Four Versions of Email Text

This week I’ve taken on something that I wasn’t sure about doing — ghostwriting text for other people. I started doing this because it’s the fastest way to get things written. We’re sending out a fundraising email next week and I rewrote the copy to be more like a personal letter in the voice of my colleagues who usually write the text. They’re not really here this week, but I’ve been typing up their newsletters for 3 years so I’m familiar with their style.

Then this morning, I realized that I hadn’t heard back from a colleague for her opening paragraph in this week’s events email. She was on desk and I realized the fastest way to handle this is to simply type up a few different versions and let her select one. I hoped she’d personalize her favorite, but she did not. Can you guess which one she choose?

Take One
Can you spot fake news? Social media has made it harder to determine if something is true or not. In this one-hour class on Fake News or Real News, I’ll show you how to determine for yourself if something you read is a credible piece of information.

Take Two
As librarians, we are asked every day to verify if websites, books, or articles can be trusted. Is the information they contain factual, an opinion, or propaganda? In this one-hour class, I’ll show you how to determine for yourself if something you read is a credible piece of information. We’ll look at tall-tale signs that information may be inaccurate and how to find out where the information came from.

Take Three
Win online debates by backing up your statements and debunking false ones! In this one-hour class, I’ll show you how to determine for yourself if something you read is a credible piece of information. We’ll look at tall-tale signs that information may be inaccurate and how to find out where the information came from.

Take Four
How do you know if an online story is real or fake news? It can be tricky with emotional words tapping into the high stress of the 24/7 news cycle. Learn how to spots the signs of inaccurate news and how to find out the truth via credible sources in this one-hour class.

Answer: Take Four

Note: I just remembered that I did my first ghostwriting about a month ago.

Busy, Busy

Dear Self,

I’m sorry for the lack of updates to this work journal. I may have taken on a few too many freelance projects, so this blog is getting neglected.

Today I taught a newspaper/history/genealogy class to a group of second graders. It was painfully awkward as I wasn’t sure what to expect or how the class should be taught. I spent way more time prepping, searching for books, and asking my supervisor for assistance, than the length of the actual class. The second graders were brilliant and wicked smart. They asked me questions about historical topics that I didn’t hear about until middle school! They also put me on the spot a few times with questions about WWII and current political climates. I managed to skate by with “….he had issues and did bad things” (regarding Hitler).

Then tonight I went to the writers’ group where we critique each other’s work. The other writers there make up a colorful cast. My non-fiction piece completely threw them for a loop since it’s of a technical nature. After I turned in #bigproject in January of 2013, I was completely burned out and aside from writing emails, texting, and occasionally updating this blog, I have not written since then.

By joining a second writers’ group, I’m trying to get more integrated in the local area. I lack a healthy appreciation for/recognizance semi-recent names of immigrants for the last century. So while people I have met here in CT are quick to tell you that they’re Irish-American, I don’t share the same experience since I personally identify first and foremost as being from the mountains of NC. The Old World is something that no one I know from home ever considers. Therefore it’s an eye-opening experience to have people drop in proud with the name of their ancestors’ foreign country of origin.

Kind Words

Last night, way later than I’m usually up (whoo, staycation!), I thought to Google the title of my UX Magazine piece. In doing so, I found several kind words:

The first paragraph of this well-written article might just make you tear up a bit but keep reading. Amanda Goodman makes a good case that “user experience is an important tool for libraries to employ against a number of competitors like bookstores and at-home Internet access.” Indeed.

~Susan Grigsby

This is gold! Very inspiring.

~Nick Carman

Let me add, that Googling the article was a bit of a terrifying experience. I have not cultivated a tough shell for receiving criticism yet, so it was a leap of faith to do this. I was pleasantly surprised at these kind words! In the future, I hope to get greater constructive feedback on my work as well.

Work in Progress: It’s finally working

So I ran into a lot of trouble on my pet project Drupal site these last few days. I finally managed to solve one of my issues after two days of researching the issue: in order to show a backlinks tab (what references this node) on a particular node, I had to set the path to be /node/%/references. Then in the Arguments (which are now called contextual references in Drupal 7), I had to set it to NID. I will do a write-up later of my View which is using the Entity Reference module to make the connection between nodes.

The Relation module slowed me down for a day and a half. The prospect is promising: instead of just making a vague reference from Node A to Node B (oh, yeah: also in Drupal 7, the different pieces of a website — comments, nodes, etc. — are called entities), you make a new connective entity (a relation) between the two nodes. So now you’d have Node A –> Relation –> Node B. On the relation, you can add other fields. I was thinking that I could turn my relation into a family-like page so I could include stuff like how many children Person A had with Person B. Or if they ever married, if so, where and for how long? I watched several tutorials before finding one that promised if I used the Dummy Relation Widget, I could print out the Relation info + all those extra rich fields on Node A and Node B. Yes! Yes! How exciting!

An hour later I realized that the Dummy Relation widget had been broken and/or the working components had been removed months prior — according to the issues filed. I could make the Relation but when I visited this newly created entity, the “page” was broken. This meant I could not pull the data back out. So, there seems to be a lot of high hopes for this module, but at the current time it is useless.

So, I ended up staying up far too late last night and added the forty or so characters to my website. Did I mention that the point of this website is to be a character database repository — the same thing I was looking for last week? :-)