Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday

Tuesday, November 30, 2010




People are still going out and shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. It is a crazy hectic time for shoppers looks for those great deals they could not find on any other day.

However, not everyone wants to stand in the cold lines that are crowded with people and fight over an item with another shopper. More people are turning to online shopping calling the day Cyber Monday for Christmas presents.

E-commerce tracking company called Akamai tracked 1,333,336 global page visits per minute.

Roughly 96.5 million planned to shop on Cyber Monday last year and this year 106.9 were estimated to participate in shopping on Cyber Monday.

National Retail Foundation (NRF) said that a lot of shopping will be done while working their jobs roughly 70 million Americans.

Just because shoppers choose to avoid the madness of the store's door busters doesn't mean they are not getting a good deal. 88% of retailers have a promotion for Cyber Monday.

Only with in the past years has this way of holiday shopping really grown. More and more online stores are having their largest coupon for products to purchase during the holidays.

This does not mean Black Friday doesn't do well in sales. The day continues to hold up it's far share of deals and high profits for stores.

I feel this in a way can be comparable to newspapers online and actual news print papers. No , not majority of the people in the world are going to stop shopping at the stores on Black Friday or other days during the Holiday season.

However, a lot more people are choosing to do their shopping online and this number has grown more in the past years. It will continue to grow because it is easier for people to avoid huge crowds and get their shopping down fast and easy.

Like above people can shop for presents and do their work at the same time.

This number of online shoppers around the Holidays I feel will continue to grow each year and it could potentially passing the people who go out on Black Friday. Or it may not but the number of online shopping will stay a strong number.

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WikiLeaks Founder in Trouble


As you may all know, the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks released around 250,000 diplomatic cables over the weekend. While this has been all over the news due to the government worrying about national security, an interesting article has surfaced about Julian Assange, the man behind the WikiLeaks releases.

Found on Mashable, this article is about Assange and his recent charges of sex crimes. According to Swedish officials, Assange sexually assaulted two women on a WikiLeaks related trip to the country. Assange said that the charges were a test to get people to turn against him, but Swedish officials re-opened the case. The International Criminal Police Organization has a warrant for arrest.

Assange is a man of mystery, and many do not know too much about him. He chooses to live in secret, fearing that governments are out to get him (and he is right). These charges put him in a whole different light.

This man has never struck me as being very stable, so it is not too shocking that this has surfaced. However, I feel like he has shot himself in the foot, because now if he is caught and arrested, the United States could also try to get him too.

For a man so intent on getting the truth out there about other people, why is he so intent on keeping his secrets secrets (assuming the charges are correct)?

What do you think will happen to WikiLeaks if Assange is caught and jailed on these charges? Will that be a good thing or a bad thing?

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President Obama Gets Stitches...So?


All of the late night talk show hosts have been paying special attention to the recent Presidential basketball game that left President Obama with stitches in his lip.

Getting slightly less talk time on the late night shows is Obama's recent announcement that he is going to freeze government salaries for the next two years.

It is clear that while entertainment includes media information, only the most entertaining of news concerning the most important of people get the attention.

Late night shows aren't the only media outlets seeming to be more concerned with the entertaining side of Obama's personal Thanksgiving activities than his Presidential duties and decisions. An article on rollitout.com comes up in recent google.com searches for President Obama.

The article title is "President Obama Announces Federal Pay Freeze," however the first sentence of the article reads, "Just days after receiving 12 stitches in his bottom lip during a pick-up basketball game, President Obama..." etc.

Bloggers and columnists are also combining the entertaining personal life of Obama with his recent announcement.

Washington Post Metro Columnist Courtland Milloy wrote an article called "Obama, the Great Placator, needs to throw some elbows." Of course the first point of the column written at 10:23 p.m. on November 30, 2010, was Obama's stitches and why they were necessary.

All the way down in the SIXTH paragraph Milloy finally mentions Obama's announcement.

I can understand entertainment outlets harping on Obama's mishap, but news outlets?

While his personal life may be entertaining at the moment, his presidential duties are still most important.

Leave the entertaining to the talk show hosts, and talk about the important things.

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Cell phone journalism tips



We can all be journalists with the tools that we have today. One thing that I don't take advantage of is my video camera on my cell phone. For some reason, it never occurs to me to record news on my cell phone probably because I rarely video record.

Luckily, Aaron Chimbel has given tips on "How to make the most of Flip and cell phone video". He realizes that a great majority of people these days own a cell phone, but just don't know how to properly use it for journalism.

Technology today allows ordinary people to contribute and capture news that they see. Although the quality isn't the best on mobile devices, they are improving which allows for more journalism use.

Now, for Aaron Chimbel's tips that we can benefit from.

-Get up close during interviews since there is just that one little microphone on your device.

-Hold steady. No one wants to watch video where the cameraman is constantly shaking. No one told the people in The Blair Witch Project, or maybe they were too scared.

-Get views from different angles. Variety is good.

-Don't zoom, if you do it makes the recording more shaky. Physically get closer.

-Go where huge cameras cannot. You're camera is in your hand, not on a tripod or resting on your shoulder.

Hope these tips were useful, now go out and capture some news with your phone. For editing tips and Aaron Chimbel's blog, click here.

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'Share' your LinkedIn

Today, LinkedIn unveiled it's new feature: the 'Share' button.



LinkedIn has commonly been referred to as, 'old people's social media' but in reality, LinkedIn users comprise a variety of students and professionals, employees and employers, who wish to network for common ideas and interests.



For networking, LinkedIn uses your connections to keep you up-to-date with job offers, discussions, and information related to your defined interests. It also allows you to upload your personal resume and work experience as a way to market yourself to searching employers.



LinkedIn offers a way to share information, like like other social media outlets.



Now you may have seen articles in online publications or blogs with buttons and features that look something like this:


Other common ways to share probably look like this:

LinkedIn has decided to add their own 'Share' button into the mix with other social media platforms and sites.



Bigger online publications, like The Huffington Post, have already started using the 'Share' button. But today, others like Bloomberg and Forbes are starting to do the same. These sites are also incorporating more advanced features with their 'Share' buttons, like the ability to sign in to their LinkedIn accounts from other sites.



With LinkedIn’s 'Share' button, the hope is to offer readers and professionals a different means of sharing content, whether it be news or presentations, journal articles, or research, they will be able to do so via LinkedIn.



LinkedIn share is designed to inspire conversation with clients and colleagues, or people you wish to network with.



The new LinkedIn share button will look something like this:


Ultimately, this feature will help jumpstart professional conversations. And if that's something YOU want to be a part of, sign up for a LinkedIn account HERE.

To get a copy of the URL for the LinkedIn 'Share' button for your blog or website, visit the LinkedIn blog to copy and paste the html coding.



*To look at a sample LinkedIn profile, check out mine: HERE

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Photo sharing website alternatives

Flickr and Facebook have excelled in the social media and specifically, sharing photos, but there are others out there that still have yet to be discovered.


Of the many out there, here are three alternatives to Flickr and Facebook:


SmugMug focuses on making photo sharing easy for the user to sell or display photos in his or her online gallery.

The difference with SmugMug is their concern with the
safety yet easy access of your photos.

You can use a password to protect either one or all of your photos along with custom watermarks to protect your photos especially if you plan on sharing with other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon.

Although there are costs to use SmugMug, there are also apps to be used on the iPhone, iPad and Android.

2. Path

Path is a personal photo sharing site that also has its own app. Because its focus is on being personal, Path limits users to 50 connections.

The intention behind the limited connections is to give your connections and sharing a more personal feeling.

Path is unfortunately not the best site to use for a portfolio to network with potential employers.


Picplz is actually an app that is designed to make photo sharing on Facebook and Twitter simpler while checking into Foursquare at the same time.

The main focus of picplz is being mobile. In addition to being mobile, picplz also allows users to apply certain filters to the original photo.

This app is free and also offers a free account on the picplz
website.

For more on photo sharing websites click here.

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Jumo: the do-good social media site


Chris Hughes, creator of Jumo, is trying to get people involved in social causes year round.

Users on Jumo can find, follow and support social causes of their liking.
Jumo is very similar to Facebook, which makes sense since Huges (creator of Jumo) is a former Facebook employee.

Hughes left Facebook in 2007 and launched Jumo this past March.

What began as a homepage with surveys has now evolved into something much larger. Hughes noticed that people usually only have the "do-good" mentality around big events or holidays. What he wants to do is make this mentality last year round.

With 3,500 organizations on the site, good hearted people are sure to find something to their liking. As well as that, Jumo uses all of the other social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and much more to provide information about causes, issues and organizations.

Like I said before the site is very similar to Facebook. Once signing up for on Facebook Connect users can find friends, begin adding their interests and shape their sense of who they are.

Each issue on Jumo has their own page users can follow. Within that issue there are more specific issues and users can find projects relating to that issue near them. Users can also add projects that involve that issue.

Jumo even has the ever famous (thanks to Facebook) "like" button, which allows users to "like" organizations, stories or videos posted.

With the creation of Jumo a new niche of "do-gooders" have been taken care of via social media. Here's a video of the one and only, Chris Hughes, explaining how Jumo works.

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Skype and Facebook???

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rumors are growing that Facebook and Skype are joining forces.

Apparently Facebook is considering adding the capability for its users to video chat with their Facebook friends via Skype or by creating their own video chat system that is compatible with Skype.

According to an article by Vadim Lavrusik, speculation has recently been renewed by Facebook application developer Tal Ater and it may be more than just a rumor. Many believe that this video chat application may be closer to reality than in the past.

One rumor that is making the rounds is that Facebook is already testing this feature with certain users to see how it works. This rumor however has not been confirmed as of this posting.

In all this appears to be just another effort on Facebook's behalf to integrate itself even more with other social media services.

Video chat could be very interesting for Facebook. Especially considering that users could see family or friends that live far away. Video would make Facebook even more attractive than it already is.

Facebook is already arguably the top social media outlet today and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Adding more and more features for its users would make Facebook even bigger than it already is.

I am all for a video chat feature on Facebook. I feel that it would be a very exciting feature and I would definitely be willing to try it. Now I know that I have been known to be critical of certain social media in previous blog posts but that is because I don't see a lot of use for some of the things that are out there.

However I feel that video chat would be convenient and effective on Facebook. This would actually be something that I would use and would be all for. I guess it is just a waiting game for now until Facebook adds this long rumored feature.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Jay Cameron

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Expressing yourself in profile pictures

Friday, November 26, 2010

Growing up, I was always taught that I shouldn't care what others think of me. However, today that idea sits a little differently.


With employers now scouting future employees and family members checking out your every move on Facebook, it's important to be aware of how others are perceiving you.

In an comedic article by Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich on CNN, readers are taught how to avoid portraying themselves as "tools" on Facebook.

We all pick unflattering photos. The point is to be aware, to decide how you want to be portrayed and to act on it. To avoid being hypocritical, I will show my own profile pictures as examples.


The "MySpace" shot – This is when a person photographs himself or herself. According to Bartz and Ehrlich, the "MySpace Shot" occurs when "men pose shirtless in front of their bathroom mirrors and women pout into their boobs."

While it may draw attention to your "assets," having this picture may make others think you're vain.



Subbing in an inanimate object/pet/baby – Your friends want to see a picture of you, not a "crude drawing of a dinosaur," Bartz and Ehrlich say.

Liquoring up – If you want to be seen as a professional, avoid drunken pictures or pictures partying.


Group shots – Once again, people want to see you. Don't hide behind your friends, Bartz and Ehrlich say.

Furthermore, you may meet someone and want to add them on Facebook. When searching, it's more difficult to find who your looking for when the person uses a group profile picture.


– Finally, the Holiday or wedding pics ... months after the wedding – Having a profile picture of you in your Halloween costume for weeks is overkill, Bartz and Ehrlich say.

"The same goes for wedding photos," Bartz and Ehrlich say. "It's really nice that you got married, and we all pored through every shot from the ceremony, but leaving up a portrait of you in full bridal garb for several months is akin to shoving your ring in your friends' faces daily."

Adding to this, breaking out the senior pictures when you are a junior in college seems a bit ridiculous.

So what's left, you ask? Although this article seems to be telling people what they can and can't have as profile pictures, I think the point was to make people aware.

I don't completely agree with all of these rules. For example, I don't see anything wrong with having my profile picture be of my adorable niece. I love her. There's nothing wrong with showing it.

The main idea is to keep your profile picture tasteful. Also, keep it appropriate if you think your employer will be seeing it.

In the end, it's your decision. It's your profile. You can display whatever picture you want. However, remember this picture is for everyone to see.

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Personalize your television

Monday, November 22, 2010

AOL's recent acquisition in media, 5min Media, the Web's largest video syndication network, has recently debuted its new Celebrity News Channel.

As expected, the channel will feature news about celebrities and pop culture from producers such as Splash NewsMeredith TV, Comcast, Hachette and others.

Producers of the channel claim it will "enable us to successfully reach niche audiences" i.e. people who are interested in what the celebrities are doing.


This sounds more like a teen magazine and an attempt to make ratings to me, but, at the same time, 5min Media is known for its unique quality that matches "relevant videos with targeted audiences." 

I think this is the type "niche-based programming" is going to become strong in viewership. It's unique that a large company is interested in fulfilling the special interests of its audience.

It seems, in time, there will be a television channel for every type of interest and pertaining to every niche imaginable.

Although it hasn't been compared to E! News, I predict 5min Media's celebrity news channel will be quite similar to the already-popular E! News, but with more video clips.

Similarly as discussed in Tara Maurer's blog "Try New Social Media," viewers are finding more often now than ever that social-media is an outlet for finding and connecting to people and subjects that were previously out of reach.

Just as social-media has become more personalized, I believe t.v. programming will become similarly tailored to the viewer's interests.







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News Corp. Brings A 'Daily' To The iPad

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Looking beyond today's journalism and preparing for the future, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. CEO, will launch a new digital newspaper exclusively for the iPad and other tablets next year.

As reported by the New York Times, Rupert Murdoch is teaming up with Apple to bring "The Daily", a one-of-a-kind digital newspaper designed exclusively for the iPad and similar tablet devices, to the App store in early 2011 for $0.99 per week or about $4.25 per month.

Focusing on national coverage and culture, the Daily is expected to provide original content and deliver an outstanding multimedia experience as the iPad is known for.

"With an investment of $30 million and a staff of around 100 journalists, the Daily will be a 'newspaper' with rich video and photography built especially for the iPad," said David Carr, media columnist for the New York Times.

Although the content will include political topics of importance, editors want the Daily to be a fun read including pop-culture, sports, and editorials. the Daily's staff is composed of distinguished contributors of the mainstream media like Richard Johnson, "the New York Post's king of gossip", and Sasha Frere-Jones, pop-music critic of The New Yorker, among others.

the Daily will not have a website or a print edition, thus, it will be only available for download through the iPad and other still unannounced tablets.

The creation of the Daily is based from Murdoch's belief that "within a few years, tablet devices will be like cell phones or laptops - every member of the family will have one."

Murdoch is taking a chance with the iPad as a way to increase revenue towards the publication of news in difficult times for newspapers during a growing momentum of online news. As Carr puts it, "the Daily will be a newspaper, an ancient motif on a modern device."

As the Daily comes to a beta-mode test sometime in December, I can already foresee important changes for journalism in the year 2011. Perhaps, if the Daily turns out to be profitable, we might see the rise of a new trend and a benchmark for news publications to come in the future.

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Deciding What to Blog About

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This week, I had a hard time deciding what I would blog about.

I decided that I would write about myself trying to decided what to blog about.

As a journalist, I did some research.

First, I did a Google search for what to blog about.

I clicked the first link that came up called "Starting a blog? 12 ideas for blog posts".

Paul Bradshaw wrote the article and had some pretty decent ideas. The following are some of those ideas.

1. Bradshaw said one of the best ways to start blogging is to respond to something else that's already on the web.

2. Suggest an idea and invite reactions.  It's easy to sit and wait for the people to come to you, but you have to have perseverance and reach out to them.

3. Another suggestion by Bradshaw was to interview somebody and blog about it. He added that audio or video would be an added bonus.

4. Blogging about a relevant event could also be another way to start a blog. Just attend an event and write about it.

5. Asking questions would also be beneficial to starting a blog. SurveyMonkey is a free online polling tool available.

6. Picking a fight may also be helpful and not just being controversial to be controversial. You need to have a constructive argument.

For the last six ideas, check out Bradshaw's article as linked to above.

These ideas will surely be of help now or sometime in the future if you choose to start your own blog.

As I'm starting my own blog, I will take these ideas into consideration while I try to build the traffic that sees it.

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Promote your online actions offline

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


If you're active online with social media you should promote yourself offline as well. Physical advertisement works just as well as online for social media accounts and blogs. Advertising on social networks allows customers to be aware of your business

There are many ways to get your online self known and I'll share a few examples with you.

1. Sneak in your social media tools into your business advertisements. Show your customers that you're online.

2. Change your business cards to also show your customers of your online activeness. Some companies place a tracer code on each card and Facebook Fan page which allows those who use the code a certain percentage discount .

Business cards that have social media on them give people more options in connecting with you.

3. Advertise while you drive. Post a bumpersticker with your Facebook and Twitter account names. A good example of Twitter for mobile business is the use of Twitter by ice cream truck that update their locations whenever they change.

4. Put parts of online components to offline events. Take pictures or take video of customers using your product and post it on any social media site or all of the ones you have an account with.

5. Some have found that putting QR codes on their physical advertisement that it helps with business. QR codes are matrix codes that are readable by QR scanners, cell phones with cameras, and smart phones. The code is a big square with a bunch of black and white squares inside. The information in the code can be a URL, text, or of other data.

These are just a few ways that a business can benefit from social media. Other business have other ways of advertising that has worked for them. Using social media tools for your business allows you to reach a greater audience which leads to a larger customer rate.

If a business has yet to become involved with social media and are having trouble staying afloat businesswise I strongly suggest to give social media a shot.

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How Much Is Facebook Worth?

According to SecondMarket (an online marketplace), Facebook is valued at 40 billion dollars. Currently, Facebook is more valuable than eBay, which sits a a close 39.3 billion dollars. However, an article from Mashable states that while these numbers seem high, they are more expectations than they are real.

Social networks, not just Facebook, are huge right now. Most everyone uses them and whether they admit it or not, on a regular basis. How else does one explain why something in cyber-space would be worth so much?

My question is, how is a social network site worth so much? We don't pay anything to sign up, and really only pay money if we want extras on the games Facebook hosts. Technically in some form, we pay for the Internet, or the computer used to access the Internet.

Honestly, I sometimes wonder how long Facebook will be around for. MySpace was huge for a couple of years, then slowly dwindled away. I can recall when sites like Tagged, Bebo, and Hi5 were popular, but they soon faded away as well. So while Facebook may be the big player for now, whose to say that it will still be around five years from now. The future is uncertain.

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SMO and why you should use it


I doubt any of you have heard about SMO (a.k.a. "social media optimization") but in our day and age of social media SMO is very important concept.

According to a spjnetwork.org blog, SMO is using "social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote content on websites, blogs or across other social media."

SMO's ancestor is SEO, "search engine optimization". Instead of promoting whole ideas SEO uses words to promote material via search engines.

SEO is the old way but now we have SMO and it's looking like that's the way to go.

SMO uses the idea that ideas are more important than just single words. People with the same interests will spread those ideas to people they know.

You've probably never heard of him before but Rohit Bhargava is an important man.

Why you may ask? Well, Bhargava coined the term SMO and came up with a five point guide to increasing one's "virtual visibility" better known as your "brand".


1. Link - Add links to everything you can when you blog.

2. Tag and bookmark - We all have the option here on blogger and on other sites like YouTube to add tags. Do it. Tagging makes you more visible in search engines, which points people in your direction and therefore increases your brand.

3. Make your content portable - This sounds a little confusing but simply having video, audio and PDF files that people can use will in the end bring more readers back to you.

4. Encourage mashups- A mashup often combines video, audio and mapping elements from various places to create something new.

5. Become a user resource- Post interesting information that people will want to read. Do this and you can make part-time viewers into full-time viewers.

6. Reward users - Give credit to those who deserve it. This not only builds their credibility but also builds yours as well.

7. Participate - Get involved in online conversations and forums.

8. Target your audience - Find your niche and stick to it.

9. Be original - Don't say what everyone one else is saying. Make it your own, use something new.

10. Be honest - This is simple enough, be truthful, honest, trustworthy, however you want to put it.

11. Be thinking in the SMO mindset 24/7 - Everything you've just read should be on your mind all the time. Use it to plan and organize.

We've been learning about branding ourselves a lot lately and I feel this is just more advice to help everyone out. Now get out there and make a name for yourself.



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Journalism Exchange Program at U of I

In the liberal arts college setting, a shift has been made to allow for students to get a more hands on education in the field(s) of their choice. Whether it be in a student teaching or mentoring program, or applied practicums in students medias, different majors stress the importance of getting 'real world' experience to help better prepare them for a professional career.


One state school has developed a program that focuses on giving its journalism students every possible opportunity to excel in a hands on field-experience program.

The University of Iowa's School of Journalism and Mass Communication has implemented a program called North American Environmental Journalism Project (VITAL), which is funded by the US Department of Education, to help give their journalism students a 'leg-up' on other student journalists.

This program is a negotiated exchange consortium with seven different schools from the United States, Canada and Mexico. The program allows for students to study, report on, and develop an awareness for environmental journalism, with special emphasis on water resource and water sustainability issues. The program also hopes to allow for students to gain a sense of cultural awareness and still enhancing their journalistic skills.

Members of the student exchange program focus on projects in specific areas of concern in their given geographical region. The students research these issues and then post forums in a website to share information and publish their work. Some may also work with broadcast news/production and shoot, edit, and stream video on news and campus TV stations.

With exchanges between schools on the North American continent, the goal is to promote awareness for issues going on close to home and to form a sense of community among the students involved.

The University of Iowa has chosen this program to focus on environmental journalism, but students do not have to a background in biology or environmental issues in order to participate.

This program, however, is not unique to its kind. Other small liberal arts institutions also encourage study abroad courses during the semester, or for partial semesters. But this program in particular focuses on cultivating students' abilities in a specific area to give them hands on experience for their intended profession. Getting real, hands on training makes students applying for their first jobs in a given field more attractive candidates to employers...which is the goal of any school wishing to educate students eager to enter the workforce.

Check out the YouTube clip below for more commentary about this program:

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Beatles Finally On iTunes


The Beatles is one of the most well known bands out there. And until recently if you wanted to listen to them you had to purchase the card copy album to listen to a few of your favorite songs.

It has been a long process to get the Beatles to sign over to have their music for sale on iTunes. They felt that the digital music didn't do their catalogue good enough justice.

They have been one of the bands to holdout on joining the iTunes network yet they are not the last. AC/DC has no desire to sell individual songs in replacement for whole albums.

Evidently the Beatles had rumors over the past few years that they were going to sign on to iTunes and now they finally have.

iTunes didn't wait one second either to advertise this. The entire iTunes store's main page is filled with Beatles albums and songs. Not only can fans purchase individual songs and full albums for their music players they can also purchase live concert film.

They are taking full advantage to promote this because it took so long for the Beatles to agree to let their music go digital.

This is a great way for the newer generations to experience the hit music their grandparents and parents talk about. Our generation would not think to buy an entire album. A single song on the other hand, yes we do that. So by hearing one song they may be inclined to purchase more.

Along with this it gives the older generation a chance to reconnect with one of their favorite bands. There may have always been those select favorite songs and now they can purchase them for their iPods.

It may encourage more people to want to be Apple owners because they can purchase Beatles music on iTunes for cheaper than purchasing the who album.

Apple didn't give up on hope that the Beatles would eventually sign their music over. That's how good business works you have to be resistant for what you want to benefit the customer and your business.


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Bloggers' jailed for controversial content

Bloggers around the world have been imprisoned for controversial content of their blogs within the last few years.

Many of the bloggers have simply state their opinions in their blogs.

Believed to be the longest imprisoned bloggers, Egyptian Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman withthe blogger name Kareem Amer, for ridiculing religion and the leadership of Egypt, was released recently.


Because of the political importance behind his case, international support was given to Amer regarding the freedom of the people.

Many
bloggers around the world have experienced similar situations. According to a report released by Reporters Sans Frontières the number of bloggers arrested went from 59 to 151 between 2008 and 2009.

On top of the the 151 percent increase of imprisoned bloggers, one blogger died and 61 were phy
sically assaulted.

Omid Riza Misayafi is understood to be the one blogger to lose his life while imprisoned. His death is still a mystery.

Below is a video about just one of the many corrupt areas that are struggling to incorporate the new social media with traditional values.

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Learning to Bundle

Bit.ly, a site that lets people shorten and share links, recently added a new tool to its website. Users are now able to "bundle" URLs.


What does this mean? Here's an example:

I have created numerous videos during my internship with the Simpson College Athletics Communication Department. These videos have been placed on YouTube for people to view.

However, I want to share the links to a few of my videos on Facebook so my family can view them without searching on YouTube. Bit.ly lets me package the links together into one convenient URL.

How do you do this? It's really simple.

Type in a URL like you normally would in the "shorten your links" box on Bit.ly. Then, add a space and another URL.

You can keep doing this until you have the amount of links you want. Then, press "bundle."

One URL will be created. For the group of three links I wanted to share, my URL is: http://bit.ly/cPDOQw

This means, instead of sharing all of this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSsb6FXS-A8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPaeSM-_Luo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy8hDVVvZPM

Bit.ly shortens and bundles it to this: http://bit.ly/cPDOQw

Once the bundle is made, I can share it on Facebook.

Facebook isn't the only use for the Bit.ly bundle. It can be used on Twitter, where it would be extremely useful due to the limited amount of characters Twitter allows.

It can also be used in e-mail.

Journalist Jolie O'Dell of Mashable described the usefulness of bundling perfectly in her article "Bit.ly Introduces Bundles: Multi-Link Sharing With One URL":

"You can tweet a string of YouTube videos, e-mail all your Thanksgiving recipes, post a collection of study materials to Facebook – all with just one short URL."

Overall, this is a great new resource for link-sharing addicts.




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Facebook Taking Over E-Mail?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In an article this week by founder and CEO of Mashable Pete Cashmore, he touches on the rumored upgrades to Facebook's messages feature.

Apparently Facebook is inviting the media to a special Monday event in which speculation is growing about Facebook unveiling its long rumored changes to its message inbox. This has not been confirmed by Facebook as being the topic of the event but it still has many people guessing.

Cashmore goes on in his article to explain his opinion on if these rumored changes were to be unveiled in the near future, how would they affect current e-mail providers?

Basically Cashmore does not feel they would completely overtake the e-mail industry and he provides some interesting insight as to why at his full column on CNN's website here.

Here is my take on this whole theory. As we all know social media has become huge in recent years and it is virtually consuming our everyday lives. I personally use Facebook and Twitter everyday, I admit that. Social media is everywhere and it seems like people can do anything with it.

So wouldn't it be logical to assume that Facebook could turn itself into not only a social media networking site but a top tier e-mail provider as well?

I really don't think that Facebook could overtake the top e-mail providers. Even though Facebook has over 500 million users, I think people would still tend to keep their accounts with Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and so on because those are sites strictly setup and geared for e-mail.

Facebook could potentially compete with an enhanced e-mail system due to convenience factors but in reality I do not see them shooting straight to the top of the list. If that were to happen then I think society would seriously have to take a step back and consider how much Facebook impacts their lives.

Granted we sure love our Facebook and the connection it provides for us to our friends and family, but I think there could be a point where there can be too much stuff on Facebook. E-mail should stay a separate entity in my opinion. Facebook is great for staying connected with people and hearing about breaking news but I think that is where the line should be drawn.

If there comes a day when Facebook controls everything in our lives, I may ship myself off to a deserted island. At least that way I wouldn't have to worry about whether I should make myself Facebook's slave or try to maintain some partisanship in my social media and Internet usage.

Photo courtesy of Jay Cameron, Flickr

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Social-media and the law

Photo credit: Jonathon Pow/Rossparry.co.uk
An English man has unintentionally gotten himself in trouble with the law through the use of social-media.

According to an article by Sarah LyallPaul J. Chambers found himself frustrated by a snowstorm that grounded his flight to Northern Ireland to meet a woman he'd met online,

In his frustrated state, Chambers tweeted, "Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week to get your [expletive] together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

It was by mere coincidence that the tweet was even found.. An airport manager looking for Robin Hood Airport-related items saw the post a few days later and reported it.

This is an indication, not only of how public social-media can be, but also of the potential consequences a single comment can have on someone's life.

Chambers was not a household name or even a local celebrity, but because of the circumstances of his court case, he has acquired a following of supporters on Twitter.

The judged charged Chambers with "sending a "menacing message" over a public telecommunications network under the Communications Act of 2003."

His followers disagree with the charge and are arguing for free-speech by reposting the Twitter message or by writing tweets of a similar content.

This should serve as a reminder to journalists and anyone who uses social-media tools of the impact their writing can have on people and the potential danger it could bring upon them even unintentionally.

Chambers had no intention of starting a media debate, but his comment and the way the case was handled by the judge, brought attention to how the law adjusts slowly to the quickly changing social-media environment.

Many other people sent similar messages, but faced no damaging consequences. How should the law deal with potentially threatening statements while still upholding the first amendment to free speech?

This and many other questions are still being pondered in the case Chambers has brought to the surface. At this point, social-media users should exercise great caution on the Internet and always be aware of what they are saying.

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Growing Scrutiny of For-profit Colleges

Friday, November 12, 2010

The New York Times released an investigation on Nov. 9 reporting alleged fraudulent and deceptive practices in for-profit institutions.

Specifically, Tamar Lewin, reporter for the New York Times, took Kaplan University as one example for the growing scrutiny in for-profit higher-education schools.

According to Lewin, "investigators from the Government Accountability Office found deception or fraud at 15 for-profit colleges, including two Kaplan campuses."

To support her argument, Lewin highlights two undercover videos of Kaplan recruiters in Florida and California making dishonest statements and using deceptive practices to get students to enroll.

Lewin also reports interviews with current and former Kaplan employees who reveal that "this is the regular mind-set of Kaplan recruiters: Do whatever it takes to get the sale, to keep your job.”

Furthermore, other worrisome aspects of for-profit institutions is their source of revenue and the ultimate benefit of such education. Considering that students' financial aid mostly comes from federal government, Lewin explains that Congress has taken action into the matter:

"Kaplan and other for-profit education companies have come under
investigation from Congress, amid growing concerns that the industry leaves too many students mired in debt and with credentials that provide little help in finding jobs."

Apparently, only few students are able to pay their student-loan debt, money from the federal government which is also the main source of revenue for schools like Kaplan, the University of Phoenix and other for-profit institutions.

While it is true that for-profit colleges offer an alternative choice to traditional colleges by the use of accessible schedules and online classes, the New York Times has added a reason to held for-profit institutions questionable.

Although some think of Lewin's article as an attack to for-profit colleges, I believe awareness is the driving force behind the article. The reality is that these things happen and people should be informed with the facts.

(The complete four-page article can be found at the New York Times)

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Using Social Media to Create a Brand

Thursday, November 11, 2010


In class we have touched on branding yourself using social media but not in this same context.

While we want to brand ourselves as professionals, teen girls are using social media to brand themselves as being popular.

Many of the girls often portray themselves as something they are not.

If they are intelligent and witty, they often don't include that in their online profile.

They tend to state things like they are funny or they are social.

I see this as a negative thing because now some girls feel they have to be something they aren't in real life and online.

It's actually rather interesting that social media has sort of paved the way for this to happen online.

With all the profile information that has been available I'm surprised this hasn't happened awhile ago.

While social media can be a good thing it can also case harm to others.

Click HERE for more information.

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Another Teen Dead, Social Media Involved

Another story is in the news about a teenager who was "bullied to death."

A 14-year-old girl committed suicide after she had filed criminal charges against a neighbor boy whom she accused of raping her. Classmates taunted and bullied her when the alleged rape went viral around her school and community when she was interview by a Fox news reporter.

The man accused of raping her used social media to fight against what he said were, "Lies, Lies Lies." Bullying continued until the girl was driven to suicide.



Though the bullying was what led to her suicide, social media as the driving force behind the bullying. Her attacker was a senior, she was a freshman. The attacker posted various tweets on his twitter account spreading the word that it was not rape, it was consensual sex.

Obviously, many of his classmates agreed and targeted the victim as a source of ridicule.

Would she still be alive today if social media was not the center of the teenage life? Would she have been bullied so severely if Twitter had not been available for the attacker to spread the word of his proclaimed innocence and her wrong?

Though tragedies like this consume the media, people still do not understand the power of social media.

Suicide rates will continue to increase while teens are able to touch more people than they could ever imagine with the most powerful bullying tool in the world--words.

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Online work over print work

Tuesday, November 9, 2010



Journalism students should pay more attention in promoting their online work than print work these days. It's a good idea to start making a personal brand for yourself online because it's good job security.

The practice of entrepreneurial journalism is highly thought of and your work will be a great asset if you are interested in working for a newspaper.

By putting your work online will easily allow more people to know your name. Having people know your name, the bigger your personal audience will be.

So how do you go about getting your name known online?

1. Put articles that you like in the appropriate category on Digg, which is a social news website.

2. Create a delicious account and be sure to take your articles appropriately. Delicious is a social bookmarking web service.

3. When commenting on blogs, put the URL of your relevant article in the comment.

4. Create an account on Publish2 and suggest your work to other journalists.

5. Enter into the land of Twitter and share links to your articles with those who follow you .

6. Search for bloggers that write about topics that are relevant to yours and email them when you post something.

7. Share your work with Reddit. Reddit allows you to browse and submit links to the Internet and submit posts that contain original, user-submitted text. Other users have the option to vote on the posted links by clicking "up" or "down". Only the best links gain prominence by reaching the front page.

8. Get Facebook. If you don't have an account you live a very sheltered life and need one to be up-to-date.

9. Stay in contact with newspapers to share something that you may have blogged about.

10. Get a StumbleUpon account. StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that allows users to rate and discover web pages, photos and videos.

11. Subscribe to people on FriendFeed and share stories to those who are subscribed to you.

12. When writing articles, get permission from fellow bloggers to link out. Most often return the favor.

13. Notice when bloggers write about your stories and link back to you. Go to their blogs and leave a comment every time you can.

14. Know which URL leads to your work and put your link into your e-mail signature.

15. Put that same URL in your Twitter and Facebook profile.

16. If you have business cards, put your URL on the back.

17. Search for bloggers who are talking about topic you covered. Share the link to your work.

18. When interviewing people who blog, have a website, or have a social media tell them you will email them the link in cause they like to look into it.

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Smule and iPad allows users to play fiddle

We've all played a piano on our iPod or iPad but that was just the beginning.


Smule has recently unveiled it's newest creation, the Magic Fiddle for iPad, which turns your iPad into your very own stringed instrument.

People who have never played the instrument can easily pick it up and begin playing. It's held on your shoulder, like a violin. One hand acts as the bow and the other presses down the strings.

Unlike Rock Band and Guitar Hero Magic Fiddle isn't just pre-recorded songs being played. The app goes further in making unique but not always exact representations of the actual sound of a fiddle.


Smule has also created other musical apps such as the magic piano, leaf trombone and Sonic Vox. Two years ago the Ocariana flute app was created. It allowed people to blow into the microphone to create music.

The Magic Fiddle app is only $2.99 and has a large songbook filled with favorites such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Silent Night".

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Texting, Social Networking, and Sex

Texting is a big part of how we communicate with one another nowadays. While texting may seem like a relatively harmless activity (aside from the people that text while they drive and end up killing others or themselves), a recent study done by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has found a correlation between texting and drugs and sex in teens.

Dr. Frank Scott, the leader of this research group, suggests that teens whom send on average 120 times a day or more are more likely engage in sex, drink, or try drugs (as opposed to their peers who don't). Dr. Scott's reasoning? It's all about parental control.

Scott says that parents who spend time monitoring what their children are doing on social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) and cell phone usage will be more in tune to what their teen is doing in their spare time.

This study, which is discussed in an article posted by Atlanta's newspaper, goes on to say that Scott conducted this research by asking students at 20 public schools in Cleveland to answer questions anymously. He found that one out of five students fall into the category of "hyper-texters," (the ones who send lots of messages), and one out of nine are "hyper-networkers" (those who spend three or more hours on social networking sites a day). To see more of Scott's results, go to the article and read on.

This is quite interesting to me, and as a researcher from Iowa State pointed out, Scott has raised a "legitimate question to [be] explore[d]." I have not heard of a research of this kind being done before, and it will neat to see what all comes out of this.

Scott mentions that the relation between parents' involvement and teen's recreational activities is affected by how involved or not a parent is in their child's life. While this seems like a good idea, I personally never left my phone alone long enough for my parents to even have a chance to look through it, or see what I was doing. I would assume that most other teens are/were like that as well.

I look forward to seeing what more Scott finds out about texting and sex/drugs/alcohol, and whether he publishes anything about sexual networking and sex/drugs/alcohol. What do you think? Do you agree with Scott's findings, or do you think that teens are just engaging in what many teens engage in? While I think this may ring true for some teens, I don't see it being overly common amongst all the teens that send 120 texts a day.

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How to Detect Media Bias

In the quest for knowledge to make responsible and ethical decisions as citizens of a democratic nation, we strive fairness and facts. Although we idealize both, sometimes we get more or the other...but in most cases, neither.

Hunting for facts about what's really going on in the complexities of our nation [and the world] can be daunting. Not because it's hard to find the information, but because the news, and the practice of reporting/journalism, has become so heavily weighted in biased views of outspoken and dramatic personalities that there seems to be no 'truth' to any of it outside the particular philosophy or ideology of a given political party.



So what do engaged citizens do about this matter? -- We must make an effort to evaluate our sources and gage credibility, just as responsible and ethical journalists do.



Here are 10 questions you should ask when evaluating news that may contain a bias, and measures to take when a bias is discovered.



1. WHO are the sources? -- Be aware of the political perspective of the sources in a story. A general trend suggests that Progressive and public interest groups/voices are marginally underrepresented. Portraying issues fairly and accurately means that media organizations and news stories must account for a variety of sources. Otherwise they simply amplify the voices of those in power.



*Examine the number of government sources versus that of progressive and minority groups. Suggest to that mass media expand their source pool to give the story a more well rounded feel or opinion.



2. Is there a lack of diversity? -- What is the race to gender ratio at the news outlet compared to the audience? How many staff people are women, people of color, or openly gay or lesbian? In order to fairly represent communities, news organizations should have members of those 'minority' or diverse communities in their staff.



*It is essential that viewers who see a lack of diversity to demand that it be reflected in the organization.



3. From whose point of view is the news being reported? -- Are the issues in discussion including those who are affected by them? If a white male is talking about abortion, but makes no attempt to reference or include a female in the dialogue about it, there is clearly a misrepresentation of a credible source and a lacking in perspective.



*Demand that certain voices be heard by making your voice heard. If no one listens to those who should be included, advocate for their cause [without actually speaking for them].



4. Are there double standards? -- Does the media hold some people/groups to one standard while using a different standard for other people/groups? Double standards are heavily placed on women and minorities, and serve as a means of stereotyping, which is not only unfair, it's irresponsible journalism.



5. Do stereotypes skew coverage? -- Are certain groups being targeted that might enforce certain negative stereotypes while other groups in the same position go unnoticed because of their assumed socioeconomic status? In order to be fair on an issue, ALL sides and ALL groups should be examined in a story, not just the ones that 'make sense.'



*Work to try and educate people about the misconceptions involved in stereotypes, and how stereotypes characterize individuals/groups in negatively reinforcing ways.



6. What are the unchallenged assumptions? -- Sometimes the key point of a story is not stated outright, but it's implied. For example, coverage of rape trials will often focus on a woman's sexual history as though it calls her credibility into question and will assume that she was promiscuous, and therefor brought on the rape when in actuality, it could have been a completely random event.



*Challenge the assumption directly. If you address the assumption specifically, it will demonstrate the absurdity.



7. Is the language loaded? -- When the media uses loaded terminology, it often shapes public opinion in some dramatic (and in many cases, unfair) ways. Like when the media uses the right-wing buzzword "racial preference" to refer to affirmative action programs. By indicating 'racial' it brings attention to the fact that there is a hierarchal separation based on race.



*Show/articulate how the language used in certain cases gives people an inaccurate impression of the facts/news.



8. Is there a lack of context? -- Coverage of issues like "reverse discrimination" usually fail to focus on certain factors (like economic inequality and institutional racism) that empower prejudice.



*Work to provide the necessary context so that the idea is fully understood. This may require research, but ultimately it will help you to be more informed.



9. Do headlines match the story? -- In most cases, headlines aren't written by the reporters who write the articles. Most news hungry citizens just skim the big headlines, so misleading headlines have a significant impact on the reader's conception before they even read the article or news story.



10. Are stories on important issues featured prominently? -- Look at where the stories appear in print. Articles on widely viewed pages (the front pages and editorials) and lead stories have the greatest influence on public opinion.

If citizens hope to gather 'unbiased' news, they will most often have to filter through certain positions of ideals that can influence how that news is perceived. But if the public is made aware of potential bias, they can be prepared as to how to deal with them to become more accurately informed.

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