<![CDATA[Where Geek Meets Social - The Geeky Side Blog]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 03:10:37 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Lessons from Lucky Street]]>Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:18:14 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/lessons-from-lucky-streetPicture
The story goes that the kids were on the way to school when my grandmother gave birth 98 years ago. My dad entered this world on Lucky Street in downtown Atlanta. World War I had just ended, and the great depression was only a decade away. By the time his twenties rolled around, he dropped out of Clemson, moved to Atlanta, started a four-decade plus relationship with Georgia Power, and joined the Navy to fight in World War II. 

​Children learn from their parents and I certainly learned from mine. Just about anywhere I go, I run into someone I know. This was always happening to my dad – even long after he retired – while I was growing up. When I get stopped while out-and-about, I smile. I am my father’s daughter and I learned the lesson from him to stop and listen to those around you. My dad touched so many lives because he talked to people, he got to know them. I like to think a little of that is seen in me. 

​My dad treated people with respect regardless of their gender, race or economic level. The women who worked with my dad had their own retirement party for him. I’m sure an HR representative would have a fit now-a-day, but it was my dad who moved women into management positions where they weren’t before. The story goes that my dad put one of his female employees up for a position that had always been held by men. She tried to get him to withdraw her form contention because she didn’t want to cause trouble for my dad. My dad wouldn’t hear of it, and in the end, she got the job. If you ever wonder why I believe women can do anything, look no further than my father. He treated women as women with respect and appreciation.

My dad also taught me the lesson of life-long service to community. The community my father frequently chose was his Georgia Power family. Until the very last years of his life, he was volunteering and helping out on retiree and company employee projects. For several decades after he retired, he was the handyman at the Georgia Power Family House, a house where families with people in Northside hospitals could stay during extended times. He was out there at least once a week fixing something or taking care of the yard. Someone once commented to a Georgia Power employee about how friendly and helpful the handyman was at the family house. He was rather aghast to find out the ‘handyman’ was a retired Vice President of Plant Construction. Along with teaching me service to community, he taught the lesson of being humble and though I’ve been told my dad bragged about me, he never bragged about himself. Bonus lesson, if you always treat people kindly, you don’t have to worry about the fact the handyman was a former VP and didn’t tell you.
There are more lessons I learned from the man born on Lucky Street, but I shall save them for another day. Needless to say, he was amazing and improved the lighting in a room just by being in it. He was and always shall be my Tiger.    

<![CDATA[Finding Joy]]>Wed, 25 Jan 2017 05:00:00 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/finding-joyA whirlpool swirls in the ocean.
There are many things in life that take us away from finding and experiencing joy. “Life is hard,” we often hear muttered by our friends and family or read on someone’s social post. And, honestly, it is. Sometimes it is so overwhelming, that even our memories of experiencing joy can be hard to recall. It’s that moment when we feel the sadness of life enveloping and drawing us down into a dark whirlpool that we need to be able to connect with joy. 

The characters from Disney's Rescuers as Tsum Tsums. Tsum Tsum Subscription by Disney.
     Recently, I was looking to find joy. I needed to find joy. I opened up my email, something I procrastinate on as long as possible, but yet surprisingly I found joy. There was an email just waiting for me to open it and have a smile of childlike wonder appear on my face. It was from Disney, and they are the masters at this, but I didn’t care. I found a smile and it helped. I also now have a Tsum Tsum plushie headed my way and I’m sure when it arrives, I’ll have some more child-like joy. 

Book cover of the original Living a Beautiful Life by Alexander StoddardThe original cover of Living a Beautiful Life.
      When I was learning how to be an adult with my first checking account as an undergraduate at Georgia State, I read Alexander Stoddard’s Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life and it changed how I approached the world. When she spoke of saving money to buy fresh flowers for her tiny apartment when she first started out because they gave her joy, it rang true for me. I went on to read many more of her books about living graciously and happy and about decorating. Looking at my house, I can see her influence. Every time I buy flowers for myself, I think of her words.

Photograph of Clover a Gray Tabby
     I fell in love with Monet’s water lilies when I was in high school. If my life and style were to be described by a color pallet it would be from his impressionist paintings. When I stood amongst them in Paris at the Musée de L'Orangerie,I wept. In that moment, I experienced so much joy and wonder that I could not contain it. It was like in an instant I realized the impact that his art had on me, my life, and my style and taste. Art, in many forms, brings me joy. I find that because of social media, pop art and photographs are grabbing more of my attention. Branden Camp’s, a former student, work touches me when I see how he captures the spirit of a moment. Art can bring comfort. 
     As I write this, there is a little dog barking outside. His bigger, but younger, brother sunning himself in the unlikely 70-degree winter weather we are enjoying. The cat is curled up on her pet bed, the sun shinning on her illuminating her beautiful coat. I sit in silence, a small smile on my face. The bigger dog is at the window now, looking at me. He wrapped himself around my heart the first time I saw him at the shelter. These furry companions bring joy and a lack of bed covers with them. I didn’t know unconditional love until I adopted Clover. She greeted me at the door and meowed her heart out from day one. At night, she would curl up on my shoulder. For the first time in my life, I had a furry companion and she opened my heart. 

"For the first time in my life, I had a furry companion and she opened my heart. "  ~ Tyra

     Yesterday, while I was teaching, I had to use my phone because the internet was down. We have these amazing doc cameras that will project what ever you put on the platform onto the big screen. I have to say, I get just a little giddy every time I use one, because I remember the old days when you had to use overhead transparencies. Since my phone could access the internet, I used it to show the day’s presentation. As I’m walking up the side of the classroom discussing the point-of-the-moment, I suddenly hear a room full of “ahs” and “that’s so sweet.” I look up to see my husband texted me, “Kisses.” And though my face was red, I was smiling. So much joy filled me with his simple expression of love, that I forgot what I was talking about. He is my greatest source of joy. I send him silly emoji texts to brighten his day and he sends me kisses and hugs. 
     The animals are inside now, cuddled up around me. I have learned to type with a cat sitting on my chest, a dog beside me and another dog in my lap. The joys of being a fur-mom. 
​     Life is hard, but it is also joyful. The one thing you must do is open your eyes to find it, because it is hiding out there somewhere.
<![CDATA[NINC 2016 Conference - #GotSocial]]>Fri, 14 Oct 2016 02:58:18 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/ninc-2016-conference-gotsocialPicture
​I had the pleasure of doing a workshop for the author assistants at Novelist Inc's annual conference in Tampa this September. It was a great experience to be able to share a bit of why I think authors need to be in social media. And I got to get my feet wet in the ocean. Beach, writers, and talking social? I couldn't have been happier!

This is a PDF file of my presentation. Please, let me know i f you have questions!
File Size: 24321 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

<![CDATA[Pinning with Pinterest]]>Fri, 25 Mar 2016 15:21:46 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/pinning-with-pinterestPicture
Recently in two classes I taught, the question of how to create pins on Pinterest besides re-pinning others' content was brought up. One of my students was concerned with making sure to stay on the right side of copyright law while the other wanted to be able to add content to the Pinterest community. I thought we would take a look today at the various ways you can create pins on Pinterest.

Pinterest is a visual booking marking site. Learn the different ways to pin at www.tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side/
If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, I'm sorry because addictive is a great word to describe it. With a user base that is 85% female, it is where the girls are in social media, but don't let that fool you. My husband enjoys scrolling through Pinterest looking at cigars, cars and cufflinks. Think of Pinterest as a visual bookmarking site, and you will have the essence of what draws people back - for hours at a stretch.

Pinterest is a visual booking marking site. Learn the different ways to pin at www.tyraburton.com./the-geeky-side/
In terms of engagement, liking, re-pinning and commenting are the three ways users can engage with a pin with re-pinning far out distancing the others. Re-pinning is simple. When you mouse over a pin in your feed a Pin-it button will appear, and you can simple click and pin from there. If you click on the pin, it will bring up the full-size of the image where you can take the same actions. 

But what if you want to pin things that aren't on Pinterest, and you want to make sure you are staying within the rules of copyright? Well, there are three ways to do this easily. First off, you can install a browser add-on that will help you easily Pin from a webpage that you visit. 

Want to learn how to use the Pinterest Browser to add pins to your boards? Check out www.tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side/
Using a Pinterest Browser Add-on to Pin
You can get an add-on for your browser at the Pinterest help center. After you install it, you will see the Pinterest icon in your browser bar (mine is in the upper right-hand corner) and when you mouse over photos on a site, a "Pin It" button will pop up in the left-hand corner. From here, you can click on the Pin It button and proceed as usual. For instance, if you are reading a great blog post on how to install a barn door in your house, you can mouse over one of the photos and you will be able to Pin It to a board on Pinterest. Now, when you are ready to install your barn door, you can go to your Pinterest board and click on the photo and it will take you back to the webpage.

Many websites, like Macys.com, make their websites "Pinable." You can find out more on how to make your website pinable at the Pinterest help center. Once you do, you can have pin-it buttons for products, pictures, and more. As above, when people mouse over a photo, the Pin It button will appear. As you can see below, Macy's has a Pin It button on the product page for their Alfani men's shoe. If you click on the icon, it brings up the dialog box below. Notice how the product title appears automatically as the description for the pin. Make sure to caption your photos and include advanced captions when possible so the images from your website will automatically fill-in this area when pinned.
Pinterest has several ways to post while you are on the platform. On the right hand side of the Pinterest dashboard is a plus sign. When you click it, three options pop up. We've already talked about getting a browser button, but the next two allow you to add content in different ways: upload an image and pinning from a website when you have the url. 

When you 'upload a pin,' you are loading an image to Pinterest.  You can search for an image that is already on your computer to add to one of your Pinterest boards. As usual when you pin, you will be able to add a description and chose the board where you want the image. 

After you have pinned your image to your board, I suggest that you view the pin and then chose the edit pin button. When you do this, you will be able to add a website to the image that you upload. You should only upload images that you own or have taken yourself. There are images that are in the creative commons you can technically upload as well, but its not a practice I would be comfortable doing. As you can see with this collage I uploaded, I was able to add a website. When someone clicks on this image in the future, it will take them to the Social Media Muses home on the web. For authors, let's say you want to upload some photos you took at a location in your books. You could then link them to your books' page on your website. 

Lastly, you can pin from a website using the + button shown above. I find this works great when I need to pin from a website that isn't pinable or if you don't want to install the browser add-on. Just copy and past the URL for the website in the box and click next. 

How to pin on Pinterest with a URL. www.tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side/
Now, you get the option to choose a picture that is on the website to pin. When someone clicks on this pin, it will take them to the URL you entered. I pin my blog post this way. It will also give you an idea of what other pins have been created from the same website. As you can see, I've created a few pins that link to either my blog or my website's landing page. 

As always, you should be utilizing content on your website that you either own, is in the creative commons or that you otherwise have a right to use (like book covers for writers). If you build your website with copyright in mind, you should be ok pinning from the url. Go have some fun pinning - it is addicting and can help you create brand awareness and interest. Plus, you may find some inspiration along the way. 
<![CDATA[It's all About the Feeds]]>Thu, 24 Mar 2016 16:12:20 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/its-all-about-the-feedsBandit and Clover Burton visiting their furmom's The Geeky Side Blog.
 If there is one singular truth about social media, it is that it is always changing and adapting. In the last month, we have seen two major shifts on two of the major platforms - Instagram and Twitter - concerning how their feeds are managed. This has implications for users as well as businesses that heavily rely on these platforms to get their brand messages to consumers. So let's take a look at what this means in the grand world of social media!

The platform that I have been playing with the most over the last year is Instagram. I have thousands - literally - of photos on my phone and one might say I'm obsessed with my fur babies (I did use two of them in this post).

Instagram Logo
On March 15, 2016, Instagram let us in on the secret that users are missing out on 70% of their feeds. Now, let's be honest, some of that content is worth missing out on - but some of it, you might benefit from. Just the past weekend, I managed to  miss multiple posts from one of my favorite brands announcing an unprecedented 20%-off sale. When did I finally see the posts about it? 12 hours too late. To 'help' with this problem, Instagram is now applying an algorithm to your feed - hoping to show you "moments you will care about the most." If this is starting to sound familiar, it should. Their parent company, Facebook, employs a massive algorithm that decides - for better and for worse - what you see in your news feed. The logic behind Facebook's initial foray into tinkering with the news feed stems from the fact that whether we like it or not we can't deal with all the information the profiles, pages and groups we follow post in a single day. As the user base for Instagram has increased along with the amount of content available, we are perhaps hitting this turning point with its news feed.

The press release from Instagram indicated that, "the order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order." In other words, if you keep scrolling enough, you should see everything. I'm not sure how well this will work for people who check Instagram multiple times a day. Will their feed altar every time making it impossible to decide where 'you left off?' Only time will tell, but hopefully next time I won't miss a sale!​  They are rolling the changes out in the commons months. Regardless, it may make it harder for brands to get on people's feeds if Instagram ever decided to weed out content. My take on this for brands is to start upping your game if you aren't already. Create engaging and amazing photos in your posts that capture people's attention, and you'll be seen regardless. 

Twitter Logo
Twitter has seen its fair share of problems lately with the exodus of top executives, falling stock prices, and flat growth year-to-year. The urgent need to transform and increase revenue and usage is the impetus for some major changes. In October, Twitter announced Moments which has rolled out in several geographical locations. Giving users an easy portal to follow breaking news on trending topics, Moments hopes to provide an in the moment feel related to current events that Twitter is known for bringing you. In Twitter's words Moments are "the best of what’s happening on Twitter in an instant."

Last month, Twitter announced it's "While you were gone" change to the reverse chronological newsfeed and it has now reached all of its user base. When you log into Twitter after being gone, what Twitter considers to be top posts from the people you follow or posts it believe you will be interested in appear at the top of your feed followed by Twitters regular time-based newsfeed. Users can opt-out of this change if they desire, but Twitter is saying there is a low incidence of this. It could be people are lazy or maybe they really want this change in their feed. For me, out of the six or so 'while you were gone' posts I saw last night, only one of them was of interest to me. Twitter is going to have to get a better formula for picking what I want to engage with if it keeps this up. The posts at the top are determined using a variety of variables including what you have interacted with in the past, your interest, people who Twitter thinks are like you interests as well as - honestly, who know. Time will tell if this is a positive change for Twitter helping them to gain new users. 

What we might not like to admit to be true is that filtered feeds work. Platforms have seen a rise in usage and engagement when formulas are applied to what we see. Letting the cream rise to the top has its advantages - maybe.

<![CDATA[Facebook Pages Undercover]]>Fri, 18 Mar 2016 18:16:01 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/facebook-pages-undercoverJan Oliver and Tyra Burton goofing around at a Social Media Muses photo shoot.The Social Media Muses
Jana Oliver and I as the Social Media Muses are teaching a class for the Passionate Ink chapter of RWA about Social Media for authors who write more steamy romances. For many writers regardless of the heat level of their intimate scenes, keeping their identity hid from the day job, relatives, or friends can be a challenge on Facebook. A similar situation arises when you are a marketer managing a page for a client, your name doesn't need to be associated with the page - you just need access to do your work. The requirement to have a Facebook account (personal profile) combined with their terms of service (TOS) regarding real name usage and only having one profile account, can make staying under wraps while not breaking TOS considerably more difficult. Fear not - the muses have a few tips for keeping your identity hidden!​

Page Owner Setting on FacebookPage Owner Setting on Facebook
The keys to staying hidden on Facebook are in the page settings that you use. The first one I want to look at is under 'Featured' because it is the most important.  You do not have to list a Page Owner - and if you want to stay under wraps or you are managing a page for a brand or client, making sure that there is not a featured page owner listed is one of the keys to not having people discover that you 'own' the page. If nothing is listed here, you don't need to worry, just keep it that way.

Facebook setting for post attributionWho is posting?
It is easy when you are posting to forget to check who you are posting as on a page. There are two ways you can manage who is posting - one in settings and one on the post itself. 

I prefer the settings mechanic because it takes care of every post created on the page. It's the set-it-and-forget-it button. Once you are on your page's settings look at the Post Attribution section and make sure the top "Post as Page Name" is checked. I'm currently consulting for a new author, Chandler Steele, who is gearing up to launch her first book. I made sure to check this setting so that when I'm on her page I'm posting as Chandler Steele and not Tyra Burton.

How to check on a page post who you are posting asWho are you posting as?
The second place you can check and change who you are posting as is on the posting interface. When you are creating a post, you can look in the upper-right hand corner and check to see who is shown as creating the post. One easy visual way to check this quickly is to see if the photo next to the tiny drop down arrow matches the page profile photo. If it does, you are good to go.

Facebook Page General Settings for Age Restriction
For those of you out there with what could be considered adult content or content only appropriate for 18 and up, you may want to check your general settings. The "Age Restrictions" setting restricts your page to only being shown to those age 18 and older. If you are writing hotter romance or erotica, you may want to flip this switch.

On the other side of the coin, if you are managing a page targeted toward a younger demographic or a group where 'colorful language' would not be appropriate, the "Profanity Filter" allows you to block profanity from being used on your page including in post comments and on fan posts to the page. This can also be useful for authors who do not wish to have profanity posted on their page regardless of the heat level they write. One caveat, Facebook uses the most commonly reported offensive words and phrases to determine what they block. 

At the end of the day, I always say - check twice, post once for no regrets! Good luck staying under wraps!

<![CDATA[A Year and a Day]]>Tue, 01 Mar 2016 15:37:17 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/a-year-and-a-dayDela Head Mitchell, mother of Tyra Burton, 8 years-oldDela Mitchell, 8 years-old
A year and a day – at least I’m calling it that even though the calendar only says it’s been a year. 366 days is an important time frame used in many instances to say you survived, met a challenge, a spiritual goal etc… but because of leap year, my 366 day actually falls on the anniversary of the day. You see, March 1st 2015 was the day I lost my mom.  

They say that parents live on in their children. A good friend of mine reminded me of this when I was missing my mom recently. And if there is any way I wish to honor the part of my parents that is inside me it is with my actions. Today I honor my mom – dad will just have to wait until May.  

My mom grew up poor – and by poor I mean at times living with the fear of impending eviction because they did not have the rent money. Poor as in she started working when she was barely in double digits. Her family was rich with love but material things were often hard to come by. My mom was eight years old in this photo and she hated it. She was embarrassed because the coat was a hand-me-down from her adult aunt, and it was much too big for her, but it was all she had to wear so she did. This impacted my mom for the rest of her life. Though she didn’t say as much, I could imply from our conversation about the coat that she got teased because of it. Decades later, when she and dad moved into Park Springs, a retirement continuing care facility, she was very concerned that she dressed appropriately. When we would go shopping, I could hear the 8 year-old girl wanting to make sure she fit in and wouldn’t stand out for all the wrong reasons.  

It’s probably that 8 year-old girl in my mom that made her so aware of the under-dogs in this world. My mom would frequently try to get the person who wouldn’t talk or participate in a group, to join in. She’d whittle away at their resistance, and before they knew it, she would have them talking, opening up, letting her see inside the wounds that kept them at a distance. I called them ‘her projects’ and whether it was the lady down the hall who always looked lonely or the bad card player that drove everyone else crazy, she tried to let them know someone cared. She wanted people to smile.  

Dela Head Mitchell and her daughter, Tyra Burton, in New Orleans, LA, November 2014Mom and Me in New Orleans
Tyra Burton, Miriam Garrett, Dela Head Mitchell, and Genia MitchellMe, Miriam, Mom and Genia
My mom and dad believed in family. Family dinner whether it was a birthday or holiday was always important and included mom’s glorious cooking. As years rocked on, slowly we took on some of the cooking duties, but getting together and sharing a meal always remained important. Eventually, we settled on once-a-month Sunday family dinners. My mom often told me how much my dad looked forward to them, though he was less forth coming with his emotions in words, it was obvious he enjoyed us being together. It was something that for them was important that we continued after they were gone. In an age where families drift apart and lose touch, our parents succeeded in laying a foundation of closeness and love. As if to put an exclamation mark on their importance, Mom had her first stroke late in the evening after a family dinner. A week later, she left the carrying on of family traditions in her children’s hands.  

I should be teaching today and tonight I will go meet with my Honor students, but this afternoon, I’m having lunch with my sisters. After lunch, I’ll drag one of my sisters shopping and there will be coffee and a hand of Knock Rummy played at the local Starbucks before the afternoon drifts into evening. And if there is one thing I know for sure, my mom and dad are looking down on us proud to see that family bonds are being kept and that their love lives on in each of us.    

​So, I survived a year and a day (bugger-off leap year). The grief doesn’t magically disappear nor do the tears, but there are more smiles as the memories flood through me. My relationship with my mom was a rich and deep one making remembering all that much harder, the emptiness all that much deeper, but as time moves on, and my year and a day moves forward to a year and two days and more, that richness fills me with the joy of a relationship that molded me and changed me. I love you, mom. 

<![CDATA[Renewal]]>Thu, 25 Feb 2016 17:49:32 GMThttp://tyraburton.com/the-geeky-side-blog/renewalPictureMy mom & me January 2015, the last picture of us together.
     ​I've been trying to redesign my website for what seems like years. Time and life got in the way until recently my hosting service decided to incorporate Weebly into its offerings, and I thought, "It has to be easier than Wordpress!" Thankfully, it was. 
     Now, I have revamped my website and finally added in my blog, The Geeky Side, as part of my home on the web. Possibly I just felt that now was the perfect time for change. I've had more changes in the last year than I can count - we sold our house, bought a new house, remodeled a bathroom, and the list goes on. But the most heart-wrenching change was losing my mom almost a year ago. Renewal was in order. Here's to the rebirth of the flowers and breezy spring days spent gazing at clouds.