Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Foster Care Awareness

This video is one I created to spread awareness of the number of children in need of families. The current state of the Foster Care system is in need of major renovation. As a volunteer at a local foster care treatment home, I have gotten a hands on look at the Foster Care System and the children within that system.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Podcast Interview with Lauren Perdue of PeerBuzz: Social Media

Interview with Lauren Perdue
Summary: Interview with Lauren Perdue, a social media expert at a local company called Peer Buzz. In this interview, recorded via Skype, Lauren discusses her work and experience with social media on both a professional and personal level.

(0:15) Introduction
(0:45) Lauren's introduction
(2:35) Social media as a valuable tool for companies and organizations
(4:00) Social media etiquette on a business and personal scale
(5:00) Social media and the economic status
(5:50) Businesses' social media goals and interests
(7:50) Closing

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Skip Class Listen to the Podcast"

Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Fredonia, is in the process of an ongoing study which examines the correlation between podcast lectures and exam grades. McKinney has conducted one tests thus far. She divided her class into two groups. The first group attended class and sat through a lecture. The second group was given the link to a podcast of the lecture. Both groups were provided with a printed handout to supplement to the lecture or podcasts. After receiving the material both groups were given an exam to test their knowledge of the lecture. Interestingly enough, McKinney found that the students who listened to the podcast scored higher on the test than those who sat through the in-class lecture.Professor McKinney believes there are many educational benefits to podcasts. The advantages include: easy accessibility to lectures, convenience, and the ability of students to rewind and replay the information. Students could even pause the podcast in order to take notes; a problem which many students confront in class lectures.

I believe the use of podcasts could be incredibly beneficial especially to students attending a large university like the University of Texas. Classes at UT can exceed hundreds of students creating a difficult environment for absorbing and processing lecture information. However, I am also worried about the onset of podcasts in the classroom. If podcasts are implemented the motivation to attend classes will in turn decline. If a student is paying for his or her education you would think that that student would want the in class experience that the professor is being paid to provide. As stated, I am torn between the value and benefits that could come of educational podcasts and the threat to in class education.

To read the article that inspired this post follow the link provided below:

"Social Media: An Extraordinary Machine"

In Citizen Marketers, McConnell and Huba retell the story of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine album's rocky release. Here is the story in short: Singer/songwriter Fiona Apple was unhappy with her current album recording of Extraordinary Machine. Sony Records, her current label, was unhappy with the finished product as well. Apple wanted to re-record the album under her own creative license but Sony denied her the funding. She thought her music career had ended and saw no future for the album. Someone got a hold of one of the songs and leaked it to a radio station. The buzz from the station prompted one fan to petition Sony to release the album. The man, Dave Muscato, built a website, to rally against the studio. His petition soon went viral and gained support from fans all over the world. They even went as far as to send an extraordinary large box of plastic apples each signed by a petitioner. The rally proved to be successful and Sony agreed to let Fiona Apple re-record the album under her own creative merit.

This story, like so many others,demonstrates the power that the internet and social media have in influencing ingenuity and change. Some are even of the belief that current President Obama won the election largely because of his use of social media in campaigning. The Internet and social media spreading information and motivating others to seek out new ideas or change is a positive contribution to society. However, because the Internet is not explicitly monitored false information can also be spread.

Recently, Steven Colbert unveiled a false story that had been spread through social media outlets. Apparently, someone had mockingly posted on a website false information about the game of beer pong spreading herpes, among other diseases. This story was picked up from a website and run at a college newspaper. Then, the story was passed from the college newspaper to a local news station which ran an entire segment on the false story. Although Colbert provided a humorous recollection of this viral spread of false information, the fact is falsities can and are being distributed with ease through social media outlets. This truth is the reason why we must use caution when using social media to gain information. The Internet and social media can bring about great things like the Fiona Apple story demonstrates. On the other hand, the Internet and social media can also spread false information.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How PostSecret Uses Social Media to Grow its Mission - The Frank Warren Interview

Here is the interview that inspired my latest post. In my opinion, it is definitely worth listening to .

How PostSecret Uses Social Media to Grow its Mission - The Frank Warren Interview

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What's PostSecret's Secret To Success?

The PostSecret blog to date has been visited by 219,596,298 online viewers. The blog was started by a man named Frank Warren in 2005. Warren invites others to mail their secrets on postcards to him at his home. He then chooses a collection of them to post to his blog site weekly. The site has been a huge success and has spurred the publication of four books, tours around the country, and even spin off sites in France and Germany.

PostSecret's success can be attributed largely to the use of social media. Warren has used different social media sites in order to proliferate the site. In an interview with Mixergy's founder Andrew Warner, Frank Warren explains how he uses different social media outlets to spread the PostSecret movement. Warren states that it is important to find each social media's strengths or "viral mechanism". By tapping into these strengths Warren has built a huge online following. He has assigned specific goals to each different social media site. For example, Warren uses Facebook to spread information about upcoming tours and events. In addition, he uses YouTube to viralize videos about the site. Warren stresses the importance of creating new content on all social media sites in order to grow a movement.

Andrew Warner, after interviewing Frank Warren, concluded that unless an organization has a purpose that attracts others, the use of social media components will not necessarily effect growth or success.

Do you agree with Andrew Warner that a purpose is essential to the success of a movement or is social media support substantial enough to create success on its own?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"My Congressman Tweets, Does Yours?"

Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan foundation dedicated to using the power of the Internet to make information about Congress and the Federal government more accessible to United States' citizens. By doing so, the foundation hopes to promote a government "transparency" that will promote openness and accountability of our government's actions. The foundation has already, through an online petition, enabled Congressional representatives to twitter during Congressional hearings. This has given representatives the ability to keep citizens informed of current government happenings as well as getting instant feedback. Sunlight Foundation continues to advocate for further advancements in government transparency.

I believe the Sunlight Foundation's mission, if furthered, will expand democracy and give individual citizens even more of a voice in government. Until recently, American citizens have relied on the conscience of their elected officials; hoping that when they cast the vote for their representative their aspirations for legislation would be fulfilled indirectly through that representative. The emergence of a more transparent government, however, has paved the way for more direct representation. Citizens can now remain informed on current government activity as well as providing government officials with feedback that will enable the officials to truly embody the political aspirations of the citizens they represent.