“Don’t just count your years, make your years count.” — George Meredith

A decade ago — on September 19, 2007 — I started this blog to document my journey as a PhD student in human and organizational systems at Fielding Graduate University. I envisioned it as a personal journal, academic endeavor, and professional platform. Although I withdrew from Fielding, I continued blogging.

A few years later I launched my website, but this blog was my first form of online expression and it has evolved into the anchor of my social media strategy. This blog has been a tool through which I have shared my story; I will continue doing so indefinitely.

As I begin to discover my PhD potential with the University of Leicester, my PhD plans are again becoming a possibility. Once I begin my program this blog will reflect those experiences along with my adventures in academia.  I look forward to the future with optimism and idealism. The worst is over and the best is yet to come.

Speaking of focusing forward, in the first week of the Discovering Your PhD Potential course I was asked to answer the following question: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? In ten years? (Consider carefully whether doing a PhD will help you to fully achieve this, and if so how?). My answers follow:

In five years I will:

  • Defend my doctoral dissertation and start my first year teaching with my PhD.
  • Apply for a promotion from being an instructor to assistant professor at AUE.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle that brings me comfort, calmness, and confidence.
  • Share my life with a partner who fills my soul with faith, hope, and love.
  • Expand my acting to include commercials and voice over work.

In ten years I will:

  • Publish at least ten papers in high quality journals, five book chapters, and two books about social media marketing, sports management, or my related research interests.
  • Work towards a promotion from associate professor to full professor before I turn 55.
  • Celebrate my sons living happy and healthy lives as they embark on adulthood.
  • Produce five online video courses and appear in a half-dozen podcasts.
  • Enjoy financial stability and the ability to travel at least twice per year.

The past decade has dealt me both unplanned obstacles and unexpected opportunities. Trying yet inspiring experiences have broken me while strengthening me. I have grown as a person and a professional; I am changed for the better, despite the scar tissue. This blog has documented these changes and will continue to serve as reflection of my progression. I am eager to make the most of each moment and invite you to join me on my journey.

logo-gessIt is my pleasure to announce my workshop, “Professor, Brand Yourself!” was accepted for presentation on March 16 from 2:30 to 3:00 pm (exactly four months from today) at the Global Education Forum of the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) in Dubai.

What is GESS Dubai? According to the organization’s website: “GESS Dubai is the largest education event not just in the UAE but across the entire Middle East. It’s the only event that brings together all levels of educationalists together, in one place.”

“Professor, Brand Yourself!” is a personal branding workshop for individuals working in higher education, vocational, and leadership/management positions. However, it will also appeal to anyone wanting to develop their personal brand and learn how to leverage social media to promote themselves professionally.

logo-gefIt is designed to help you understand what personal branding is, what it is not, and why personal branding is an important career development skill. You don’t need prior personal branding experience to participate in the workshop.

We will identify which social platforms are best for branding you by introducing ideas for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube along with your blog and website.

During a “Personal Branding Brainstorming” activity you will learn how to prepare a unique selling proposition, personal motto, and professional bio which you can use as the foundation for your future personal branding efforts.

An outline of the workshop includes the following points:

  1. What is (and what is not) personal branding?
  2. Why is personal branding important for me?
  3. What social platforms are best for branding?
  4. Who am I and how should my brand reflect it?
  5. Activity: Personal Branding Brainstorming.

After the workshop you should know how to:

  1. Define personal branding and its relevance.
  2. Identify the most effective social platforms.
  3. Develop and promote your personal brand.

This will actually be my second appearance a GESS; in 2015 I gave my presentation, “Pedagogy, Socially: 7 Strategies for Curating and Creating Curriculum with Social Media” to give guidance to educators looking to leverage social media to make curriculum. Here’s a video of the presentation:

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Indicate your interest in attending this event on my Facebook page now!

Have you been to my website, MatthewAGilbert.com, lately?

MatthewAGilbert.com-Hello

If not, or even if you have, please join me there and learn about my:

  • Teaching: review my Teaching Philosophy, Teaching Interests, and Research Interests. You can also view a list of courses  I have taught and courses I have developed, plus descriptions of the courses I have taught since 2007.
  • Training: read a list of the businesses, individuals, and organizations for whom I have provided corporate training, instructional design, and subject matter expert services.
  • Writing: review a list of my publications, including the book I published in 2015, edX E-Learning Course Development, along with this blog, scholarly papers, newspaper articles, magazine features, and online video courses I have written — plus works in which I am cited.
  • Speaking: explore the academic and professional events at which I presented scholarly papers or gave speeches. If you would like me to speak at your event or organization please reach out and contact me!
  • Consulting: learn about businesses, individuals, and organizations for whom I have created corporate training materials and academic curriculum for onsite presentation and online delivery; develop websites and WordPress blogs; and provide expert witness opinion for lawsuits involving social media.

See you at http://www.matthewagilbert.com!

Adonya WongAs a parent to a child with autism, Adonya Wong understands the unique challenges and rewards that responsibility entails.

As an author, Adonya hopes to share that experience with others affected by autism and those wanting to learn more about it.

Her first book, In My Mind: The World Through The Eyes of Autism, creatively explores the inner world of an autistic child  through the form of a children’s picture book.

From exciting adventures to silly games and conversations with imaginary friends, the main character of the story — inspired by Adonya’s son, Nicholas — brings readers into his world.

In doing so, he demonstrates how one child with autism sees the world, and, in turn, how the world often sees a child with autism.

Adonya’s motivation for writing her book stemmed from the realization that there was a scarcity of literature directed to and written for autistic children and their families.

In My Mind was written to help raise awareness about autism, and she hopes that the reader will gain a deeper sense of compassion and tolerance for those “different” than themselves.

To help promote her book, Adonya has  launched a “Globe Trottin’ for Autism” virtual book tour starting on January 19 and concluding on January 29, 2009. During the tour, 11 different blogs will promote In My Mind and feature her answers to questions about life with autism, writing, the publishing process, and discussing future projects. Along with insightful interviews, you can read reviews of In My Mind and listen to an audio interview by Autism Hangout.

I came to know Adonya during the December 16, 2008 Autism Twitter Day. As a result, I was invited to participate in this unique marketing initiative. This blog entry represents day 2 of the 11 scheduled stops. As part of my participation in this unique event, I had an opportunity to ask Adonya some questions. I asked her about issues relevant to the themes of this blog: social media, education and autism (an issue of great personal significance to me).

Below are my questions and her answers — please feel free to post any questions you might have for Adonya in the comments section of this blog:

1. Tell me more about your son, Nicholas: what does he like to do, what are his strengths, what are his dreams? In what ways is Nicholas an inspiration and teacher to you?

Nicholas is an avid reader and quite the talented artist.  We go through about 6 Doodle Pros a year, so, hopefully, Fisher Price will see this post and send me vouchers once a month or quarter.  He also enjoys the computer to the point where, some nights, he gets a little teary eyed when told to shut it down.

Early last year, I stumbled upon a nifty little application, Zac Browser, and it has really opened up the Internet for him in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  The creator, Jon LeSieur, has a grandson on the spectrum, and he developed this application to simplify his web experience, thereby, making it more enjoyable for him.  I’m grateful he decided to share it with the world.  I highly recommend it!

I wish I knew what Nicholas’s dreams were.  He doesn’t always speak conversationally and his cognition of such a complex question is a bit low.  Whatever his dreams may be, I’m sure they’re grand.

I credit Nicholas for being my grounding source.  I feel that his presence in my life has made me more patient, tolerant and empathetic of others.  With every new day, I learn to just “be” and go with the flow.

He often tells me, “It’s okay, Mom” as he wraps his arms around me, and it is in these moments that I truly know that everything is going to be okay.

2. In what ways do you think you book can be used to educate and inform people not affected or touched by autism about what it is like to live with a diagnosis?

I initially didn’t write the book to educate folks since being a writer wasn’t even anything I was contemplating at that time in my life.  I didn’t even realize I had a story in me until I finished typing out the words to In My Mind.  The book, literally, came to me in a flash.  Some would say it was Divine Intervention!

As for me?  Couldn’t really say, but apparently, I am supposed to share my life’s experiences which is why I’m here today, talking about my first published work.

The book has been read by several people not “living” with autism and based on their responses, I can say that my book is shedding a different kind of light on the mind’s of those looking into our world.  In My Mind is a perception-based book.  People are often too quick to judge what they see without looking for the deeper/hidden meaning behind someone’s actions.

It is my wish that my book will get folks to stop the judgments and be more accepting of those perceived as being “different” than themselves.

3. What role did social media play in the production and/or promotion of your book: did you use any specific websites/services to develop ideas for your book and which websites/services are you using to market your book?

Social Media has played a huge part in promoting my book — it seems to be the current trend in getting people to notice you or your accomplishments.  Shortly after I received word that my book would be published, I put up a presence on MySpace and Facebook.

I have since added several Ning networks (most of them dealing with either writing/published authors and autism) to that list as well as Twitter (which is how I met you, my friend).

I also have a website that I put up shortly before the book’s pre-release.

4. For the aspiring published authors out there (myself included), describe the process by which you found and were signed by your publisher. Also explain what the writing and production process was like — in what ways was the Internet part of that process?

Finding a publisher was easy.  Although, I didn’t choose the self-publishing route, I did get signed on by a Print-On-Demand publisher.  Getting published the traditional way meaning going with a well-established and widely recognized (by way of their name) publisher requires money (finding a literary agent) and, oftentimes, years of walking the grounds.

My publisher has lowered the percentage of manuscripts they choose for publication from 4 to 3.5%.  My experience with them, so far, has been positive.

My suggestion to an aspiring author is to get your story on paper.  Then join groups like Critique Circle and get others to mull over your work.  Now, this is not something for the faint at heart.  If you’re someone who doesn’t like criticism in any form, I suggest you choose another path.

Anyhoo, some of the members of Critique Circle are editors, and I’ve read of a few people getting signed because of their relationship with these folks via this platform.

I didn’t use the internet to help me with my book as I am living with someone on the spectrum.  I had my everday experiences to fuel my writing.  Children’s fiction is my genre of choice, and I don’t anticipate having to do any “outside” research for any of my work.

I recently purchased a book by successful self-published author John Kremer titled 1001 Ways to Market Your Books.  I am also a member of his Ning network, Book Marketing.

5. Will the book have any kind of online companion presence, perhaps a resource site for parents and other interested individuals?

My website is a work in progress.  However, I do offer links to sites that have been helpful to me over the years.  I will be updating it soon with writing/publishing information.  But I anticipate that happening after my site goes through a redesign. I will, however, be adding worksheets for children that I hope will stimulate their imagination and encourage them to follow their dreams.

Special thanks to Adonya for writing her beautiful book and including this blog in her Virtual Book Tour!  If you have questions of your own about In My Mind, please leave them in the comments section of this blog, below.

Also be sure to visit the next stop on the Virtual Book Tour, The Bon Bon Gazette, where Adonya will answer additional questions.  While you’re there be sure to place your daily entry for her giveaway.

To enter, simply comment about your relationship with autism, what you are doing to raise awareness, and how In My Mind has touched your life. Be sure to visit all of her stops to qualify for this amazing prize!

One lucky reader will win a gift basket containing an autographed copy of In My Mind, a copy of Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wish You Knew, packages of Enjoy Life™ and Namaste Foods™ goodies, an eco-friendly cleaning starter kit (Whole Foods® 365™ brand), and (1) $50 Amazon.com gift card!!  This prize is valued at $200!!!

To learn more about In My Mind and what it’s like to live with autism, visit Adonya’s website or her blogIn My Mind is available online at Amazon.com, Books-A-Million.com, Borders.comTarget.comTate Publishing and coming soon to a bookstore near you! Note that a portion of the author’s proceeds benefit Tulsa Autism Foundation.

You might also want to visit the other stops on the Virtual Book Tour:

So, what’s in your mind about autism now?

I’ve never been sure if I was more of a geek or a nerd. Thankfully, Wired GeekDad blog writer Matt Blum answered my question in a December 24, 2008 Associated Press story proclaiming Barack Obama as the “Geek-in-Chief.”  Blum delineates the difference as follows:

“A geek is someone who has the knowledge of the geeky type stuff and has social graces. A nerd is someone who has the knowledge but not the social graces and a dork is someone who has neither.”

That being the case, I suppose I am more of a geek. I embrace my geekness, though I can honestly say that I have never been a comic book geek in the true sense of the word. While I have read a few graphic novels, I’ve never collected issues and kept them hermetically sealed in a temperature controlled room.

Nevertheless, I’ve had a lifelong admiration for the character of Superman (as the shield in the header of this blog attests). I have also been watching the NBC show Heroes since it begain airing in the fall of 2006 (speaking of Superman, it helped me to recover from “Superman Returns,” which I felt was very untrue to the idea of the character).

I am also a bit of a marketing geek, so I tend to notice things most other won’t — especially when my two areas of interest collide, as they have recently in Heroes. Over the past few seasons of the show, there has been some clumsily obvious product placements. While not entirely distracting from the show, they are hard to miss.

The two main brands that have maintained a strong presence in the show are Nissan and Sprint. It will be interesting to see how the upheaval in the economy and automobile industry might affect this ongoing relationship. Sprint has become heavily involved as of late, even sponsoring an online contest that invited viewers to chose a new hero for an online webisode.

I am also a customer of Sprint and have been since January 2000. In May 2008 I upgraded to the Palm Centro and have been using it ever since (I still am likely only using 25% of the phone’s capabilities).

One of the features I occasionally use is the Internet access — though I would use it more if it were not for inconsistent connection speeds and an underwhelming interface (it does not display the “real” Internet as is the case with the iPhone).

In any case, something caught my eye one day when I was browsing the “fake” Internet on my Palm Centro: the connection/activity icon on the phone is almost identical to the thematic image from Season 3 of Heroes!

This image is one that depicts the earth spliting apart along a diagonal line (bottom left to top right). The connection/activity icon on the Palm Centro depicts an earth with some kind of flame or ball of energy transversing it in a diagonal line (bottom left to top right).

This can’t possibly be a coincidence, can it? I’ve provided an image below containing pictures of both — Have a look and leave a comment with your thoughts about this possible case of product placement:

Unique Sprint Product Placement in NBC's Heroes?
Unique Sprint Product Placement in NBC’s Heroes?

I would love to get some other opinions on this. Certainly this is not the Rosetta stone or anything, but it does intrigue me. By the way, for a more complete list of product placement in Heroes episodes and other information about the show, check out the Heroes Wiki.

Update:

Shortly after writing this blog post, I attempted to answer my above question by reaching out to three Heroes actors who I know use Twitter:

  • Greg Grunberg (@greggrunberg), who plays “Matt Parkman.”
  • Brea Grant (@breagrant) who plays “Daphne Millbrook” (Matt Parkman’s love interest.)
  • David H. Lawrence (@dhlawrencexvii) who plays puppetmaster “Eric Doyle.”

On January 2, 2009 at 12:42 AM I posted the following question on Twitter: @greggrunberg @dhlawrencexvii @breagrant, is Sprint subliminally “celling” on “Heroes?” www.tr.im/sprint.

A short time later, at 1:29 AM, I noticed David Lawrence had just posted a tweet. So I resent the same question directly to him: @dhlawrencexvii Is Sprint subliminally “celling” on “Heroes?” Read this if you get a chance: www.tr.im/sprint. @Joseph_Yi and I are curious.

A few minutes later, on January 2, 2009 at 1:42 AM, David Lawrence replied as follows: @doctorious  Sprint (and Nissan) are Heroes’ 3 biggest advertisers. Nothing subliminal about it. All of us use Sprint cell phones on the show.

Later that same day, January 2, 2009 at 12:13 PM, Brea Grant sent a reply as well: @doctorious  nothing subliminal about sponsorship on the show but i think the whole world splitting thing is just a coincidence. 

I never heard back from Greg Grunberg, but I appreciate the two responses I did receive as they were interesting and enlightening. I wonder how someone who works in production for the show might answer for my question?

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One year ago today, September 19, 2007, this blog was born into the online world.

surprise-happy-birthday-giftsAt the time I launched it I wasn’t really sure what to expect or how this experiment would play out. Overall, I have enjoyed writing this blog, though I certainly wish I was able to contribute to it more regularly.

However, my philosophy is “quality over quantity.” I would rather wait to post something substantive than just add more noise to the already overloaded Internet. Hopefully the posts I’ve made have, in some way, contributed positively to the individuals who have read them and, perhaps to the larger academic community.

Statistically speaking, here is some basic info about the blog:

  • Total views: 7,169
  • Busiest day: 126 — Wednesday, January 23, 2008
  • Views today: 14
  • Totals
    • Posts: 38
    • Comments: 34
    • Categories: 16
    • Tags: 858

Developing this blog has been educational and inspirational — I find myself constantly looking for information to distribute or knowledge to share using it.

I have used it twice as an educational repository and tool: once for an English class at DeVry University and another time for my UCSB Extension course. Both times enabled me, and my students, to explore the power of blogging on multiple levels. I hope to continue contributing to it and finding unique and clever ways to leverage the technology.

Speaking of which, WordPress is an amazing tool — bravo to those who make it all work. I have never before experienced such a seamless and mutlifaceted web-based content management system. Using WordPress has definitely been a significant part of why my first year blogging was so positive.

In any case, I am looking forward to “year two” and outdoing my effort in “year one!”

If you’ve been to this blog before you might have noticed I changed the header image. Previously I was using an image of the space shuttle in orbit over earth to reflect the adventures I have experienced over the past few months.

After thinking through my options I remembered that in December 2001 I started working on a header design for a personal website I was thinking about launching, but never did.

But it never fully captured who I am. It was close in many ways, but not quite right.

Using Adobe Photoshop I scanned items and pictures while also finding various images online — merging them together in a cohesive digital illustration. I tinkered with the design on and off until July 2004 — three and one half years — until I got busy on other projects.

When I found the design I instantly knew it was the perfect fit — though it needed some polishing (a few things had changed in the nearly four years since I last worked on it).

Looking through the evolution of the designs was a bit like looking through a photo album — the core component did not change, but many of the details did.

The design itself is very similar to its original incarnation, but many of the specifc items changed to more accureately mirror changes in my life over the past few years.

For people who know me, the relevance of some of the images will quite clear. The meanings behind some of the other images is reasonably self-evident — even to individuals who have never met me.

Still others might be a bit less obvious. And, considering that the only constant is change, I am sure I will modify this collage over time. My goal is to make it as timely and relevant to who I am in the present moment.

I won’t actually go into detail about what the various parts of the header mean, but would be happy to answer any questions via e-mail at doctorious (at) generative (dot) com.

Attached is a paper titled “Thought Leaders on Leadership” that I co-wrote while enrolled in the Pepperdine University Ed.D. program in organizational leadership with classmates Eric D. Agrusa (who has since transferred to an Ed.D. program in educational leadership at the University of Southern California), Joseph E. Craig, Jorge Martinez and Daisy Nwokorie.

The paper was published on pages 1008 to 1011 in the proceedings from the 2008 Southwest Academy of Management Conference, which was held in Houston, Texas from March 4 to 8, 2008. I also participated as a paper reviewer for this conference and looked over four papers in the “International Management, Organization & Management Theory, Management & Organizational Cognition, Management Education & Development” track.

I had originally planned to attend this conference and present the paper, but was unable to do so due to some pressing personal matters. I am hoping to attend next year’s conference and am also looking into attending the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Anaheim, California from August 8 to 13, 2008. The abstract from the paper is as follows:

This paper examines the concept of thought leadership through interviews with eleven people who define the term. Representing business, ministry, education, media and psychology, these individuals provided answers to six questions about leadership. All interviewees are respected by their peers, are often admired by others outside their industry and have made notable contributions to their areas of expertise.  The responses from each are synthesized into sections pertaining to each question in such a way as to compare and contrast their statements to divine similarities and differences from which conclusions can be drawn.

I welcome your comments, questions and ideas!