Memes & Memos

The End of the Road


Although not a traditional graduate class, this semester's Emerging Media course provided much needed hands-on learning about new technologies and tools.

There will always be new emerging media (the wireless telegraph was once a new medium), but today's technology is advancing at a rapid pace and professionals and academics alike need to know about new technologies and how they affect the way we live.

The greatest resources provided to us in this class were the speakers who graciously took the time to meet with us and share their insights and experiences, including:
This class was valuable to me in because it provided time to explore and consider new technologies and best practices for how to use them. Because of the speed at which technology develops, a great spin-off of this class would be an annual 3-week crash course in emerging media!

Although it was nice to have the creative freedom to choose our own class projects, one thing I would change about this class is having the development of an online personal brand be a separate project. Although some students focused on this for their individual project, we all could use the time and drive to tend to our personal brands.

Overall, what I learned in class has practical applications both personally and professionally and I'm glad to have had this experience.
Have you heard of Jumo?

According to the website, Jumo is "a social network connecting individuals and organizations who want to change the world." What does that even mean? In a nutshell, Jumo will be a space for people to find opportunities to give back, volunteer and advocate for causes that are important to them.

It may sound like just another social networking site, unless you consider that Jumo's founder Chris Hughes was a co-founder of Facebook and worked on Obama's 2008 campaign.

Jumo's founders say that they are "not interested in the big red donate button," but rather, building lasting relationships. I would argue that most organizations would like -- and need -- a big red donate button.

Jumo is easy to join if you have a Facebook profile. I'll be interested to see this site develops as more organizations -- particularly local organizations -- are added to the site.

My Blogging Project


Blogging is a remarkable platform for personal and professional expression. Being tasked with having a blog for our emerging media class has been a learning experience. Coming up with unique topics that you are interested in that also share a common focus can be challenging, as can updating your blog on a regular basis. Overall, this blog has taught me a lot about blogging in terms of using Weebly tools and what to do and not to do (i.e., always save a draft of your post!)

For my personal project, I developed a plan of attack for jump starting and sustaining a company blog. Having multiple authors of a blog presents a number of challenges and opportunities. The Opportunities: Each author brings a his or her own insights and perspective to the table along with a different style of writing. The result is a melting pot of topics, thoughts, and opinions. The Challenges: A group blog still requires an editorial review process, not only for proofreading, but also to ensure that the posts mirror the organization's values as a whole.

To get everyone on the same page and develop a turnkey system for developing blog posts, I developed a plan that outlines the goals, objectives, audiences, and metrics to measure our progress. Much work was done to develop a plan for blog post development, including assigning editorial beats based on personal interests and an editorial calendar to ensure that content is created on an ongoing basis.

Understanding and being able to use social media tools to their full potential requires hands-on experience and I'm glad to have had this project as a springboard for more things to come!
This year, I did all my Christmas shopping online. I shopped for parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews and friends. All from the comfort of home. No need to circle around a mall for a parking spot, wait for help or stand in line to checkout, or get to a store only to not find what I was looking for.

Why did I choose to shop for Christmas exclusively online? As a full-time+ professional and part-time graduate student, my time is limited and I value every spare minute. Online shopping saves time, plain and simple.

My one rule? I will not pay for shipping. Although shopping online provides convenience, it is not a convenience I am willing to pay for. Being able to buy something online at the same price I would pay in the store is important. Paying a premium for online gifts is a total waste.

The Investor's Business Daily recently explored the topic of online shipping fees in an article called "Will Free Online Shipping End?" They note that free shipping will likely be phased out. Because free shipping is practically universal, I cannot see consumers accepting this reversal. If and when free shipping becomes a thing of the past, I will gladly return to the brick-and-morter stores.
I love to read. More specifically, I love books. Even more specifically, I love to own books.

We have a wall-length bookcase full of books, like trophies on display. I like being able to reach in and find a favorite book to share with a friend. Dozens of cookbooks near our kitchen showcase our culinary preferences. Our nightstands are stuffed to the gills with novels and nonfiction. I have a personal affinity for coffee table books, particular of art, music and travel destinations. A book from a place you've visited is a beautiful souvenir. My favorite gifts to give kids for baby showers, birthdays and Christmas are children's books. Not to mention, books make great decor. Open any Pottery Barn catalog or home decor magazine and you'll see gorgeous homes filled with gorgeous books.

Clearly, I am not in the market for an e-book reader. Or am I? I consider myself an early adopter, but I am still not ready to adopt a Kindle or Nook.

E-books are making their mark and people continue to take note. The New York Times recently announced that it will be including e-books on their fiction and nonfiction bestsellers lists beginning in 2011. So, how does the old-fashioned version compare with the new tech-y version of books? Newsweek has a great infographic that compares books with e-books here.

What are the benefits of e-books?
  • They are cheaper to produce and therefore cheaper to buy.
  • You can buy an e-book instantly with a one touch purchase.
  • They are searchable and automatically save your page. No more losing your bookmark.
  • Many offer interactive features that may add to the reading experience.
  • They take up less physical space.
  • Like books, they are portable, but you can take hundreds of them with you.
While e-books may provide convenience, for me they lack a certain something for the experience, like battery operated candles, or digital picture frames.
The Marquette Diederich College of Communication blog Communic8 has a great post about the iPad as a medium for artists here.

British artist David Hockney has embraced the iPad and iPhone as his sketchbooks. His "Fresh Flowers" show of digital paintings is now on display at the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris. You can find a video of the artist talking about the work via this link. Remarkable!
As part of our class in emerging media, we watched a series of documentary videos that can be found on YouTube called Gamer Revolution.

The videos show how gaming technology is changing the way people work, play and learn. According to the videos, consumers spend $25 billion a year on computer games and game systems. Additionally, 18-34 year old men spend an average of 2 hours per day playing video games.

Some of the things shown in the video were surprising. For example:
  • In Korea, thousands of spectators flock to watch champion video game players compete live. It's a national sport and these competitors are national heroes.
  • More and more, students are using computer games in the classroom to learn basic concepts, fundamentally changing the way that this generation of students learns.
  • The U.S. Army uses games to attract new recruits by providing gaming simulations that provide young people with entertainment, but also a platform for recruiters to interact with them.
I have not spent a lot of time playing video or computer games growing up, but did play a few games on Nintendo. As an adult, my reintroduction to video games came with the Wii, which I consider to be more of a parlor game. Recently, we gave it up, but I'll still play a quick game of Angry Birds or Solitaire on my iPhone to kill time.

Games are being integrated into consumer marketing efforts. Recently, I came across an online competition about one of my favorite musicians, John Lennon, designed to market a reissue of his solo albums. The website featured a series of six games, one a week for six weeks, focused on timed trivia challenges and social sharing. I was hooked and participated in the game week after week. Does this mean I'm a gamer?

Although the games were trivia and social media-based not action-based, they still represented a new way to interact with consumers. Not only did I keep coming back to the website, I shared links with my friends on Facebook and Twitter. Games of all different kinds are providing a platform for an entertainment and marketing mix.
I don't usually follow every word that comes from Apple, but this message right now on (below) has me intrigued. The blog rumblings and a little newspaper called The Wall Street Journal say it's Beatles-related. But if you were The Wall Street Journal, wouldn't you announce this news at the expense of being wrong? I can't imagine a story getting more clicks and blog buzz than two of the world's favorite topics... Apple + Beatles. Kudos WSJ.

As a self-proclaimed world's biggest Beatles fan, this news would make me very, very, very happy. I'm reading into the fact that there are clocks for London and Tokyo here.

However, as I already own almost every Beatles song, I would be very, very happy with an announcement about a streaming music service. iStream. I can get behind that.
Being a graduate student in the college of communications allows for wonderful access to the tools of the trade, including video recorders, professional-quality digital cameras, and iPads.

While test driving a few dozen iPads, our class discussed needs versus wants. Did any of us need an iPad in our lives? Why, or why not? We pondered:
  • How does the iPad fit into our daily activities?
  • How can an iPad enhance a reader's experience of books, magazines, newspapers?
  • Where does an iPad provide useful applications in a business setting? Education setting?
  • How can marketers use this technology to their advantage?
  • What can an iPad do that a laptop computer can't? What can a laptop do that the iPad does not (yet)? Does an iPad complement a computer or do they cancel each other out?
  • What does the iPad not do that we wish it did to be more useful?
  • Finally, did we really need it? Or is it just for cats?
One thing we found out quickly is that the functionality of the iPad is directly related to costs. Keyboard, camera connection and other adapters sold separately. Many of the applications also have a pricetag.

As the owner of a MacBook, PC laptop, two iPhones, a digital camera, a half dozen iPods of varying capabilities, a Wii and two DVRs, I'm not sure I'm ready to let the iPad into my life just yet until I know for sure that the technology offers something I need vs. want. I recently found two sad, forgotten, irrelevant Palm Pilots and their nifty stylis pens in a corner of the closet. I'm not sure an iPad wouldn't meet their same fate.
I've seen the movie The Social Network, the movie about the founding of Facebook, twice now since its release. The movie has a 97% review rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has generated Oscar buzz.

One of the questions I walked away with is: Is Mark Zuckerberg really that big of a jerk? The other was: What's a final club?

Beyond the plot of the movie and the story of Zuckerberg's humble Facebook beginnings, it occurred to me how much there is to learn about Facebook - as a marketer, as a consumer, as a friend of some of its 500 million users, and as a citizen concerned about the right to keep my Facebook information private.

Where to start? There's no shortage of talk about Facebook out there, and it can be tough to sift through it all.

Brian Solis, one of my favorite social media bloggers, has some helpful resources that serve as a good starting point. Most recently, he posted a two-part Businees Guide to Facebook that I found helpful. After adding a ton of social media blog feeds to Google Reader, I've found Brian's posts to be the most thorough, original and thoughtful, rather than a regurgitation of content.
I'll be continuing my search for the best social media resources out there!