End of SMDL – but more experiments await!

So Week 8 of the Social Media Driving Licence marks the end of our social media learning journey as a group! It’s been a wonderful experience and the final session enabled us to both reflect on our journey and have fun in the process – my kids were seriously impressed that I had spent a couple of hours playing with Lego and eating sweets at work!

So how have my feelings towards social media changed over the last 8 weeks?

Lego Scientist

Well – in the beginning I confessed to being a scientist and being an entrepreneurship educator who didn’t feel so confident with this ultimate bootstrapping tool for entrepreneurs, but being open to experimenting with it all (in fact I’d already done a couple of small experiments).

The last 8 weeks have consolidated some of the experiments and have almost certainly given me much more confidence. They’ve also closed the loop on some technical bits and pieces and do’s and don’ts of social media. They’ve opened up the power and possibilities of Tweetathons especially as tools to both capture an event and promote activities – all important tools for the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning and my role within the Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship and most of all it’s been fun! Thank you so much to the team who have worked so hard to put this together!

Looking ahead though, for me at least, there are so many more experiments still to do! We covered the main social media tools and wandered into others just for a short time – some of these I’d love to experiment more with. So watch this space!

photo credit: pixbymaia via photopin


In ‘Folder Girl Heaven’ with Hootsuite

Today I had the opportunity to catch up on Week 5 of the Social Media Driving Licence with a wonderful introduction to various social media curation and management tools from Ange Ftizpatrick which stimulated yet another social media revelation. I realised that my folder loving ways which just don’t work Gmail are a perfect match for some of these tools.


Today’s session gave me all of the tools to organise my tweets into streams of different interests and are the perfect way to separate out tweets of professional and personal interests – and I can even create lists which divide these into even more streams – fantastic!

There seem to be loads of other useful tools on Hootsuite too – like the ability to schedule tweets to go out at different times (again very useful for time management) and to be able to easily follow tweets that involve different sets of characters (i.e. I can see tweets that include both @cjbssmdl or #cjbssmdl or just mention cjbssmdl for example).

All of these appeal to the ‘Folder Girl in Me’ -I’m really excited about the possibilities! So where to get started……?

photo credit: Domiriel via photopin cc

Caring, sharing and a whole new world…

Week 7 of the Social Media Driving Licence opened up a whole new world for me – a world where I can finally bring blog posts, presentations and a whole load of other media to life with beautiful images and make sure that the photographers whose hard work I’m benefitting from are suitably credited for their artistic handiwork.

In Week 7 we discussed Creative Commons Licencing and platforms such as Flickr and Photopin where literally thousands of images are available freely to use. Never again will I make entrepreneurial learning image free – to get going here are a few of my favourite images found through Photopin from a search on ‘Entrepreneur’ – all appropriately credited of course !

Entrepreneur 1
photo credit: amirjina via photopin cc

Entrepreneur 2
photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

Entrepreneur 3

photo credit: The Wandering Angel via photopin cc

Blog post for Week 7 of the Social Media Driving Licence

Feeling non-plussed about Google Plus – I need to chill out…

A couple of weeks ago during Week 6 of the Social Media Driving Licence I experienced something of dramatic realisation about Google. A realisation as to why I seem to have struggled for some years with various aspects of this tool that is such an important part of all of our lives…


As a search engine Google is simply amazing – hardly a day goes by without my interacting with it in some way – searching for anything and everything that’s useful workwise as well as the next item to satisfy my online retail therapy needs or the ideal holiday location. It’s truly magnificent in the way it can search through the vast quantities of information out there on the internet to enable me to find just what I need in seconds.

However – my relationship with gmail – one of Google’s large dashboard of tools has been over the years somewhat less enthusiastic. Yes – I’ve had a gmail account for years, and the email address itself is helpful in many ways – but actually using gmail to manage my email I find truly impossible.

One brief comment from Ange Fitzpatrick during the Week 6 session made me realise exactly why that its – and I confess, I’m a compulsive email sorter. I love nothing more than to have an inbox that’s virtually empty – with all those messages filed neatly away into nice little folders where I can easily lay my hands on them. With outlook (which I use day in and out) that’s straightforward, but gmail – I find a chore. The reason why – because it relies on the mathematics of that wonderful search engine! Maybe I need to just chill out and stop sorting my email….

Blog post for Week 6 of the Social Media Driving Licence.

photo credit: janthepea via photopin cc

ResearchGate – the Social Media Platform for Academics

This evening I have decided to catch up with the Social Media Driving Licence and what better way to start than by listening to a Week 5 podcast from one of my Academic colleagues at the Cambridge Judge Business School, Prof Jaideep Prabhu talking about a social media platform called ResearchGate – which until 6 minutes or so ago, I had never heard of!


So – here’s a summary of what it is all about!

Essentially it’s a cleverly designed social media especially for academics and anyone doing research. As with all social media platforms it is interactive reflecting the nature of academic research where researchers work with other researchers to co-author papers and have deep and meaningful discussions about research questions.

It’s clever design seems to come about because it plays directly into the factors that motivate academic researchers but online. It gives them opportunities to upload and show case working papers (the equivalent of presenting at a conference), downloading papers by others and getting an indication of how many times your own papers have been downloaded (the equivalent of citations) and getting an ‘RG’ score for contributing to discussions of research questions.

Jaideep shared his view that the platform seems to be attracting a younger audience (although some highly esteemed academics are on there too) and that this audience are both global and from diverse disciplines – all the ingredients for innovative research.

What was interesting to note is that a number of faculty from CJBS are on the platform and enjoying discussing their work and contributing to the on going discussions and Jaideep reports that may have high RG scores! For me as someone involved in online learning – this comes as excellent news. If academics are happy to discuss their research online – then hopefully this will also pave the way for engaging in discussions with students on online learning platforms too.

Blog post for Week 5 of the Social Media Driving Licence

photo credit: Brad Wedgewood Photography via photopin cc


Multitasking Social Media – an Extreme Sport?

This week (Week 4) on the Social Media Driving Licence we’ve been exploring ‘live tweeting’ and experiencing it through participating in the CJBSsmdl ‘Tweetathon’. The latter was quite an exhausting experience for a Friday morning! Not only did we hear some excellent insights from our colleague Nathalie Walker on using social media personally and professionally, (how it can help one to organise one’s life and make things happen quickly – but also how we often keep saying the same things and that it’s all about cats), but we also had the task of tweeting competitively as we listened in.

Sunday Afternoon Maths

I’d always imagined live tweeting to be something of a multitasking challenge – listening in, thinking of comments to share, taking photos and actually tweeting, let alone following other tweets under the same hashtag and responding, retweeting and so on. But this was extreme multitasking – especially for the uninitiated like myself who had never followed an event through a Twitter hashtag before! Perhaps I should at some point!

Anyway, not to be defeated, and given that I’m hosting a Social Ventures Weekend as I type – I thought I would put some of the tips and tricks and my reflections on Friday’s Tweetathon into action over the weekend and take multi-tasking of social media to a different level (blogging about live tweeting, whilst live tweeting at the same time) – although at a much more leisurely pace then on Friday as it is the weekend after all!

Soc V Weekend CR

So what have I done?

  1. Add the event hashtag to my own slides for the welcome (#socvweekend – for anyone interested) – this has meant that others (including a number of participants and contributors) have tweeted from time to time through the weekend.
  2. Follow and re-tweet all those who have tweeted using the hashtag – most of them have now followed me and along with some of my usual followers have retweeted my tweets and those of others – so we’re getting the event out there.
  3. Followed some of the points raised at the Tweetathon about live tweeting – like not just focusing on the ‘soundbites’ and adding my own thoughts – as well as tweeting photos.

I’m beginning to feel that all this is working! Must go though now – more live tweeting to do before the weekend draws to a close!

Being followed by Darth Vader….

More about Darth Vader in a moment, but first two confessions:

1. As an Entrepreneurship Educator I currently feel significantly under-skilled in the use of social media in a day and age where social media is the ultimate bootstrapping entrepreneurs tool for marketing, gathering intelligence, building networks and so on…

2. I’m a scientist and engineer by original training (my background wasn’t originally in business or entrepreneurship at all). That’s maybe not necessarily a bad thing as it’s equipped me with a genuine interest and ability in experimenting with things, and just before joining the Social Media Driving Licence I started to experiment with Twitter.

Here I share my ‘lab book’ for my first few experiments…


Experiment 1 – Just give it a go

The first experiment started back in March – at time when at CfEL we were both hosting the current group of Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship Students at their Residential session and also in the throes of the last few weeks of recruiting the next cohort. My thoughts were that there was no better time to ‘give this Twitter thing’ a serious go as I had both something to talk about and a reason to talk about it. The method I adopted was to aim to do one Tweet each day, usually first thing in the morning (so I didn’t forget) and remember to mention both @CambridgeJBS and @CfELCambridge.

The result was that over the two weeks of the Residential session ‘Tweeting’ became strangely addictive. Further observations (and incentives) were that if I tweeted early in the morning my tweets were retweeted most days, and if I included something more of how I was feeling about the programme and students, the Tweet was favourite and retweeted more. All good!

Experiment 2 – Tweet a live event – and see what happens!

A few weeks later, and now in a ‘Tweeting routine’ I attended parts of CfEL’s Enterprisers programme which is aimed mostly at postgraduate students to help them develop confidence in using enterprising skills such as creativity, networking and so on. One part of the programme required participants to build and launch a model rocket and this part of the programme was brilliantly introduced by Simon Stockley to the theme tune from Star Wars and some of the participants recreated Star Wars costumes in preparation for their launch.

This was too good not to tweet – complete with photo! Shortly afterwards and to my complete surprise I had new followers, three of them, all by the name of Darth Vader! I’m not a Star Wars fan, although the boys in my household are – so this really made me chuckle!

Enterprisers Star Wars

I’ve not tweeted about Star Wars again since – so all three Darth Vaders have sadly departed from my followers list. However, Week 3 of the Social Media Driving Licence asks us to share our blog through Twitter – so my experiment this week is to see if the Darth Vaders return…