Category Archives: Social Media

Why do we eat Pancakes?

After last week’s blog post on the Guardian, I seemed to have a heightened awareness to religion in the media. Plus with Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) and Ash Wednesday hailing the beginning of Lent, there was a lot of discussion on Twitter about what everyone was giving up for Lent. Now 1) I am not religious and 2) I will never give up chocolate or alcohol – life is just too short! But it did make me think – do all these people know what Lent is really all about? Are they all practicing Christians?

Some of the comments about the funding of RE in schools were from atheists who didn’t want RE taught at all. Yet we cannot deny the history this country has with Christianity specifically but lots of different religions also. I was really pleased to stumble across an article on the BBC Magazine on ‘How much Christianity is hidden in British society?’ I think the article is really interesting. No matter what you think of religion, it is all around us, rightly or wrongly.

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My first ever Guardian blog post!

So there I was yesterday, sitting at my desk, writing some resources for a project I’m working on. I always have Twitter open on my desktop, just so I can keep up with what’s going on. Plus, when you work at home on your own it’s nice to talk to people online.

Anyway, @GuardianTeach tweeted and asked if there were any RE teachers interested in blogging. Naturally I retweeted but I also replied saying that it was a shame they didn’t tweet last year when I actually was one. They replied, suggesting I get in touch anyway. So I did. I love a good blog and was definitely interested. They wanted a response to Professor James Conroy’s report on the state of RE in schools today. I was able to be honest in my response to the findings within the report.

To say it was easy is an understatement. I know budgets are tight within schools, always have, always will be. But I’ve been on the side where you have to make your budget stretch more than most. I wasn’t shocked by the findings. I had to fight RE’s corner many times. It’s not always respected by most of the other staff. And that’s what makes the RE teachers job harder. No matter how hard you stretch your budget, how many pens you ‘borrow’ from certain Swedish furniture shops, you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

I can remember on inset days after the summer holidays when the whole staff would meet & we would go through the exam results. As someone who was super conscientious & worked incredibly hard for her students, this was torture. At times, RE is taught by non-specialists who don’t always have the subject knowledge. And sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you work, students don’t always do the work. So sitting with the results up on the PowerPoint, I wanted to jump up & say, ‘But you don’t know how hard I’ve worked, it’s not fair, we don’t have any money, there are only 2 of us, we only have an hour a week, we teach everyone, we did our best!’ I never did shout this out, but I have mini-panic attacks over it.

I’m not saying other teachers don’t work hard or have tough times or difficult working environments. But if RE is as important as the Government suggests then they need to back it up. Come on Gove, put your money where your mouth is!

To read my blog post, have a read of it here. Let me know what you think. My budget for the year was about £800 for way more students. What are your experiences? What’s your budget like?

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A Twitter Win

A few months ago, I went to the Pudding Club & wrote about it on my personal blog: A Crafty Chai. It’s a fab event to attend and you get a certificate and a pen to show that you’ve eaten seven puddings in one sitting. I follow these guys on Twitter and they tell you which pudding has been the favourite at their most recent gathering.

Now I love stationery. So when I received the free pen I was happy to find that it wrote really well. And I’ve pretty much been using it ever since. I was distraught when, the other day, it ran out of ink. Out of desperation, I tweeted about it on my personal twitter account. I was super impressed when the Pudding Club tweeted me back and asked if they could send me a new one! But of course they could! So after a few direct messages, I received an envelope, addressed to my twitter name (that’s a first!) & I opened it with relish.

Not only did I receive a replacement one, but a second really fancy pen, which is beautiful to write with. This is one of the reasons that businesses, and people in general, need to be careful with Twitter. It can be a powerful source for good, showing excellent customer service, like the Pudding Club here, but it is also a place where people, customers, talk openly. If they receive good or bad service, it’s instantly written about on Twitter. I like it when a company or business that I use is on Twitter because it means that I can give feedback about anything straight away. I know social media can be seen as a scary place if you’re not familiar with it, but the power of it as huge.

Plus it got me some free pens #ftw

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Happy Customer

Yesterday I visited a friend of mine to give her the blog that I had developed for her. A while ago she asked me to help her with a site that she could use for her cupcake business. She already has a full-time job & is a new mum so wanted something small that she could manage and update. We decided on a Tumblr blog and picked a theme. I then developed it so that it would show off the different types of cupcakes that she makes and personalised it to her requirements.

I really enjoyed doing it. It gave me experience of another blog site and I had to think about the needs of the client. I then had to talk her through posting blogs & she has since set up a ‘Gallery’ page. She is really happy with the way it looks & I think that it’s the best format for her.

The best thing though, is my payment. I’ve been paid in cupcakes! Is there a better payment?! I think not!

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The Joy (& rules) of Twitter

I’m an official Twitter addict. And I’m not ashamed to say it either. My current income comes from contacts I’ve made (or my OH has made) through Twitter. For example I’m working with a local PR company on a freelance basis, helping with social media & a client who needs advice from an education perspective. I’m also working with a local businesswoman who is in the process of setting up a new business and helping with Twitter and blogging advice.

The reason being that Twitter still has an unknown element to it. It’s not just about tweeting that you’ve been for a haircut. It is a micro blogging site, so you can tweet about your haircut, but it’d be a good idea to tweet about more things than that. You do need to be engaging, whether you’re tweeting for a business or just for you. If you don’t no one will follow you & that’s kind of the point. It’s not about selling stuff either, well, not all the time. People won’t follow you if all you do is tweet about your products. People like to see the personal side of business and discussion on things like what your favourite flavour of cupcake is actually interesting.

Twitter also has a practical side. You can receive traffic tweets & my local radio station @106jackfm does this really well. It’s vital if you’re trying to get somewhere on a busy Friday night. Twitter is essential during major events, whether it’s something like extreme weather, like snow and people use the #uksnow hashtag or the London riots and their cleanup.

The main reason for this post is simply because of this article on Twitter etiquette.  I was working on my PC, had Twitterific up and saw a tweet from @OxfordCityGuide about the article. I agree on some of the points, like not linking Facebook & Twitter, no text speak and don’t have your relationship dirty aired over your timeline. However, I like talking to celebrities like they’re my mates. I tweeted Andi Peters…and he tweeted back! Life long dream achieved! And I love a good smiley or a lol on a tweet. It means you can be sarcastic without offending and I think a smile goes a long way, even if it’s one of these 🙂

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