Bonnie Zink

Knowledge mobilization, writing, and social media top the discussion list.

Bonnie Zink - Knowledge mobilization, writing, and social media top the discussion list.

BOOK REVIEW – The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users

The Art of Social Media: Tips for Power Users
by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
Published by Penguin Publishing Group (December 4, 2014)
Hardcover: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 1591848075
ISBN-13: 978-1591848073

the-art-of-social-mediaTelling our story is not always as easy as it sounds. We share research findings by using the tools that help us get our message out there. Traditionally, this meant we published our research in academic journals., created posters and presented them at conferences, and turned our findings and experiences into easily consumed “research snapshots,” or fact sheets. We might sit in front of a computer screen and churn out an op-ed piece for the local newspaper. We might even be interviewed live by the local media. Ultimately, we want to move our knowledge and experiences into the hands of those who can use it in valuable ways to create healthy communities that thrive. The traditional methods and processes help us do that.

     These traditional methods have one thing in common – they are usually accomplished at the end of our research cycle. We concentrate so much on getting the work done that we forget about engaging our audiences throughout the entire research cycle. Integrating our knowledge mobilization activities, from the development of the research question through the entire research cycle, affords us the opportunity to further engage our research partners, policy makers, and members of the community. This opens up a world of possibilities. But, how do we do it?
     Never before has it been as easy as it is now to engage with people across the globe. The digital environment provides us all with an equal opportunity to publish and share our knowledge directly with those who can use it. Social media, websites, videos, pod-casts, blogs, and a host of other tools exist today that did not exist in the past. People seeking knowledge can access it directly and engage with the authors of that knowledge easily. These new methods and process are powerful and, when used with more traditional knowledge mobilization tools and methods, enhance our knowledge mobilization activities and help us reach our goals at the beginning, the middle, and end of the recycle cycle. How to effectively make use of the new digital tools, including social media, is contained within the 208 pages of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users.

What is this book all about?

With this in mind, I invite you to check out Peg Fitzpatrick’s and Guy Kawasaki’s latest publication – The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users. Both authors are masters of the digital space. Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist and popular blogger. She has over 80 000 followers across the web. Kawasaki, chief evangelist for Canva and industry thought leader, works to serve over 10 million followers daily. They are engaged and generate buzz around the ideas and concepts they are passionate about. They know how to be social online and how to put the power of social to work for them. Between the covers of The Art of Social lies much of that knowledge and the author show you how put the power of digital communications to work for you.

Who should read this book?

Anyone looking to optimize social profiles for increased engagement, interested in developing a plan for social activity, or in need of practical and actionable solid advice and tips about using social to connect and collaborate in today’s digital world absolutely needs to read this book. It is a valuable resource that presents what you need to know in easily accessed chapters and sections.

Why should you add this book to your resource shelf?

“This is what we do. I hope it helps you,” says Fitzpatrick during an interview with Mitch Jackson on The Human Side Interviews. Both authors are well established in social media and often field questions about what they do and how they do it. This gave rise to an expert collaboration that resulted in this book. This book shares all the steps and details the process involved in building the proper foundation for your social activity, attracting followers, and expanding your sphere influence by providing value and sincerely engaging with those you connect with online. Find out how to get your message heard in an increasingly noisy digital space by:
  • Building a strong foundation: Optimize your profiles with a professional looking photo of YOU. People don’t engage with logos, they connect with people. Be yourself, share your passions, and learn from your network. Show your audience what you care about by creating a powerful bio and cover photos on each platform you choose to be present on.
  • Feed the content monster: Learn what to share, when to share it, and where to share it. Whether creating your own unique content or curating content from the web or sharing content that exists within your network, ensure that it always connects with your own goals and values. Many tools help make this process easier – Google AlertsHootsuiteAlltopFeedly, and many others are low cost or free to use and bring the content straight to you!
  • Integrate your social media and blogging: Discover just how powerful your website or blog is when combined with social media. Use your website or blog as the place where all other activity will drive readers to your longer form content. The tips in this book will help you build community around long form ideas.
  • Attracting Followers: Discover a three-step plan that works to attract more followers and encourages them to engage with your content. First, share great content. Then, be enchanting and likable. Wrap it up with integrity – be yourself and be honest.
     Throughout the book, Fitzpatrick and Kawasaki provide power tips like Facebook’s ability to upload videos natively, using GooglePlus’s ripples to build your network, which networks like (and which do not) hashtags, how rich media enhances your engagement, and a lot more.

My thoughts…

It is not very often that a book makes me cheer out loud. This one did! This one makes it to the top of my recommended books. Whether you are just starting out or looking to add more power to your punch when communicating online, this book belongs on your resource shelf.

Where can you find out more (and buy the book)?

Are you convinced? Are you ready to buy the book? No? Check out these resources that will help you understand how important this book is to helping you master the art of social and tell your story:
     Are you ready to add this book to your resource shelf now? I sure hope so! You can buy the book or grab the eBook here:
 

Social Media: Finding your soapbox

In the first post of this series, Figuring the Why Before the How, we took stock of your available resources, began thinking about what social tools are right for you, and reviewed the various assets you have at your disposal when implementing your social strategy.

The second post, Goals or Objectives, Getting to the heart of the matter, helped us think about what we are trying to achieve and aligning those goals or objectives with those of your organization’s overall communication and knowledge mobilization strategies. 

 
Now, it is time to discover your soapbox. A soap box, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “something that provides an outlet for delivering opinions.” This is exactly what a social media platform is – a tool, or platform, that helps you deliver your message across the globe through sharing what matters to you. There are many platforms that help spread your message, but let’s consider some of the more popular ones.
 

The modern day soapbox:

Each and every social media platform is good at something. Whether it is driving traffic to your website, increasing awareness about your favourite cause, or highlighting what you do, why you do it and how you do it, all social media tools have one thing in common – they are the modern day equivalent of a soapbox, which allow you to spread your message in an increasingly digitized and networked world. 
 
When choosing your soapbox, consider the following: 
  • which platforms best support your objectives or goals
  • which platforms do you have the capacity to implement and maintain
  • which resources are available to you
  • which resources do you need to acquire to provide unique and valuable content to your networks

Picking your soapbox:

The decision to use a platform or not is one that deserves your thoughtful attention. Make it easier by developing a criteria that is based upon your goals or objectives. Ask yourself about the value you will deliver to your network on the platform and the value that you will receive by being present on this platform. Since you cannot be everywhere, pick one or two platforms and learn them well before adding additional platforms. 
 

Popular soapboxes:

Facebook: This social networking site allows users to share and engage with their network. It is made up of communities where people interact with family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and others with similar interests and connections. Users email, video and voice chat, share files, blog, and join discussion groups. Facebook is good for:
  • boosting an organization’s visibility
  • driving traffic to your website
  • encouraging fund raising
  • promoting events
  • mobilizing and coordinating people
  • promoting a cause or idea
  • building community around your research or publications
Twitter: This micro-blogging and social networking platform provides real-time information, commentary, and descriptions of events and topics. Users send updates, in 140 characters or less, that are visible to their network on their timeline. Many share links to other information (articles, events, videos, pictures, websites) with their audiences. Twitter is good for:
  • developing relationships with your target audience
  • connecting with friends, colleagues, and institutions around the globe
  • monitoring conversations through hashtags
  • sharing helpful information, publications, and learning material
  • creating interest about an issue or cause
  • driving traffic to your website
YouTube: YouTube is one of the most popular web portals in the world and heralded as the second largest search engine. It allows users to submit videos, find videos by searching for keywords, and share their own ideas and values. YouTube is good for:
  • developing expertise
  • promoting ideas, products, and services
  • raising an organization’s visibility
  • showing research in action through short video clips and other animated formats
LinkedIn: This social networking site is the leading online professional directory of individual professionals and companies. It is good for:
researching people, companies, and industries. LinkedIn is also good for:
  • searching for jobs and recruiting professionals
  • establishing expertise
  • networking with members and organizations in your industry
  • allowing organizations and individuals to highlight what they do, why they do it, and how they do it through posting updates and developing profiles
  • staying up-to-date on the activities of your colleagues

Pinterest: This tool is essentially a digital pinboard – a place where you can collate and share your interests through photos, graphics, or any other visually appealing representation. Pinterest posts have the longest shelf life of any platform. Many pins continue to be shared and commented upon years after their original posting. Pinterest is good for:

  • developing and demonstrating your passions and expertise
  • increasing web traffic to blogs, websites, photos, publications, and many other digital representations of your work
  • helping your content become more visible
  • curating content that matters to you and your audience
Instagram: This photo and video sharing platform allows you to showcase your work and tell your story by sharing photos and video.You are instantly creating unique content. As soon as you upload an image or video, your audience can see and engage with your content. Instagram is good for:
  • developing trust with your audience by allowing you to show what you do, why you do it, and how do it (puts a face to your work)
  • highlighting issues, topics, events, and passions in action
  • communicating directly with your audience to build excitement around a topic or about an issue
Tumblr: This micro-blogging tool is a unique type of social network that allows you to share text, video, photos, and other blogs. Tumblr is good for:
  • building interactive communities
  • curating, or collecting, and sharing web content by “reblogging” or reposting blogs
Google Plus: This platform is Google’s answer to being social. GooglePlus allows more flexibility than Twitter as you are not limited to 140 characters. It uses circles to help you organize your connections and makes it easier to share content that they are interested in. GooglePlus is good for:
  • connecting with people with similar interests
  • connecting with colleagues and stakeholders through video (Google Hangout)
  • exploring who is talking about what and what they think about issues or topics
Wiki:  Wikis are spaces on the web where you can share documents, ideas, pictures, links, videos, and media. Wikis are collaborative and allow you to work with teams to capture and share your knowledge.  Wikis are good for:
  • housing all your content is in one place and making it accessible to a wider audience
  • connecting team members across organizations or projects, no matter where they are located
Other social media platforms include: blogs, online forums, and electronic newsletters. Even websites and group email have social elements.
 

Other soapboxes:

This list is by no means exhaustive. It does give you a place to start when thinking through the platforms that you will use. For a more comprehensive look at social media platforms for academics, I encourage you to check out Professor Andy Miah’s The A to Z of Social Media for Academia. Miah has organized social platforms into a regularly updated alphabetical listing – complete with links and brief descriptions. 
 

Are you social?

  • Which platforms do you use?
  • What are some of the goals or objectives for being social?
  • What value are you delivering or receiving from your networks and social activity?
  • How does being social help you spread your message, make the connections that matter, and create knowledge?

#KMbChat: Evaluation – How to demonstrate success in KMb

#KMbChat LogoWhen: March 26, 2015 – noon EST

Where: Twitter! (#KMbChat)

Topic: Evaluation – How to demonstrate success in Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) for your institution/organization

What is this chat about?

How do we know that what we do works? How do we report this up the chain of command to our superiors, our funders, and share our successes with our colleagues? The key to all of this is measuring what matters and then packaging those measurements into easily understood documents that not only add value to the reader, but show us what we ought to continue doing and what we need to tweak. Nowhere is measurement and analysis more important than in our digital activities.

 
Join us on March 26, 2015 at noon EST when Michael Johnny, Manager of Knowledge Mobilization for York University, will help us understand the importance of measuring, and analysis of those measures, knowledge mobilization activities as well as how to tell your story of success with the data.

 

Who is Michael Johnny?

Michael JohnnyMichael Johnny is the Manager of Knowledge Mobilization for York University.  He has over 13 years of experience in educational research and development. He has experience working both in a university research environment and at the community level planning, implementing, and evaluating social programs.

 

Find out more and connect!


More About #KMbChat…

  • Have you missed a #KMbChat? 
  • Are you researching social media as a knowledge mobilization tool? #KMbChat data is available to you. 
  • Are you interested in moderating a future #KMbChat or have an idea about a future chat topic? 

International Women’s Day 2015: Support More Women in Tech

International Women’s Day: Make It Happen (#MakeItHappen) is Sunday March 8, 2015. This year’s theme is all about encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women and celebrating their achievements while working towards greater equality. Since 1911, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 around the globe. This year, I am joining Katrina German in a social media blitz that will light up the internet with encouraging and support messages about women in technology.

Women in Technology

Technology is one of the most influential and fastest growing sectors in our society today. Who among us hasn’t used a smartphone, a computer, or any of a plethora of other electronic devices. From our cars to our homes, technology is an ever present necessity in our everyday lives. We connect with technology. We learn with technology. We rely on technology.
Technology may help us live better lives, but it is also one of the most imbalanced sectors in today’s society. Few women enter the workforce in technological roles, but those that are in “high tech are extremely successful,” says Derek Khanna, a contributor to Forbes, in his article We Need More Women In Tech: Meet Some of the women leading the charge. It is shocking that “while 57% of occupations in the workforce are held by women, that percentage drops to a mere 25% in technological occupations. (We Need More Women in Tech: The Data to Prove It, by Derek Khanna – as printed on The Atlantic’s website; October 29, 2013)

Spread the Message!

Join me on Sunday March 8, 2015 (from 11:00h to 13:00h EST) to celebrate some of the most influential women in technology today. Help me introduce a new generation of women to a career in technology. I am joining Katrina German, CEO and Co-Founder of OneStory.com “thump the internet” by sharing your thoughts about women in technology by tweeting about your female role models or posting pictures or videos to Instagram, Facebook or GooglePlus. All you have to do is make sure to use one of these hashtags in all your posts:
  • #womenintech
  • #womensday
  • #IcareIshare
  • #MakeItHappen

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter:

#KMbChat (Feb 26, 2015) – PDF & #Storify: Our Story: Knowledge Translation in Charities (Parachute Canada)

#KMbChat LogoWhen: February 26, 2015 – noon EST

Where: Twitter! (#KMbChat)

Topic: Our Story: Knowledge Translation in Charities (Parachute Canada)

What is this chat about?

Find out how Parachute (@ParachuteCanada) is using knowledge translation activities to promote injury prevention best practices. Join Alex Kelly (Senior Coordinator, Programs), Wendy Jacinto (Digital and Social Media Specialist), and Jacqueline Quirk (Coordinator, Knowledge Translation) for discussions about:

  • the benefits and challenges of working with charities and nonprofits to develop and implement knowledge mobilization strategies
  • how charities and nonprofits, like Parachute Canada, are using knowledge mobilization in their outreach and programming
  • the importance of including charities and nonprofits in knowledge mobilization networks to

Who is Parachute?

Parachute-colour-tag-light-CMYKParachute is a charitable organization helping Canadians stop the clock on predictable and preventable injuries. We are about education, knowledge and empowerment. Parachute is leading, inspiring, and mobilizing Canadians of all ages. We are creating a movement and building awareness and understanding of the issue of injury, to keep Canadians safe at home, on the road, at work, and at play.

Parachute is a national, charitable organization, formed in July 2012, which unites the former organizations of Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada into one strong leader in injury prevention. This passionate, unified voice leverages 80 years of combined injury-prevention experience and we cannot be underestimated in our resolve and capacity to effect change. Find out more…

 



Storify!

 


More About #KMbChat…

  • Have you missed a #KMbChat? 
  • Are you researching social media as a knowledge mobilization tool? #KMbChat data is available to you. 
  • Are you interested in moderating a future #KMbChat or have an idea about a future chat topic? 

#KMbChat February 2015 – Our Story: Knowledge Translation in Charities (Parachute)

#KMbChat LogoWhen: February 26, 2015 – noon EST

Where: Twitter! (#KMbChat)

Topic: Our Story: Knowledge Translation in Charities (Parachute Canada)

What is this chat about?

Find out how Parachute (@ParachuteCanada) is using knowledge translation activities to promote injury prevention best practices. Join Alex Kelly (Senior Coordinator, Programs), Wendy Jacinto (Digital and Social Media Specialist), and Jacqueline Quirk (Coordinator, Knowledge Translation) for discussions about:

  • the benefits and challenges of working with charities and nonprofits to develop and implement knowledge mobilization strategies
  • how charities and nonprofits, like Parachute Canada, are using knowledge mobilization in their outreach and programming
  • the importance of including charities and nonprofits in knowledge mobilization networks to

Who is Parachute?

Parachute-colour-tag-light-CMYKParachute is a charitable organization helping Canadians stop the clock on predictable and preventable injuries. We are about education, knowledge and empowerment. Parachute is leading, inspiring, and mobilizing Canadians of all ages. We are creating a movement and building awareness and understanding of the issue of injury, to keep Canadians safe at home, on the road, at work, and at play.

Parachute is a national, charitable organization, formed in July 2012, which unites the former organizations of Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada into one strong leader in injury prevention. This passionate, unified voice leverages 80 years of combined injury-prevention experience and we cannot be underestimated in our resolve and capacity to effect change. Find out more…


More About #KMbChat…

  • Have you missed a #KMbChat? 
  • Are you researching social media as a knowledge mobilization tool? #KMbChat data is available to you. 
  • Are you interested in moderating a future #KMbChat or have an idea about a future chat topic? 

#KMbChat (PDF): Research in Remote Communities – Thoughts from the Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage Project (MICH)

#KMbChat LogoWhen: January 22, 2014 – noon EST

Where: Twitter!

Topic: Research that does the distance. Literally!

What was this chat all about?

MICH LogoOn January 22nd, Ali Hirji (@abbaspeaks) and Erin Yunes (@erinyunes) discussed their research travels through Nunavut as part of the Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage project (MICH) (@MICHproj). The goal of this project was to help researchers who travel to remote communities to conduct their research.

Ali and Erin recently traveled to Nunavut, Canada, to look at connectivity issues faced by Inuit Artists (check out this blog posting on ResearchImpact.ca to read about their experience). It was an opportunity for applied research and showed how knowledge mobilization is an integral component of the research fabric. Ali notes that,

“…knowledge mobilization [not only] allowed [them] to parlay [their] raison d’etre as MICH researchers, but also to mobilize [their] research into a community-based end product.”

This #KMbChat:

  • encouraged researchers to discuss how they might show the impact of their work in remote communities
  • discussed tips that will help researchers prepare for travel to remote communities (logistics and other challenges)
  • showed the importance of travel to remote communities (rather than connecting virtually)
  • reminded us to “tune into” what is there, rather than fixating on what is not

From preparing for logistical challenges to working with different technologies, MICH, Ali, and Erin shared their experiences and helped participants understand some of the challenges involved in working with remote communities and told us about how they overcame those challenges.


 More About #KMbChat

  • Have you missed a #KMbChat? 
  • Are you researching social media as a knowledge mobilization tool? #KMbChat data is available to you. 
  • Are you interested in moderating a future #KMbChat or have an idea about a future chat topic? 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Craft a Creative Business (by Fiona Pullen)

Craft a Creative Business: Making & marketing a successful creative business
by Fiona Pullen
Published by Search Press Ltd (2015); 240 pages (paperback)
SE052I bet you are wondering why I am reviewing a book about crafting a creative business. I bet you wondering what a business book about crafting has to do with knowledge mobilization. And I bet you are also wondering how this book could be useful to you. Let’s explore that a bit, shall we?
     Most of you know that I knit, I sew, I write, I crochet, and I create. These creative endeavours allow me to see a vibrant and exciting world and help me make sense of it. As the weft and warp threads of a fabric work together to create a strong fabric, so do the connections and collaborations with professionals (like you) work together to form a strong network of professionals working to tell a story about the issues and concerns that matter to you. Part of moving your knowledge and successfully telling that story is making use of today’s modern digital tools.
     Online communications, notably dubbed social media, have enhanced our ability to connect and collaborate in ways we couldn’t imagine a few short years ago. Social media help us remove geographic boundaries, experience different world views, and connect with like-minded professionals and organizations across the world. As more and more of our colleagues and peers begin to use social media, connections and collaborations easily develop. New partnerships form. We work together to bring develop innovative solutions to the problems we face every day. We learn from each other and bring creative approaches to our own work.

Why read this book?

So, why am I reviewing Fiona Pullen’s Craft a Creative Business book? It is filled with tidbits of information about creating and running a business that you can easily put into practice. Pullen’s clear language writing style makes complex business concepts easily understood by professionals of all levels of ability. She not only provides sound advice on developing a business, but shares lessons learned from her own experience as a business woman to show you how tools like social media can help you promote yourself and your work. Her story has a lot to offer knowledge mobilization professionals working to incorporate effective social media practices into their own daily practice.

What is this book all about? 

The book is divided into six sections that help entrepreneurs decide where to start in the process of developing a business, explains why understanding the legalities of operating a business are important, highlights the benefits of professionally presenting a business both online and off, explains the ins and outs of selling online and offline, and – most importantly – explains the strategic use of digital media.
     Each section is complete with resources, activities, and advice from successful creative business owners around the world. Top tips and a list of further reading and links accompanies each section. Most of you will want to make special note of the sections on social media and online marketing.
     It is the social media section that I’d like to draw your attention to. Many of you are just beginning your digital journey and Pullen provides clear and powerful advice about social media, from which platforms to use to developing a digital strategy.

Who should read this book?

Whether you are just beginning your digital journey or have used social media to tell your story for a while now, you will find sound advice about:
  • Choosing the most effective social platforms
  • How to use social media to tell a story
  • The importance of providing valuable content to your network
  • The value of building strategic networks
  • The dos and don’ts of being social
  • Developing effective profiles
  • How-to sections on some of the more popular platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
  • Participating in and developing online communities
  • The power of effective blogging
  • Attracting followers and encouraging engagement
  • Managing your social media with tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Evernote
  • Understanding SEO and how to make use of it
This read will benefit many of you as it explains the ins and outs of being social in clear language and makes sense out of making it work for you. Pullen includes easy-to-implement activities that help you get set up on social and think through a strategy that will help you tell your story.

Where can you buy the book?

I must note that this book is published in the United Kingdom and that Pullen is a successful business woman working in the United Kingdom (find out more about her on her website). Even though the context is about the way things are done in the United Kingdom, the content is easily transferable to all professionals, like you, working around the world.
The book is available for order from:

More information:

Pullen provides a lot more information about the concepts she talks about on the Craft a Creative Business website. Explore the book, access downloads, learn about digital marketing techniques, and browse her expert blog where she talks about issues and benefits of running a business.

What’s next?

Are you still scratching your head about this whole social thing? Let me help you make social media work for you. Let’s keep the conversation going:

 

#KMbChat: Research in Remote Communities – Thoughts from the Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage Project (MICH)

#KMbChat LogoWhen: January 22, 2014 – noon EST

Where: Twitter!

Topic: Research that does the distance. Literally!

 

What is this chat all about?

MICH LogoOn January 22nd, Ali Hirji (@abbaspeaks) and Erin Yunes will discuss their research travels through Nunavut as part of the Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage project (MICH) (@MICHproj). The goal of this project was to help researchers who travel to remote communities to conduct their research.

Ali and Erin recently traveled to Nunavut, Canada, to look at connectivity issues faced by Inuit Artists (check out this blog posting on ResearchImpact.ca to read about their experience). It was an opportunity for applied research and showed how knowledge mobilization is an integral component of the research fabric. Ali notes that,

“…knowledge mobilization [not only] allowed [them] to parlay [their] raison d’etre as MICH researchers, but also to mobilize [their] research into a community-based end product.”

Join us to find out exactly how this happened, what challenges these researchers faced, and what surprises awaited their arrival in Nunavut.

This #KMbChat will:

  • encourage researchers to discuss how they might show the impact of their work in remote communities
  • discuss tips that will help researchers prepare for travel to remote communities (logistics and other challenges)
  • show the importance of travel to remote communities (rather than connecting virtually)
  • remind us to “tune into” what is there, rather than fixating on what is not

From preparing for logistical challenges to working with different technologies, MICH, Ali, and Erin will share their experiences and help participants understand some of the challenges involved in working with remote communities.

How do I follow #KMbChat?

Following the conversation is as easy as clicking here! tchat.io tracks the conversation and automatically adds the hashtag, #KMbChat, to each of your tweets. Your experience will be enhanced if you sign in with your Twitter handle.


 More About #KMbChat

  • Have you missed a #KMbChat? 
  • Are you researching social media as a knowledge mobilization tool? #KMbChat data is available to you. 
  • Are you interested in moderating a future #KMbChat or have an idea about a future chat topic? 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes: Your go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content
by Ann Handley
Published by Wiley on December 16, 2014
ISBN – 10: 111890561X; ISBN – 13: 9781118905616
$14.99 CDN

What is Everybody Writes all about?

In today’s increasingly networked and digitized world where communication involves more typing than talking, everybody does indeed write. We write emails. We write Facebook posts. We write responses to our favourite blog posts. We write updates and opinions about interesting websites and articles for our Twitter tribes. We sometimes write those articles and publish them on our own websites. We write in our work and we ought to work to write better.
Working to write is part of our daily practice. Whether we are researchers, professional writers, human resource workers, or students (insert any professional designation or job title here) it is part of our job to write and to write well. Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, keynote speaker and the world’s first Chief Content Officer, and her newest book, Everybody Writes: Your go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content, is your guide to writing well.
Handley reminds us that we are all writers. She uses clear language and conversational English punctuated by humourous insights to tell a tale about writing. Writing is part of what we all do. We, as writers, play the starring role in this “content-driven world.” Handley notes that:
“If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our … messages. We are all writers.”

Who should read Everybody Writes?

Well, as the title implies, everybody who writes should read this book and that includes you! The general writing tips and practices appeal to everyone, no matter what you write or how good you are at writing it.
Whether we believe ourselves to be writers or not, Everybody Writes will quickly become a most valued part of your resource collection. As Nancy Durate, author of Slide:ology: The art and science of creating great presentations and Resonate Harvard Business Review Guide to Persuasive Presentations, notes in the Foreword,
“You [will] devour this book if you’re a communicator, regardless of your title, position, years of experience, or job description. Because everybody writes.”

Why should you read Everybody Writes?

“This book inspires you to become a stronger writer,” notes Durate (Foreword, Everybody Writes).  Handley’s collection of tips tricks, and advice is laid out in six easy to read sections that cover:
  1. Writing Rules: How to Write Better (and How to Hate Writing Less)
    • There is no mystery to writing well. It is all about knowing the rules and knowing when to break them.
  2. Writing Rules: Grammar and Usage
    • Find out what your readers really find annoying. Instead of a primer on the finer points of grammar and syntax, you will find excellent advice on how to fine tune your writing.
  3. Story Rules
    • Find out how to tell your story well. Storytelling is not about putting your imagination onto a page, but communicating “the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you…but, you are the only you” (Neil Gaiman, interview by Chris Hardwick, podcast #106, Nerdist, July 12, 2011; Everybody Writes, Chapter 42).
  4. Publishing Rules
    • In a world where information and opinions abound, it is important to give credit where credit is due.  “Thinking like a publisher is not enough. You need to act like one” too, notes Handley. Co-opting and republishing content (prose, graphics, or photos) is simply not the way to do it. Refer to this section often for guidance on how to “act like a publisher” by incorporating journalistic best practices, “including a broader awareness of the responsibility and privilege that come with building an audience (Everybody Writes, Part IV).
  5. Thirteen Things Marketers Write
    • Learn how to approach writing tasks that you are unfamiliar. This section includes things like how to write a meta description for a website, what to do when it comes time to develop a podcast, or where to start on a home-page redesign. As Handley says throughout the book, “there is no one way to write,” but these guidelines give you a place to begin until your creative genius takes over.
  6. Content Tools
    1. Give your inner writer the tools she needs to succeed! This section provides you with a list of tools and aids that will help you do your best work. From fountain pens to idea generators to productivity and editing tools, you will discover what works for you and try something new.
“Every page will make you laugh, or at least smile,” says Durate in the Foreword. Handley’s straight forward style is a joy to read. Handley shares top-notch advice and shows it in action through references from pop culture (like Mean Girls and The Lion King), by citing successful authors from the present and past (like Stephen King and Hemingway), and including modern references and mini case studies from real live writers working to tell stories in today’s increasingly networked and digitized world.
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