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The Importance of a Cr8ive Twitter Handle

June 6th, 2011 Diane Smith Posted in SoNu to SoMe | No Comments »

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How Your Username can Affect Your Twitter Experience

I joined Twitter March 18, 2009. I had no idea what to use for a Twitter username when I set up my account. Your username becomes your Twitter handle which identifies you to your followers. Venturing into the great unknown and very public world of Twitter was intimidating to me. Would I be cyber-stalked if I use my legal name? Would a clever pseudonym pigeon-hole me into a small special-interest group and confine my public thoughts to that box? Not sure how to address these questions twitter I decided on the handle “@Shuttrbug”. I could have spent hours and hours searching cool names to see if they were still available, and still draw a blank. I made my decision based on my love of photography. It fit for the time being – especially since I had no idea what I would use Twitter for anyway. Back in those days I was under the impression that all anyone did on Twitter was tweet about what they had for breakfast.

Then came #lrnchat.

I discovered this phenomenon on Twitter – where people involved in the Training & Development industry come together weekly to share ideas, challenges, stories, heroics and horrors among peers. Moderated by @lrnchat, #lrnchat is a real-time, fast-paced, energetic and intelligent conversation with wonderful T&D and Social Media individuals such as @OpenSesameNow, @olliegardener, @cammybean, @ipttoolkit, @ZaraLynnKing and @NixTheNext. I lurked silently during one of the chats about six months ago – uncertain what to expect – and was fascinated by the amount of real knowledge and great ideas being shared openly by professionals. I was thrilled! I wanted to participate, but felt my Twitter handle didn’t reflect my interest or ability in the T&D field. So, after hours of debate (amounting to days of procrastination), I switched my name to ‘@cr8ivetraining’ and joined the #lrnchat conversation. My good friend @pmtrainer, however, warned me that having a number (8) in my handle could create problems.

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You Speak with an Accent – Stop Kidding Yourself

March 16th, 2011 Coline T. Son Lee Posted in Self-Image | 4 Comments »

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If you don’t think you speak with an accent – stop kidding yourself. You do.

After living in the United States for over 10 years, I still haven’t gotten used to people asking me some version of, “I detect a slight accent – where are you from?” This is usually one of the things I’m asked by someone meeting me for the first time. To which I respond, “I don’t have an accent – you do.” But in fact, we all do.

We can generally recognize regional accents. For example, there are obvious differences between Boston, Chicago, New York and Atlanta accents. Similarly, we will notice the accent variations of foreign English speakers from Britain, Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean. The difference is obviously not the language, which is the same.  It’s the dialect and accent.

Dialect vs. Accent

Dialect is the differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, phrases and grammar in a language. For instance, most Americans refer to the storage compartment of their car as a ‘trunk’ while Brits might call it a ‘boot’. Language and dialect differ. Different dialects of the same language can be understood by anyone who speaks that language. According to Laura Payne, linguistics instructor at Wayne State University:

“Dialects develop when people of different language backgrounds come together to speak a common language. The influence of the language backgrounds is what creates the variation in the language that is being learned.”

Accent, meanwhile, specifically refers only to pronunciation of vowels and consonants, placement of stress, and rhythm of speech. Accents are a subset of dialects. When a region of people settles on a ‘standard’ pronunciation, those who deviate from it are perceived to ‘speak with an accent’. That is why everyone has an accent. ** more **

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What’s Your PDQ?

March 14th, 2011 Diane Smith Posted in PDQ | No Comments »

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What’s Your PDQ?

How your commitment to Personal Development affects your life.

Last September, a group of friends and I got together for lunch at our favorite restaurant to celebrate a birthday. This has been our tradition for years. Our group included managers and supervisors from an organization I had worked for. As is usual during a workday lunch, after the pleasantries, the conversation soon turned to work.

This organization had just gone through a series of lay-offs, and the lunch chatter became a ‘bitch session’. The conversation was frenzied. I heard comments that blamed the organization, upper management and the housing market for the problems. I felt a pit in my stomach growing. This was no celebration.

Above the uproar, I heard ‘Susie’, a supervisor; express her desire to get out of the organization completely – to finish her degree. ‘Bill’, an IT manager, replied he would love to do his Masters, but he didn’t have the time – “what with my full-time job, kids and all”. Others moaned in agreement, describing their reasons for wanting more, but offering various excuses for not developing their skills. I heard another exclaim, “At least I still have a job, I should just be happy with that!” That comment turned the pit in my stomach into a brick. ** more **

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