Social Media Buttons Don’t Actually Work

Social media buttons are an appealing concept when sharing your work is crucial to success. But do they actually work? According to Sam Solomon, web developer and entrepreneur: no, not really.

Anecdotal evidence shows that share buttons don’t actually garner very many shares. Scrolling to the end of an article only to find a string of logos with zeros (zero shares on twitter, zero shares on facebook, zero shares on Google+) is just going to reinforce that the article isn’t worth sharing. Even worse, the share buttons often bring up annoying pop-ups, which is a quick way to drive any user away… even if they DID like the content.

The solution is simple, but as usual, easier said than done. If you write something especially interesting to your audience, they will put in the effort to write a tweet, status, or blog post about it. Rely on the strength of your content. 

Where They Create: You Are Where You Work

The meaning and value of physical spaces becomes easier to overlook with each passing day bringing us further into the digital fold. To bring the focus back around, there is Where They Create, a project by photographer Paul Barbera. Where They Create brings the workspace back to the forefront, showing us the spaces where creative professionals and artists bring their work to life. Cluttered, clean, minimalist, eclectic – every space has a distinct personality that speaks to the process and thought-space of each individual artist.

For a quick peek into the lives of other creators, and perhaps a shot of inspiration, check out

Throwback Thursday – Great opening lines from the 1950s

It’s gotta POP. It’s gotta HOOK people. It’s gotta JUMP off the page.

There are about a zillion weird cliché phrases to express one simple idea: you’ve gotta start strong. An opening line sets the reader’s expectations in any genre or format, and these 1950s novels all offer opening lines worth aspiring towards: 13 Greatest Opening Lines from 1950s Novels

My personal favorites?

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” – The Voyage of The Dawn Treader

I read the Chronicles of Narnia back when I was in elementary school, and back in the days where a name was to be judged by how badly you could get bullied for it… deserving a name like Eustace Clarence Scrubb meant a lot.

And, of course, from one of my favorite novels:

“It was a pleasure to burn.” – Fahrenheit 451

It’s hard to even explain what is so perfect about this line, but if I must – it’s short, visceral, and full of promise. A perfect formula to fuel reader curiosity.

So whether you’re writing “The Next Great American Novel” or a short blog post for work, remember at least one variation of this cliché, because you only get one chance at a first impression.

First Year Writing Spotlight: Cultural Collaborations

Michigan State University offers many opportunities for cultural exploration and growth, but students sometimes overlook or miss these opportunities. Luckily, WRAC professor Cheryl Caesar and her teaching partner, professor Janice Stryz worked to change that. Together they led a collaborative course that paired students from WRA 1004 and WRA 150, and as Caesar explains, their goal was “to bring students of different national backgrounds together as ‘culture partners’, [giving them the opportunity] to interview each other about their cultures of origin.”

This is easier said than done at times, and there were distinct challenges along the way. One of the biggest challenges was putting together the groups. “A student who tends to participate minimally, or to arrive late, must be counterbalanced with a more outgoing and punctual student, or you end up with two partners from the other class cooling their heels and wasting their time,” said Caesar.

Despite the challenges, Caesar still recommends the experience overall. “Anyone who’s thinking of a collaborative venture should give it a try. It does involve some additional planning and setup, but the new energy and ideas it brings to your classroom are worth it.”

For more information on this project, check out the PCW workshop by Caesar and Stryz in 107 Linton on February 28, 2014 at 3 PM.