1. Semester in Review - What I’ve learned

    At the risk of sounding a bit like a sycophant,  I’ve honestly benefitted in some way from every single class.  While it may sound a bit broad, overall, I’ve benefitted greatly from understanding how to write for the internet, specifically blogging.  I believe that I already had a decent handle on microblogging before this class.

    While I was already using some tools we covered in class (like tags) I now know how to better use the tools and the reasons why we use them. I’ve found lessons on how to break up text by using headings, subheadings, bullets, etc - to be immensely helpful.

    While I have had classes that covered SEO in the past, I found that this class gave me a much better understanding of how SEO works, especially from the perspective of a writer and best practices for creating content.

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  2. I’m a huge fan of the It Gets Better project started by columnist Dan Savage in reaction to the bullying of GLBT and the alarming number of suicides committed by GLBT youth.  Savage and those that followed in his footsteps recognized that GLBT community lacked visible role models to help the youth transition into adulthood. 

    Savage launched the It Gets Better project in 2010 with his own video that was filmed with his partner of 16 years. The two give an honest account of the challenges they have faced, as well as the rewards of getting through the tough times to not just survive, but thrive. 

    The video’s success is obvious.  It’s received over 1.7 million views and serves as the centerpiece for a project that has spawned 100s of other videos done by both ordinary people and celebrities. The videos have collectively been viewed close to 3.5 million times and uploaded by everyone from Ellen Degeneres to President Obama. 

    Savage’s success with this video and the campaign is due to several factors that can be applied to less altruistic campaigns as well.

    • It tells a compelling story.  Whether you are selling moisturizer or human rights, good story telling is a great way to appeal to the viewer’s emotions and get them invested in your message
    • It’s honest.  People are savvy enough to smell the hard sell and the disingenuous turns them off to a campaign.
    • It encourages user generated content by both celebrities and ordinary people.

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  3. Macy’s Black Friday Sale

    Get ready for the most spectacular sale of the season.  This year, Macy’s has planned a sale unlike any other before.  

    Doors open midnight on Friday, November 25.  Shop early to get the best deals, including:

    • 50% off every single item during the first two hours.
    • Free fabric shopping bag for those that are there at the opening.
    • Free gift with purchase offered by Clinique, Benefit, and MAC cosmetics.

    Look for the store circular in your mail, or if you can’t wait, follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find out about our Black Friday sales in advance.

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  4. Media Landscape: New Media and Beyond

    The simplest definition for media is forms of communication.  This fundamental aspect of our humanity has changed and kept pace with technological advances throughout our history as a species.  With each new development, media takes a leap forward with it.  As we feed our hunger for the most effecient kinds of communication possible, our hunger and the speed at which we try to appease it only grows.

    In the past 200 years, we’ve gone from print, to broadcast, to new media.  When one keeps in mind the ever increasing speed at which media has been developing, any attempts to predict where we’ll be in the next 100 years stretches the imagination in a profound way.

    Because new media has developed so quickly, our society has had very little time to reflect on the impact of it on our culture and the possible dangers.  Our purchases, opinions, life events - nearly every aspect of our lives can be recorded and made accessible to the right person for the right price.  While I do have concerns about what this means for our privacy, I don’t want to take an alarmist position.

    New media has also not only provided so many of us with a relatively inexpensive and fulfilling new way to connect with others, it’s also proven to be a useful tool for profound social and political change.  To me, this is the most meaningful change in media and our society.  The Arab Spring was made possible by Twitter and other various social media channels. NoH8, a silent protest against California’s Proposition 8 (which was meant to eliminate the right for same-sex couples to marry) was conducted online as well.  

    I believe that while we’re sacrificing bits of our privacy to companies trying to sell us stuff, we’re also investing in our future as human beings and growing closer.  Media will continue to provide us with entertainment and improve our quality of life in shallow ways.  It will continue to serve as a tool for marketers, advertisers, and others trying to make money off of us.  But it will also create a global culture where we aren’t defined by borders, but by our humanity and interests.  

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  5. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Doing Social Media Right

    The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a chain of 9 theaters located primarily in Texas.  Their social media strategy is not only the best of all the independent chains, but it easily outshines most mainstream theater chains as well. 

    Each of the 9 locations have buttons linking you to their social media channels.  The channels used include: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, RSS, and their mailing list. The social media buttons should be larger, but that is the only criticism I have. 

    All of their channels are active and used according to best practices.   The channels don’t spam, but are active enough to keep followers engaged.  Alamo Drafthouse uses the channels to share news and information, interact with fans, and run promotions to create more brand awareness.  They recently did a special where you retweet a promotion to receive a free popcorn with a ticket purchase. 

    Landmark Theaters is an independent theater chain that has 21 locations but a much weaker social media strategy than the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain.  Only one of the locations use social media at all - the New York City location has a Facebook page which has little interaction with followers.  In addition, there is no button or link to the Facebook page on the NYC Landmark website.  If an individual wished to follow Landmark NYC, they would have to search for them on the Facebook website.

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  6. Starting a Second Life Business

    I’ve had 5 years as a Second Life content creator to learn the best practices for starting and running a business in Second Life.  The tips that follow focus on the marketing aspect of running a virtual business in SL.

    Immerse Yourself in the Community

    Log on Second Life and get involved.  Whether you are interested in music, charity work, politics, or academics - there is a group or event for nearly every interest imaginable.  Talk to people, shop at stores, read blogs and learn the current trends in SL. This is not only a good way to conduct market research, it also enables you to build a relationship with future customers.  Most importantly, it will help you learn the challenges of running a business that are unique to Second Life.

    Choose the Right Business

    Don’t pay attention to what the press has said about making money in Second Life, the businesses that have received the most hype are currently not the most profitable.  While the first million made in SL was through virtual real estate, that is no longer a viable business.  The same applies to businesses that provide a service.  The best way to make money is to create and sell some sort of virtual good.

    According to Linden Labs (the company that owns Second Life) the top earners last year were businesses that were fashion related.  If fashion isn’t an area that interests you, homes and home furnishings are two other areas to consider.

    Other than that, standard real world rules will apply.  Find your niche, know your market, etc.  Just keep in mind that while residents follow real world trends, there are also trends that are specific to Second Life. 

    Create a Buzz

    You should launch your  marketing campaign about a month to two weeks before you open your business.  Establish a presence on the important social media channels - your store blog and Flickr.  Create a store group and invite your friends and favorite SL photographers to join the group. After you’ve established your store blog, try to get it on at least one of the Second Life feeds: Fashion Feed of SL and iHeartSL are among the most popular. 

    About a week or two before you launch your business, send a few of your items to 6-12 of your favorite SL bloggers.  Make sure to include a press release with your launch date.

    Now is also the time to take advantage of those personal connections you should have established in step one.  Get in touch with your contacts, give them some free merchandise and encourage them to join your store Flickr group to post pictures there. 

    After the Launch

    If you have created a high quality product that there is a market for, you should have good initial sales, but you need to put a bit of work into sustaining and growing those sales.  The key here is to continue to produce new products.  Ideally, you will release 1-3 new items every 1-2 weeks.  Much more than that and people will get overwhelmed.  If you aren’t relying on SL as a full-time income, you can put out a new release as infrequently as once a month and still stay relevant. 

    Now is the time to interact with other content creators, not just to hone your craft, but also to learn about the best locations for satellite stores and special events that you can participate in to increase brand awareness.

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  7. Op-Ed: Susan G. Komen charity severs ties with Planned Parenthood

    Tuesday, the Susan G. Komen  for the Cure Foundation announced it would be ending future funding to Planned Parenthood health centers. Planned Parenthood has 19 programs which provide breast health education, screenings, and referrals for mammograms that are funded by the Komen Foundation.

    SGK Founder and CEO,  Nancy G. Brinker, put up a video telling “the real story” on the foundation website.  In the video, Brinker never mentions Planned Parenthood by name, but she says the changes in granting policies and criteria are a way to eliminate duplicative grants and better serve women. She also says that the organization would never allow itself to be influenced by politics. Interestingly enough, Brinker does not share that the official reason for breaking ties with PP was because the new criteria established by SKG forbids it from funding any organization under government investigation.

    However, Planned Parenthood and various news outlets paint a very different picture. Planned Parenthood stated on its website that the SGK has ended future funding because of political pressure by various antiabortion organizations. For many women in low-income, rural, or underserved communities - Planned Parenthood is their only source for health care. Ending funding will create a huge gap for fulfilling breast cancer prevention and screening needs.

    Both the critics and supporters of SGK’s move to cut funding believe the decision was based on politics. News outlets think the decision was made because of political pressure as well. Then there’s the fact that this decision was made soon after Komen hired Karen Handel as its new vice president. Handel had run for governor of Georgia in 2010 on an anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood platform.  The timing has to be considered at least a little suspicious.

    If the Koemen foundation’s mission is blind to politics, why would they appoint such a controversial woman as vice president? If the foundation had nothing to hide as far as political affiliations go, why would did Handel not mention Planned Parenthood by name? 

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  8. My Top 10 Websites

    Google - Not only is this nearly every person’s go-to search engine, it’s also a great E-mail and chat client.

    Wikipedia - This free, collaborative encyclopedia is an excellent source for information on nearly every imaginable topic.  It’s editable by anyone with internet access and the community standards ensure accuracy.

    IMDB - A must visit site for every cinephiles and trivia buffs.  While it’s called the Internet Movie Database, it also provides information on television shows.  In addition to providing filmography and extensive cast lists, the site also provides the latest news on celebrities and the the film and television industry.

    Netflix - The absolute best way to watch film and television legally.  Netflix allows you to stream from your pc, television, game console, and a number of other devices. 

    Plurk - While this microblogging site is often overshadowed by the likes of Twitter, I personally prefer Plurk because the interface allows you to view comments on each post, encouraging more interaction.

    Tumblr - I can’t say enough good things about Tumblr.  The interface is intuitive and uncluttered, the community passionate, and the possibilities for its uses are nearly endless.  A Tumblr can be used as an archive, a blog, a kind of social networking platform, or a combination of all of the above.

    Amazon - This shopping site needs no introduction.  It’s the best one-stop shopping site out there.  You can find everything from books, to food, to digital downloads.

    Etsy - What Amazon is to mass produced goods, Etsy is to small business and hand-crafted goods.  Etsy makes it easy for both buyers and sellers to connect and change the way you think about shopping.  In addition to it being a great way to focus more on shopping locally, it’s also gives you the chance to make gift-giving more personalized and unique. 

    Second Life Marketplace - Residents of the virtual world, Second Life, consider this site to be their version of Amazon.  It’s one of the best resources for both buyers and sellers of SL virtual goods.  While the search functions could use a bit of improvement, the volume of product available on this site overshadows all others. 

    iHeartSL - Second Life has a number of fashion and community feeds.  This one is my personal favorite because of it’s clean, uncluttered design. 

    2 years ago  /  0 notes

  9. What Social Media Means to Me

    Social Media Defined

    Social Media is a broad term  applied to forms of communication that use technology to create a social/interactive experience. 

    Social Media includes: blogs, microblogs, forums, social networking sites, virtual worlds, podcasts, wikis, and content communities. 

    My Experiences With Social Media

    While my first Social Media experiences took place when I joined AOL and the social networking site SixDegrees in 1998, it was my immersion in the virtual world of Second Life that led to my discovery of the potential of Social Media.

     Social Media is now a part of nearly every aspect of my day-to-day living.  Social Media is also a part of my job;  I earn a living by creating virtual good to sell in Second Life.  I use various Social Media channels to track fashion trends in both Second Life and real life, promote my brand, interact with customers, and promote new merchandise. 

    I check Plurk first thing in the morning and I pretty much constantly keep my eye on it throughout the day.  While I don’t rely on it exclusively, it’s one the major sources I go to for news in real life, Second Life, and the lives of my friends. I also use Twitter for news, but I don’t feel like it lends itself to interactivity as much as Plurk. 

    The Future of Social Media

    The magic of Social Media is that a good channel is organic, fluid, and easily adapts to the needs of its users.  I think it’s very possible that the day will come where it no longer is seen as something different from traditional media, rather, it will be what media is and traditional media will become the anomaly.

    2 years ago  /  1 note

Writing for Digital Media

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