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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

USF student gives back to community

Joanna Koulianos says that her experiences at USF give her opportunities to serve her community in Tampa Bay and beyond. This summer she will stick around and feed the homeless, teach classes for students who have never been to school and she plans to start a community garden in her hometown Tarpon Springs.
Volunteering is a break from her thesis and work, says Koulianos, a graduate student in English literature who specializes in film, critical theory and modern American literature. When she is not working on her thesis, teaching composition or tutoring at the Writing Center, she is bettering the community. She has recently started a Food Not Bombs chapter in Tarpon Springs, a nonprofit that connects the homeless and the working poor with the community.

“It is a community event that happens every Tuesdays at Craig Park at 6 pm. We provide not only food but entertainment and space for people to come out, mingle and socialize with individuals outside their own classes and groups. A lot of the community members are very talented and don’t have an outlet to express themselves and relax. This week, we do a banner painting, too. It is a lot of fun to connect with other members of the community whom I would otherwise not meet,” she said.

She says that Food Not Bombs is more than just feeding the hungry; it is about stepping outside the comfort zone, getting to know the community and making friends. She also plans to start second non-profit, Tarpon Loves Animals and a community garden.

“We are working to create a business directory which will be available at the Chamber of Commerce that features vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in town. I also hope to organize a companion animal festival which will focus on educating the public about proper pet care, encourage pet adoption, and hopefully have a free-spay and neuter van, or at least vets available for consultations, on hand for anyone who needs it!”

In July, she will teach classes in a new context at the St. Petersburg Free Skool. She says that her teaching experience in a structured environment will come in handy.

“I am very excited to teach people who have never been to school. I am very thankful for my teaching experiences at USF,” she said.

Koulianos plans to grow her community work as a communications intern at Farm Sanctuary in New York where she will work 40 hours a week for three months copy-editing and exploring her new hobbies in videography and photography. She says her experience at USF and writing samples made her stand out as an applicant.

“I will be working for an organization I admired for a long time. I believe that I got the internship based on the experiences I have had in the MA program where I had a lot of opportunities to teach. The tutoring at the Writing Center made me grow as a writer and as a person. I have a wider skill set to offer. I am very thankful for that.”

Bloggie versus Flip

I have always wanted to have a SMALL camera and voila, meet my new buddy, BLOGGIE. But it took me a while to find Bloggie because there are many small cameras that take video and fit in your pocket. One alternative was to buy a Flip but then I heard that Flip is pulling out... The Bloggie versus Flip debate is a hot one, but for me it was simple to make up my mind.
- Sony does not plan to stop making this camera
- slender
- offers high quality video (1080 p 30 pfs) and photo resolution (12 M)
- 8 GB memory

Check out a video I did using Bloggie! Unfortunately, I don't own a Flip so I could not compare the quality of the videos.

Here are some pics I took using Bloggie.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Social Media Buttons- post all or just a few on a website?

All or nothing- well, it depends how many of these social media platforms do you use, what is your goal and target audience...

I just happened to come across Selene Bowlby webdesigner who has some great ideas on web design, s media and more. Since I am in the process of redesigning my site, I can't thank her enough for the list of social media buttons on her site that give me an idea to use them in the navbar or even provide a "subscribe to" RSS feed option at the end of my content!

She even has a FAQ tab in the primary navbar! She posts great ideas on her 15 Key Elements All Top Web Sites Should Have article, check it out!

Here are my take aways from reading her articles:
-Consistency (in navigation)
-Primary navigation above the fold (logo, main sections)
-Include ALL SM icons (same size, same position, on all sites)- MySpace, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, iTunes
-Include “search” box
-RSS feed or Newsletter option
-Add a Sitemap in footer (links to all sites)
-1 or 2 featured contents per page
-Have the website available for mobile devices
-"Speak live with…" option

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Social Media to Grow as an Entrepreneur

I must admit that I am a Twitter addict. I love social media, but I use these platforms for different purposes: I post pictures on Facebook, connect with photographers on Twitter, and I blog, blog, blog more than I ever did before. Needless to say that my social media activities are connected to my website to rank it higher on Google searches. Marketing strategies have changed for many businesses- traditional marketing is out, social marketing is in. This is good and bad because most business owners and freelancers must have a social media presence- they have to blog, interact,and network with clients, competitors, vendors and future clients.
There are two Tampa Bay photographers, Andy Diamond, who uses the RSS Grafitti app to spread the news on social media platforms and Carrie Wildes who religiously blogs about her work and more on her blog.
If you are techie, like Ryan Scherf, you can post cool social media buttons on your site! He has one of the best websites regarding simplicity and creativity! I will think of you when I design my site :)!

Read more about Carrie Wildes in my last posting on Social Media to Grow Your Business.