Monthly Archives: November 2012

The US-Dakota War, 150 Years Later

Mankato, Minn.,– 38 Dakota Indians were killed in 1862 after the US-Dakota War. This war is the topic for the public radio station This American Life’s podcast titled “Little War on the Prairie.” This podcast is even more important as it is the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

Minnesotan man John Biewen and Minnesota State University, Mankato teacher, Gwen Westerman explain to us the true events of this historical event.

Facts about the war:

  • December 26, 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the war.
  • It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history, yet it is relatively unknown.
  • The execution method was a hanging which took place in downtown Mankato.
  • After five settlers were killed by Dakota men, the conflict grew and more support of the war was the outcome.

Biewen and Westerman go on to explain the the war was not something that abruptly happened and that many circumstances led to the actual war.

Dakota men from the US-Dakota War. Photo Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

What led up to the war?

  • Thomas Jefferson encouraged the Native Americans to become so indebted to traders that their only option would be to sell their land.
  • Mistreatment and blatant lies led the Native Americans to damaging situations. For example, the treaty for the Traverse des Sioux was intentionally translated with important information left out.
  • Many people had their land taken away from them and were still in a large amount of debt.
  • The Native Americans were offered little to no help from the majority of settlers. One man allegedly said that they should eat grass instead of offering credit for food.

Dakota people held at Fort Snelling. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

These are only a few of the problems that led up to the war. The war lasted for 36 days and resulted in the death of many innocent people on both sides. It is important to note that not everyone was for the war and there are many cases of Native Americans protecting the people they knew.



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Helpful Social Media Tips from Professor Ellen Mrja

Follow these tips from Ellen Mrja for a better experience with Twitter and blogging.

Entering the world of social media can be a very difficult and tiresome task. There are many questions that people have and when given a good answer to these questions, Twitter and blogging, for example, can become a great tool for getting your ideas out there. Professor Ellen Mrja offers quick solutions to these questions that can give anyone a better understanding of social media.

First and foremost, she gives a list of Do’s and Dont’s. These helpful hints consist of the following:

  • Don’t give out lots of meaningless tweets in a short amount of time (and in general).
  • Don’t just rely on retweeting.
  • Do reply to people’s tweets and try to start a conversation.
  • Think of tweets as headlines: keep them interesting, to the point and sort of as a call for action (example: explain a charity and ask for donations)
  • Keep tweets under 120 characters so that others can add their handle on a tweet.
  • Don’t create a tweet that leaves the reader questioning what exactly the topic is.
  • Keep tweeting and keep things interesting! It will get easier very soon!

With these hints in mind, the Twitter experience can be much better.

She also explains ways to have blogging give a better outcome. Her first tip is the same as Twitter: Keep it up! There are many lurkers on the internet who read blog posts and tweets, but they do not comment. Check analytics and stats so that you can figure out who (also where they come from) and when people are viewing your posts.

To make your blogs more effective, it is important to use SEO keywords, search engine optimized. A helpful site that Mrja gave as an example was AdWord. Through this website you are able to see which keywords would help the best in the SEO sense. Remember, the larger the number on searches is more competition. So find a keyword is not so much competition so that your material is more likely to be seen.

Also be sure to use the Excerpt on a blog post. An Excerpt gives you another opportunity to describe a bit more what is going on in your post. It also gives you an opportunity to create more SEO material.

These are just a few of the tools that you can use to create good and higher viewed material for blogs and tweets. Social media is tricky, but when given the right tools and ideas like these from Mrja, it can prove to be a fruitful and very helpful tool for you and your career. Keep these things in mind and keep at it!


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Live Twitter Coverage

Yesterday I did a live Twitter coverage of the election results. It was not quite what I expected it to be. When I first began Twitter, I thought that it was a worthless thing that took way too much time. In other words, it was more hassle than it was worth. But last night I realized how handy it could be.
Throughout the results of the elections, I found that most channels and websites were slower than the other or the announcers were simply announcing things that weren’t true or they were projecting everything rather than reporting on it. But it was easy to just go onto Twitter and see what other people were saying about it.
I now have realized that Twitter deserves respect and I will now look at it in a different way. So keep that in mind, people: Twitter can be a great social media tool if used correctly.


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