The Abbi Agency is in the middle of collecting data on the life of UGC. If you are a marketer, contribute your personal experience with UGC and tell us about campaigns you’ve worked with. Two survey respondents will be randomly selected to win $100 Visa gift cards.

Across the Internet marketers are writing about the gospel of the good acronym, UGC (user-generated content). It makes sense — people are snapping a whopping 150 new photos on their smartphones every month, and 46 percent of the population is sharing these photos on social platforms as original content — why not harness all this creative consumer energy to promote your brand?

Meanwhile, diverse audiences are swarming every social platform. Empty nesters ages 55+ lead the pack of new Facebook users. And don’t discount Gen Z — most of this population has already earned their social wings. A group that has grown up surrounded by technology, Gen Z kids have the tools to adapt quickly to changes and trends, and the will to blast their thoughts out and change the world.…

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LinkedIn may be king of business-to-business social media, but don’t rule out Pinterest. The pinning site most commonly associated with consumer purchases and planning for events such as weddings is increasingly becoming a useful space for B2B brands, Pinterest Head of Brand Strategy Kevin Knight said during a presentation at BMA15 on Thursday.

“B2B brands are part of the way people live on Pinterest,” Knight said, which he clarified is less a social network than a tool for self-exploration. Brands interested in Pinterest should focus less on increasing their followers and more on creating content that others will share, he advised.

One-third of all millennials in the U.S. are active on Pinterest, and many of them are using it to not just plan consumer purchases but to pin tips associated with running a small businesses or writing more compelling blog posts. Content created by brands comprises 67% of all pins, according to Knight.…

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Education-badge-blue2How can educators, employers and government leaders work together to prepare students for today’s technically-sophisticated labor market? And what kind of skills route students to good, 21st-century jobs? Panelists addressed these questions and more during a May 21 conversation hosted by New America Foundation.

Much attention has been directed to the “skills gap,” or the challenges employers confront in sourcing workers with the right qualifications for today’s fast-paced economy. Here are some lessons stakeholders shared at the discussion:

The U.S. is not alone in this fight

There’s a lot of anxiety surrounding skills in the U.S., from both the supply side — students weighing which postsecondary track or college major will land them a job — and the demand side — employers who are struggling in their search for highly-skilled workers. It is taking today’s college graduates more time to find a job, and recent graduates are more likely to be underemployed, noted New America Senior Policy Analyst Mary Alice McCarthy, citing a report from the New York Federal Reserve.…

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When it comes to leadership, is there such thing as too much of a good thing? There sure can be. In fact, just about any weakness can be attributed to one or more strengths that are overused.

In a recent talent review meeting, the executive team was discussing the strengths and development needs of a promising up and coming leader. One of her greatest strengths was her customer focus. This was a company that placed a high value on customer service, so that strength had served her well.

However, this leader was developing a reputation for breaking too many company policies and rules, alienating or bullying other departments, being too narrowly focused, and not strategic enough. Her passion for taking care of her customers at all costs was now truing into a liability.

So yes, you can even be too customer-focused.

Here are six other common leadership strengths that when overdone can turn into leadership weaknesses:


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This month’s SmartBrief on EdTech Product Showcase roundup is running today due to the Memorial Day holiday.

As the school year winds down, a number of new products are hitting the ed-tech shelves. Here’s what piqued SmartBrief on EdTech readers’ interest this month in Product Showcase:

Bringing STEM to Light: Teaching about Light and Optics

Educators can enroll to take a free online course this summer on the science of light. The five-week, self-paced class, Bringing STEM to Light: Teaching about Light and Optics, is designed for teachers with students ages 6 to 14 and will include a number of hands-on activities using Laser Classroom’s Light Blox Kit. The class begins June 22. Registration is open now for interested teachers.

Online service delivers special education instruction

PresenceLearning has launched a new service that enables students with special needs to receive live instruction from credentialed special education teachers. Schools can use the service for one-on-one instruction as well as with small groups.…

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