Blog 2014: Adding social media links

Where I learned how to add social media buttons, and where I found them

Today, I added custom social media links to my secondary menu, which appears on the left sidebar in the Twenty-Fourteen WordPress theme I’m using now. I did this because Twenty-Fourteen doesn’t have social links in the theme, and I wanted them near the top of my blog layout. To learn how to add them, I started by reading the WordPress Support article “Add Social Media Buttons to Your Sidebar or Footer.” When I did a Google Image search of ‘free social media icons’, as suggested in the support article, I found my favorite icon set at GraphicsFuel: 20 Popular Social Media Icons (PSD & PNG). Thank you, GraphicsFuel!

What code I used

I used the HTML shown on the support article, but I amended it with a bit of CSS to put some padding (space) to the right and bottom of the buttons so they didn’t look stuck together. While I was at it, I took the width and height properties out of the HTML and put them into the CSS where they belong (since they are style, not structure). Here is a sample of the style code I added to the img element for my customization:


How it looks today

Of course things will change with time as I change themes or widgets, but here is what my blog looks like as of this writing, with the new social media button links I added to the left sidebar:

A screenshot of the front page of my blog on July 7, 2014
A screenshot of the front page of my blog on July 7, 2014

Why I wrote this

I always like to share what I learn with others who might benefit, and I like to give credit where it’s due. I hope you find it helpful. Please let me know.

Google posts Doodle in support of gay Olympians

In support of LGBT athletes at the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Google sported a rainbow-colored doodle on their search page and quoted from the Olympic Charter:

The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic sprit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

–Olympic Charter

First workshop on Google+ Hangout a success

Online participant’s view of Fostering Independence workshop conducted in a Google+ Hangout

Learning from colleagues via Daniel Greene’s workshop… all from the comfort of my home while my daughter naps. Amazing technology!

–online participant


Yesterday, I included online participants in one of my workshops for the first time. I had used the technology in my teaching practicum last quarter in grad school, but this was the first time I used a Google+ Hangout to give a three-hour workshop as a solo presenter. We had a small turnout for this one, including two participants online and three participants on site. The two online participants connected separately, I had my own connection, and the three onsite participants had two laptops between them, so we had a total of five video connections. A Hangout will hold ten video connections, so we could have had five more Google+ Hangout participants — six more if we had only used one connection for all the onsite participants. And of course we could have had more onsite participants.


I advertised the Google+ Hangout on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and my blog two days before the event. I had online participants register with the site coordinator and pay me directly via PayPal. I had the participants check to see that they had Google+ accounts and send me their Gmail addresses so I could find them on Google+ and add them to a Circle. The site coordinator emailed my handouts and slides to the online participants as PDFs so they could follow along on their screen or print them as they saw fit. She also got the participants’ details so she could process CEUs. The onsite participants had my handouts printed, and I also showed my slideshow on the screen behind me.  I conducted the workshop in English, and in addition to using the Hangout for talking, I used the Hangout YouTube app to show a video to the participants. I could have used the Slideshare app to share my slides as well, but I wanted to keep it simple and not “tempt fate” by overloading the system. I told my students I would start a new Hangout and invite them if we all got disconnected; that avoids the problem of people inviting each other and refusing each other’s invitations because each one wants the other to join the Hangout they started.


I was able to harness the technology to extend my teaching, and the students/participants gave me excellent scores and comments on the evaluations. I had hoped for some interpreters of languages other than ASL and English, but as it turned out, we were all ASL/English interpreters. We did experience some packet loss or “freezing video” a couple of times, and the online participants had to reconnect once or twice, but thankfully we never lost the Hangout altogether. We onsite people tended to look at the laptops in front of us more than each other, so it was a bit like we were all online participants. I shared my observation and suggested with some levity those of us in the room “might look at each other once in a while.” We did balance looking at the screens with looking at each other so that all participants felt included.


All-in-all, it was a great experience for all of us. The online/onsite hybrid was a fascinating dynamic with us onsite looking at laptops in front of us, yet I was glad  I had participants in front of me onsite as well as online. I’m glad I didn’t cancel the workshop due to low registration, and even though extending the workshop online only brought two extra participants, the small number was cozy and the interaction was rich. It was worth it for what we were all able to learn from each other about getting out of the way and fostering independence.