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

TAG | Linkedin

Hello, my name is Jayne Corso and I work with Dan McDonnell as a Community Manager for the American Evaluation Association (AEA).

As you probably know, LinkedIn is the social platform for professional development, career hunting and thought leadership. It is an excellent resource for presenting yourself as an experienced, savvy evaluation professional and enables you to find resources and networking opportunities that will benefit your practices and strategies.

One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is its ability to search people by name, profession, keywords, or location. Results from these searches are dependent on the strength of personal profiles. I’d like to share a few tips that will help you create a stronger personal profile and become better connected with your professional peers in the evaluation community.

LinkedIn Search

LinkedIn Search

Hot Tip: Utilize all aspects of your profile.
Go beyond just including a photo, your work experience, and education. Add in your publications, skills, awards, independent course work, volunteer experience, and organizations you belong to. All of these features allow you to have a robust, well-rounded profile and will better highlight your expertise as an evaluation professional.

Hot Tip: Incorporate keywords.
Create a list of keywords that accurately communicate your expertise. Are data communications or data visualization or monitoring some of your greatest strengths? Improve your profile by incorporating these keywords repeatedly in your profile descriptions. This will allow your profile to be ranked high when the words are searched within LinkedIn (who you are connected to also influences these rankings). Placing keywords in your profile headline is also a great way to publicly show your expertise and helps other users make an informed decision about connecting with you.

Hot Tip: Customize your LinkedIn URL.
When you join LinkedIn, the site creates a generic URL for your profile that includes a series of numbers. Similar to a website URL, these numbers do not resonate high in a search. Placing your name or keywords into your URL will improve the visibility of your profile. Here are a few tips from LinkedIn on how to get started customizing your URL.

Rad Resource:
The search function of LinkedIn is also a great resource if you’re looking to expand your network and make connections. Searching industry keywords provides you with a full list of professionals and organizations dedicated to evaluation. You can also use advanced search to connect with colleagues, clients, and industry thought leaders. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can expand your evaluation network with just a few searches. Try it out!

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 Susan Kistler. I am the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and aea365’s regular Saturday Contributor. Today, we’re talking all things LinkedIn!

Rad Resource – AEA’s LinkedIn Group: AEA’s LinkedIn Community has over 9000 subscribers from around the world and is open to anyone with an interest in evaluation. It’s free (always worth noting) and takes 30 seconds to join if you are already on LinkedIn and a few minutes if you need to make an account. Current popular discussions include ones focusing Theory of Change, Logic Modeling, and Webinars for Capacity Development.

Lessons Learned – why bother? You can post questions to AEA’s LinkedIn group and take advantage of the collective knowledge of those 9000 subscribers. LinkedIn also provides a way to build your professional network, connecting with colleagues with common interests. The group’s ‘jobs’ tab is a place to look for open positions (although I would still recommend searching AEA’s job listings first as they are more extensive).

Rad Resource – LinkedIn’s Endorsement Feature: On October 1, I received an email:

“Patricia Rogers has endorsed you!”

“Why thank you Patricia!” thought I – and then I didn’t think a whole lot more about it.

We were deep into conference preparations and I didn’t click through on the “See endorsements” button that came with that initial missive. By the time I returned from the conference, there were a number of emails waiting, telling me that someone had endorsed my skills. Now I was intrigued, and appreciative, and humbled. And I clicked through.

Here is what I found – at least today’s version of it:

Hot Tip – Adding Endorsements: When signed in and you view the profiles of most people in your LinkedIn network, you can both see and add to their endorsements (unless they have turned this section off), and you can see the endorsements of people outside your network (but not add to them).

Lessons Learned From Endorsements: The endorsements features is a bit like a light, appreciative, 360 evaluation. I learned about how others view me (I wouldn’t have even put Volunteer Management on my personal skills list, but it is indeed a rewarding part of my work). For those I know well, it enables me to provide public kudos and support their work and career – as well as to learn about aspects of their work that were unknown to me.  For those I know less well, it offers insight into their perceived capacity as well as the scope of their personal networks, at least on this platform. In the future, as you seek contracts and positions, potential funders and employers may be looking at your LinkedIn endorsements.

Hot Tips for Leveraging Endorsements from Entrepreneur Magazine’s Daily Dose Blog:

  • Endorse others first and endorse fairly
  • Keep it easy for your inner circle
  • No mass emails

The above reflect my own opinions and not necessarily that of AEA. 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.

My name is Susan Kistler and I am the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and aea365′s regular Saturday contributor.

AEA has a vibrant community on AEA’s LinkedIn Group, open to members and nonmembers alike. We wanted to take a look at the change in subscribers over time and to learn more about the group’s composition.

Hot Tip – LinkedIn Group Stats Dashboard: In November of 2011, LinkedIn launched a new group stats dashboard. Every group now has a dashboard that group members can view, and in many cases that the public can view as well. You can access AEA’s stats dashboard by clicking here.

The dashboard includes summary statistics, demographics, growth information, and a weekly activity summary. The screenshot below shows the first page, but it is worth clicking through to explore a bit.

Lessons Learned – Examining the Dashboard: I had recently moderated an AEA Coffee Break Webinar featuring Veronica Smith speaking about designing data dashboards (if you are an AEA member, you can access the free recording in the archive here, if you aren’t, wouldn’t you like to join?). Was this one designed well, I asked myself?

It had current key performance indicators (KPIs). I could find the subscribers, basic information about their demographics, and the volume of discussion and comments in the past week. All useful. But a number of things were missing, most noticeably:

1. Filtering and drilldown: I couldn’t filter what I was seeing to look at a particular timeframe or drill down to learn more about the group’s subscribers from a particular region. We have noted that many of the new LinkedIn subscribers are international, hailing from many countries including a considerable representation from developing countries and countries in transition. However, I couldn’t find anything out about them – not even a breakdown of domestic versus international.

2. Longitudinal data: The dashboard offered very little longitudinal data to explore change over time, and what could be found required mousing over individual bars to understand. The annotations, red lines, and even the years in the snapshot below, I had to add myself in a graphics program. However, it was useful to be able to see the history across years. With a little work I could see the increase in average weekly subscribers in 2011 and again in 2012, and it made me want to learn more – but there was no way to segment and explore the newer versus older subscribers.

New Subscribers by Week Over Time

At this point, I want to applaud LinkedIn for starting to help its group owners to understand more about their subscribers, but there is a long way to go. Using the dashboard made it clear that there are unanswered questions (why did we jump so much in the first two months of 2012?), but also that we’ll need to turn to other avenues for answers.

Have you seen a great public dashboard? One that needs improvements?

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 Matt Keene and I work with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Evaluation Support Division, where I help to coordinate the Environmental Evaluators Network (EEN). The purpose of the EEN is to advance the field of environmental evaluation through more systematic and collective learning. The EEN’s 5th annual Forum will be held in Washington D.C. June 7-8, 2010.

A hurricane is a powerful and complex system. As it spins and gathers strength out over the ocean, some of its energy is transferred to the water’s surface… stirring it up, causing chaos. But nature seeks stability. The new energy in the ocean organizes into waves that move away from the hurricane’s eye and toward a destination where it will get to work on a rocky point or a sandy beach.


Hot Tip: Join the EEN LinkedIn Group to connect and collaborate. I like to think about the Environmental Evaluators Network as part of the organizing process existing mainly in the space between the eye of the storm and the coast. Demands for evidence of ‘what works’ have stirred things up and the resulting groundswell causes some to float and some to sink though they may be distant from decisions to measure and evaluate. There are many and diverse interests in the space between storm and shore. The EEN facilitates more efficient self-ordering in that space so that we are more systematic and purposeful in channeling information flows and surfacing goals and incentives that sustain a more effective environmental community. Join the EEN LinkedIn Group at

Rad Resource: Have a gander at the website and agendas, presentations and participants of past and future EEN events. The emphasis on evidence is not exclusive to one country or one organization but is globally disperse, so – naturally – EEN nodes are forming. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The George Washington University Trachtenberg School as co-sponsors. And in addition to the annual Forum in Washington D.C., Environment Canada will host its 3rd EEN event in September 2010, while planning is underway for 2011 events in Europe, Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands.


Rad Resource: Check out journal editions written and edited by EEN participants.

  • New Directions in Evaluations – Environmental Program and Policy Evaluation: New Directions for Evaluation, Summer 2009*
  • Evaluation and Program Planning – Challenges in Evaluation of Environmental Education Programs and Policies, May 2010

Cool Tricks: Getting to work as performance requirements pound the coast…

*If you are an American Evaluation Association member, you have free electronic access to all past volumes of New Directions – just sign on to the AEA website using your AEA username and password and navigate over to the journals under the Members Only menu.

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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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My name is Susan Kistler and I am the Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). It is my pleasure to contribute each Saturday’s post to the aea365 blog.

Are you seeking work in the field of evaluation? Draw upon AEA resources, networks, and colleagues to identify leads.

Hot Tip: Find an Evaluator: Create a website that identifies your services, skills, and provides examples of your work. There are many low-cost/no-cost site builder options out there. Once you have a site, if you are an AEA member, sign on to the AEA website and submit a listing to the Find an Evaluator directory at

Cool Trick: Browse for Ideas: Browse the Find an Evaluator listings to identify examples of great ways that your professional colleagues are promoting their business and sharing their expertise.

Rad Resources: AEA Career Center: Search the Job and RFP listings on AEA’s Online Career Center, the largest repository of job listings of interest to evaluators.

Hot Tip: Sign up for Email Notifications of New Job Listings: Sign up to receive an emailed notice, once each day for which there are new listings, of the new additions added to the AEA Job Bank. (Free and available to members and nonmembers)

Hot Tip: Post Your Resume: Post your resume in the AEA Online Career Center, in particular if you are seeking full-time employment.

Hot Tip: Join AEA’s LinkedIn Group: Join AEA’s LinkedIn Group  in order to build your professional network and to check out the ‘jobs’ tab on the AEA LinkedIn site. Although we encourage cross-posting of jobs, because they are self-submitted, occasionally opportunities appear on the LinkedIn page that are not in the Online Career Center. Also, on LinkedIn, you are more likely to have a clearly identified person with whom you can correspond and ask questions.

Hot Tip: Network, Network, Network: Join your AEA Local Affiliate if there is one in your area, participate in their activities, and reach out for informational interviews. Build your network and let your colleagues know of your interests and skills. Some affiliates post positions on their websites as well.

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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