Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First YouTube Video

Below is my first ever YouTube video. This is my PSA about Prematurity Awareness Month:

Pizza Facebook

Papa John's is collaborating with Facebook in order to promote their online ordering service by allowing users to become a "fan" of Papa John's in exchange for a free medium pizza. I've talked before about how I feel like there is way more advertising on Facebook than ever before and how I don't necessarily like the changes, but this is a pretty novel idea to get people to do online ordering. In order to get your free pizza, you have to make an online order, which means you have to register on PapaJohns.com, but hey, free is free. Over the summer, I got a free Jimi wallet by becoming a fan of Chase +1 credit. I think that free gifts in exchange for promotion makes it a bit easier to stomach all the new ads on Facebook and I'll be a fan of anyone who is willing to gift me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama Must Part With BlackBerry

I recently learned something very important about becoming the Commander-In Chief which I'm not sure how many people are aware of. According to a New York Times article, Mr. Obama might have to get rid of his coveted BlackBerry mobile device once he is sworn in. Apparently this is nothing new with former President Clinton not having used email and President Bush sending a farewell email to friends before he was sworn in. From what I understand, Presidents' communication is subject to public disclosure so they cannot use devices like cell phones to text or use email to communicate. "But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas." Can you imagine giving up your phone and/or email? I know I would not be able to function without email. That's just too bad for the President-elect...the BlackBerry storm will be released on Friday.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mobile Apps WILL Alter Our Web Usage

I'm not an Apple fanboy/adopter by any means. I don't own a Mac (though I'm finally starting to get the urge), nor an iPhone, and I didn't even own an iPod until a couple Christmases ago. I have to give Apple props though because they can make their products look so freaking cool that you feel like you're missing out on something if you don't own them. I keep seeing the commercials with iPhone apps and couldn't help but wonder if these apps will change the way we use the web. I think that the answer is emphatically yes. We've already discussed in class how blogging may eventually become obsolete as we move more towards mini-blog content such as Twitter. I would also venture to suggest that cell phones will be replaced by mobile devices. As more and more devices pop up such as the iPhone, the Google phone, and the heavily anticipated BlackBerry Storm, it seems as though the future will be dominated by Internet-ready mobile devices with touch screens. Even without flying cars it finally it feels as though we have some of the cool stuff the Jetson's have to play with in their futuristic space world.

I think one of the coolest apps I've seen in an iPhone commercial is Urbanspoon, the one that helps you find a local place to eat using criteria such as type of food, price range and neighborhood. My friends would vouch for me on this one because making choices on where to eat off-campus is one of the most perplexing decisions a college student faces. Check it out:

So yeah, I give Apple props because they're wearing me down and as soon as I escape from the plight of being a broke college student, I will probably buy a lot more of the cool stuff that they have to offer. I know that at the very least the use of mobile apps will become mainstream as people no longer have the option of buying a regular phone. Think about it, remember when it was cool to have a camera phone because it wasn't a standard feature? You'd be hard pressed to find one without a camera these days and I think the trend will continue with mobile devices as they become more of a commonplace in society.

Update: Why oh why must the people of Apple torment me so? Why must they brainwash me into wanting a phone that I don't need by dangling cool features in my face? As I was publishing this post (which leads me to believe Steve Jobs is spying on me), I saw another commerical for another cool iPhone app. This one which is even cooler than Urbanspoon is called Shazam. For music lovers this should be quite a treat...

This really is brilliant marketing though... "That's the iPhone. Solving life's dilemmas--one app at a time."

Web 2.0 Aids President-Elect

Well, it has finally come and gone...Election Day '08! Today's post will be a recap of the role technology has played in the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Surely Barack Obama's historic victory was aided by the heavy use of technology. Since the beginning, Obama has benefited from social networking technologies such as YouTube where users could find his campaign speeches readily available to be picked over and critiqued by would-be voters. Because the youth vote was so important to this election, the candidates' presence on social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook was a factor down the late hours of the election. Facebook, for the first time ever allowed users to "donate" their Facebook status to remind their friends to go vote. After the numbers were tabulated 1,745,754 people participated in what Facebook called the largest online political rally ever! Moveon.org was very good about sending reminders for people to become politically involved and aware and they also distributed free political buttons and bumper stickers throughout the campaign.

In addition music artists such as Nas and Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas have promoted Obama in the campaign through their music and Will.I.Am produced a track which he released on midnight, November 5th, to celebrate Obama's victory. The track entitled "It's a New Day" can be found here.

This has been a once in a first-of-its-kind election in so many ways, but we have finally seen the Internet and Web 2.0 change voter influence in ways never before seen. Could this bring us closer to a world in which we'll one day be able to use the Internet the vote from home?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Social Media Syndicate Podcast

I've been working on a group project to develop a podcast focused on social media. This is the first podcast I have ever done, but I think that overall it turned out fairly well. In our podcast we discuss some of the differences between the way members of Generation Y and members of Generation Z have incorporated social media into their lives. The show notes can be found below:

Social Media Syndicate Podcast - Episode 1

0:05 – Intro
0:26 – Welcome
0:41 – Panel Self Introductions
1:23 – The Hot Topic
1:33 – Shannon discusses generation definitions.
1:58 – Shannon asks panel: “What tools do you guys consider to be important in looking at the differences between how our generation, Gen Y, and the new generation, Gen Z/C, use the Internet tools?”
2:09 – Ceci discusses YouTube
3:42 – Wiltson discusses Facebook
5:21 – Christine discusses MySpace
6:04 – Shannon weighs in on Facebook and MySpace
6:22 – Wiltson responds
6:46 – Shannon discusses cell phones and SMS (text) messaging
8:16 – Wiltson weighs in on texting
8:49 – Ceci discusses Second Life
10:35 – Shannon responds
11:22 – Wiltson responds
12:09 – Closing
12:20 – Outro

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty at Home

I find it difficult at times to be in such a position of privilege and opportunity knowing that their are so many people in the world who don't have simple things that I take for granted such as cleaning drinking water, several hot meals a day, and adequate access to education. I go to school in a "college town" with so many people who seem to have nothing and no one to turn to on the streets and it's very hard to drive past these people or walk past these people and not have the means to really help them. Some of my closest friends and I met a man a few weeks ago by the name of Johnny. He was downtown drumming on a paint bucket, but you could tell that he was a man that actually has talent and potential. My friends knew him and I had only just met him but they were offering him words of encouragement letting him know that it is never too late to try to make something of your life. I couldn't find the words to tell him, however, to make it better. I was sure that he had probably heard similar things from people before and I am not the type of person to humor anyone. I think that perhaps college students see things through a naive, child-like lens and everything looks bright for the future, but some people can't just make things happen because they go out and get a G.E.D.

There are so many people who suffer from mental illness that slip through the cracks. There are people who have made mistakes in their pasts which prevent them from getting jobs easily. It saddens me deeply that we live in a country that stresses so much the importance of trying to stop poverty in other nations, while we have so many unresolved issues at home. Don't get me wrong--there are places in the world that don't have governments taking care of their people like they should--but we just committed $700 billion dollars to "fix" the economy. There is a serious problem when in America we are not taking care of our own, but continue to sink further and further into debt. How much could just one day of military spending contribute to those without 401K's? I know there is no easy solution to the problem, but the way our country has been run for the last eight years has made me realize how much we ignore the less fortunate in order to maintain our status as an economic powerhouse of a country. It has gotten to the point where if you talk about everyone having access to health care, you're automatically a socialist and that is just ridiculous. My only point is that we spend money like we can't get rid of it fast enough and that only makes us more self-centered as a society. We must not only change the way our government is run, but we must change our own attitudes. We can no longer take things for granted and assume that everyone on the streets are "addicts" or "too lazy to get a job."

Life isn't easy for anyone in America right now and that's what is so difficult about defeating poverty at home. As much as you might like to help others out, you feel almost forced to be more protective to what you've managed to secure as your own. Why do we live the way that we do? We are we not more of a collectivist society? I wonder if we will ever overcome our greed and free ourselves from the reality of what we've become.