Besides working 80-hour weeks and publishing five papers a year, what can you do to get an edge on all those other graduate students and post-docs competing for scarce jobs? Or, if you’ve been contemplating getting off the academic bus, where’s the exit door? How do you create more opportunities for yourself? One possible answer to these questions can come from creating a public presence online through the tools of social media. Developing a well-managed portfolio of posts and online articles helps establish you as a thinker, a teacher, and a public intellectual. Going online can be a way to translate your research to the general public and to effectively communicate your passion about your work. It may also be the X-factor that helps you enter the next phase of your career.

Duke’s Office of News and Communications, the Thompson Writing Program and the Nicholas School of the Environment are offering a workshop for graduate and professional students that will include discussions with prominent social media writers and a hands-on workshop to focus on translating your research and experiences to broader audiences.

Eventbrite - Going Public: Building an Online Presence

Friday, March 22nd, 10 am – 12 pm

Gross Hall 105


Jeffrey Cohen

Jeffrey L. Cohen is a Social Strategist and the Manager of Content Marketing at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud unites social marketing leaders Buddy Media and Radian6 to form the world’s only unified social marketing suite. It empowers brands to make better business decisions in marketing, sales and service.

Jeff provides social media thought leadership by working with B2B and B2C enterprise companies to assess their social media strategy and adoption. He advises them on how social media marketing, listening and engagement can help them meet their business objectives. Jeff also works with the content creation team to ensure they are publishing the best social media content on the web to educate, inform and entertain customers, prospects, advocates and influencers, while driving leads and sales.

With more than 20 years of marketing experience, Jeff has provided strategic counsel to B2B and B2C companies on both the client and agency sides. Jeff is the co-author of The B2B Social Media Book. Jeff is also the co-founder and Managing Editor of, the leading online resource for social media’s impact on B2B marketing.

Elizabeth Michalka, Marketing Communications Associate & Student Blog Manager
Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

Elizabeth Michalka was drawn to storytelling for as long as she can remember. Her father, originally from Slovakia, always knew how to spin a good tale, and captivated her with stories from a young age. Elizabeth has created stories in a slightly different way – by writing for magazines, newspapers, websites, and social media. But, regardless of the format, she strongly believes that content is king. Currently, at The Fuqua School of Business, she leads the social media content strategy and development specifically for master’s programs, alumni services, and executive education. She also manages 3 student blogs (for the MMSDaytime MBA, andWeekend Executive MBA programs), and nearly 30 student bloggers. Previously, Elizabeth was a communications specialist in Human Resources Communications for Duke University and Health System, and wrote for the Working@Duke magazine. Prior to Duke, Elizabeth spent two years as an award-winning features reporter and staff photographer for The Wake Weekly newspaper in Wake Forest, NC. In 2004, Elizabeth graduated from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina.

Jules Odendahl-James is the Resident Dramaturg and a visiting lecturer in the Department of Theater Studies at Duke University. Her course offerings range from documentary media & performance to detective & crime science narratives to writing performance criticism & dramaturgy. Her research interest in “the forensic imagination” focuses on how circuits of truth, trauma, memory and storytelling are made manifest by aesthetic, archival and activist impulses in post-9/11 theater, television, and digital domains. Jules has composed columns for HowlRound, the Center for Theatre Commons and is a faculty blogger for Duke’s Blue Devils United. Jules has been incorporating blog and digital platforms into the classroom since 2010 (some examples: Theatre Verbatim/Verboten, CSI Stage) and builds digital presence for Theater Studies’ mainstage productions (examples: The Laramie Project Ragtime, The Musical LEAR). She has also used online forums to curate visiting artist residencies/interdisciplinary collaborations, the most recent being the How to Build a Forest project that visited Duke in October of 2012 with support from the Nicholas School for the Environment, the Council for the Arts, and Department of Theater Studies at Duke and the SouthArts, National Endowment for the Arts foundation.


We’re excited to kick-off the first Going Public workshop for undergraduate students tomorrow.

What to expect.

We’re going to run the conference in a loose, unconference format. When you arrive at the workshop, we’ll ask you to make a name badge and take a seat and introduce yourself. We’ll run through the logistics of the day and then you will tell us what hands-on workshops we should focus on during the day (don’t worry, we’ll start by providing you with some ideas).

Here’s a rough agenda for the day:

9-9:30 am

Introductions, explaining how the day will run, choosing and suggesting hands-on workshops**.

9:30-11 am

Participants will hear from Ashley TsaiTyler DukesSarah GoetzRob Goodman(’05) , Caitlyn Zimmerman (MEM ’12) and have the opportunity to ask the panelists questions.

11 – 11:15 am


11:15 am – 12 pm

Group idea exchange. What’s possible? What’s fun? What do we read and follow?

12 – 12:45 pm

Lunch and small group discussion.

12:45 – 1 pm

Overview of afternoon hands-on workshops.

1 – 2:45 pm

Hands-on workshops.

2:45 – 3 pm

Wrap-up and reactions.


** Initial ideas for hands-on workshops

Social Networks: using online tools to write out loud

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. YouTube. Pinterest. You may not have used all of these and other social media tools, but you’re probably using at least some of them for staying in touch with friends and family, displaying your work and other activities such as classes, events and clubs. Online networks can also be a platform for sharing what you care about, developing as a writer, building a public reputation, and enhancing your professional network. In this session, we’ll help you to assess how existing communities can be useful for your own “going public” goals.

Elements of a Good Blog Post

We’ll talk about the writing voice, the headline and lead sentence, visuals, links, and all the other elements that will make your blog posts worth reading and sharing. (Hint – it’s pretty much the opposite of a term paper.)

Setting up your blog on WordPress 

A tutorial on how to create and set up a WordPress blog.

Appealing to the Masses: Crafting a Niche  

Translating research writing into good online content.

Freelance Writing 101

How do you make writing a career or build a portfolio of work?  How can you make strategic publishing choices?  How do you make a pitch to an editor?   

Advice on publishing through social networks

Writing for social netwo

 What you need to know.

Friday, Feb. 8, 9am – 3pm

Smith Warehouse 177 (Bay 6 on the first floor)

Lunch is provided

Everyone is welcome, but we have space for 25


Contact Jennifer Ahern-Dodson or Cara Rousseau.


Many of us use social sites like Facebook to keep up with friends and turn to blogs like Gawker for snappy coverage of current events. But have you ever considered that these platforms can also be powerful channels to connect with the wider world? Creating your own public presence online can help to establish you as a thinker, expert, or community activist. Building a well-managed portfolio of blog posts can substantially differentiate you from your peers, create an opportunity for you to shape public dialogue, and it may be the X-factor that helps you land your dream research project, internship, or – ultimately – career.

What do you care about? Why? How can building an online presence help you communicate that passion to others?

In this workshop, participants will hear from Tyler Dukes, Sarah Goetz, Rob Goodman (’05) , Caitlyn Zimmerman (MEM ’12), and other prominent local and alumni freelance writers and bloggers to learn more about the features of productive online communication and networking, and leave with the tools they need to make progress on building their own public presence online, including either an initial draft of a blog post or a well-informed choice of networking platform.

We hope you join us. Register to attend.

Going Public: Building an Online Presence
Friday, February 8, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Bay 6, Smith Warehouse 177

*All Duke sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to apply. Space is limited to 20 participants to allow for individual feedback and small group discussion, so please apply early. Workshop is appropriate for all experience levels.

**Lunch will be served to workshop participants.

This event is sponsored by the Thompson Writing Program, Duke’s Office of News and Communications and the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Do you have questions? Please contact Jennifer Ahern-Dodson ( or Cara Rousseau (