How to make a Webinar

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I told you what a webinar is, but now how do you go about in making one? There are several factors that you need to take into consideration so you can have a successful webinar. First off you need to put together a support team. In general there are three main players in making a successful webinar. You have your organizer, the presenters and the assistants. These roles can be designated however you see fit but it’s a good idea not to do it yourself, as it’s extremely overwhelming. The organizer is responsible for developing the webinar topic, locating a speaker, marketing the event, setting up the registration etc.. The presenter is the individual who speaks during the webinar and the assistants take care of everything else that you delegate to them such as answering technical and logistical questions.

 

Next you should figure out the format you want to have, a webinar can be structured in a variety of formats to suit different purposes. Such as having only one speaker, keeping an interview style or having an interactive format. There are pros and cons for every style but you need to determine what would suit your topic and audience. Webinars rely heavily on audio and visuals to get the message across, both should be engaging. Therefore prepare your visuals beforehand to have a smooth flow to your presentation. Next in the process is to determine what web conferencing platform you want to use. Factors to take into consideration when making this decision are- how many people will the tool accommodate? How much will it cost? What features are included? You can find articles on TechSoup.org and Idealware.org that help you understand and pick a tool for your webinar.  

Next you should have a dry run of the webinar to work out any kinks there may be. During your run make sure to note that you have all the proper equipment and a backup plan because technology can be unpredictable. Next you need to figure out your price structure.. Keep in mind that some webinars are free, most usually cost anywhere from $25-$40 and others may be upwards of $200. You need to assess your audience, but be cautious because raising your price might drive people away. Something you can do is ask for optional donations until you figure out your audience. Lastly, you need to promote and provide essential info on the webinar. It’s hard work but if done right the payoff is huge.

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What is a webinar?

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A webinar or a “webcast”, “online event” or a “web seminar” is a very effective and efficient tool for any organization. With a webinar an individual can have a vast audience from all over the world because everything is being done over the internet. We all have heard of Skype and Google Hangouts but a webinar is on a greater scale. The speaker from the hosting organization can share PowerPoint presentations, videos, web pages or other media content with their audience which could be located anywhere in the globe. The audience usually can interact with the speaker in real time through tools such as instant messaging and email.

 

A webinar typically has both visual and audio components and often additional software isn’t needed. If special software is required, the host of the webinar will usually inform and provide it for the participants beforehand via download. Most webinars will require you to sign up ahead of time, so make sure you are registered and have your spot reserved. After doing so you should receive an email shortly which will contain your confirmation code, from there just follow the given instructions by the host.

 

The beauty of a webinar is that once you get passed your apprehension of the technological aspect (which is minimal) there are benefits on top of benefits for all parties involved. With a webinar you can eliminate a vast amount of your expenses. Compared to a live conference you are cutting out the meeting facility, travel costs and also the energy and time for participants to attend.

 

The uses for webinars are pretty much limitless. They can be used for conferences, training programs, lectures or even short presentations. You can let your creative mind run wild and take advantage of this tool any way you see fit. It is important to find ways to cut your costs but still have an effective and efficient business, holding webinars can definitely help you with that!

 

Ted Talks: The power of social media and creativity

 

 

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I recently watched several Ted Talk videos but a few really stuck out to me.One of those was a TedxTalk by Hillie Van der Kaa titled “Thanks to social media, everybody can be a journalist.” As the title suggests she speaks about how everyday individuals can become reporters of news because of social media. This is a trend that I myself have been seeing and participating in since I entered the social media atmosphere. She brings up the instance of 9/11 and how when she heard about it she tried to tell others but they didn’t quite believe her and they were more focused on their studying. It clicked to her that she was basically spreading a rumor in the eyes of those who haven’t heard the news yet.

 

The aspect of ethics was also brought up where she stated that she believes that ethical dilemmas like what to trust and what to publish are being taken out of the hands of journalists. Instead it’s the viewers who decide what they believe and what they want to see. This is something I agree with to a certain extent because traditional media used to and still give us what they want to show us a la the bias of FOX or CNN. However with social media you are getting information from a 100 different perspectives and you get to pick what path to follow.

 

Another interesting video that I watched was one called “The Art of Creativity” from a man named Taika Waititi. I am not sure if it was the subject of the video or just the interesting story of this man and the way he presented himself that fascinated me. He explained that he came from New Zealand and from a diverse background where his mother is from Russian and Jewish descent and his father’s background is not mentioned rather he tells us that his father is a farmer and an artist. He presents creativity as a matter of perception and expression through the lens of obsession. He speaks about all the things he was obsessed with as a child and how it honed his artistic skills that he has now. If you can’t become obsessed with your work, your passion won’t come through, and you just won’t grow as you would otherwise. Fully immerse yourself in what you love and amazing things can happen. A life lesson if I ever saw one.

 

 

The Digital Divide

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The digital divide refers to the difference/gap between people who have access to computers and the internet to those who do not. This can usually be divided by race, income, gender and educational attainment. Many of us may not realize it in this day and age but there are many individuals who still can not afford home internet access. Depending on the areas, they may not be able to obtain access at the schools either, which leaves them behind their peers and the rest of the world. As the middle class shrinks and the economy struggles the divide will continue to grow if something is not done about it soon.

According to an article on Mashable.com by Jessica Goodman she stated that “In June, a White House broadband report concluded the divide is still very much present in the U.S. Though the report found that 91% of Americans had access to high-speed Internet service of at least 10 Mbps downstream, only 71% of Americans actually subscribed to broadband at home — an adoption rate lower than other nations with a similar GDP.” This shows that if the economy still continues to struggle that the divide might grow even more. It is because the group that is most without technology is Hispanics and African Americans, and these are the same groups that will make up a majority of the population and workforce in the coming years. It is important to take into consideration however that many individuals opt out of home internet access because they use their smartphone as their primary source to access the internet. With this though many individuals also have a lack of simple computer skills and they can’t complete the same type of work on smart phones as they would on computers.

As stated in the paper written by Robyn Broadbent and Theo Papadopoulos titled “Bridging the digital divide-an Australian story”  “There is increasing evidence that the lack of access to information and communication technology (ICT) or the ‘digital divide’ severely limits education, employment and economic prospects.” The digital divide harms students on an incredibly large scale as almost everything nowadays is done on the computer and with the help of the internet. I personally wish I could use the computer less but there is no way around it because all my school work, all the research for papers and many times the method to turn in assignments requires the use of the internet. When it comes to lower income communities there really aren’t other alternatives unless outside sources help them out. For instance, non profits like Close the Gap who “is an international non-profit organisation that aims to bridge the digital divide by offering high-quality, pre-owned computers donated by large and medium-sized corporations or public organisations to educational, medical, entrepreneurial and social projects in developing and emerging countries.” If children fall behind at an early age and don’t gain the proper skills we will be creating a future workforce who will not be able to compete at a high level.

I believe that there should at least be an attempt to lower the cost of internet as it is something everyone requires and that they suffer without it. With corporations though all they usually see is profit so it is a long stretch to see that happen without any government interference and that would bring in the question of “isn’t this a free market?” As I see it, it would be very beneficial for local libraries to be set up if not already there and then for them to have wi-fi which most if not all already do. This is how I got by when I did not have internet at home. There are many different issues at play here from minimum wages, to technological advances, neighborhood atmospheres and many more. How I see it though having a community center such as a library would be very beneficial and groups like Close the Gap who do so much to help out are the best options. Sadly I don’t ever see everyone being equal but they should have equal opportunities to basic needs and the internet has become one.  

 

Service Agreements

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As most people do I also always click on the “I agree” button and move on without any hesitation, but that might be a huge mistake. Most companies know this and take full advantage of the fact that people don’t read anymore. One thing that I found out recently that shocked me was that even if you are logged out of facebook that they can still track your web activity. If you’re logged into Facebook, the company tracks every website you visit that has a Facebook “Like” or “Share” button and ties it directly to your name and email address for 90 days, according to USA Today. Sony faced a class-action lawsuit with their online Playstation network debacle, where millions of users saw their private data revealed. After this incident Sony issued new Terms of Service for the PlayStation Network that banned users from grouping together to bring class-action suits against the tech company. This maneuver was proved to be legal by the Supreme Court in 2011, and other big companies such as Microsoft and AT&T started implementing this strategy. It seems to me companies are making sure to cover themselves even when it was their mistake, but hey that’s practical business right? I feel like all corporations care about is their bottom line and they could care less about doing what’s right.  I think one of the most disturbing things I came across was the fact that even if you delete something right away the provider still keeps a copy of it for themselves. Facebook holds on to the deleted content for a “reasonable period of time” , which is very vague and could very well mean forever. Twitpic, the Twitter photo-sharing program will hold on to your pictures forever. They justify this by saying that they hold on to it “in case of legal issues”. So the moral of this story is always think, re-think and just in case think once more before you put something online.

Children remind celebs that grammar matters

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Red Balloon is the leading school in Brazil when it comes to teaching English, and recently they took on a new method of teaching their students proper English. Teachers had students from ages 8 to 13 correct celebrity tweets that were grammatically wrong, and rest assured there was a lot of material out there. If you pay attention to social media you know that celebs rule every platform and they are constantly sending out messages to keep their fan bases satisfied.  What they often fail to do though is to keep things grammatically proper and  they often shorthand things or just misspell entirely. Some of these tweets were just mind boggling and would have most people scratching their heads.

 

Lets take a look at the nicest grammar police on the internet and what advice they gave to our beloved celebrities. First off it’s our favorite celeb Kim Kardashian who  tweeted “Up early getting ready to film Chelsea Lately today with the whole fam! Were taking over tonight!!!” Seems okay, right? Well 8 year old Ana politely pointed out that “@KimKardashian, you’re beautiful. I’m Ana Beatriz from Brazil, I’m 8. Look, you wrote Were, but it’s “we’re”. Kisses.” How sweet of her! Moving on is our favorite boy wizard “Harry Potter” a.k.a. Daniel Radcliffe who tweeted “Hello guys ,It have been an age that I didn’t tweet , thanks all for your amaizing messages .DAN XX.” The mistakes in this tweet are a little more evident and young Gabriel respectively points them out. @DanieIRadcIiffe Dear Harry Potter, I’m Gabriel, from Brazil. Your tweet has 2 mistakes: “it has been” and “amazing”.

As role models and public figures celebrities need to be aware of the influence they have on fans. When young children see things like this they believe it’s correct and they get in a loop of improper spelling and grammar. Social media has been popular and successful because it’s so fast, but being fast has the downside of being inaccurate. Where people care more about getting the message across rather than their grammar. Horrible grammar has become a trend on the web and  it is one that we should drop immediately. The students at Red Balloon managed to get the attention of the celebrities fans but unfortunately the celebs themselves have not responded. Hopefully they are too busy to reply because they are brushing up on their grammar!

 

Social Media: The double edged sword when it comes to employment

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Social media has taken the world by storm as it allows us to stay in touch with loved ones across the globe, share media and thoughts on any given subject. However our digital footprint is a lot more than just cat videos and pictures of our dinner. Our digital footprint is a way for employers to see if you truly are the candidate that they are searching for. Hiring managers are looking you up on social media far before you even come in for your interview, so will you give a “true candidate” vibe or a “reject pile” vibe.

 

One of the better examples of using social media to positive impact is that of Lindsay Blackwell who created a social media campaign directed towards Lisa Rudgers (hiring manager) to get the position of Social Media Director at the University of Michigan. The campaign got her an interview 8 hours later and had over 40,000 unique visitors from over a 100 countries around the globe. “Dear Lisa Rudgers” earned coverage from  Fox Detroit, The Detroit News & AnnArbor.com. She ultimately didn’t get the position but because of her creativity it led to other job offers.

The other side of the coin is teacher Ashley Payne who was forced to resign after her principal saw photos of her drinking on Facebook, saying it “promoted alcohol use”. People don’t realize that their social media sites can stop them from finding their dream job. So here are some tips to make sure your digital footprint is one to be proud of. First off, don’t complain about your job or internship, this is not the place to vent. Employers want to know that you can handle yourself professionally and that you won’t badmouth them whenever you get a chance. Next, make sure to delete any inappropriate pictures or comments (for obvious reasons). Rule of thumb is if you have to think about it, then delete it. Also it is very important to keep grammer in mind whenever you write anything, as this will serve as mini writing samples. Lastly make sure to Google yourself! As silly as this sounds you want to know what’s out there about you, as this is what employers will be looking at also. Weather we like it or not, companies have access to our profiles so do your due diligence and make sure your social media portrays you correctly.

Instagram means business

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Instagram is the insta-tool for your business to succeed

 

There are an abundance of social media sites and tools at your disposal nowadays, but is that necessarily a good thing? Many people get overwhelmed and don’t know what social media platforms to use or even worse they try to use every single one they possibly can. Before you even start you need to recognize what your business is and who you want to cater to. Not all social media platforms are the same and they don’t all have the same audience. Then why is Instagram so successful regardless of the business you are in? Let’s dive in and see!

 

If unaware, Instagram is a social media platform where users can upload pictures and use hashtags to create small communities just like twitter. Now lets check out the several benefits Instagram has for you and your business.

 

1. We all have heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.”, it may be cliche but it is very true. Most people are visual and having a well placed picture can do the job of an advertisement without having to go through the effort or expenses linked with it. This is a great platform to show consumers the passion you have for your products and services.

2. Another benefit of instagram is that you can give consumers the “exclusive sneak peek” or the “behind the scenes” experience. This will help you build a unique rapport with your consumers and will also create a fascination and intrigue factor. A picture of your product being made or a picture of an office party creates a bridge between the business and the consumers that will help them relate to you on another level.

3. Generate customer interaction in exchanges where they show themselves using your products. Make the exchanges fun and interesting for them and get them excited to be talking to you. If they feel a certain relation building where they know you care they will be much more likely to spend money.

4. Lastly Instagram can help you build a personality for your brand. Choose the pictures you upload carefully and make sure they express your brand the way you want. Are you trying to portray a “serious” attitude or a “socially conscious” one?

 

Instagram has hundreds of millions of active users posting over 40 million pictures a day, if used correctly your business could see great gains. Say cheese!