the 80-slide trays.
  • During the 1970s, Kodak also produced a Pocket Carousel projector for use with miniature 110 format Kodachrome slides.
  • The Kodak Carousel projector was discontinued in October 2004.

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Katie Coffin for bringing this gem to our attention.

Watch the Language!

From the "sad but true" category, PR Daily reports on the trend of texting language now appearing in places it shouldn’t, like business writing and e-mails, or students’ schoolwork — or pretty much anywhere else that’s not a phone. This is one of those things that probably won’t change any time soon, so we should all probably get used to it and find something else to get irritated about. (If you want it, I’ve started a list.) PR Daily reports:

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be a passing fad. According to a recent poll of high school educators, 54 percent claim the “mobile phone text message language” is now creeping into teenagers’ schoolwork.

Even worse, a few years ago New Zealand officials allegedly began allowing high school students to use “text speak” in their written national exams. A local newspaper provided some tongue-in-cheek (I think) examples: “We shal fite dem on d beaches” (Sir Winston Churchill) and “2b or nt 2b” (Shakespeare’s Hamlet). Yikes!

Look, I get it. We live in an increasingly online world that’s populated with buzzwords, acronyms, and slang. But as someone who specializes in communications, I can’t stress how important it is to act like a professional, regardless of your chosen field. And that goes for your writing.

Experts warn that “casual communication” such as text message lingo, instant message abbreviations, emoticons, or even a quickly dashed off (and often misspelled) message from your iPhone or BlackBerry can shatter your chances of landing a new customer, making a potential sale, or winning a certain position.

While clients may forgive the occasional typo, frequent mistakes and ongoing casual communication could give them the idea that you’re sloppy and not to be taken seriously. Those types of misunderstandings can be costly when it comes to business. As one of my colleagues recently pointed out, people should try being more direct, use plain language, and be clear when communicating.

Remember, there is a time and place for casual chatter. After the close of business, customers are not your friends, so save the LOLs for a non-work acquaintance. You don’t know what might annoy someone, so the best plan is to keep it formal and professional. Craft thoughtful sentences and support your written communications with a polished verbal or personal presentation.

U can thnk me 4 this advice l8tr.

Here are a few more examples of the most hated “text talk” lingo, courtesy of a lunchtime poll of my colleagues.

• “Perf” instead of perfect. I don’t know why, but it bothers me.
• In emails, anything that has a hashtag annoys me. #lame
• LOL. Also: vacay and ROFL.
• Please spell out “pls” and “thx.” Thanks.
• In speech, I think “B.T. dubs” drives me slightly insane.

Noticed any text lingo creeping into business communications where you work?

Social Media and Politics: Nebraska Awkwardness Edition

PR Daily has this troubling Twitter anecdote from the Nebraska Senate Primary. The details follow, but one candidate is basically accused of trying to "follow" his opponent’s daughter on Twitter. Sounds creepy at first, but in his defense, he delegates Twitter management to an aide. But it makes for an interesting exchange:

Talk about an awkward debate moment.

During a debate in Nebraska last week, one Republican Senate candidate, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, accused his opponent, state Treasurer Don Stenberg, of being “creepy” for following his 14-year-old daughter on Twitter.

Bruning unleashed this salvo:

“Let me ask you this, Don. This Sunday, my daughter walks in, and says, ‘Don Stenberg’s trying to follow me on Twitter.’ My daughter’s 14-years-old. Now you tell me: I’d like to know, why does a 62-year-old man want to follow a 14-year-old girl on Twitter? I’d really like to know. She said, ‘Dad, that’s kind of creepy.’"

In return, Mr. Stenberg said the following:

“Quite honestly, I don’t do my own Twitter. Dan Parsons does it for me. We’ve got thousands and thousands of folks, and as soon as we get done here, I’ll call Dan and make sure that’s taken off. I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

That’s not a bad verbal response, but note his body language. His vocal delivery is much less sure than it was in his previous answer, and his post-answer body language reveals obvious anger. It’s hard to tell whether his ire is directed at his opponent or at his aide who requested to follow Bruning’s daughter; either way, his annoyance is obvious.

He lost control of the moment—and as a result, he lost the exchange

In these situations, maintaining control is critical. Stenberg’s approach of running toward the charge (“I don’t think it’s appropriate”) was a good one. But he should have delivered that line (or my suggested lines below) with full confidence:

“Jon, I agree with you. Children should not be fodder in political campaigns, and this is the first I’m hearing that one of my campaign aides tried to follow your daughter on Twitter. As soon as this debate ends, I’m going to have a conversation with my staff and make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”

Once he successfully finished running toward the charge, he could have taken the opportunity to counter-attack:

“But you know, Jon, I’m disappointed in you. Instead of speaking to me privately about this, one father to another, you opted to use this situation as an opportunity to score cheap political points. That’s exactly the kind of political stunt voters are sick of, and as far as I’m concerned, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”