Rec’s and Reviews: A Guide to Social Media

In today’s constantly changing social media culture, it can be hard to know how to tell your story best. Digital consultant and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk addresses that challenge in his book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.”

Cover of "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook."

Cover of “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” Source:

The title of the book comes from an analogy that Vaynerchuk carries through the entire piece. He equates social media use to boxing, with different types of content categorized as jabs and right hooks. Jabs are the “lightweight pieces of content” that entertain followers and draw them in. Right hooks are calls to action that benefit the source. The comparison is simple but applicable, neatly explaining all the content Vaynerchuk includes.

It is important to note that Vaynerchuk’s book was published in 2013. Two years may sound fleeting, but it’s several social media lifetimes. For example, Vaynerchuk gives solid advice for using photos in social media posts, but barely mentions videos, the real social media currency today. This may be because pictures are easier to demonstrate on paper than video, but in a culture that is rapidly moving beyond videos to livestream content, so much emphasis on photos seems dated. Vaynerchuk does mention Vine and Snapchat as “emerging networks,” but any teen can tell you that they are now on the way out.

With that in mind, it is still more than possible to take Vaynerchuk’s excellent lessons and examples and apply them to social media today. His book is geared toward companies, so he emphasizes content and brand voice. He has an almost preternatural understanding of what works for each platform he covers. This knowledge is displayed in his chapter titles: Storytell on Facebook, Listen on Twitter, Create Art on Instagram, etc. The titles are also good examples of Vaynerchuk’s writing style. The entire book is full of similar buzzwords and written with a snappy, clear voice that makes the wealth of information easy to absorb.

“Jab, Jab” covers a huge amount of information. It can seem overwhelming, and it is not a fast read. Vaynerchuk’s voice keeps the book from dragging, but the amount of detail warrants a thorough reading. Though slightly dated, the information holds up, and can be applied to the new platforms and trends of today. For companies and individuals looking to gain a deeper understanding of how to use social media well, this book is an effective and accessible resource.

Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur and author of "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook." Source: Author

Gary Vaynerchuk is a businessman, co-founder of digital consulting agency VaynerMedia, and self-proclaimed “storytelling entrepreneur.” He has been a consistent early adopter of new developments in technology, from email to social media. He was chosen as one of the top 20 people entrepreneurs should follow by Businessweek. Vaynerchuk has 1,139,135 followers on Twitter and 63,651 followers on Instagram.


Community Education features a book or movie in our blog every month. Watch the blog for reviews, recommendations, and more!

Summer of Learning 2015 – Press Release

ced_summer_of_learning_catalog_coverWEST DES MOINES, IOWA – WDMCS Community Education is offering several classes as part of its Summer of Learning. Programs are for various ages and provide a way to expand knowledge and have fun during the summer.

Programs offered include refresher courses and enrichment classes for grades 1-12. Incoming kindergarten students can take part in classes that will introduce them to different aspects of the school experience, from safety to a typical school day.

There are also a variety of programs that will help students develop skills in the fine arts and in science and technology, as well as classes for students with more unique interests, like baking and constructing with LEGO® bricks. There are volunteer opportunities for students grades 9-12 with four different summer programs, and for students grades 6-7 with Safety Town.

Registration is now open for all programs. More information can be found online at the WDMCS Community Education website,, or by calling 515-633-5001. Information on specific classes can be found in the Summer of Learning catalog, available online or at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

Walnut Creek Campus Celebrates Earth and Arbor Day

Walnut Creek Campus participated in an all-school Day of Service on April 22, 2015. Staff and students spent the day in conjunction with the City of Clive cleaning-up green spaces and planting trees and wildflowers in celebration of both Earth and Arbor Day.

Students and staff worked  along the Clive Greenbelt Trail and around the Clive little free library they constructed for a previous service learning experience.

Shelley Clayton is the service learning coordinator for Walnut Creek Campus and coordinates the Day of Service. Service Learning is a program of WDMCS Community Education.

Instructor Tips: Julie Lundy — Running Tips

Close Up Of Runners Feet On Suburban StreetJulie Lundy. a Community Education administrative assistant, provided 10 great pointers for this month’s Instructor Tips. Lundy is a recreational runner who has completed two marathons and several half marathons, Dam-to-Dams, and 5Ks. She sees running as a way to control stress and have some time alone. It is something that can be done anywhere, at any time, with anyone. Lundy likes to remind students in her 5K for Beginners class that running does not have to be a race, and it does not matter how fast you are!

Ten Running Tips from Julie Lundy

  1. Buy good shoes! Have your feet measured later in the day when they are at their biggest. Many people end up getting a running shoe that is a half size larger than their street shoes. Do research: there are many types of shoes, from high stability to lightweight to no stability. A higher price does not mean that shoe is best for you.
  2. Socks are just as important! A good pair can mean the difference between running bliss and painful blisters.
  3. Stay safe when running! Let others know where you are going. If running on a road, run against traffic so you see the oncoming cars and be visible.
  4. Start your training slow. If you start out too fast, you will get discouraged. It is okay to incorporate walking into your training sessions, but try to make your walking sessions shorter each time you go out.
  5. Give yourself goals as you run. Goals can be to run for five minutes before you walk or to run to a road mark, like a sign or tree, before you start walking.  Your goals will get bigger before you know it, and you will have one final goal: to cross the finish line.
  6. Eat and drink smart.  Know what foods digest well for you, and eat a smart amount of those at least 30 minutes before your run.
  7. Eat smart, part two: Running is a great way to burn calories. This makes many people believe they can eat anything they want because they run. Running can be a great way to allow people to eat more, but it does not give you freedom to eat anything in any amount. At the end of the day, your body needs only enough calories to replenish the ones you burn. I usually figure you burn about 100 calories for every mile you run.
  8. Don’t think about your workout — just do it! Sometimes, if you start thinking about whether you should go or not, you end up deciding you have something better to do. Don’t make it an option!
  9. Getting up early to run is my favorite time, and I find that if I don’t do it in the morning, it doesn’t happen. Running in the morning also gives you more energy for the whole day!
  10. Find a running buddy. Not only will they keep you accountable, they will make your run more enjoyable!

Mythbusting Monday: Sneak Peek and Safety Town

Sneak Peek and Safety Town are Summer of Learning programs for students starting kindergarten in the fall. They happen every year as a way to prepare students for attending school. Safety Town introduces students to safety awareness, and Sneak Peek lets them experience what a day of kindergarten will be like.

Myths about Sneak Peek

  • Myth: You can only register at your child’s home school.
    • This myth is FALSE.
    • There are Sneak Peek sessions at six different elementary schools, and they take place during two different weeks. Families are NOT restricted to their home schools. They can choose the site that works best for their schedules and locations. The 2015-16 Sneak Peek schedules is:
      • July 13-17: Crestview. Crossroads Park, or Westridge
      • July 20-24: Fairmeadows, Jordan Creek, or Western Hills
  • Myth: Out-of-district students can register for Sneak Peak.
    • This myth is TRUE.
    • Out-of-district students can register to participate, but registration begins on May 15. WDMCS students are given priority when registering, with their registration starting on April 20. Call 633-5001 for more information.

Myths about Safety Town

  • Myth: Safety Town participants can be any age.
    • This myth is FALSE.
    • Safety Town is a program intended for students entering kindergarten in the fall. It is intended to teach young students about fire and water safety, safety around strangers, transportation safety, and poison safety.
    • Older students are still involved in Safety Town, but only as volunteers. Any students finishing fifth- or sixth-grade this year can volunteer to work with the younger students.
  • Myth: Safety Town classes take place at different locations.
    • This myth is TRUE.
    • Safety Town students get to learn in many different educational environments. Most Safety Town classes will be in the Safety Town village, but classes will also include classroom activities and a field trip to the West Des Moines Police and Fire departments. Contact 633-5001 or see the Summer of Learning catalog for more information.

CE in Photos: Adventures LEGO® Club

The Adventures LEGO® Club met at Jordan Creek Elementary on April 8, 2015. Students shared creations they had constructed at home and watched a LEGO®-themed video before creating new LEGO® structures in groups.

Monthly Motivation: World Health Day

April 7 is World Health Day, a campaign sponsored by the World Health Organization. World Health Day 2015 focuses on food safety around the world. Follow #safefood on Twitter and look for slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe” to find out more about world food safety. This quiz on some food safety basics is a good place to start exploring World Health Day:

A quiz on food safety from the World Health organization.

World Health Day Tablemat Quiz

The quiz is also available to print as a tablemat.


CE Today: April 1 — Where did April Fools’ Day come from?

April Fools’ Day is loved by some and hated by others. It is a day for jokes, pranks, and hoaxes. But how did it get started?

feature_group_kids_happyThe most common theory says a calendar change in the 1500s moved the date of the new year from April 1 to January 1. The “April fools” who did not adjust to the new calendar were pranked and teased, leading to the modern tradition.

April Fools’ Day could also have evolved from older spring festivals full of laughter and practical jokes, like Hilaria, an Ancient Roman festival. What pranks have you pulled today?

An April Fools’ Day Bonus

This trick will please Google Maps users and Pac-Man enthusiasts alike. Google has a new, secret feature that allows users to play Pac-Man using the streets as a maze. It was enabled just in time for April Fools’ Day, but this Google support page says it will not be around for long.


Discovery: “Where Does April Fools’ Day Originate?”
Encyclopedia Britannica: Hilaria