AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

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Hello, my name is Jayne Corso and I work with Dan McDonnell as a Community Manager for AEA. As a frequent social media user, and one of the voices behind @aeaweb, I am always searching for new tools that can organize my social media feeds and help me stay up-to-date on the latest conversations, topics, and hashtag surrounding the evaluation community.

HootSuite is my primary tool for monitoring industry news and evaluating our social media posts. The ease of access to industry information that that this tool provides makes research much more effective – and easy!

Rad Resource: Manage your Social Media Accounts Through the HootSuite Dashboard

Each HootSuite user has a personal dashboard, which can be customized to fit posting or research needs. The dashboard can manage multiple platforms including: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and WordPress— creating separate tabs for each platform. Each tab can be customized with ‘streams’, (feeds, keyword searches, lists, etc.) so you can curate the most relevant information on one screen.

This is a great way to see how the evaluation community is engaging with @aeaweb’s daily Tweets. The different streams help better identify good times to share posts, what content is most popular, and the best ways to present information. Using these insights, AEA seeks to better connect with the evaluation community on Twitter and other social media channels.

Here is a quick-and-easy guide to adding tabs and streams to your dashboard

Rad Resource: Using Hashtags and Keywords to Follow the Conversation

HootSuite is an excellent resource for staying connected with other evaluators on social media and joining evaluation-related conversations. Add streams to your dashboard that follow keywords or hashtags and HootSuite will search social platforms for the most recent and relevant posts. This is where you come in – jump in, and say hello! Offer your thoughts, insights, and experience to add value to one of the many conversations that are happening. You may just meet some new friends!

Choosing your hashtags depends on the topics you are interested in, be it evaluation (#eval), data visualization (#dataviz), or even helpful excel tips (#exceltip). Hashtags also allow you to follow along with industry events like AEA’s Evaluation 2014.  By adding #Eval14 as a stream to your dashboard, you’ll receive the most recent and updated information tweeted and what other evaluators are saying about the event.

Want to learn more? Here’s a helpful resource from Fresh View Concepts on how to set up your HootSuite Dashboard.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hello, my name is Dan McDonnell and I am a Community Manager at the American Evaluation Association (AEA). In the fast-paced world of social media, things are always changing. Just as soon as you stop to take a breath, Facebook has tweaked its algorithm again. Or Twitter has updated its design. Recently, there have been a slew of changes that hit just about every major social network, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to give a few quick hits on what’s new, and how and how it affects evaluation professionals.

Hot Tip: Facebook Design Changes & More

Do you run a Facebook fan page? Facebook took a cue from Twitter who recently gave a facelift to the layout of fan pages. As of June 5th, the size of fan page  cover photo images has been adjusted to now require 851 x 315 pixels. In addition, Facebook removed what used to be called ‘page tabs’, replacing them with a simple menu of the major sections of your page – Timeline, About, Photos, Likes and More.

If the above changes weren’t enough, Facebook also gave users more freedom to customize the leftmost column of their fan page. Want your page ‘Reviews’ to be front and center? You can do that now! The entire left sidebar can be ordered entirely to your liking.

Hot Tip: Google + Authorship Limited

Remember that post I made a few months ago about Google Authorship? Well, it turns out, Google changed the game when it rolled out some major changes this week. While Google Authorship still exists, the biggest benefits have now been removed. Unfortunately, pictures are no longer supported in Google search results, nor will the author’s Google + circle information be shared. Now, if Authorship is correctly implemented into a blog post, only the name of the author will be added to the search result. Bummer.

Hot Tip: LinkedIn Premium Gets an Update

LinkedIn has become an essential tool for job seekers these days, as well as an excellent way to network. For the power users of the world, LinkedIn has a service called LinkedIn Premium, which I would highly recommend to anyone actively in job search mode. It’s a bit pricey though at $23.99 or $47.99 a month options, but with the addition of LinkedIn Premium Spotlight, a starter package that runs at just $7.99 a month, evaluation professionals can enjoy many enhanced benefits of LinkedIn without breaking the bank.

With Premium Spotlight, LinkedIn will make your profile stand out more among search listings, offer you suggestions for keywords to include in your profile to make yourself more visible for hiring managers and more. Check it out!

Hot Tip: Twitter Changes Fonts

Ok, so unless you’re a Helvetica purist, this one isn’t too big of a deal. Back on May 30th, Twitter angered (or delighted, depending on who you ask) font geeks around the world by changing the default typeface of Tweets from Helvetica Neue to Gotham. Some users have reported that the new font makes it more difficult to read, while others have embraced it fully. What’s your take?

Twitter Font Change

Twitter Font Change

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Dan McDonnell on Google + | Dan McDonnell on Twitter


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Greetings from Canada! My name is Chi Yan Lam (@chiyanlam) and I am a PhD student working in the areas of educational assessment and program evaluation at Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario. You are probably already familiar with legitimate uses of Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook in relation to evaluation learning, but have you thought about augmenting your personal learning network to other social media platforms?

In today’s connected learning environments, professional development is no longer confined to traditional codified sources of knowledge, such as peer-reviewed journals or conference workshops. Social media can inform your professional development by facilitating communications with those within and outside of your immediate network, connecting you to those evaluators who share your interests, and allowing you to create and share your learning with others. Augmenting your personal learning network with online resources can be tremendously valuable and rewarding.

Rad Resource: YouTube needs no introduction and, boy, is it a hidden treasure trove of evaluation resources. From short instructional clips to recorded lecture and talks, you can easily locate many hours of learning. Try searching for specific key word (e.g. Empowerment Evaluation; Developmental Evaluation), or for specific theorist (e.g. Michael Patton). You should also search for YouTube Channels organized by evaluation organizations (e.g. AEA; IPDET).

Rad Resource: Pinterest is the virtual equivalent to a corkboard allowing its users to ‘pin’ and collect great visuals from all over the web. Evaluators like Kylie Hutchison and others do a fabulous job of curating great, often visually interesting, resources on evaluation.

Rad Resource: Slideshare is a great repository of presentation slidedecks. Try searching for slidedecks from specific conferences (e.g. eval13) or by evaluation approaches (e.g. developmental evaluation).

Rad Resource: Attend live online PD webinars. AEA offers both their e-Study and Coffee Break series. Did you know AEA members have free access to previously recorded Coffee Break webinars! The Canadian Evaluation Society is also launching a webinar series.

One more thing…

Bonus Rad Resource: Institutions often make available lectures and debates online! For instance, take a look at the 2010 Claremont Evaluation Debate, Claremont Evaluation Center Webinar Series, or Western Michigan University’s Evaluation Café series.

Happy learning!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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My name is Stewart Lee and I am a graduate student at Mississippi State University, as well as an independent evaluation consultant. Lately, I’ve been working with other independent consultants as well as small business owners who feel the need for web sites/blogs/and social networking sites associated with their business.

The advent of FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and the like have generated a divide in public opinion and it’s not always age related. I know many AARP members who are on Facebook daily and several 20 somethings who have never been on Facebook. Why would evaluators use social networking sites regardless of age or desire for virtual social interaction? There are several reasons I can come up with off the top of my head.

  1. Hot Tip: Social networking has some of the best FREE advertising and marketing. I had the privilege to attend Dr. Gail Barrington‘s course on independent consulting at AEA 2009, where word of mouth marketing was hailed. Social networking is almost pure word of mouth.
  2. Hot Tip: While it’s easy to see how social networking helps those with evaluation businesses, academia benefits are there too. Social network sites can provide opportunities from encouraging participation in or a form of reminders for a survey, to collaboration with geographically distant colleagues or even to gather opinions or to conduct a field trial.
  3. Hot Tip: Education is (or at least should be) an important part of our duties as evaluators. The better informed and educated about the evaluation process stakeholders are, the easier our jobs are. Social networking sites offer an easy, free, and often fun way to disseminate knowledge about evaluation and the evaluation process. In addition, the setting gives the perception of peers teaching peers which literature shows is an extremely effective method of teaching.

On one of my blogs, I often post about evaluation or statistics and present ideas in a thought-provoking or educative manner. These blog posts then get fed to several social networking sites where many people see the information and respond in an inquisitive manner.

Rad Resource: Finally, perhaps the coolest reason evaluators should get at least marginally involved in social networks is that there is a wealth of data to be had within them. Earlier this month, Sitaram Asur and Bernardo Huberman released Predicting the Future With Social Media on Kevin Kelly‘s web site. This is just one of the latest examples of how researchers are using social networking sites as a pipeline to 100’s, 1000’s, or even millions of opinions. This study highlights, as one commenter noted, the idea of Surowiecki’s rules of a wise crowd. Tapping into this kind of resource could greatly enhance an evaluation if not be a primary source of data for it.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to

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