Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Agree Whole-Heartedly... Die Press release, Die Die Die!!!

In class this week we read Tom Foremski's article called Die! Press release Die! Die! Die! In it, he discusses how useless the current format of press releases really are. He suggests that public relations folks should stick to giving the facts of what they are announcing, throw in credible quotes, and basically keep the spin out of the release. Foremski calls for well organized, factual, unbiased, helpful information rather than the typical biased information filled with meaningless quotes that press releases usually contain. I agree with Tom Foremski on this topic. In my PR class my teacher suggested that we write the press release in a way that the journalist can almost print the story as is. She was very specific about where you place each part of the press release, and even required us to watch several videos on how to make a proper press release that were posted on YouTube. It seems that all of this effort was a waste of time when a journalist is asking us to do quite the opposite. It just makes sense to send a press release that is basically a fact sheet for the journalist to use when writing a story. It contains the information they need, credible sources with good quotes, and remains unbiased so that the story will be credible. Thanks Mr. Foremski!

Web Video

As I mentioned in my post last week, our class was required to create a video using the Internet on a social issue. I decided to make a video about menu labeling legislation to kill two birds with one stone. I have spent the whole semester writing my capstone paper on whether or not the FDA should require menu labeling in restaurants across the country in response to the obesity epidemic. I feel that this legislation in one of many steps that will need to be taken to help Americans become healthier. A few eye opening statistics: "The percentage of overweight American children and teens has more than doubled in the past decade. Moreover, two-thirds of the adults are either overweight or obese, and at least 300,000 Americans die each year from obesity related diseases... At stake is not only the health of millions of Americans but also $117 billion in annual health treatment costs." (Greenblat) There is an obesity epidemic in the United States, more Americans die of having too much to eat rather than having too little. Implementing menu labeling will give Americans the opportunity to make healthier decisions when they dine out. I chose to do this video as my civic engagement because the Internet is proving to be the best way to get a message across. Furthermore, a visual aid seems to be even more effective in keeping people's attention. I'm hoping that this video will reach people and persuade them to support menu labeling legislation.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is Myspace a thing of the past??

In my Communication and Popular Culture class we were assigned to interview someone from the age of 12-15 on what they consider "cool." I chose to interview my 15 year old brother, Hayden. My 18 year old sister describes him as "too cool for school." So, obviously he was the ideal candidate for my interview. One of the questions we were supplied with to ask our interviewees was, " What new technology Internet sites, video games, etc. are cool? Do you think youtube, myspace, facebook, or twitter is cool? My social media savvy little brother spoke for himself and for his demographic, Myspace is for little kids. And Twitter looks stupid. Is this true? Are high school kids over Myspace? I personally have not updated my Myspace account in months. It seems that other social media sites have taken over and pushed Myspace back into the corner. I wonder why this is? How does this shift occur from Myspace to Facebook, and maybe eventually to Twitter, or some other fantastic form of social media. Is it the newness? Or are these new mediums for user friendly? Whatever it is "cool" continues to shift from one from to the next as I suspect it will continue to do. *sigh* Goodbye Myspace!

Thank you Flikr

In my Social Media class our most recent assignment was to create a video on the Internet about a social issue. In order to make it easier for us our teacher, the lovely Corrine Weisgerber gave us a list of websites that allow you to make videos. She also guided us to Flickr to find photos to use so that we would not have to use original content. As this is a social media class we were encouraged to use the tools that social media has provided. So she showed us how to find photos on flickr that are fair game to use. In other words, they are under the creative commons license. This is an easy alternative that allows users the option of not obtaining a full copyright. It is very easy to find the pictures that fall under this category. Go to www., click search, then click advanced search, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click only search within Creative Commons-licensed content. This will ensure that you are using content fairly. Thanks Flickr for making this assignment so easy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What is the big deal with Second Life?

Our class had a Second Life expert visit last week to give us an introduction to Second Life. He showed us his avatar, how you can move, teleport, build buildings, and chat with others. He also explained that St. Edward's is renting land, and built a campus on Second Life. I don't understand why this is necessary. I did use Second Life in my organizational communication class, but it was just to familiarize us with the technology in case our future employers use it. But I haven't used it in any other context. I hated it when we had to use it. I honestly do not understand why anyone would waste their time using this technology. It is clumsy, unrealistic, and easily replaceable by a conference call. If anyone has a defense for Second Life that will change my mind, please let me know!

Does Second Life Affect Real Life?

I just finished reading this article about how studies have shown that Second Life, an online virtual world affects the way people behave in real life. This is a really interesting concept. The one that I agreed could affect the way I act in real life was the exercising avatar. I think that if I had a little avatar on my screen that was exercising I would feel more motivated to go get some exercise as well. The problem with this type of influencing technology is when the avatars are used for marketing products. In online shopping when you create an avatar with the intent of making it look just like you the avatar ends up looking slightly better than you. They do this in order to influence people to buy their products because they look good on the slightly better looking online version of themselves. I personally do not think that people will be fooled by an avatar, but still, companies shouldn't try to manipulate them into buying products based on a false impression. Try it out at Will you be fooled?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

CW Austin on Twitter!

I was watching the CW today while at the gym and noticed a new Twitter ad. They are asking residents of Austin to provide live updates on what is going on in the city. The example that I especially liked was a status update on Barton Springs. This is a great way for people in Austin to reach a greater number of people. When you send an @reply to TheFace_of_CW with an update on what is going on in Austin, you will reach your followers as well as the people that follow the CW on Twitter as well. What a great networking tool! It could be used for things from traffic updates to concerts. I love how Twitter is changing the world!