Category Archives: education

Learn How Much You Don’t Know

Knowledge

In 2009, I participated in the St. Louis Public Relations Society chapter’s training program for PR certification. I attended sessions all over town and gathered knowledge and wisdom from a number of PR pros. I picked up and studied the suggested textbook. Yes, I learned a lot. I was unaware of the full scope of public relations. I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I knew.

Last month I took a course in Web Analytics at University of Missouri/St. Louis (UMSL). As a result, I am now certified in Google Analytics. I learned how analytics can reveal a wealth of information about traffic to websites. In addition to exercises on the Google dashboard, I had the chance to use Adobe’s Omniture analytics setup.

I may not be ready to be a lead analyst, but I now know enough to be a contributing team member. After completing the course, though, I realize there is much more about web analytics that I still do not know.

Even More To Learn!

This month I took a Social Media Strategies course at UMSL. I am now a Hootsuite Certified Professional.

I’ve been a Facebook admin and have used Hootsuite Pro for several years. Although I knew a lot about social media going in, the course revealed many areas I had not ventured into. I learned new ways that Hootsuite can help me and my clients. I gained insight about best practices for Facebook and Instagram. Again, I learned how much I did not know and how much more there is to be learned.

It feels good when you receive significant enlightenment or have an “aha” moment. My younger kids, both digital natives, have given me useful computer tips, generally without condescension. But every time they share, I am also made aware of how much I don’t know. Always and forever, there is so much to learn.

 

 

 

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Always Learning

As one of the year’s biggest mileposts approaches, here are some of the things I’ve learned so far in 2014:

  • How to reset the DNS on my computer.
  • A phone call frequently delivers a better result than an email.
  • Instagram>Vine.
  • An organization’s level of customer service often depends more on the individual you’re dealing with than on organizational culture.
  • Facebook’s targeted ads often hit the wrong target, based on the misguided sponsored content I’ve seen in my personal feed.
  • Even the world’s best communicators can have typos.
  • Digital content (especially photos and videos) must be backed up.
  • A great thing about cats as pets is they don’t bark.
  • Even if the road less traveled gets you to your destination later, you’ll likely encounter fewer tractor-trailers.
  • Streaming music services present a more serious threat to AM and FM radio than satellite radio does.
  • The ability to tell a story in an entertaining way is one to be treasured.
  • If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
  • Sometimes the most useful key on my computer keyboard is “delete.”
  • You can’t trust everything you read on Wikipedia, but it can be an amazing resource.
  • The public gathering spots that don’t provide free Wi-Fi are missing the boat.
  • You can’t trust everything you read on Twitter, but it continues grow as a vital source of information.
  • Even bad days must be savored and appreciated. Life is precious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to School. Are You Going?

“A little learning is a dangerous thing.”   —Alexander Pope

“If I’d only known then what I know now…”   —everybody, at some point

If your Facebook newsfeed is like mine, you’ve had dozens of pics in recent weeks of cute little kids starting or going back to school. Wouldn’t you like to go back? Actually, you can. And you probably should.

Colleges and universities offer more night and weekend courses every year. Whether you are seeking a graduate degree, a certificate or just the necessary information to stay competitive, options are numerous. Online courses allow great flexibility. I’m looking at taking a couple of one-day, all day sessions soon at my neighborhood community college.

Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to seek formal education, keep your eyes and ears open for seminars and conferences that present useful information. Some programs will be industry-specific, but you may discover takeaways that are universal.

These events are, in most cases, reasonably priced. I always feel that if I can leave a conference or seminar with a handful of actionable suggestions that I can try out right away, I’m happy.

For me, the best reasons to learn are related to my MacBook (and my other screens). Even the best software programs are not always mastered intuitively. Online tutorials can be unclear or ambiguous. You may not be able to completely get Excel or InDesign in one long class at your local community college or high school, but any training you get can help you open other doors. An “Ah-ha!” moment can save you much time and effort in the long run.

In many cases, your best bet may be a tech savvy teen who can help you along. I’m serious. My younger kids have taught me a lot that applies to my work on my computer. Happily, most of it has been shared without a condescending attitude.

It’s vital to keep learning to keep up. What do you want to learn?