One Video: Posted 5 Ways to Social Media

When we visited the NMSU Learning Games Lab in February, their team had some questions common questions about social media. They are working on refining their social media strategy and were curious about how they should tailor their messages to fit each social media platform (i.e. What a post on Facebook should look like compared to Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc.) This is such a common question, we thought a blog post was in order!

Below is the “Don’t Wash Your Chicken!” video produced by NMSU that happened to go viral. We explain why under the video – but watch it first to see if you can take a guess:

NBC News

What’s your guess? Why did it go viral?

This video is short and to the point. The video above is a simple illustration of a viral video that gives the viewer educational, fact-based information. There are some great keys to the success of this video, and small snippet animation with it. First, the message is simple. Don’t wash your chicken! Next, the video is short, but NBC news shortened it even more. It shows the animation of the chicken and bacteria being spread as the person puts it under the running water.

No matter which social media tool you’re using, you want to make sure any video you share is short and sweet. With the creation of Vine and Instagram videos, people’s attention spans continue to decrease. Some topics warrant a longer video (say, a video on how to water bath can tomatoes, for instance). But most videos need to be less than two minutes, or you’ll lose your audience.

So, how would you go about posting this video to each social media site? Would the posts need to look different?

The answer is: it depends. 

Because this is a video, there are only so many different ways you can go about changing how you post it, but it is possible. Here are some examples:

Facebook: Keyword is VISUAL

Sample Post: Keep text short and simple. Copy and paste the link to the video, but then delete the link text. You want your post to be visual and attention-getting. You can also paste the YouTube video link to allow the video to automatically play when people come across it on their newsfeed.

chicken video FB

Twitter: Keyword is INFORMATION

Sample post: Twitter is all about information and informal learning. Again, keep your post short and simple (you only have 160 characters to fit it all in!). Use a link shortener to keep the link small, and include relevant hashtags that will help people find the video. Try not to include too many hashtags… for no other reason than it’s just annoying. (Note: we probably could have included the #NBC hashtag and/or @NBC Twitter handle in this Tweet as well!)

chicken video Twitter

Instagram: Keyword is PRETTY/CREATIVE

Sample post: Instagram works as an app on your mobile device, so you’ll need to download the app from iTunes (for Apple devices) or the Google Play store (for Android devices) first. Most Instagram users are using it personally, rather than professionally. Here, the example is from my personal Instagram account, but I’m sharing an Extension-produced message. I took a screenshot of the video with my phone, then chose a cool Instagram filter to apply to the picture. And just for fun, one of my favorite quotes about Instagram is: “People of Instagram: your pictures are not cool and you are not creative.” We may feel this way (I do), but if a large chunk of young people that we’re trying to reach are in this space, then we should try to experiment with sharing information in this space so we can meet people where they are at.

chicken video Instagram


Sample post: Google+ is a safe haven at the moment for techies and nerds who have lost interest in Facebook and Twitter. But that doesn’t mean that they’re the only people using it. As more people find out the cool user-friendly features of Google+, they’re realizing it’s a much more collaborative tool than any other social media platform out there. Sharing is key on Google+, so include the source of information and why you think it’s useful. Like Twitter, many people utilize Google+ as part of their personal learning network, so they look for information to learn from and share – not necessarily to just entertain themselves. A couple of cool features that only Google+ has: 1) It automatically picks out useful hashtags to add to your post and 2) You can create circles of people you follow, and then choose to share information with specific circles, 3) Google Hangouts… enough said.

chicken video Google+

Pinterest: Keyword is INSPIRING

Sample post: Pinterest works as a digital bulletin-board of sorts. After my husband and I bought our house back in 2008, I began taking pages out of my Grandma’s “This Old House” magazines and putting them into a binder for renovation and decorating ideas. With Pinterest, I don’t have to do this anymore. I can create my own digital “binder” of sorts, and create binders (or “boards”) for as many topics as I want! So in a Pinterest post, you would include a photo of the video (or other photos that are available via the link you’re sharing), along with a message about why it’s good to have this information or idea handy.

chicken video Pinterest

Keep an eye on Instagram and Google+. As Facebook continues to decrease how many people your page reaches “organically” (which just means, without paying for ads) more and more organizations (especially non-profit ones) are jumping ship or are spending more time experimenting with sharing information on other social media sites, such as Instagram and Google+. Amy Hayes presented a great session at NeXC on how to utilize Instagram – you may want to check it out.

Now – keep in mind that even though we’ve showed you how to share the same link on 5 different social media sites – that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be using all 5. It all depends on what your audience (the people you’re trying to reach) are using. For more information on how to find out which social media platforms would be beneficial for you, click here.

~Jamie & Heather

Quick Byte: What is an Internet Meme?

Merriam Webster defines a meme as an “idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture”. With the introduction of the popular world wide web in the 1990’s, the meme morphed into a more specific ideal of how information was exchanged through online interaction.

The First Internet Meme

Think about the way that information is communicated online, or even with text message today. How do you convey emotion? The emoticon. These “faces” were popular in how people transitioned from face to face or conversation over the phone. Unable to see the emotions of the person typing meant there had to be a way developed that communicated how someone felt, otherwise something serious could be taken lightly, or something aimed to be lighthearted might be taken seriously. The first emoticons the :- ) and :- ( have stayed popular in use as they are simple, easy to remember, and convey needed emotion in communication.

picture-cat-internet-memeThe Rise of Image Memes

Today there are images. While they existed before “I can has cheezburger” exploded to popularity of the meme. From that time on, memes have taken on different popular culture. Today, we see meme’s almost as quickly as we learn about the news or popular culture that they relate to. The I can has cheezburger meme has led to more cat pictures with funny sayings, often trying to give a human-like facade to cats. The idea of relating an animal to human problems has been popular with almost every animal imaginable.





4680932ee7e483f1a4e929f4cb15e2e2 The Angry Cat

Often with meme’s they will feature the same image with different saying or text on them. The angry cat comes to mind with this type of meme. Her little angry face is the same, but the words change (for the record, the angry cat is a female and named Tadar Sauce).






 Keep Calm & Carry On


An example of a popular recent meme is the “Keep Calm and Carry On” Often replicated and changed to fit popular culture. The original was a World War 2 poster that the British used. Designed to be put in public places, such as transportation the idea was that the poster would only be hung up if the Germans invaded Britain.  Since that invasion never happened, the poster was never put out publicly. (for more information on this poster please visit this site on the history behind it ( The image to the left is a depiction of all of the original posters used by Britain during the war.


Below is an example of meme that has taken this British poster and gave it popular culture with the hit by Kansas, Carry on Wayward Song.




So What Does this Mean?

69a1aba67c2c0255e0c98351dfc09b9fSo what does this mean for you and Extension? Well, it depends. Understand that at any time you have something that could become a meme. Popular culture can often be unpredictable, but there are many ways to bring a meme to the internet population in a way that would make it funny AND educational.  In 4-H memes are often warm fuzzy moments for alumni, honoring parents, or volunteers. The idea is that there are so many people who support 4-H that they will share those photos and more and more people will be exposed to it.  An example of this is the graphic to the left. The graphic is visually pleasing, has the clover on it, and is aimed at those camp counselors and campers that we take to 4-H camp every year. The more that put this picture on their social media accounts, the more people are exposed to the 4-H brand.

The same can happen for any area. If there is just a snippet of information that someone wants to get out to the public, a meme may be the way to do it! Maybe something about hand washing, or something about gardening practices could be popular with many people on social media. With sites like Pixabay for graphics, and a graphic editing program as simple as paint, a meme can be born!

Ideally the graphics we could put out would have the college branding attached to them. The branding attached would give Extension as well as Ohio State exposure to the public as a place of resource in their communities. While putting together a meme may seem just like extra work, the ability to grab someone’s attention is a visual way online is worth the reach and interaction you can gain.

Think about what you could contribute to the online world with meme’s. What important information might you be able to share? A fun example to look over is the  While based upon English education, you can see why it would work to have small snippets of information to share.

As always, if you have questions, please let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at






Quick Byte: Digital Footprint

In order to help share information I thought it might be interesting to shake things up with some quick information that you can use immediately! Today- is the digital footprint. Follow along with the steps and learn first hand what a digital footprint is, and how it works.



Open your computer internet browser and choose a search engine. Any search engine will most likely do.Let’s start with these first three steps:

  1. Type your first and last name in the search box, and maybe the town you live in if you think that your name is considered to be “common” ie: John Smith.
  2. Read the first page of results from the search engine.
    1. Are you surprised by what you see?
    2. Is there anything that would make you vulnerable to online predators?

The information that you are seeing is called a digital footprint. A digital footprint is the data that an internet user has left behind. The information can range from social media, to content submitted online, or cookies that your computer has saved from your web searched. This information can be found through search engines online. Simply by typing your name any person can look up information about you (or someone who shares your name).

What can you do to protect yourself from your digital footprint…

  • Do not give or post personal information such as full birthday, address, phone number, or ID number.
  • Be aware of what you post. Information can be found and used against you later.
  • Ensure that your social media only allows your friends to see your profile.
  • Do not post things to bully, humiliate, or intimidate others.
  • Once posted, things can almost never be fully removed.
  • Think before you post!

Why does my digital footprint matter?

  • People can judge you by the content you post online.
  • Employers will often search for you online to learn more about you.

Digital footprints can be a positive tool for professionals marketing themselves or their business. Digital footprint is not a negative term, but a descriptive term.

Think of one thing you are going to do to downsize your digital footprint.


Beyond Facebook: Apps to Know (Part 2 of 2)

Here is the second part of the Beyond Facebook: Apps to Know. Below I will highlight more social media platforms that you can explore and get to know. To read up on the first 6 applications explored visit here:

7. Vine:

Vine is a mobile app owned by Twitter that enables its users to create and post short video clips. The service was introduced with a maximum clip length of six seconds

Uses: Similar to youtube in the fact that it is a video, but more information to show fun moments, or share things that people couldn’t be at.

Watch out for: Appropriateness of videos shared should be monitored.

8. Tumblr:

Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website founded by David Karp and owned by Yahoo! Inc. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users’ blogs, as well as make their blogs private.

Uses: Microblogging pictures and short content, similar to wordpress, and blogger.

Watch out for: Privacy settings should be reviewed to ensure that content is not being shared with unwanted parties.

9. Google+:

Google+ is a social networking and identity service that is owned and operated by Google Inc. Google has described Google+ as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author.

Uses: They are aiming to give a complete package of good products with google + Often used more with businesses, or professionals, young adults have not adopted this platform as much yet.

Watch out for: Privacy settings should be set up to protect information about location, or identifiable traits.

10. Google+ Hangouts:

Google Hangouts is an instant messaging and video chat platform developed by Google. It allows users to chat, share their desktop, share documents, and chat!

Uses: Works to allows multiple users to participate in a web conference format with voice, and optional video. Gives many options for productivity.

Watch out for: Without video the experience isn’t quite as fun. Worth buying a web cam for!

11. LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. It is mainly used for professional networking.

Uses: Primarily the professionals’ version of facebook networking. Allows users to post portfolio and resume.

Watch out for: Your own appropriateness of content that you share, and what kind of information you share.

12. GroupMe:

GroupMe is a mobile group messaging app owned by Microsoft.

Uses: Allows users to connect to one another in a group format and have a conversation.

Watch out for: Users without a smartphone will be charged for each text sent – or standard messaging rates do apply.

13. EverNote:

Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for note taking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook.

Uses: Notetaking and collecting of documents in a way that is similar to a box, but allows for the creation of notebooks instead of documents and folders. Users can share information with anyone, including non EverNote users.

Watch out for: Free version is usually enough for the regular user, but sometimes you need the paid version to get what you need.
Please note that we do not endorse any of these applications on behalf of the university. The purpose of this post is to give informative information about applications you may come across in the work environment. All opinions stated above are my own (Watch out for..)

As you can tell, there are a lot of applications out there. If you have suggestions for other apps that you use for work, fun, or otherwise, please let me know at



Video Creation Workshop

What is something that can engage your clientele, and add some pizazz to your presentations, marketing, or reporting? Easily added are pictures that help to tell a story, but even more exciting is the possibility of making a movie that literally can speak volumes to anyone who sees it – even when you are not there. Videos allow the viewer to be transported to the kitchen, the field, or 4-H Camp without leaving their couch.

The Ed Tech team is working to design a workshop for Extension professionals to develop their skills in making videos for these purposes. Part of the goal in explaining our ideas is that you will collaborate and we can build to make this a great experience!

Through this workshop we will explore five major areas: brainstorming, pre-production, production, post-production, and other topics. These areas will lead professionals through types of videos, suggested software (both paid and free), planning a video, lighting, location, equipment needed, how to edit, and how to publish your video.

As we plan this workshop, we would love your feedback! Have you done video before? What kind of things are you most curious about? How can videos help you in your position? Leave a comment below or feel free to email me at

Beyond Facebook: Apps to Know (Part 1 of 2)

The art of keeping up to date with social media, and knowing what the next best thing might be is nearly impossible. But I hope to highlight some of the social media apps that I have seen with increasing popularity with youth and adults alike. While these apps may never peak your own interest, understanding how they work can help all of us to have positive conversations with others (especially youth) about how we leave a digital footprint, and how our actions now may haunt us later. Social media applications (apps) are simply a tool – how we decide to use them can make them “good” or “evil”.

1. Twitter: 

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read “tweets”, which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.

Uses: Personal Learning Networks, news updates, learning about a hobby, trade, or skill, interact with like minded professionals from around the globe

Watch out for: Some content can be inappropriate for youth, constantly changing so hard to find things from even an hour before if you do not re-tweet it, lots of new language and terms to learn (tweet, re-tweet, mention, etc)

2. Pinterest: 

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, “re-pin” images to their own pinboards, or “like” photos.

Uses: Useful for finding information about activities for programming (recipes, gardening, crafts, games), visual learners will find content more appealing, suitable for those who like to sort and organize information in notebook format.

Watch out for: Can easily spend too much time looking, or get distracted easily. Also need to verify information with a reliable source if not provided.

3. Snap Chat: 

Snapchat is a photo messaging application (“app”). Using the app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps”. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps 1-10 seconds after which they will be hidden from the recipient’s device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers..

Uses: Take pictures of events as they happen to share with only a group of people who share the application on their phone.

Watch out for: Gives a false sense of security, users often forget that it disappears but still can be captured with other cameras or software. No way to archive pictures for printing or later use.

4. Kik: 

Kik Messenger is an instant messaging application for mobile devices. Kik offers swift text messaging service and also allows users to share photos, sketches, voice messages, and other content. Kik Messenger requires users to register a username as form of identification.

Uses: Notify a specific group of people of an upcoming meeting or gathering. Usually used for more informal groups, or non-business.

Watch out for: Is only rated for users who are 17+. Works in the same way as Snap Chat, but also allows to share more multimedia.

5. Whisper: 

Whisper is a free iOS and Android mobile app, which allow users to send messages anonymously and receive replies. Users post messages which are displayed as text superimposed over an image, similar to greeting cards.

Uses: Share information in a “meme” format  that you wish to remain anonymous.

Watch out for: Is only rated for 17+. Content can be sexually explicit at times, and not appropriate.

6. Instagram:

Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio now typically used by mobile device cameras. Users are also able to record and share short videos lasting for up to 15 seconds.

Uses: Post pictures to show information to people about where you are, or what you are doing, without “clogging” up your facebook newsfeed.

Watch out for: Check privacy settings, and be careful about what kind of pictures are shared and if their information helps to locate someone (or stalk).
Please note that we do not endorse any of these applications on behalf of the university. The purpose of this post is to give informative information about applications you may come across in the work environment. All opinions stated above are my own (Watch out for..)

As you can tell, there are a lot of applications out there. If you have suggestions for other apps that you use for work, fun, or otherwise, please let me know at



Effectively Using Social Media with Facebook Groups

Frequently the question comes along that many Extension professionals wish to build an online presence or gathering place for their clientele. The good news is, if you follow the outlined steps below, it is possible to build a positive page that will connect interested parties together. Once connected, following a number of steps can lead your group in the right direction to being a frequently visited social hub, versus being a tumbleweed in social media. The following directions start with you already having a personal facebook profile to begin with. If you do not have one, please contact an Ed Tech and we can help get you started – or attend one of our fantastic Social Media Workshops listed at this website –

The steps listed below are taken from screenshots of my facebook as of the last week of January 2014. Remember, Facebook changes often so this will soon be a rough outline.




The first thing you will want to do is to look at the main home page. This is the page that will show the news feed to the right, and then on the left a list of links including your pages, and groups that you currently follow or are a part of. At the bottom of the group section there is a link that says “Add Group”. Click that link, and then click on the Create new group button on the following page in the upper right hand corner.





After clicking to create a new group, you will see a box pop up with fill in the blank information. You will then be able to name your group, add members, and determine your privacy settings. The three options for privacy are open, closed, and secret. If you want the group to be open to the public (ie: Van Wert County 4-H) you could make it a page, or make it an open group. However, if you are working with youth, or people who may not wish for their information about meetings to be public (ie 4-H club Facebook groups) I often suggest that the group be secret. That means that only members of the group can see posts, or find the group. If the group is closed, it can be found, but only members can post to it. This setting can be changed if you decide differently later.





The next decision you make is a fun one! A window should pop up and ask you what kind of icon you wish to have for your group. This is also a feature that can be changed if you wish to at a later time. The screen will refresh and then show you the group homepage. You can see an example of that to the right of the icon screenshot. As a member you have a number of options – including posting messages, pictures, asking a question, or uploading a file.








One of the special features of the group option is that you can ask a question. Members can reply with comments, but if you wanted to find out what kind of pizza to order for your next meeting, you could list options and ask all the participants to vote. It is a fun and different way to grab the attention of those in the group.








Another special feature is the add file button. From here you can post documents for members to review, or remind them of meetings with a listing, or contact information. The ability to communicate and provide access to this information is very important to those who may have a different schedule than 9-5pm.




The best advice that I can give people using groups is to explore the options, and test the waters! Not all groups need a Facebook groups page, but there are many groups that could benefit from the added communication. Below are the top ten things you can do to use your new Facebook Group effectively! This list has been generated for volunteers, especially those who interact with 4-H clubs, but can be adapted for almost any organization.

1.Explore other counties, states, or groups ideas for community service, fund raising, projects, or craft ideas.
2.Promote & show off your club to the community & public relations
3.Reminders about county or club deadlines.
4.Resources for 4-H projects
5.Parent communications
6.Information is accessible 24/7
7.Announcement changes about venue, time, or weather related.
8.Share pictures, or new released – using photo albums and notes on Facebook.
9.Group project help or steps to take before the next meeting.
10.Share County posts and updates so members see them again!
I hope you have the opportunity to dive into Facebook Groups! If you have questions, or concerns please feel free to contact me at


Introduction to Quick Response (QR) Codes

What is it?

It is that little square that seems to be popping up in all sorts of places. Flyers, store windows, soup cans, game controllers, and a bottle of lotion are all found to have this square of tiny dots in what seems to be a random pattern. However, the pattern is anything but random and the impact of the square is anything but tiny.

The code “consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background” (Neal, 2012, para. 3). A cousin of the traditional barcode a QR code does differ in several ways. For one, it holds a great deal more information. “While a traditional bar code can hold a maximum of 20 digits, a QR code can hold up to 7,089 characters” (Crompton, LaFrance, & van’t Hooft, 2012). It is scanned like a bar code, but provides information up and down and from side to side. Speed is another advantage of the QR code over the bar code; it can be read more than 10 times faster than other code” (para. 8). The code can contain a variety of data, including plain text, GPS coordinates, phone numbers, or website addresses (Crompton et al., 2012).

What is the Purpose?

What exactly are you supposed to do with a QR code? Scan it! There are a number of ways to read a QR code. If you own a smartphone or tablet device there are a number of free readers available in those online stores for download. One that I currently have loaded is the NeoReader for the iPhone. ( It can be found on iTunes for download at Another popular reader is the QR Droid App for Android operating devices. Access Google Play link for quick download at For those of you without a smartphone or tablet device there is another option! QR codes can be ready straight from your laptop! Visit Code Two Reader

Information shared with QR codes can vary. The options can be nearly endless, but many of the codes access links to extra information about a product, or a coupon for services from a business. Social media, V cards (contact information), and Wi-Fi connections are also applications that are often seen with QR codes.

There are many applications that Extension professionals can utilize with QR codes. Marketing with flyers, collection of survey information at a conference, or playing an interactive “scan-venger” hunt with your audience can help them engage with their devices.

Creation of QR Codes

The creation of your own QR codes is easy, and customizable for those who are interested! QR stuff ( is a site that I commonly use for the creation of QR codes. You click what kind of connection you wish for the code to make and copy the URL to the box. Once created you can save the QR code and insert it into any document such as word, PowerPoint, or publisher.

Ideas for application will be addressed in a future blog post, but I would love to hear about the QR codes you are using in your program! Feel free to leave a comment or email me at to share.

Happy QR coding!

This is a live and functional QR code you can scan! Use it as a test to make sure your application is working.


Crompton, H., LaFrance, J., & van’t Hooft, H. M. (2012). QR codes 101. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(8), 22-25.

How the History of Cooperative Extension affects the Future

“The organization has met many challenges in the past and will continue to adjust to meet the future. Regardless of adversity, Extension has remained focused on its mission of “taking the university to the people” -Education through Cooperative Extension

In the history of Cooperative Extension information has been collected from the university, and delivered to the people whom it can benefit. In order for the system to continue disseminating information to the public it must be understood how technology fits into our playing field.  Cooperative Extension must realize where it has come from to develop an ideal of where it will go in the future. In other words, how do we keep Cooperative Extension relevant in times of exploding information at the click of a mouse?

The mission of Extension work, set forth clearly in the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 was “…to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture and home economics, and to encourage the application of the same” (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 8). People had a need for this practical information, with little to no engine to drive it to the masses. There was no one to show, teach, or demonstrate the benefit of a new method.  Agricultural societies played a large part in the transition of education and how we view the working person. As they grew, the concern for an increase in knowledge prompted the land grants that inevitably led to the development of a college for the common person. Through a progression of many years colleges and education grew around agriculture, mechanics, business and trade (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 18-19).

Colleges saw a need for their knowledge to be shared with anyone who was interested in it. The result was a Farmer’s Institute that presented experimental field research, demonstrations, and information for the farmer’s wife and children (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 27).  As the Farmer’s Institute grew, the idea of a partnership between the Universities to the public through demonstration was formed. Through Seaman A. Knapp was a pioneer for Extension education as we know it today. His work through research, communications, and demonstrations led to a strong argument being made that there should be institutions where people could gain information relevant to farming. He believed that this education should be for anyone, even those not enrolled in a higher education institution. Finally, the Smith-Lever Act highlighted demonstrations and the passing of information through publications to people not attending colleges. (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 34)

In the 1980’s the shift of Extension changed. Agents were now serving a more diverse audience, and expanding programs and events in 4-H, family life, natural resources, and community development (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 38) “Issues of the environment along with social and economic changes in communities have created interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and program delivery in the 1990’s (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 38).  These changes allow for Extension agents to deliver programs to the people who will benefit from the information the most. As with all changes before, their focus was to obtain the information and give it to the public.

Even more relevant a change is that of how information is passed from person to person. Only recently have we been able to exchange information from long distances via email or the world wide web. The internet is a two edged sword for Extension. While not usually verified, it allows the user to find information through the means of a search engine quickly and effectively. If the purpose of Extension is to share relevant information with the public, are we missing an entire audience that is relying on search engines for their information? With the amount of people of all ages relying on smartphones, tablets, and laptops are we providing an easy way to find information regarding the problems they are encountering at that exact moment? Extension is challenged into moving from printing, journals, and face-to-face demonstrations to those more technology-driven ways of instruction. While both service their purpose, the challenge is determining which method is most appropriate for your audience.

Extension must be willing to address new methods if we plan to remain relevant to future audiences. Taking information and extending it to the public is what drives us. Doing it in a manner that leaves people with a feeling of accomplishment is what motivates us.  “The organization has met many challenges in the past and will continue to adjust to meet the future. Regardless of adversity, Extension has remained focused on its mission of “taking the university to the people” (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 39)

There are a number of questions you can ask yourself. What are you doing to remain relevant in Extension in regards to technology? Do your audiences demand other forms or receiving information from basic communications to events and lesson plans? How are you ensuring that information from the university is given to the public? What can Ed Tech’s do to help you choose those appropriate forms of education through technology?



Seevers, B., Graham, D., & Conklin, N. (2007). Education through cooperative extension (2nd ed.). Columbus, OH: Curriculum Materials Service.


Wordle: Building Word Clouds

Looking for a way to visually represent those proposals you may have just finished for annual conference?  The focus of this post is on a website that I frequent. Wordle is a fun and EASY way to make word clouds that represent your ideas in a more visual format.

Here is a recent example from our EERA (Maumee Valley) 4-H Volunteer Training comments that we collected (click on picture for a bigger size):


From taking the comments made about the session, I was able to copy and past the information into Wordle and share in a glimpse what our training focused on. Do you see the biggest word? “kids”. When you type words into the wordle (which we will get to soon) words that are typed more than once become bigger. So by looking at the world above, you can tell that more of the evaluations mentioned “kids” than  “responsibility”. Now you also get some words in there that don’t really do anything more than fill space, such as “by-laws”. Who would have thought that would have come up in a written evaluation?

Now hopefully I have you at least somewhat convinced to at least explore Wordle.  I will give some more ideas of implementations that may be useful for Wordle, but for now…

Let’s Get Started!

Open your browser of choice and go to the following link:

Once you are on the homepage there are a number of things you could look at. For examples look down, there are usually four examples to look at. If you click on the “more” button you can see more designs (if you need inspired)

But lets say you are inspired and ready to make text look interesting? You will click the “Create” button at the top of the page to begin creating your very own Wordle.

You have two options at this point:
Copy and paste text from your annual conference proposals OR enter a URL of a website (usually a blog)

Option #1 Copy & Pasting text for a Wordle

For those of you who like to follow directly along we will be pasting the following into the top box.

Expenses as material breeding insisted building to in. Continual so distrusts pronounce by unwilling listening. Thing do taste on we manor. Him had wound use found hoped. Of distrusts immediate enjoyment curiosity do. Marianne numerous saw thoughts the humoured. Prepared is me marianne pleasure likewise debating. Wonder an unable except better stairs do ye admire. His and eat secure called esteem praise. So moreover as speedily differed branched ignorant. Tall are her knew poor now does then. Procured to contempt oh he raptures amounted occasion. One boy assure income spirit lovers set.

(Yes, this is “random” text and there are websites to make it up for you such as Random Text Generator)

It should look like this:

(click on picture for a bigger size)

Then you will hit the “go” button below the text.

Note: You can now skip down to the section titled “Customization of your Wordle” to learn what to do next!

Option #2 Entering a URL for a Wordle

Find a webpage that you wish to “wordle” for this example we used this blog!

Click on the submit button, and the same customization below will apply!

(click on picture for a bigger size)

This is the wordle that was generated using the EdgeU Tech Blog!

Now, on to the fun part! How to make it look how you want it to!

Customization of your Wordle

From here you can customize your wordle to take on any look that you wish!

Note: The “Randomize” Button is also a unique option for giving you different looks with the same words.

A few words about Font, Layout and Color

  • Font ranges from script, to formal, to bold. Going through the list will give you a better idea of what would look the most professional in each situation.
  • Layout is a little more complicated. The two main features to know are the “rounder vs straighter edges” and orientation of the text “horizontal, vertical, half and half”.  The best thing to do is to click away and try each feature to get a feel for them, it is almost virtually impossible to “mess up” a wordle!
  • Color offers a few default color schemes to work with. If you feel adventurous you can try to edit the custom palette. You can also give variation from close, or to wild variations of color. Again, this is a play with it and see what feels right kind of feature.

How do I keep my Wordle?

This is slightly more complicated. Once you have your worlde the best thing I have found to “capture” it is to take a screen shot of your screen and paste it into a word document or paint. To capture the screen shot most computers can use the function key and then F11. Once pasted into a document you can crop and edit it for print uses.

Other Uses

  • I have used wordle to help teens to get to know themselves better. I have their peer describe them (given a list of POSITIVE terms) and turn them in. I then copy and paste the terms into wordle and it gives the teen a nice visual description of themselves. In fact, Jerry Thomas did this in one of my graduate classes, and I still have it in my office!
  • Worlde looks great on posters! For the Galaxy conference I had the evaluations of the teen leadership program printed on the poster. It was a good way to visually break up the design and fun to look at for people passing by.
  • For more professional use, I have found that if I copy and paste a large paper in worlde, it will show the words that I am using the most (the larger words remember).


I hope this beginning guide helps you all explore the visual fun of wordle! As always if you have questions please contact me at