August Update: Get Connected! Happy Hours on Voter ID and BWCA, Classes & More

We have some exciting events coming up this month and next –  Get Connected! happy hour meetings with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the League of Women Voters;  low-cost classes on Using Facebook to Promote Your Businessand Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Best Online Practices for Small Businesses, plus a Social Media Clinic, and lots of free Newsroom Cafe workshops. Scroll down for details, and our editors’ reports.

Get Connected! is the Twin Cities Media Alliance’s series of meetings highlightingorganizations working for change in the areas of Education, Transportation, Work, Immigrant Communities, Health and the Environment. At each meeting, you’ll have a chance to find out about the organization, how you can get involved, and how you can use social media to work more effectively on the issues that you care about. Each meeting also includes an opportunity to socialize and network over food and drink. Get Connected events are free, but registration is requested.

Cause Sprits and Soundbar, located at Lake & Lyndale in South Minneapolis, is the place to be for back-to-back happy hour Get Connected! meetings in August.

We’ll be partnering with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy at Cause on Tuesday, August 21st from 5 to 7 p.m. Do you know that by the time an environmental decision is opened for comments, it’s often too late? Learn about threats to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) and actions you can take to help shift policy decisions. Marcos Lopez-Carlson of the Twin Cities Media Alliance will then give a presentation on new media tools you can be use to advocate more effectively about environmental issues. Light refreshments will be served, and beer, wine and cocktails will be available at happy hour prices. To register, follow this link: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4043353780.

Then, on Wednesday, August 22, the League of Women Voters Minneapolis will tell you everything you need to know about the proposed voter ID amendment and Marcos Lopez-Carlson will how to use new media as organizing tools to engage with this issue. Again, light refreshments will be served, and beer, wine and cocktails will be available at happy hour prices. To register, sign up here:  http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4020507446.

Please join us for these and other New Normal 2012: Get Connected! community meetings, scheduled through October.

Newsroom Cafes: 
Do you have a story or a question? Drop in and talk about the Daily Planet, our news coverage, and how you can contribute. Sometimes, the newsrooms cafes have a special focus,  but you can still come and workshop stories that you are working on regardless of the topic. Free.

To find Jay, just look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker. To find Mary, just look for the laptop with the sticker that says “I heart the First Amendment.” 

Tuesday, August 7, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Look for Mary at Quixotic Coffee, 769 Cleveland Ave. S., Saint Paul.

Thursday, August 9, 10 to 11 a.m. Look for Jay at the original Dunn Brothers at 1569 Grand Ave. (at Snelling) in Saint Paul.

Monday, August 13, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Look for Jay at the Second Moon Cafe, 2225 East Franklin Avenue,
Minneapolis.

Tuesday, August 21, 10 to 11 a.m. Look for Jay at the Bean Factory, 1518 Randolph Avenue in St. Paul.

Tuesday, August 21, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Look for Mary at Quixotic Coffee, 769 Cleveland Ave. S., Saint Paul.

Tuesday, August 28, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Look for Mary at Quixotic Coffee, 769 Cleveland Ave. S., Saint Paul.

Wednesday, August 29, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Look for Jay at the Anodyne Cafe, 4301 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Tuesday, September 4, 4:30 to 6 p.m.  Look for Mary at Quixotic Coffee, 769 Cleveland Ave. S. St. Paul.
Classes: 
Using Facebook to Promote Your Business
Wednesday, August 15, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2 (enter from parking lot.)
You know that social media is a great way to market your business and share information about your brand, but where do you start? How do you find time to fit it all in? During this hour and a half workshop, learn how to set up a business Facebook page and engage your fans. Discover ways to curate and distribute consistent information and grow your fan base. This workshop will also offer suggestions for how to set up your own editorial calendars related to social media content, ways to maximize your Facebook efforts when your time is limited, and general best practices in social media. Time will be left at the end for open discussion and questions. Laptops suggested, but not required.
Who should attend? Small business owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs interested in learning how to use Facebook to create awareness and expand business reach. This workshop is intended for individuals who are looking for ways to increase their Facebook presence and/or who are new to Facebook business pages.
Instructor Melissa Harrison is founder of Allee, a marketing and creative services firm in Albertville, Minn. As a strategic marketing professional with more than a decade of experience in working with nonprofits, member-based organizations and small businesses, Melissa integrates traditional marketing strategies with new media tools and concepts.
Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Register at the DataBank.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Best Online Practices for Small Businesses
Tuesday, August 21, 7-9 p.m., at the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from parking lot behind the Wells Fargo building.)

How does Google decide what to display on page one when someone performs a keyword search relevant to your business? How can you find out what specific keywords people are searching for in the first place? This class will give an introduction to how search works and how you can use this insight to gain visibility for your website.

Instructor Steffen Ryan is a digital strategist with Weber Shandwick, with more than six years of experience helping clients develop and execute integrated public relations and B2B/consumer marketing programs. He is adept at helping companies find their voice online by developing an effective content strategy. Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Space is limited! Register at the DataBank.
Social Media Clinic
Thursday,  August 23, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from the parking lot behind the Wells Fargo Bank building.)
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterestwherever you are online, if you’re a little confused, you’re not alone! Come to our monthly social media clinics and get a hand from Twin Cities Media Alliance staff members and social media experts Marcos Lopez-Carlson and Jay Gabler—in addition to connecting with other community members and sharing your own best practices. Our social media clinics are meant to help you successfully navigate your way through the online forest of information, and to reach the communities you want to reach for your nonprofit, small business, or personal interests.
WHO: Marcos Lopez-Carlson and/or Jay Gabler (at least one will be present, both may be present), and up to ten registered participants.
WHY: As part of our nonprofit mission to help members of Twin Cities communities connect with one another and with our larger global communities using the power of new media.
HOW: We ask participants to pre-register so as to guarantee that space will be available. Registration fee is $10; scholarships are available on request. Click here to register.
Participation in the social media clinics is free for all Daily Planet advertisers(click here for more information about how to advertise with the Daily Planet). Bring your laptop—wi-fi is available. If you want to participate but don’t have a laptop, inquire with us; we may be able to provide you with a computer for the session.
Staff reports: 
Bruce JohansenCommunity Engagement Coordinator Bruce Johansen reports: 
Downtown Saint Paul’s Amsterdam Bar & Hall was one place you might have found Bruce Johansen, Marcos Lopez-Carlson, and Clarence White, our community engagement team, in July. Over broodjes (little Dutch sandwiches), frites (Belgian style fries with an array of tasty dipping sauces), and cold beverages, the team joined forces with Physicians for a
National Health Program Minnesota and Health Care for All Minnesota for a lively New Normal 2012: Get Connected! community meeting. Twitter as a tool for connecting with others, sharing health care stories, and organizing more effectively for health care reform was a focus of Marcos and other presenters.
July also took the team to the Hopkins Center for the Arts, where some 50 people turned out to “get connected” with Transit for Livable Communities. Folks received an update on the Southwest light rail line and learned about new tools Facebook offers for citizen wanting to organize for expanded regional transit options. The next evening found the team in South Minneapolis at Open Arms of Minneapolis for a late afternoon Get Connected! community meeting with Metro Independent Business Alliance members and supporters. While attendees enjoyed a terrific spread provided by Open Arms, a panel consisting of Metro IBA’s executive director, two members, and Marcos, exchanged ideas about how independent businesses can benefit from smart use of Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare, and other new media tools.
Our month concluded with an election circle discussion about the housing foreclosure crisis, held at the original Green Mill Restaurant & Bar in Saint Paul. The St. Paul Fair Lending Coalition facilitated the event, and invited homeowners who fear foreclosure, to share their stories with us.
Arts Editor Jay Gabler reports:
This month we’ve been taking a closer look at our Web traffic, and we’ve noticed especially high interest in our picks: previews of events we think you’d enjoy. We’re planning to expand our picks and offer even more previews of under-the-radar arts and culture events—events showcasing Minnesota’s diverse communities, events you’re not always likely to hear about in the mainstream media. To make our picks as diverse and interesting as possible, we need your help! What interesting events are happening in your communities? Adding events to our calendar is free and easy—just click here for instructions, and to see our full calendar. You can even write a pick yourself; just write to me with your pitch!

Editor Mary Turck reports:
I got a call today that began, “I want you to tell my story.” That’s really what we do — we help people connect through stories. Sometimes that means helping people to register on the site — about 50 new users in July — and tell their stories in articles or blog posts or community event listings. Sometimes it’s connecting a writer with someone who wants to tell about their problems with a landlord, or their passion for community gardens. Sometimes it’s looking for the stories people tell through their videos or in public forums and giving those stories a wider circulation through re-publishing them. We help people connect with one another by telling their stories. We told about special education students and City View/Minnesota School of Science (a story that got national attention from Diane Ravitch and from Huffington Post), about keeping Muslim traditions alive in a new country, about thefts from community gardens — and much more. In July, we told hundreds of stories, and our readers connected with us and with each other through reading, through comments, through Facebook, and through face-to-face conversations.
You can support our work by donating to the Twin Cities Media Alliance through the GiveMN.org donation website, (http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Twin-Cities-Media-Alliance).  If you prefer, you can send a check to TCMA, 2600 E. Franklin, suite #2, Minneapolis MN 55406.

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