Who am I?

Personal Details

  • Name: Margaret Sonja Thompson
  • Address: San Francisco CA 94114
  • Phone: (502) 727-4223
  • Email: msonithompson@gmail.com

Professional Profile

Prior to my last positions as a Web Editor and PR Manager, I was a Senior Editor for an international B2B company for 16 years. I am an incredibly dedicated worker, I adapt easily to new projects and tasks, my personality and positive outlook are contagious, and I take pride in my ability to produce quality work.

My Professional Background

Work Experience

2019 January - 2019 Present

Huawei (SDL)

Web Editor

  • Writing podcast scripts for thought leader interviews
  • Managing the podcast production cycle
  • Editing blog posts, PPTs, and podcast transcripts

2016 March - 2017 October

Cheetah Mobile

PR Manager

  • Writing bylines, reviewer’s guides, and press releases for services and mobile app releases
  • Pitching and following up with media for news coverage
  • Creating informative, engaging posts for social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Analyzing social media insights, including engagement, trends, and other metrics
  • Responding to users who communicated through social media
  • Proofreading and editing articles that were written by various teams
  • Providing feedback about the company website and Google Play app descriptions
  • Conducting market research, branding analysis, and writing reports
  • Representing the company at sponsored events and conferences

1999 October - 2015 October

CBS Interactive / TechRepublic

Senior Editor

  • Producing and delivering tech-centric newsletters
  • Writing and editing articles for various tech topics, such as mobility, security, and open source
  • Recording and editing tech community videos and podcast interviews
  • Recruiting, managing, and editing subject-matter experts to write tech articles for the site
  • Updating the company Facebook page to inform members and drive engagement
  • Managing the online community via the Forums and hosting community gatherings and events
  • Creating FAQ documentation – both text and video – for new site features
  • Manually programming the front door (HTML)
  • Attending and covering tech events through blog posts, videos, podcasts, and photo galleries

My Education

Education

1993 August - 1998 May

University of Louisville

BA - English / Minor - Communications

I graduated with honors – Summa Cum Laude.

References

  • Jack Wallen

    Author and Tech Journalist

    I have had the pleasure of working with Sonja now for nearly two decades. She has been, by far, one of the most honest, responsible, diligent, and consistent editors I’ve ever collaborated with. She is always on top of her game and has managed to keep my head above wonder on a number of occasions… I can, with good conscience, say you will be hard-pressed to find a better person for the job.

  • Jay Garmon

    Product Manager

    In our years together, Sonja was a devoted, energetic and creative force that brightened every room she entered. She never gave less than her all, and any workplace would benefit from her presence.

  • Will Kelly

    Writer

    Sonja was my first editor when I was a freelancer for TechRepublic. She’s a consummate and diligent editor, content strategist, and manager. Sonja is a clear communicator that made working for her remotely so much easier. Her enthusiasm for the brand and the technology topics we covered came through in her communications to me. Working with Sonja was a true collaboration, and I highly recommend her for editorial positions.

  • Donovan Colbert

    Writer, Jack of All Trades

    Sonja is an inspiring, creative and gifted editor with a critical eye for improving a writer’s content without comrpomising the message of an article. She provides clear direction and communicates her goals and expectations while maintaining an open-minded approach to creative ideas and submissions. She is versatile and easily applies her knowledge to any role or subject she is writing or editing. Sonja’s projects develop a unique sense of energy that fosters community-building among readers. Her sense of the dynamics of content creation and publishing for Internet audiences is an asset to any organization looking to leverage online media in the most effective manner possible.

What I am good at

Skills & Knowledge

Software

Microsoft Office Suite86%
CMS83%
Pagemail78%
Pixelmator65%
Final Cut Pro55%

LANGUAGE SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE

English
Proficiency
  • SEO & Google Analytics
  • Web usability
  • HTML
  • Social media management
  • Community engagement
  • Multi-format content creation
  • Images
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

My best work

Portfolio

  • + >

    Project 21

    Blog for TechRepublic

  • + >

    Project 20

    Blog for TechRepublic

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    Project 19

    Blog for TechRepublic

  • + >

    Project 18

    Image for CM's Facebook page

  • + >

    Project 17

    Image for TR's Facebook page

  • + >

    Project 16

    Photo gallery for TechRepublic

10 smartphone features that I'm pretty darn thankful for

It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I have the day off, but my body’s internal clock wouldn’t let me sleep in, nor would my animals, whose bellies are quite used to their normal early morning feeding time. So, as I was lying in bed, thinking about today and reflecting on all of the things that I’m thankful for, I decided to pop online and write this quick blog post.

First and foremost, I’m thankful for TechRepublic and the IT community that calls this web site their home away from home. Secondly, I’m the editor of TechRepublic’s Smartphones blog, and I use my smartphone a LOT. I would like to say it’s because I take my job very seriously, but it goes beyond that. I’ve been out to eat with a group of friends and colleagues and noticed that everyone was on their smartphone, so I know it’s not just me. In fact, TechRepublic’s sister site, SmartPlanet, recently highlighted a survey about the growing smartphone addiction in the United States (and I’m sure that other countries are quite attached to their devices as well).

So, without further adieu, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to list 10 things about my smartphone that I’m pretty darn thankful for. I have a Droid Razr Maxx HD that runs Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), but many things on my list are fairly common features that are available on most smartphones, regardless of the OS platform or manufacturer.

  1. Clock: Over the years, my smartphone has increasingly become the primary way I know what time it is. I’ll pick it up, click the power button to wake it from sleep mode, check the time, and then set it back down. There are even numerous clock widgets that you choose from to make the time more prominent on your home screen display. I used to wear a watch, but not so much anymore.
  2. Alarm: Just like my watch from days of old, I used to own an actual alarm clock that plugged into the wall and took up space on my bedside table. My smartphone has taken over that duty as well, and I think it does it much better. Not only is my smartphone alarm feature easier to program, and I can select several different alarms to go off throughout the day (either one-time alarms or ones that repeat daily, weekly, or certain days throughout the week), but I can also select from a variety of different tones (less jarring tones than a traditional alarm clock) to wake up to.
  3. Speaker and Mute: I used to wear a Bluetooth ear piece to talk while driving or whenever my hands were too busy to hold my smartphone to my ear. However, I’ve recently been taking advantage of the speaker instead of siphoning the sound through just one ear. I know that’s not ideal for every situation, but I mostly telecommute, and my animals aren’t disturbed when grandma calls and broadcasts her new favorite recipe. There are also times during phone calls when Mute comes in handy. In fact, I mute approximately 90% of my conference calls – only becoming audible when questions are directed at me or I have something to add to a conversation. I have a teenager in the house that may or may not be a game rager. If he was, believe me, no one would want to hear that (not even grandma).
  4. Font size: A couple years ago, small text started to get a little fuzzy. Almost everyone over 40 will be able to relate – and everyone younger will get there eventually! One of the best customizations I made to my smartphone was increasing the font size so that I can actually read things without glasses. I went to Settings | Display | Font size, and then selected Huge. I’m definitely thankful for huge font.
  5. Voice texting: I’m a big texter. For me, sending text messages are sometimes easier and more convenient than making a phone call. However, there are times when texting isn’t possible or safe – like when your hands are busy preparing dinner or you’re driving home from work – but you still need to get a message out about items that are needed from the grocery store. The voice text feature doesn’t always understand my words correctly, but I continue to use it in a pinch. It’s functional, plus there’s potential entertainment value of the auto-correct feature.
  6. Google Now: I admit that I have Siri-envy, but Google Now has been satiating my need to get information quickly, without having to type. When I click the Google Now microphone and ask, “Where is the closest Starbucks?” it responds with a female voice that says, “Here is a listing of Starbucks within 20 miles.” The information it provides includes address, phone number, web site, reviews, and directions how to get there (with the help of Google Maps). If you’re in an unfamiliar part of town, or another city altogether, information like this is golden.
  7. Calendar: I use my smartphone calendar for planning just about everything. I’ve synced it to my work calendar, email calendars, U.S. holiday calendar, and even my Facebook account (events and friends’ birthdays). I look at my smartphone calendar every single day, and it lets me know important information, like what work tasks I need to complete. Whenever I’m scheduling an appointment, I’m thankful that I no longer have to say, “Let me check my calendar and get back with you,” because my calendar is always on me and up-to-date with all of my information.
  8. Contacts: I know this seems like a simple thing, but having quick access to information about the people I know is pretty cool. It used to be that you had to get everyone’s information and then enter all of the individual pieces – name, home phone, cell phone, work phone, address – into your contact list. Now, with the help of Facebook syncing, all of that information automagically appears. I may not have kept in very good touch with some of my high school friends, but there sure are a variety of ways that I can reach them now!
  9. Camera: Smartphone camera capability has increased over the years, and this feature alone is how a lot of people base their new smartphone purchase. My smartphone takes really good photos, and I use it more than I ever used a regular camera, because my smartphone is with me wherever I go. However, I don’t just take selfies or cute photos of my animals. I also take pictures of receipts, error messages on my computer screen, and other things that I want to remember but don’t want to spend the time writing it down or have to hold onto a piece of paper.
  10. Apps: There are numerous apps on my smartphone, and many of them are addictive. Some are functional and some just provide countless hours of entertainment. Currently, I’m most thankful for the following apps: Facebook, Google Maps, Grocery IQ, Local Places, and Bitstrips (which is connected to my Facebook account).

What other smartphone features – ones that you possibly take for granted – are you thankful for? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

Source: TechRepublic

Touch screen, app addiction, and Angry Birds elbow

Back in 2006, I wrote about an ailment called BlackBerry Thumb. This stress-related injury, caused by repetitive thumb movements from the over-use of PDAs or smartphone, sparked the Hyatt hotel chain to offer "BlackBerry Balm" hand massages for business travelers at most of its North American spas.

Not surprisingly, the use of smartphones has increased a great deal since then, especially with the popularity of touch screens and free entertaining mobile apps. In fact, I witnessed the transition from dumb phone to smartphone when my partner in crime, Krista, decided to upgrade her LG EnV3 (which coincidentally has the tag line "Make Your Thumbs Happy") to the Samsung Stratosphere (a 4G Android device that has an outer touch screen and a QWERTY slider keyboard).

The physical keyboard was an important part of the smartphone selection process, since — like quite a few folks, especially those who text regularly — Krista had apprehension about making the complete switch over to a touch screen. However, it didn't take long before she was exclusively using the touch screen for all of her phone needs, including making calls, sending texts, and playing games.

In fact, the free games available from Google Play became her regular pastime, a de-stressor from work obligations and other life responsibilities. However, it didn't take long before she started experiencing pain in her forearm and elbow — a repetitive motion injury — to the point where it hurt even when she wasn't on her phone.

One weekend, she asked her sister-in-law, Barb, why she was experiencing so much pain. Barb is an Occupational Therapist (OT) and certified hand therapist. After asking a few questions and manipulating her arm a bit, Barb said that Krista was suffering from tennis elbow. The closest thing to tennis that Krista plays is a ping pong app — but seriously, she's much more addicted to SCRABBLE Free, Words with Friends Free, Draw Something Free, Solitaire, and Angry Birds. As such, this particular affliction should more appropriately be called Angry Birds elbow.

After several weeks of increasing pain, to the point where it was affecting her job, Krista made an appointment with her physician, Dr. Lach. After a brief exam and consultation, he also said that she was suffering from lateral epicondilitis, which is the fancy medical term for tennis elbow.

According to Dr. Lach, there are several ways to treat epicondilitis, including rest, ice, stretching exercises, forearm/wrist braces, and anti-inflammatory medication. He said that, with treatment, it could take up to three weeks to get rid of the pain.

Source: TechRepublic

Blogs

Project 19

Wireless Emergency Alerts: Legit service or spreading fear and panic?

Before I really dig into Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), I need to disclose that my level of anxiety has definitely increased with age. I didn't used to be scared of flying on airplanes, heights, or tornadoes, but over the past few years, these fears have instigated full-fledged panic attacks.

So, when I received a WEA on my Motorola Droid Razr yesterday, warning me about a possible flood in my area, you'd think that I'd be grateful — you know, so that I'd have time to batten down the hatches, build an arc, and double-check my living will. Well, I wasn't. In fact, after I received the second flood warning, I spent the next half hour trying to figure out where the heck these alerts were coming from and how they could be disabled!

What are Wireless Emergency Alerts?

According to a recent post on eWeek:

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency and wireless carriers are rolling out emergency alerts, called the Wireless Emergency Alert, or WEA, system, via text-like messages on mobile phones to allow federal, state and local governments to issue critical alerts.... "WEA is also referred to as Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), which the FCC initiated in 2006 under the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act. The FCC set April 2012 as the deadline for carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless) to begin sending the alerts."

Verizon started Wireless Emergency Alerts on April 7, 2012. They have a handy FAQ page that gives all the details, but here's the skinny version:

"Wireless Emergency Alerts are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device (currently, this includes only a select number of capable devices, like the Droid Razr) as part of a new public safety system provided by Authorized Senders. They are designed to inform you of imminent threats to safety (such as severe weather) or missing persons (AMBER Alerts) in your area."

These alerts don't sound like your typical text message. They have a distinct repetitive tone that's accompanied by a vibration. This alone succeeds in alerting you, because you're wondering what the heck is going on with your phone! When you receive the message — which, by the way, you will receive, even if you have an SMS Block feature enabled, because WEA alerts don't travel over SMS — it tells you information about the alert category, event type, response, severity, and urgency.

Honestly, the flood alerts I received yesterday freaked me out, and I'm not even scared of heavy rain... yet. I checked the local radar map, and I didn't see anything significant for the 6-hour forecast in my area. Relax. False call. An hour later, when I heard that same beeping sequence and vibration, I knew I had to disable the WEA feature. It might work for you, but it certainly doesn't work for me (without a Xanax).

How do you disable Wireless Emergency Alerts?

Here are the steps to disable WEA on a Droid Razr. Please note that the directions may vary for different carriers and mobile devices. Also, you can not disable the Presidential Alerts, which provides news of national authority concern. Let's hope we never receive one of these!

  1. From your home screen, press the Apps icon
  2. Select Emergency Alerts
  3. Tap the settings icon
  4. Deselect all of the options (except the Presidential Alert, which is mandatory)

What are your thoughts about WEA? Do you appreciate the extra warning, or would you prefer the choice of voluntarily signing up? Please share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

Source: TechRepublic

Images

Project 18

Cheetah Mobile's social media trivia

Part of my role assisting with Cheetah Mobile social initiatives was to create original images. We experimented with a weekly trivia question and sent the first correct respondent some swag.

Question:

Answer:

Source: Cheetah Mobile

Images

Project 17

TechRepublic Geekend Trivia

As the admin for TechRepublic's Facebook page, I created original images. I also experimented with a weekly geekend trivia question and sent the first correct respondent some TechRepublic swag.

Source: TechRepublic

Images

Project 16

Take a tour of Microsoft Fargo

Microsoft's Fargo campus was opened and occupied in 1999. This was originally the site of Great Plains Software, which existed since the early '80s. In August of 2007, Microsoft Fargo was the second largest field campus — Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus was the largest field campus.

Source: Cheetah Mobile

Get in touch

Please either email or call so that we can set up an interview. I’m excited to start devoting my time, energy, and skills to my next dream job!

Contact details

San Francisco / CA 94114

(502) 727-4223

I’m also on social networks