My Social Media Glass Slipper

Over the course of seven short weeks, I have learned how to blog & tweet; follow and favourite. I am now LinkedIn and running in Google+ circles. And to top it all off, I am a published audio and video podcaster. As someone who only began timidly Facebook-ing less than a year ago, I have been basking in the glow of my ever-buzzing, ever-growing cyberspace community. Giddy, I feel as though I have been Cinderella at the ball; waltzing the night away in the arms of a multitude of social media Prince Charmings. It has been an exhilarating venture; but I fear the chimes of midnight have begun to sound.

“BONG…BONG…BONG…BONG…”

For truth be told, without the coaching and coaxing of ADL310, much of my social media prowess and portfolio will be “pumpkin-ed” by my life’s lack of dreamtime and my current career scheming. I loved being introduced to the work & play platform of Google+. But with most of my world still living for “likes” on Facebook, I can already see the dust beginning to collect on my Gmail social circles. And then, there is my fledging foray into the inviting, episodic rhythm of podcasting. I am amazed at how quickly queasiness and anxiety was transformed into ease and animation. But whom am I kidding? As a budding entrepreneur, part-time student and the full-time mother of two young children, there is little to no room in my overscheduled existence for breathing and bathing, let alone professional or pleasure-driven podcasting.

“BONG…BONG…BONG…BONG…”

Will I tweet again? I hope so. I want to. Having always loved how Twitter hands one the keys to the kingdom–in that anyone can follow anyone; I will endeavor to continue cultivating my Sheri-defined newsfeed. I find Twitter’s 140-character limit seductively succinct and inviting. But I have to wonder, just how often the followers of @S_Tarrington will see me seed the conversation? With my perceptions of personal expertise currently under construction, I fear my past wallflower ways will resurface. And as ridiculous as it may sound, I can already seeing the “flower” on the “wall” in terms of my lackluster LinkedIn life as of late. While ecstatic to have had ADL310’s encouragement to finally connect with colleagues and mentors inside the world’s largest professional social media network, I can already feel myself beginning to hermit. Why? Well, mostly because the world wants to know where I am currently “at” professionally; and the truth is, I am exactly nowhere and everywhere all at the same time. Within ADL310’s safe confines and context, I allowed my entrepreneurial dreams to create and steer my on-line personas; eager to see where social media might take my ambitions. And oh, the time I have had and the insights I have gained. I know now that social media will play an integral role in my next professional incantation. However, the course is ending, and I am still scheming, dreaming, transitioning…

“BONG…BONG…BONG…BONG.”

The clock has struck midnight and my last ADL310 waltz is almost over. Is this the part where I swear up and down that social media and I will remain robustly committed and forever faithful outside of course requirements? If so, than I believe I’ve just unearthed the subject of my next blog post…

And there it is, ladies and gentlemen—my ADL310 glass slipper! My blog–my Mud Puddle Days–is the social media prize I shall covet and keep; is the exotic that has become my everyday. Original and real thrive here. Inside the pages of my blog I am not shiny or all-knowing, I am simply growing. I freely admit, admire, rant and rally. Inside the pages of my blog I am authentically me, genuinely home. Mud Puddle Days is a place where learning leads and transitioning gains traction. I love knowing that I will someday soon build my website here, that I can and will build in Twitter and LinkedIn connections. I love knowing that Mud Puddle Days may someday write the sure-to-be-bittersweet story of my entrepreneurial journey—for all; for me. I love that it has the potential to both feed and bleed inspiration–in programming, in podcasting, in all that is my possible. Mud Puddle Days is my now and my future forward dreamscape, playground, and garden. Indeed, it is my social media “happily ever after”.

 

 

Kudos to all for letting “like” lead…

Last night I spent two hours alone in a bookstore. I browsed. I perused. I indulged. And when it was all over I walked away with just one purchase–a book titled, “Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon. Now normally, I use nights like last night to simply stategize my next six months of on-line library requests. However, in the case of this book; there was no way I was leaving for home without it. Why? Because of what I found on page 47:

The best advice is not to write what you know; it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best–wrtie the story you want to read. (Kleon, 2012)

And after having spent tonight learning, laughing and connecting with fellow classmates via their video podcasts; I must congratulate every last one of them on personifying this wisdom. When it comes to creativity–from quilting to writing to photography to video podcasting, there is absolutely no substitute for personal passion. Over the course of several hours, I was invited into neighbourhoods, homes, pastimes and families of real people with real stories, real lessons and real ambitions. And I for that I am both humbled and honoured.

Engagement is cultivated by the engaged. And so, to the generous minds and hearts of ADL310, I say “cultivate on”!

My audio podcasting dear John…

Or, How video killed my (professional) audio podcasting star…

Dear Audio Podcasting,

After spending years hearing tell of your accessibility and appeal, I must say it has been a joy acquainting myself with your reach and vast variety. You did not disappoint. Allowing your storytellers and scientists to plant ideas and impressions in my imagination has been a delectable detour from my loco life. I thank you also for allowing me to schedule you into my over-scheduled existence. You are exceedingly patient. It has indeed been a pleasure; and that is the point and the crux of this communication.

Because sadly, as workmates, I fear we have reached the end of our relationship–as feverish and fun as it has been. As you might suspect, there is “another”. Another social media platform that takes all the ideas I had planned for you to an even more engaging and exciting level. Yes, that’s right. I have now been introduced to the infinite universe of video podcasting.

From visual to auditory to kinaesthetic, I simply cannot ignore how many more learning modalities video podcasting can combine and connect. And then there is my own perception of its greater cross-generational reach. For you see, in visual form even Sesame Street becomes all-age appropriate, animated environmental/outdoor education–here’s just one example. Where I dreamed of connecting my clients to a handful of audio podcasts that reflect my programming pursuits; I have already begun to amass a library of thought-provoking environmental education and learning videos that clients and children will be able to chew, cheer and share. And where I dreamed of simply recording and presenting my programming suite to audiences with you; I see the ability for children themselves to own the insight I hope to inspire through their own video podcast creations.

Please know that my decision to incorporate video over audio podcasts in my future professional pursuits is not your fault. You serve a brilliant niche in the personal lives of millions, including my own. The truth is I only have the capacity to utilize well a handful of social media platforms at the moment in my work world. So from here, our relationship must become unconditionally unprofessional.

But, do know this; getting to know you has allowed me to connect with places inside my heart and brain that I haven’t been in decades. Amidst a world brimming with in-your-face distraction and never-ending to-do lists, you made me stop and listen. I will not forget you. And, it is my most sincere hope that this is only farewell, and not goodbye.

Sheri

Video Podcasting, Walt Whitman & Me

My barbaric yawp avec daughter

I live in a household with two small children. So, rare is the day that the phrase, “look what I made” isn’t exclaimed by either one or both of my wee muchkins. Everyday I look forward to those 4 little words and the glow of accomplishment that always accompanies them. However, today is not everyday. Today is very different. Today it is my turn to channel my inner Walt Whitman (1891) and barbarically YAWP for all to hear: “hey everyone, look what I made!”

“I just made a video podcast!”

That’s right, world! Sheri—the girl who avoided Facebook like the plague and digitized her music collection only under duress—has published a video podcast for the entire planet to see. And that’s not even the craziest part. The craziest part is how much fun I had doing it! Well, most of it…

The hardest part was getting started. Being instructed to make a career-related video for possible mass consumption via the Internet was a pretty intimidating task. I was overwhelmed by possibility and underwhelmed by my credentials—both technical and field-specific. But then I met Sparkol’s VideoScribe and the brilliant world of do-it-yourself whiteboard animation.

The first phrase to greet me upon downloading the free VideoScribe Desktop trial was, “what’s your story?” I was home. Of all the questions in all the universe, there is none more encouraging than this one. Why? Because everyone, everywhere has a story that is theirs—to tell, to covet, to keep. Stories brand us human beings, with universals that comfort and connect. I was compelled. And I was off to the races…

And this is where sheer bliss took over. Navigating the VideoScribe desktop was exhilarating as ideas became images and linked almost effortlessly. From tutorials to image libraries brimming with gems, everything was there to make my first video podcast creation a celebration. A celebration of soul, and of what I have to to tell the world–my story. To which, if you will indulge me, I must YAWP once more…

“Hey everyone, look what I made!”

Videos Vivacious

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Okay, the search for visual accoutrement for who I hope to be as my own environmental education entity, has been the most fun I’ve ever had doing homework. Beginning first in the familiar, I scoured government and scholarly sites only to find that visceral illustration of nature as learning’s greatest catalyst would bounce me much beyond. For you see, everything is environmental education and environmental education is everything–with feasts as much for the soul, as for the mind…

A 1st Fave – Born to Learn

Children are curious by design–it is their nature. In childhood, it is curiosity that fuels learning via environmental engagement…or as I like to call it: play! In black and white, stick figure perfection this videoscribe (or whiteboard animation) piece provides eloquent and unequivocal proof of how we humans are literally wired to play, and therefore learn, live and thrive. Brilliant in its simplicity, accessibility and humour; I laughed, I cried, I learned. Eureka!

A 2nd to Savour – Take Me Outside – This is My Canada

Winning first place in Take Me Outside‘s 2013 student video contest, this video is a love letter to Canada-out-of-doors–and to all that opens our eyes to it. In a melange of seasonal scents, sights and sounds, this video conveys nature as both a classroom and a canvas…which is quintessentially my professional and personal mantra.

A Thoroughly Unexpected 3rd – Duet for Leaves and Turntable

This avant-garde Mother Nature meets techno musical mashup found me just days ago at Telus Spark–and I just can’t get enough. Its ingenious, creative pairing of now and nature embodies everything I want my programming repertoire to be. Rich in resonance, this video is fun and feisty and brimming with vitality. In nature, inspiration awaits for all; so go on…take a “spin”!

Sheri’s brain “on podcasting”…

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Podcasting is a social media trip unlike any other I’ve ever taken. Simultaneously frantic and freeing, my inaugural podcasting exploit is best expressed as the stream of crazy and cathartic consciousness it sparked. Please fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride…

Okay self, breathe! You are about to record your very first podcast. An unscripted, unretrievable, completely personal piece of yourself is about to be launched into place where ANYONE can access it, digest it, contest it, and critique it. What are you going to talk about again? Motherhood? Yes, that’s it, motherhood–a subject universal, sympathetic, contentious and emotional. What are you thinking? What do you know about motherhood? You are going to offend and/or befriend millions of people…or not. What if nobody cares? What if nobody bothers to listen to all that you have to say. What if your words and thoughts just hang out there like unpicked fruit. Will they rot? Do words rot, or do they reseed? What if your words are wrong? What if your words don’t make sense? What if you can’t get them out of your brain and into the microphone? What happens if they get stuck? What happens if they stop? Are you going to press pause? Are pauses allowed? Are podcast pauses dramatic, emphatic, inviting, or deafening? Pauses are natural, like breathing. So pause, and–for goodness sake–don’t forget to breathe! But do your best not to be too breathy, okay? Too breathy?? What the hell is “too breathy”? Okay, you’re losing it! You have to breathe, so just breathe. Breathe naturally, and you will sound natural. In being natural you will be genuine, authentic, real. So press record already! Jump in. Adjust. Mess up. Start again. It’ll all be okay. Heck, you’ll probably love it–being out there with just your thoughts and your words. Someone will care. You care. Have fun. Play. Smile. Indulge. So press record. Okay? Okay. Breath in…and begin.

And begin I have…

Podcasting dreams and schemes…

Combine the ease and authenticity of podcasting with Sheri’s current “the world is my oyster” career mindset and…voila! I present to you just some of the ways I’d adventure to bring the power of podcasting to work with me:

Dream/Scheme One…create a weekly-published podcast driven by the creativity of out-of-doors, inquiry-based learning. Episodes would detail the “a-has” achieved in actual backyard-based, student-schemed natural science quests; with all insights gained used to fuel the next learning journey’s instalment.

Dream/Scheme Two…pilot the use of podcasts as field journals to allow those with auditory learning preferences a more impactive means of personal reflection.

Dream/Scheme Three…dedicate website real estate to the promotion of podcasts advancing the insights and impact of outdoor, environmental and inquiry-based education.

Dream/Scheme Four…absorb and mindfully integrate the convenient and vast professional development potential that is podcast learning, listening, subscribing and sharing.

To paraphrase the words of the late, great Dr. Seuss: oh podcasting, the places you and I will go–together!

 

 

 

A podcasting I will go…

Click here to listen…

Motherhood…it takes all kinds – Episode 1 – My Own

Though you may not recognize it iced in snow, the month of May is here. And with its arrival, many thoughts turn to blossoms, to getting outdoors, and to–of course—moms!

Now, some say you really don’t begin to appreciate your mom until you become a mother yourself. And, while I would agree that my own parental odyssey into sleep deprivation and Kodak moments has certainly deepened the bond that my mom and I share, I’d like to think that my gratitude’s groundwork began well before her baby had babies…

It did; as last night–quite accidentally–I unearthed the most beautiful proof…

Tarrington Podcast Notes – Episode 1 – 14May06