Academics: Ignore this at your own peril


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If you must Facebook!


If you find yourself having difficulty in comprehending the title of this piece, be rest assured you did not belongs to the Millennial generation. If you are still struggling to come to term with it, I can still label you as the cohort group of those who believed, think and thank President Jonathan for ‘bringing Facebook to Nigeria’.

By ‘if you must Facebook’, I mean if you insist that you are on Facebook because it is connecting you with family, friends and acquaintances, or you consider it as a platform for enhancing your communications skills and digital sophistication. While I subscribed to your argument, I also share a belief that if taken for granted, Facebook and its likes have the tendency of making someone develop a pathological and maladaptive psychological addictive behaviour.

It is against this background, I intend to strike a balance between the two extremes of ‘excessive indulgence’ and ‘total rejection’.  Therefore, my intervention will centre on how to leverage Facebook to enhance your career aspiration, communication skills (written and verbal) and entrepreneurial acumen. The write-up will also give you an insight on how and where to ‘discover yourself’ and be on top of technology in the era of aggressive marketing by technology giants.

Communication skills

Smart ‘Facebooking’ entails identifying potential pages for continuous personal development. Few of these pages include those that will enhance someone’s communication skills both written and verbal. Outstanding among these are American English at State, BBC Learn English and Learn English Grammar with Rana Zain. These pages have unique approaches such as the use of infographic in order to make learning enjoyable and succinct.

Paradigm Shifters

Another page worth ‘liking’ is TED for its insightful resources. The Facebook page post events, news and tips as well as links that will ‘stir your curiosity’. Contents from the page are directly from the popular TED Talk that centred on technology, education and entertainment. The page, when followed, has the tendency of changing your paradigm on a lot of issues around the world based on the expert presentations.

Developing entrepreneurial mindset

Facebook pages of ‘Entrepreneur’, ‘Business Insider’, and ‘Harvard Business Review’ are few pages that I regard as ‘a must like’ pages on Facebook. Anyone seeking to be independent or interested in delving into the business will indeed find these pages helpful. ‘Liking’ the pages will afford someone to learn tips, understand tools, get industry insider information and have insights into deep financial, media, technology and other industry verticals.

Technology & DIY

To safeguard and liberate yourself from ‘Oga at the top’ viral mortification and IT ‘expert’ intervention, one needs to like pages like MakeUseOf, LifeHacker and HowStuffWorks on Facebook. These pages will enable it follower to learn tips and tricks about websites, software, internet and technology in general through its easy-to-understand answers and explanations of the world by their ‘know-it-all writers’.

Career Enhancers

Other relevant pages that are of high value for anyone wishing to enhance his/her career are: Youth Opportunities and Scholarship Nigeria. Youth Opportunities believes “opportunities should not be kept hidden. It needs to spread among the millions because knowledge increases when shared”. While Scholarship Nigeria’s motto is to “empower young Nigerians by providing prompt information on available Undergraduate and Postgraduate SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES (Home & Abroad)”.

In conclusion, my take is to encourage useful and purposeful Facebooking where a user will strike a balance between leisure and personal development.

Posted in Academic Developmet, Enterprenuership, Facebook, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SENSE AND NONSENSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA


Sometimes it baffles me on when shall social media users understand the boundary on what is supposed to be in the public domain and what is supposed to be under lock and key.

People ought to know sharing stuff on social media platforms need to conform to the norms and values of the society. Social media users need to weigh the implication of ‘over sharing’ to see on whether it is legal, ethical, or a moral to share stuff online. Apart from the issue of intellectual property right, other angles of what is supposed to be in the public domain or against public interest need to be looked into.

I became flabbergasted when I spotted the official communication of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Senate President David Mark on Facebook some few minutes after the mail was acknowledged from the office of the Senate President.

Some few days back, another letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo was also leaked to the press. On that letter, Obasanjos’ email, telephone number and address could be visibly spotted by anyone that sighted the letter online.

Regardless of what people might think on the content of the letter, one day someone will leak a secret that doesn’t require to be in the public domain.

From all indication, that letter was scanned and shared by someone closed to the senate President or a ‘distinguished senator’ who happens to be a close friend of some media outfits.

My concern should not be misconstrued, I sincerely believe in a right for dissent, right for self-expression and in fact right for whistle blowing, but I do not subscribe in divulging government communication.  

We are seeing this as a non-issue simply because people are tired of President’s style of leadership, but my concern is for the institution not the personality.

And for those who are fond of oversharing stuff online, Eric Schmidt has this to say ““People will one day change their name and reinvent themselves in order to escape their digital past.”

 

 

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11 OUTSTANDING WEBSITES FOR TECHNOLOGY GEEKS


downloadEven though we are in an era where people are supposed to be overwhelmed with information overload, some geeks seems completely clueless on how to expand the horizon of their personal learning websites (PLW).
It is based on the foregoing, I decide to feature some of the prominent websites that will serve as a source for both learning, information sharing as well as personal development.
Those that find this article interesting should endeavour to subscribe to the mailing lists of each websites and in addition to following them on Twitter, Facebook, Google plus, Pinterest and other social plugins.

11. Wired: Popular in dishing out in-depth coverage of current and future trends in technology and how they are shaping business, entertainment, communication, science and politics.
10. TNB: Popularly known as ‘The Next Web’. It is one of the most influential blogs in the world covering technology, business and culture.
9. The Verge: This website covers the intersection of technology, science, art and culture.
8. TechCrunch: Popular in reporting latest news on technology start-ups, particularly the Web 2.0 sector.
7. Read Write: Features web technology news, reviews and analysis, covering web apps, web technology trends and social media.
6. NYT Bits: Is a blog from popular New York Times report on technology industry, including start-ups, the internet, enterprise and gadgets.
5. Mashable: It covers the top social media news on topics like Facebook, You Tube, Gmail, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest and more. The website has 3.7 million followers on Twitter as at the time of writing this article.
4. Lifehacker: Features daily weblog on software and personal productivity. It also recommends downloads, websites and shortcuts that help you work smarter and save time.
3. IBMTimes Tech: Offers news and insight about tech gadgets, games and social media as well as research/
2. Engadget: A web based magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadget and consumer electronics.
1. Digital Trends: Is popular in featuring reviews of new products, featured articles and reviews.
Note: The websites explanation was lifted from Google search engine based on their concise summary and apt description.

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What They Don’t Teach in School


Readers will find different version of this caption on the internet and other published articles and books. Today, I decide to also follow their steps by adopting the same approach in order to feature an article that I found very fascinating and inspiring.

Although, to some pessimists, the wisdom associated with the piece may seem to sound ‘ridiculous’, ‘insulting’, ‘uninspiring’ and ‘ambition killer’ especially to our upcoming generation. I believe readers will find it useful.

Initially I read this piece in Segun’s Adeniyi’s column (Verdict) and I feel it will be useful and relevant to give it a wider publicity.

Kindly enjoy What They Don’t Teach in the School.

This recent piece, written by Todd Hirsch, the Calgary-based chief economist of ATB Financial and author of “The Boiling Frog Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline”, will serve our young graduates as they navigate the job market, even in this most difficult time. The message is simple: whatever your hand finds to do, begin from there. I am well aware that the Nigerian terrain is quite different from the Canadian one on which the author based his thesis but the inherent lesson cuts across boundaries as it simply teaches that fresh graduates should be wise. Here is what Todd Hirsch wrote:

Dear Applicant:

Thank you for your letter inquiring about positions in our economics department. At this time, we have no openings. However, I will keep your letter on file should an appropriate job become available. At least, that’s what I am required to tell you. But here’s what I’d really like to say to you – and to every recent economics graduate who sends me the same letter.

First, I know it’s lousy for Bachelor of Arts graduates looking for a job “in their field.” Twenty years ago, it was lousy for me too. It’s almost always lousy. In a way, it’s kind of supposed to be – a small rite of passage to welcome you into the working world. It’s sort of like being froshed.

But if I may, I would like to offer some advice.

Don’t be too fixated on landing a job “in your field.” The truth is, you don’t yet have a field. In university, you majored in economics, but that may or may not be your eventual field of professional work. The world is full of possibilities; limiting your search to an economist job is a terribly narrow way to start out.

You chose to study economics, which doesn’t necessarily imply that you’ll be an economist. Rather, it implies you have an aptitude for problem solving. You’re probably good at analyzing data. You can see different sides of an argument. And I’ll bet you’re excellent at finding solutions to problems. These are essential skills required in hundreds of rewarding (and lucrative) fields of professional employment.

Your ultimate field may actually be in sales for a biotech firm. It may be analyzing crime statistics for the city police. It may even be a rock star (just ask Mick Jagger). The world is full of “fields.”

What you’re facing is a common problem: BA graduates confuse their major area of study with what they expect to be their eventual careers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a degree in history, film studies, sociology, or comparative feminist literature.

 You’ve successfully navigated your way through a four-year degree. Congratulations! That is no small accomplishment. But now you’re embarking on a totally different program of learning – one that will last the rest of your life. It’s called “What am I here for?”

That may sound all spiritual and existential, but don’t let it throw you off. It just means that your challenge from here on is to find what you’re good at, and keep getting better and better at it.

An apology, by the way, on behalf of society: We are sorry if we led you to believe that attending university would land you a good job. That’s not actually true. A polytechnic college will do this – and the job opportunities available right now are fantastic. A good option for you might be to continue post-university studies at a polytechnic.

But your university education, at least at the Bachelor of Arts level, was never intended to land you a job. It was intended to make you a more complete thinker. It was intended to teach you how to absorb complex information and make reasoned arguments. It was, quite simply, intended to teach you how to learn. Those are skills that you’ll use in any field of work.

Open your mind to all sorts of job possibilities. Don’t be too proud to start out in the service industry, or where you might get your fingernails dirty. Talk to as many people as you can about their career paths. But never, ever, allow yourself to think you’ve wasted your time in university if you don’t land a job as an economist.

Meanwhile, be encouraged and stay positive. And yes, I will keep your letter on file. But my guess is that when a position in my economics group eventually opens up, you’ll no longer be available.

 

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5 MUST HAVE FREE TOOLS FOR DATA STORAGE


The idea of writing this piece stem as a result of an unfortunate incidence involving a friend of mine who lost the entire records of cooperative society’s financial records from his computer. The records comprise payments, sales, loans payment, repayment and disbursement as well as other administrative expenses amounting to over 30 million naira.

Other similar stories abound in which someone will tell you that his/her entire credentials got missing or were consumed during fire inferno. Others will tell you about their mysterious disappearance of the soft copies of their thesis before sending it to their supervisors.

It is in the light of the above, I intend to write about how someone could leverage the use of free tools to back up and access their data ubiquitously. This means that even if you are not working on your computer (where your data is kept), you can access your data via your smartphone, tablet or any other computer with internet connection.

To do that one needs to have a computer that is connected to internet, an email address and sign up with cloud computing platforms that we are going to talk on. It shall also be noted for the benefit of hindsight that many sites that offer free cloud services exist, our discussion will be restricted to only the following platforms.

  1. SkyDrive offers 7GB cloud storage service and allow users to upload and sync files and then access them from a Web browser or other devices like tablets (IPads, Samsung Galaxy) and smartphones (IPhones, Blackberry and other Androids). It also allows users to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public.
  2. Google Drive is another free service from Google that offers 5 GB and lets you store all your files including documents, photos, videos and Google Docs online and access them anywhere. “Google Drive” is everywhere you are—on the web, in your home, at the office and on the go. So wherever you are, your stuff is just…there. Google says even if “your phone goes for a swim. Your laptop takes an infinite snooze. No matter what happens to your devices, your files are safely stored in Google Drive.”
  3. SugarSync also allows users to syncs files, photos and media among multiple computers and backs them up on the Web. SugarSync lets you start editing a file on your office PC and finish it on your Mac at home regardless of your location or the computer you are using. You can also edit files on your computer while it is offline and SugarSync automatically syncs the changes the next time your computer is online. The cloud platform also offers 5 GB free storage and offers additional storage to users who invite others to subscribe.
  4. Box.com is another cloud services that offers 5 GB and makes it easy for subscribers to share, manage and access information from anywhere. As ubiquitous as it is, subscribers of Box.com can access information via web, tablets and smartphones.
  5. Dropbox is one of the pioneer file hosting service application that offers cloud storage and file synchronisation. It allows users to create a special folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox then synchronises so that it appears to be the same folder (with the same contents) regardless of the computer it is viewed on. Files placed in this folder are also accessible through a website and mobile phone applications. Dropbox gives subscribers 2 GB free storage services and increase it whenever a subscriber invites people to subscribe to their services.

From the foregoing, we can perfectly assume that missing or loosing document at this century can be term as inexcusable. As ubiquitous as these platforms are; one can simply have at least 24 GB free storage free of charge (FOC).

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DOING THE MOST USEFUL ON THE INTERNET


Ordinarily people are supposed to do thing for a purpose but on internet it is not so! Even though we have seen that some people are leveraging internet to advance their businesses or organisations some people are completely overwhelmed with the social media aspect at the expense of their time, resources, businesses, family and to some extent their intellectual development.

It is against this backdrop; I intend to write on doing 10 most useful things on the internet. The article will be run in series and this part will be dedicated to students that are eager and willing to learn beyond the four walls of the school.

As someone who had a stint of learning in both Nigeria and abroad, I realised it will be difficult for us to think beyond the box if we became contented with the knowledge we acquired in the classroom only. It is therefore imperative to seek additional avenues with the view to combine the two. To do so, one has to forgo or at least adjust the number of time he/she spends on Facebook, Twitter, 2go, WhatsApp, BBM and other Social media in order to concentrate on improving and polishing his/her knowledge.

Improving your knowledge online could be in different ways but the simplest and koboless way to do so is to consider the possibility of signing up with OpenCourseWare particularly with Coursera, edX, and SchooX. I chose these three based on their exceptional features that have to do with the course contents richness, flexibility, feedback mechanism, possibility of interacting with colleagues from across the globe as well as obtaining certificate of attendance or completion from the course tutors.

The Coursera website is offering courses in Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science and host of others from world renown Universities including Stanford University, Princeton University, The University of Edinburgh, Johns Hopkins University, University of Toronto to mention just but a few. Recently, they have increased the course catalogue to 111 from 16 Universities.

As for the edX, it has Harvard University, Massachusetts University and of recent University of California Berkeley as their founding partners. While that of SchooX supportdifferent kind of resources with special features. Most of the videos in SchooX last for not more than ten minutes, hence downloading them even in mobile phones will not be something difficult.

Interested students should hasten to enrol since most of the courses will commence soon. Other OpenCourseWare courses could also be located in Tufts Open Courseware, Online Education Database, as well as DIY Learning.

Let’s I forget, some people might argue that some of these courses we are asking them to do requires high speed internet to either watch or download, hence it will be near impossible for them to sign up. To perish this thinking, I wish to first of all inform you that most of the Coursera courses have an alternative PDF and PowerPoint files in which someone can download without necessarily watching their YouTube videos and for those that have videos only, I can assure them that by following tips in eHOW, Usefulsites4all, and Yahoo Answers they can find their way out. Remember, these people and organisations have done their best in offering the courses free of charge to us, what remains is for us to fulfil our obligations. Hence, the decision remains entirely yours!

Postscript

A fortnight ago I enrolled in a course Power Searching With Google run by Google which has tremendously improved my information retrieval skills and earned a certificate of completion. Some moments ago I checked the site but learnt that the class is now closed but those who have penchant for polishing their searching skills can still be able to view the videos and do the online activities starting from July 25, 2012. I will recommend people to do that. Honestly speaking you will be a skilful searcher in this dotcom era where they say information is POWER!

 

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