WandaVision (2021)

wandavision-unpauseit-podcast

Out of the clutches of a hex like no other, we’re glad to be back with this latest episode of UnpauseIt! We were mesmerized by the first show of the MCU’s Phase 4 and joined forces with a fellow family o’ geeks to bring you our thoughts – ALL of them!

WandaVision debuted exclusively on the Disney+ channel and, based on how impossible it was to avoid spoilers on social media every Friday, was a smashing success across the spectrum. With the first episode kicking off on January 15, every week we were brought a new episode to dissect and speculate about right up through the Series Finale (the actual title as well as the definition) on March 5, 2021.

As you’ll be able to tell from our podcast episode, we were left with a slew of questions by the end of this series, and just in time! Falcon and The Winter Soldier is already underway – also exclusively on Disney+ – and we still have a tonnage of MCU projects to anticipate this year. I mean, how are we supposed to get anything done, right? (By the way, raise your hand if you’ve gotten your COVID vaccine yet.)

Many thanks to our good friends, the Doggetts, for joining us on this reaction episode; we’re planning to have them join us for future rundowns as well!

Let us know in the comments what you thought of WandaVision: What were your predictions? Were you right or wrong about them? Favorite moments? Annoying cliffhangers? We want to hear from you, oh fellow geeks.

Zooms Are ZZZZZZs Without a Chat Stirrer

screenshot of zoom attendees on video: Why Your Zoom Needs a Chat Stirrer by Really Social

I’ve worn many hats throughout my career, and especially as a social media / digital marketer. From graphic design to copywriting, project management to training, and a whole lot of other stuff I have to be good at to do what I do, my hat collection is vast and vibrant. Thus it was pretty thrilling when I got the opportunity to add a new, very custom hat to my collection of capabilities.

The Chat Stirrer

I’m known at the company where I work as someone who likes to liven things up in the Zoom chat window. I mean… yeah, why not? Considering on any given day I attend no less than six different Zoom calls, all of varying lengths and topics, I look to that chat window as the answer for my ever-shortening attention span.

Apparently I’m not the only one! Due to my history of mixing things up and inspiring conversation in chat windows, I was asked to attend an executive webinar as (what I lovingly and I think wittily enough dubbed) the Chat Stirrer. Swap out two letters and we’re talking about something completely different, so let’s stick with my quippy title.

Granted, I’ve been asked to put my social media chops to use for a myriad of odd or unique purposes before, but this request was perfect for a social media pro: someone who is used to navigating fast-moving online conversations using words without the help of vocal tone or body language, who is able to keep the conversation civil as well as focused enough on the topic at hand, and who is able to type really fast. (I clock at about 110 wpm these days; how about you?)

So I accepted the request and jumped into this special executive Zoom as its designated Chat Stirrer. And, now that the experience is already experienced, allow me to share my learnings and best practices.

Stirred, Not Shaken

  • Touchbase with the organizer(s) for expectations. The day before the webinar, I had a quick call with the host/organizer to understand the topic, the arrangement with the presenter/speaker, the duration, and the attendees. We established a back channel (via Teams) outside of the Zoom in case we needed to communicate, and she ensured that I received a panelist access link to the Zoom so I would have visibility on all comments and chatter.
  • Do your due diligence if leadership will attend the Zoom. Chances are that the person organizing the webinar is not someone who is a C-level or executive leader of the company. And, not to stereotype (but here we go), individuals in those roles typically are in a corporate/boardroom mentality and not keyed in to the ways of social interactions online. The Chat Stirrer and the event organizers can safely assume the leadership has never hung out on subreddits or dug deep into a Facebook Group comment thread or joined a Netflix watch party. Their reaction at seeing an active chat window underway while a presentation is happening may be that attendees aren’t paying enough attention (because how in the world could they if they’re typing/reading comments at the same time as someone is sharing slides on the screen?). A bit of education about today’s reality of digesting content through multiple devices/screens will serve you and the event organizers well, plus it will allow the chat engagement to be what you all intended: a way to retain attention and promote learning of the material through synchronous discussion.
  • Prepare some ice breakers for the pre-show. Remember that attendees to a webinar are likely coming directly from a different Zoom and/or from being head-down in a ton of work (or, let’s be real here, they’re fully intending on multitasking their attendance in this particular webinar). If you can engage them in the chat right off the bat, especially in ways that aren’t the usual “share who you are and what you do here,” chances are you’ll keep their focus in this webinar which so many took the time to plan and possibly pay a speaker to present. Prompts like “Where are you joining us from today?” or “If you step outside right now, what’s the weather like where you are?” are a couple of my go-to starters (though I always have others so things don’t get stale).
  • Drive chatter to the wider audience. At the top of the webinar, and periodically throughout, remind attendees to change their audience in the chat to “Panelists and Attendees.” Zoom is weird in that it defaults the choice to “Panelists” only, which means a person’s comment in chat would only be seen by the organizers rather than the entire attendance. Your roole as the Chat Stirrer can help them remain in the larger discussion by changing the dropdown at the bottom of the chat window as they join so it’s all set for any time they publish a comment.
  • Drive conversation in the direction of the topic (avoid offramps). The goal is to keep engagement going in the chat, but you don’t want to deviate too far from what the speaker, presenter, or panel is covering. After all, the goal is to come away from the webinar having learned something, so getting too chatty about ancillary subjects can make you seem as if you’re rude and/or going rogue. If you notice the chat is straying too far from the subject, ask a question or opine on the presenter’s point to bring it back in line. This is why a social media professional is a great Zoom Chat Stirrer: their skills at community management, moderation, and engagement are perfectly suited to controlling a live chat environment.
  • Avoid being too corporate. Chat is just that: it’s chatting. It isn’t public speaking, it isn’t presenting a report, it isn’t pitching; rather it’s a casual conversation that carries meaning. If you as the Chat Stirrer are too formal in your typing tone, attendees will feel less inclined to type their own comments or opinions. It’s crucial to make everyone in the chat feel they are on the same level of participation in what they can bring to the discussion. Remember that, regardless of title, most adults read at an eighth grade reading level. And even if your webinar is for a lineup of your executives who all earned their MBAs or higher, consider this: do you honestly think they use boardroom-speak in their every day conversations and texts? Prompt engagement via words that a person uses in their normal, everyday, casual speech.
  • Reinforce the topic using chat prompts. If a poll pops up during the webinar, ask people to share how they responded in the chat, and make sure you share to create the safe space for them to divulge their answer. Sure, the speaker and panelists can see the aggregated responses which is interesting on its own, but carrying the discussion deeper in the chat about how people answered and why is even more interesting! Often what happens is that, even as the speaker is making very salient points, the experiences attendees feel comfortable sharing via chat can increase the learning taking place.
  • Debrief afterwards. Once the webinar has ended, get with the organizers and/or presenters to review how the event went. Was the chat activity helpful overall? Any feedback for improvement for next time? Any insights seen in the chat discussion that should be incorporated in follow-up notes or distribution?

Here’s the wrap-up and final takeaway from this whole experience: Zooms, while a great tool especially these days, can get boring FAST. Any person who doesn’t want their Zoom to turn into a snoozefest or a call where it’s clear that every single attendee is doing something else, or wishing they were, should ensure that that simple yet handy chat feature is kept lively and interactive. TL;DR version: enlist a Zoom Chat Stirrer.

Got thoughts? Drop them below! I’d love to hear what you think and if this is something you’ve done, failed at, or want for your next Zoom call.

(This blog article, though it may seem like it, is in no way sponsored or paid for by Zoom. I just thought it’d be helpful to link to them throughout considering they are technically the social media platform of the COVID-19 year.)

Mulan (2020) via Disney+

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The motion picture release we’ve been waiting for… and we’re having to watch it on Disney+ because that’s the state of affairs today. Join us as we visit the legend of Mulan via the much-anticipated live action version; we dissect the production, the fighting, the acting, the comparisons, and provide the full spectrum of reactions from two sets of families.

Let us know if you agree, and also what you’re looking forward to next on the entertainment horizon: visit unpauseit.com, or interact with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Watch the video version (which features a Baby Yoda cameo!) on our YouTube channel. Enjoy!

End of a COVID Summer

Anyone have a somewhat weird or different summer when it comes to entertainment? We sure did. Join us as we recap what we were into, what kept us sane, and what we’re looking forward to. Also check out the video of our recording on the UnpauseIt YouTube channel! And let us know what kept you busy on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at unpauseit.com

Flour Power

Elizabeth, this episode’s guest, is a 9th grader who took a 25lb. of flour, turned on the oven, and baked her skills in during lockdown. Her family, all willing participants to try her pastries, may have gained the COVID “19,” but in the end they all gained immensely from Elizabeth’s skills and experiencing growth together. 

To see pictures and links of recipes you can try, visit www.unpauseit.com. You can also watch the video interview at bit.ly/unpauseityoutube. 

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Happy New Year! Now Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings.

Those quizzes you played over the holidays aren’t just there for giggles.

‘Tis the end of a decade and what a journey it’s been, right? Ten years and so many things have changed: Internet Explorer isn’t the top browser, free wifi is just about everywhere (not just at Starbucks), and Mark Zuckerberg is known more for his congressional hearings than for being TIME’s Person of the Year.

Other things change, too, and they matter – especially today, when we all value our data and private information just about as much as our valuables and family members. Guess what? The social apps we all use on the daily value our data even more than we do, and they’re always waiting with open arms to catch you (and your information) unawares.

So, as we get rolling into a brand new year and a new decade, let’s check your private parts, shall we? (Private parts of your social media apps, that is.)

Facebook Privacy Settings

Fortunately it’s fairly easy to make crucial review and updates to your settings in Facebook. For a quick video walkthrough, watch our YouTube video below… otherwise you can follow the screenshots through this article.

  • Go to Facebook.com and click on the question mark at the top right. This should reveal a slew of options: click on Privacy Checkup.
Screenshot of the privacy settings menu from Facebook's top nav bar.
Hidden within the question mark are some important features that relate to how safe you are online and on Facebook.
  • Work your way through the four (4) modules to thoroughly update your settings. You may be surprised at what you find (I was!), so it’s important to take the five minutes necessary to clean things up.
Screenshot of the four privacy setting modules in Facebook
Facebook will guide you through short reviews of visibility, security, searchability, and data sharing.
  • Once you’ve worked through all four modules, you aren’t done! Click on the Settings link at the bottom of the dialog box to get into more crucial options. Start with the Privacy tab in Facebook Settings (see below).
Screenshot of Privacy Settings within the Facebook website.
Under the Facebook hood are even more settings that you’ll want to review and update. They relate to Stories, tagging, and even face recognition!

It’ll only take you a few minutes to glance at each setting, from Privacy all the way through Face Recognition (gasp – what?), but it’s truly worth your time. Better to be rigorous for less than 10 minutes than to spend months fixing the loss of your private data!

Have a quarter.

We recommend that you check these settings about once every quarter (three months). Why? Because Facebook will change settings for you and/or you may accept changes that you forget about.

For instance, every time you change the visibility setting on your Facebook posts, that settings stays that way for the next post unless you change it back. By setting one post to Public, every post after that could be Public also… unless you change it back to Friends or something else.

Also, consider this: every so often Facebook will automatically update your feed settings so that any video you pause on will automatically play sound. (Annoying, right? Also embarrassing if you happen to be in a quiet environment.) If it makes changes for you on the feed, you can safely assume it could make changes to your settings without you realizing it.

Better to be safe than waaaaaay sorry.

What are your tips and tricks for protecting your Facebook privacy and data?

Little Women (2019) + a smidge of Minecraft

The girls are out for an evening at the cinema as LadyDisdayn and Furious Jeb (mom and daughter) head to a screening of Little Women (2019). We chat history (with some obvious opportunities for knowledge seeking), Minecraft, and how we liked Little Women. Join us for this literal ride back to colonial America as we drop in on the March family… in December.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Reactions & Ratings (SPOILERS!)

The UnpauseIt family crew saw and had all the reactions to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker… and now we need to see it again. We think you will too, but first let’s hash out how we took it all in and what we think of it: good, bad, ugly. 

There are SPOILERS in this episode, so you have been warned. This is not, in fact, a TRAP. (Thanks, Admiral Akbar.)

The Mom Dept.

A show about the business of being a professional mom.

“Write what you know.”

Mark Twain

It’s a good policy for writing, and the same goes for shows. We are the most passionate about the things we feel we know best, so it makes perfect sense to me that my return to livestreaming is a show about two aspects to me that I know all too well.

Mom + Professional = #TheMomDept

Screenshot of live broadcast of #TheMomDept on LinkedIn Live

When I’m thinking about doing a new livestream show about real, professional experience as a woman, and then learn I have access to LinkedIn Live, the theme of #TheMomDept was a no-brainer.

I know so many professional women, and a good portion of them are mom-figures in every sense. We navigate the choppy waters of being responsible for multiple aspects of our life, and often of other people’s lives, so there is no end to relevant topics we can explore.

Also, I can’t lie: the draw of making videos on LinkedIn is great, especially as the engagement there is more focused and amplified than on a platform like Facebook. YouTube is great, but right now video on LinkedIn is a small-enough, focused pond where great waves can be made.

What do you want to see?

Upcoming topics for #TheMomDept include:

  • The Whole Image Thing (make-up, fashion, appearance, etc.)
  • Dollars and Sense (budgets at work and budgets at home)
  • Back-to-School Balance…??? (is there such a thing?)

If you have a topic you’d love the show to cover OR if you’re burning to be a guest, email me! You can also InMail me on LinkedIn.

Serenity Forge: Video Games That Go Farther

Video games are part of our world, and many of us don’t even realize how much they can impact our lives. We sat down with Serenity Forge founder Z Yang to chat about what goes into making a video game and why his company puts more into games than a great story and graphics. As parents, we loved learning about how Serenity Forge is creating games that address adolescent mental well-being and real issues faced by teens. Our kids loved learning about free systems they can download to build their own games!

Enjoy this insightful chat with Z about some great new games – The King’s Bird, Half Past Fate, and Once Upon a Coma – you can get today at serenityforge.com. They were just one of the tons of amazing vendors we found at Denver Pop Culture Con