Exude Passion


I have been teaching high school Seniors and college students for a number of years now.  Normally when you ask them what they want to do after college they respond with comments having to do with how much money they want to make.  I have often tried to dissuade them from focusing on the money and follow a passion.  Many of them don’t know what their passion is.

Recently I started thinking about the whole “passion” thing.  What is it, really?

My initial Google search responded with two definitions:

  • Strong and barely controllable emotion.
  • The suffering and death of Jesus.

So, let’s leave the latter one out of this conversation.  We want 18-23 year olds to have a strong and barely controllable emotion about SOMETHING.  Sure, they might love music or acting or sports and believe that they will be the next great superstar, and hopefully they will.   But what about the ones who are searching, how do we help them find their passion?

Next I Googled, “find your passion” and I got many suggestions:

  • Revisit your childhood
  • Make a creativity board
  • Make a list of people who are where you want to be

After some more in depth readings, I consistently came across the name Dr. Cal Newport of Georgetown University and his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

Newport talks about cultivating rather than following your passion.  I like this idea and I think it is something that can help students to better understand the “what’s next” of their life after college.

“ “Follow” implies that you discover the passion in advance then go match it to a job. At which point, you’re done.

“Cultivate” implies that you work toward building passion for your job.” (Newport)

Newport’s ideas are smart and simple.  Cultivating a passion requires that you approach your work like a craftsman.  Honing your abilities and becoming the best you can be at whatever job you choose.  When you are great at something, you fall in love, where there is love, there is passion.

So, whether you are an accountant, artist, teacher or grocery store clerk, if you pour your energy into being the best you can be, you will find a passion.  If you cannot find the caring or energy to do this, perhaps you might be in the wrong job?  I see far too many people working this way. People just getting the workday over with.  If only they would take the time to be the best clerk, teacher, accountant they can be, they might just find some passion.

And, can’t we all use a little more passion in our lives???

I would love to know your thoughts.  Please share here or visit my website: MCATshare.com


Millburn, J. ‘Follow Your Passion’ is Crappy Advice. Retrieved from: http://www.theminimalists.com/cal/



Social Awareness -> Social Change, in the middle: Civic Engagement


Today I took some time and watched Billions in ChangeThis short film centers on Manoj Bhargava, the creator of Five Hour Energy Drink, and his philanthropic work.  And let me tell you, it was quite inspiring.  The work he is doing will change the world.  His inventions shop, Stage 2 Innovations is creating inventions and technologies that will make a difference in everyone’s life, but they concentrate on;

“inventing stuff that makes a difference in other people’s lives. Specifically,  focusing on inventions that can help the poorer half of the world make their lives better, that’s what we define as a great invention.” 

As a Mass Communications professor, I teach the technologies of media but believe that as “the media”, and good people, we are responsible for creating social awareness/social change in our world.  I work this into as much of my curriculum as possible.

But in order to get from Social Awareness to Social Change, we need to create Civic Engagement.  WE are the change.  Building a website or create a documentary that makes people aware of what needs to be done for a better world, is a start, but it is the call to action that creates the real change.

I am building my Advanced Technologies class around the creation of an Interactive Documentary for Social Change.  The students choose a cause or social campaign that they believe in, create several videos that build the understanding of the cause and then use the tools of technology and social media to create the awareness.  But the project is not complete unless there is Civic Engagement and some form of Social Change.  The engagement can be represented in analytics, feedback and interaction from audience/users.

One of my challenges with this course it creating the excitement in my students to want to get involved with a cause, any cause.  According to the Journal for Civic Engagement, recent years have witnessed a decline in civic engagement among college students.

I thought I would look into how to best develop Social Awareness/Civic Engagement/Social Change for my students.

Beginning with Social Awareness, a definition:

A socially aware individual values human rights and acknowledges the importance of harmonious social interaction for the developmental progress of human beings.

Civic Engagement:

Civic engagement refers to the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s future.

Social Change:

A range of typical social and civic outcomes from increased awareness and understanding, to attitudinal change, to increased civic participation, the building of public will, to policy change that corrects injustice

Looking at these three definitions helps me to begin laying out the plan of action for my students work.  The student will create a project which, focuses on a social issue, values human/animal rights, and gives the opportunity for citizens to participate in order to create increased awareness and understanding.

To do this, here are a few ideas to follow:

  • Use deeds, not pleas to bring change- Don’t just talk, Do SOMETHING
  • Use what you have-Work with the resources you have
  • Create compelling, personal stories for support
  • Speak a language everyone understands-don’t get fancy, get real
  • Small scale changes may be an essential component of persistence on a larger scale
  • To go far, go together-convince people to join your passion

The hope is for the excitement to come from the creativity and caring, and maybe they just might learn something.

This again, is a work in progress.  It would be great to have input from colleagues who are working with this now.  I welcome any response or shares on my website, MCATshare.com

The MCATshare.com website is dedicated to creating a place for teachers and students(of any age) to go and find ways to use Media Communications and Technology to change the world.  Please visit, learn and share!

Thank you!

Mochari, I. Inside the Mind of the Billionaire Who Built the 5-Hour Energy Empire Retrieved from: http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/5-hour-energy-billions-in-change.html
Bridgman, M. Encouraging Civic Engagement on College Campuses.  Retrieved from: http://ccncce.org/articles/encouraging-civic-engagement-on-college-campuses-through-discussion-boards/

Social Media Rules



Social Media Rules?

As a high school teacher for eight years, I made it a rule to not allow friending of students until they graduated.  I am now a college professor, who spends many hours lecturing on social media image and its effects on your life and career.

So, I have recently had a change of heart about allowing my current students to friend me on social media.  If I am going to lecture on the importance of conscious social media posting, shouldn’t I lead by example?   My constant mantra- Think Before You Post is something I truly attempt to live by.

As evidence of Curt Schilling’s firing from ESPN today, if you want to be respected for the work you do, you need to treat your social media as another outlet of yourself, just as you do your appearance and public image.

USAToday posted 5 simple rules of social media, but here is my favorite:

The Grandma, First Grader, Boss Rule

Ask yourself, “Would I want my grandma to see this post? What about a classroom full of first graders? My boss?” If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no,’ do not post it.

Here are a few things to consider with social media:

  • Once you put it out there, it’s there forever
  • Copyright infringement
  • What you say reaches a lot of people…including future employers
  • It is your calling card
  • Practice good grammar
  • Know about what you comment on
  • Know social media guidelines at your workplace
  • Create positive relationships-be careful who you connect with
  • Don’t lie or use misguided information…know your facts before posting

For teachers, here is a Prezi I use to talk to students about conscious social media:

The Road Ahead: with Social Media

So, Whats a Chatbot??

Funny robot sit with headphones

So after reading Jan Rezab’s post and watching his Social Media Minute(great videos!) on Social Messaging Bots:


And watching Mark Zuckerberg discuss Facebook’s launch of the Messenger platform with chat bots:


I realized that I knew nothing about bots and it was time to see what they are about.  So, here it goes.

A Chatbot is a chatter robot is a type of conversational agent, a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual methods.

Chatterbots(original name) were mere curiosities for amusement only, in the 1960’s. One of the earliest chatterbots was called ELIZA.

ELIZA’s key method of operation (copied by chatbot designers ever since) involves the recognition of cue words or phrases in the input, and the output of corresponding pre-prepared or pre-programmed responses which can move the conversation forward in an apparently meaningful way.

Now Facebook is taking it to a new level.  Messenger’s Chatbots are promising to streamline interactions between customers and businesses through an automated process.

I decided to try creating a bot for myself.  I Googled around and found that most of the bot building is a bit more complex than my capabilities, but, I did find a site that would allow me to make my own “baby bot” as an experiment.

Pandorabots allows you to create a chatbot, without any great knowledge of code, that lives in their playground(unless you pay a monthly fee, of course).


Here is my baby bot:

Go here and sign up for free:


Once you are signed up you can search my chatbot: mcatshare and talk to my bot.  You can also build one of your own.  If you are having any trouble, email me and I will walk you through.

I will put a tutorial on my share site: MCATshare.com

Thank you!


Media Communications and Technology Share:New Website to Share and Learn Tools of Interactive Documentary/Journalism/Storytelling

Media Communications and Technology Share: New Website to Share and Learn Tools of Interactive Documentary/Journalism/Storytelling Tools of Communications: The world of media communications has cha…

Source: Media Communications and Technology Share:New Website to Share and Learn Tools of Interactive Documentary/Journalism/Storytelling

Interactive Documentary and Journalism

Interactive Documentary and Journalism


Mapping the Intersection of Two Cultures: Interactive Documentary and Digital Journalism, a MacArthur Foundation Report by the MIT Open Documentary Lab 2016, has opened my eyes to more new teaching ideas.


Since I began, and from the projects I have witnesses, I have looked at the interactive documentary as storytelling/art/advertising rather than journalism and investigative reporting.  This report gives insights to the technologies, production processes and collaborations that give rise to journalistic transformation for the connected world.  It also discusses ways to effectively use platforms and interactivity while expanding reach to different demographics and levels of user participation (Uricchio 2016).

Among the report’s findings, about interactive documentary; interactive documentary has young audiences, offering intuitive interfaces and opportunities for personalized exploration. This is important not only for strengthening journalism’s business model, according to Uricchio (MIT Open Documentary Lab), but also for reinvigorating civic participation. (DeJarnette 2016)

MIT Open Documentary Lab released an exhaustive report titled “Mapping the Intersection of Two Cultures: Interactive Documentary and Digital Journalism,” which presents case studies and research findings about the early applications of interactive documentary in newsrooms.

Case Studies:

The report shares case studies split into three areas:

  • Macro(Large Media Organizations): The Guardian, Frontline
  • Meso(Community/Collaboration): Collaborations in Interactive Documentary
  • Micro(Individual Project): A Short History of the Highrise, Do Not Track, Fort McMoney

Each case study guides the reader through how interactive documentary is being used for journalistic, participative and collaborative storytelling.  Abundant examples make this a must read for those teaching and learning about digital journalism and storytelling today.

Moving Forward:

Interactive documentary has had a bit of trouble “catching on” within the journalism world.  But according to Uricchio the barriers to entry are getting lower.  With eyes on The New York Times and The Guardian for their award winning work in this area, it is obvious that these projects require advanced design and coding.  But now, new emerging tools of interactivity are allowing smaller organizations to look into the use of interactive documentary formats for their journalistic works.

Our next generation of news consumers are those who are interested in technological interactions.  Interactive documentaries can be about increasing participation and engagement within journalism. (DeJarnette 2016)

Interactive documentaries help to shape conversations.  Journalism is moving from just reporting on and keeping society informed of what is going on in their world to mediators of the conversation.  The public becomes part of the journalistic process. Journalists and the community become partners in the effort of creating and disseminating news.

This is just another exciting level of use for web-based interactive storytelling.  Communications students, faculty and practitioners can all benefit from this study and the work that is going on in this field.

Give it a try:

Please visit our SHARE site to find, use and add tool of interactive storytelling for all to learn from:




DeJarnette, B.(2016) How to Scale Up Interactive Documentary in the Digital Newsrooms. Retrieved from: http://mediashift.org/2016/02/how-to-scale-up-interactive-documentary-in-digital-newsrooms/

Mapping the Intersection of Two Cultures: Interactive Documentary and Digital Journalism, a MacArthur Foundation Report by MIT. (2016) Retrieved from: Mapping the Intersection of Two Cultures: Interactive Documentary and Digital Journalism, a MacArthur

Attention Non-Profits in Need-wait, is that Redundant?

The Cause:

I am re-designing a course for the Fall of 2016-Advanced Media Technologies. This course looks at using and implementing the new tools of interaction and storytelling to change the world.

  • I begin the course by asking students to choose a cause.
  • Next they create a mini-documentary about the cause, split into 3-5 individual segments.
  • House these segments on a website
  • They spend the semester using the emerging web-based tools and social media to create interaction, collaboration and connection for this cause.

What we do:

I am looking to build a list of causes (social awareness, non-profit) who would be interested in having a student build an interactive documentary style website, which would include:

  • mobile
  • augmented reality
  • beginning animation
  • gaming
  • learning tools

They will then create:

  • a social media tactical plan
  • search engine optimization
  • analytics for this site


Alternate Site:

If you already have a site and social media we will create an alternate (for our learning purposes) and link any questions, comments or donations back to you.

We will also share the site with you along the way so that you can give feedback and comments. The students will always be under the guidance of myself, Dr. Susan Cardillo, Doctorate in Computer Science-Emerging Media.

At the end of the course you can choose whether you would like to use the site, link to certain pages or ask to have it deleted.

Who can benefit:

If you already have a successful website and social media plan, this is probably not for you, but if you are new, could use some help or would just see what a talented student can do, we would love to put you on the list.


I am an advocate and believer that students have the ability and responsibility to help their society and what better way than to help those in need.  The idea is to use the tools of technology, journalism and storytelling to create social awareness, civic engagement and social change, to some aspect of the student’s community and interests.  This not only helps the student learn and grow as a creator of media and a student of communications but could also give an organization in need of communications and media skills the opportunity to work with local students and the future leaders in the field.

How to get involved:

Please check out my website MCTshare.com

This site gives you a breakdown of the projects the student work on in this class.

If interested, please email me the name of your cause and if you have a website at: scardillo@piedmont.edu or drscardillo@gmail.com

Thank you and enjoy this site.




Media Communications and Technology Share:New Website to Share and Learn Tools of Interactive Documentary/Journalism/Storytelling

Media Communications and Technology Share: New Website to Share and Learn Tools of Interactive Documentary/Journalism/Storytelling


Tools of Communications:

The world of media communications has changed rapidly over the past decade, and continues to change on a daily basis.

There was a time, not too long ago, that you had to have a degree in computer science to build and understand how web-based technologies aided in telling a story. Well, now there are many “consumer friendly” applications and resources out there, some-free and most- easy to use. These tools will help storytellers tell rich, interesting and interactive stories.

Sharing/Learning Website:

I have created a website for the communications/media student who may not be savvy in the area of digital technology but would like to use more interaction and applications in their work. It is a user-friendly guide that keeps in mind that applications must be easy to use and assimilate into reporting and storytelling. Most of these technologies are based on freemium models (free for trial or basic).

This site can also help the more knowledgeable technology users, as it will remain up-to-date based on the interaction of those in the field. Anyone is welcome to join in and share in his or her area of knowledge.

Breakdown of subjects at MCATshare:

  • Historical overview of Media Communications and technology
  • Interactive Storytelling
  • User-friendly rRsources for Web and Interaction for Communications
  • Working with and on Mobile applications
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality products
  • Animation
  • Gaming
  • Emerging Technologies in Learning
  • Social Media for Interaction
  • Analytics and Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Awareness/Civic Engagement/Social Change
  • Looking into the Future


Think About Social Awareness:

The title Media Communications and Technology is straight-forward and the subtitle, Understanding and Implementing the New Tools of Creation in Storytelling to Change the World, is the exciting part of this work.

Although you do not have to work this website’s teachings around the choosing of a non-profit or social awareness campaign, I am an advocate and believer that students have the ability and responsibility to help their community/society and what better way than to help those in need.

The idea is to use the tools of technology and storytelling to create social awareness, civic engagement and social change to some aspect of the student’s community and interests. This not only helps the student learn and grow as a creator of media or student of communications but it also gives an organization, in need of communications and media skills, the opportunity to work with local students and the future leaders in the field.

Please check out this new site, whether to learn something new, find teaching materials or share knowledge in your field.


Thank you!

3 Things to know about Writing a Blog: Get Hits/Views, Finding Keywords and Using Keywords to Climb the Google Search

Seems like these days everyone is writing a blog. Blogging has made a resurgence as part of the social media tactical plan and should be taken seriously. But is there a right way to write a blog that differs from the ways we learned to write in school?

I did not know this answer so I reached out to Professor Mu Lin who teachings a free online course in Blog writing. So, if I am to become a blogger and get my site to the top of the crawl of the Google search, I am giving it a try myself, beginning with this post.

This post is an attempt to follow his suggestions and share:

  • How to write a blog that gets views
  • How to find the right keywords
  • How to use these keywords in your post

Writing for the web and blogs to get hits/views:

      1. Do’s and Don’ts of Blog Writing:

  • Don’t use big chunks
  • Short Paragraphs
  • Use of lists
  • Select boldface as emphasis
  • Use graphics and images
  • Use links within your post
  • Headline that summarizes that story-self explanatory so the reader can get the point without reading the article
  • Create the story using keywords for SEO(search engine optimization)

      2. Blog Writing Setup:

  • In the first paragraph summarize the keypoints
  • Break the article up into two or three levels of headings(subheadings)
  • Let the headings inform the user
  • Use subheading title for each section that tells the story
  • Bullet lists when possible and appropriate instead of paragraphs
  • Short paragraphs – approximately 4 lines
  • Think “inverted pyramid” style of writing

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 2.38.08 PM

Finding Key Words for your Blog:

  1. First, search Google to find companies/organizations that have high rankings
  2. Also look at Google’s suggested searches below the rankings
  3. Search Alexa.com  see what these companies are using as keywords-This site allows you to search popular sites within your blogs subject matter and see what keywords work best.
  4. Come up with a list that best fits your blog

Using Keywords in your Blog:

  1. 5-10 keywords
  2. Place keywords in headline.
  3. Create sub-headlines with keywords as well- split the article into three sections and create sub headings using keywords for each
  4. Place keywords in the first 25 words of your page- 1st paragraph is important
  5. Place keywords in the last 25 words of your post
  6. Bold keywords at least once on a page.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 2.39.50 PM

I tried these ideas, and although the topic of blogging had many sites dedicated to it, the keywords were all very similar.

Here are my keywords from Alexa.com with the search of blogger.com:

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 2.12.25 PM

I was able to use three of these words in the title and opening. And I will cover the other two keywords, blogspot and gmail, here at the end of this post.

It was interesting to set up the blog as a template of sorts in order to try these techniques. This is quite a different way of thinking for me so I will have to keep practicing this style to see if it works.

Hope you enjoyed this attempt to use what I learned about writing a blog that will get seen. If you try this, let me know. And if you have any other suggestions, please share.