A New Dawn






         Notes on New Media, Journalism & Communication

January 29, 2010

New Blog Address

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 2:28 pm

My new blog Mak.com

My new blog Mak.com

To anyone who happens to pass on through here I want to inform you I have moved my blog to a different address and will no longer using this site to write from. You can now find me at http://newmediamak.wordpress.com

October 16, 2009

An Affordable Wardrobe | Find great deals on name brand clothes on a budget

Most of us know by the time we graduate high school and begin exploring life on our own things like “school clothes shopping” are no longer offered to us. Instead we are thrown into a world where shopping is more accessible but the money just isn’t there anymore. Remember the good days when your parents or guardians would take you to the store and pay for all those brand new clothes. Yes it was wonderful, but times change and eventually when you graduate college or get your first job shopping comes down to primarily on how much you have left in your budget. I myself used to have a full time job making good money but now I go to school full time with barely any income to live off. In this process I have learned you can still find ways to afford nice clothes but at a fraction of the price.

Start out by checking out discount apparel retailers such as T.J. Maxx, Ross and Marshalls. All claim to offer 20 to 60 percent off name brand clothing and department store prices. All three chains offer a variety of brands from higher end labels like Tommy Hilfiger to American Eagle and Nike. If you are a real fashionista you would be happy to know that they also carry on occasion brands like Coach and Seven For All Mankind. I recently purchased a Calvin Klein cotton sateen sundress for $40, which had originally been $140, from T.J. Maxx for a wedding I attended. Not only is it a great price but it a great quality dress that I can use again and again for special occasions. Bargain right!?

Here is the Calvin Klein dress I bought at T.J. Maxx for only $40!

If spending time browsing through clothes isn’t your thing you can always head to one of America’s favorite stores Target. Target not only gives you a chance to pick up cheap furniture for your bare apartment or room but it allows you to shop for good quality clothes at great bargain prices. Target has done an amazing job at also offering consumers products from famous designers. Shaun White, famous Olympic snowboarder, recently put out a line of young men and boys clothes for target in the price range of $34.99 to $14.99.
Checking out department stores on major sales can also save you lots of money on higher quality items. Macy’s is wonderful example of this. There is always a reason for Macy’s to throw a sale, whether it be Columbus Day or the beginning of winter. Sale racks can be marked clear down to 70 percent off. I have been lucky enough to find great wardrobe staples for extremely low prices. Macy’s is always having coupons for an extra percentage off your purchases too. Take advantage of the offers because finding a wool coat over half off it’s original price of $200 is a great deal and does not happen too often.
Of course then there are the real money savers, thrift stores. You can find them anywhere you live. Every city small or big has a few to choose from and can offer lots of used clothes. Goodwill stores can be used to help clean your closet out and find new treasures to add. There are always great deals available at thrift stores as long as you don’t mind searching for them. Make sure you know what you are spending your money on and that you get things you really love. It is easy to go through thrift stores and pick up everything because it is all priced so low, but that can lead to a huge bill at the register.

Overall I suggest being aware of the clothing items you need before you head into a store otherwise it is easy to purchase something you don’t necessarily need. Search for clothing staples that you can wear regularly through out the year. By going through your closet every once in awhile and cleaning it out reduces clutter and can actually save you money. Possibly get together with a few of your friends and organize a clothing exchange with each other to spruce up your wardrobe up, for free! Another good idea is holding a sidewalk or garage sale. It does take a bit of effort to organize but when someone pays you for that old shirt that is been sitting in your closet for the past two years then the work will be worth it.


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September 8, 2009

Social Media Revolution or just another passing trend?

Social media has taken the world by storm, continuing to grow, but some still believe it is just a fad. I found a fascinating video on YouTube a while back showing some interesting statistics about social media, take a look and make the decision for yourself … Is social media a fad? or the biggest shift since the industrial revolution?
Social Media Revolution

July 20, 2009

Community Service or Service Learning

Community Service Center Beaver'sAs I have been spending my time this summer working for Oregon State University’s Community Service Center I have been busy doing research particularly on what other university’s community service or service learning centers look like. Looking into other center’s around Oregon I really get more of a feeling they are centered on service learning more than community service and volunteer opportunities. In the past few years the center ( also under a fair amount of construction ) has focused on providing students at Oregon State with volunteer opportunities around the community. This past year I actually found myself involved with the environmental board for the center. It was the first year they had split up into particular boards that were led by a student coordinator. Now being the first year of doing this and not having much to go off the students tried to organize a large volunteer opportunity for students at OSU. Unfortunately the results were not exactly what everyone was hoping for.

So as the new communications coordinator I am hoping first to get the name out about the community service center around the OSU campus and Corvallis community, with big goals to eventually have the center known state wide for our efforts in community service. The one important thing I must pin point before I plan my marketing campaign is what the center should focus on and represent: Community service or service learning.

The Difference between Service-Learning and
Community Service

Although they may seem similar, service-learning and community service are different concepts. Both emphasize developing civic responsibility, meeting authentic community needs, and creating strong collaborations with the community. Both value students’ personal, social, career and ethical growth.

However, there are a few significant differences:

 Service-learning is an instructional strategy; a way of teaching classroom content. Community service does not emphasize school curriculum.

 Service-learning uses reflection as a means for interpreting experiences. Community service does not require reflection.

 Service-learning, because it is integrated with school curriculum, can take place during the school day, and on the school campus. Community service often must take place outside of the school day, and off campus.

 Community service is often quantified by having students serve a designated number of hours. Service-learning, because it takes place both within and outside of the classroom, emphasizes “service experiences” as opposed to hours.

 Community service often involves students, as individuals, serving in local non-[profit agencies. Service-learning lends itself towards full class group projects.

Example of community service:

Students take a field trip to pick up trash, bottles and cans a long the banks of a river. They do this once in the fall and once in the spring.

Example of service-learning:

Students discover that a local river is degraded. While connecting their project to relevant curriculum, students and teachers work with an environmental group to design the project. They conduct water quality tests and research possible contamination sources. Students analyze data and present their finding to local officials. The environmental group then uses this data for watershed programs.

I see service learning be more of something that should be incorporated into the university rather into the university by a single center. As of now the center doesn’t have the ability to produce service learning to an entire university. It is a huge challenge to take on and in the next few years I hope that Oregon State will make an attempt at using service learning to fully benefit the school, community and Oregon. As for me and the Center I believe I need to focus on making it a hub for students and departments a like to come for volunteer opportunities. Hopefully by the end of summer the CSC will be known around town, that way when school starts we can have efforts to get students out helping in our community.

I have lots of ideas for getting the community service center off the ground..next up our new website! I will be taking a class on the basics of OSU’s website development software called Drupal. Should be interesting!


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June 24, 2009

Learning the ways of internet marketing & advertising with Limelight Department + much more!

Super excited to start up my internship this week with Limelight Department in Eugene, OR! Limelight is an ad agency that specialzes in online marketing and website development, and has many other awesome business projects along side. Unfortunately I have missed most of this week’s meetings due to the end of the legislative session and my duties that still reside at Oregon’s fine Capitol and to the great Representative Arnie Roblan, but I made it for half a day and already have learned so much! I did leave my trusty digital voice recorder so I wouldn’t miss too much important info. I have no experience in marketing except for what I have learned working as a store manager a year ago so I am incredibly excited to learn more about marketing and advertising, but there is plenty more that I will be learning along with that. I am so excited and ready to take in as much knowledge as I can : ) I have lots to learn!

Check out great internet marketing articles and free web tools from Limelight Department.

Climb the Google Ladder in 2 Easy Steps
By Shaylor Murray, May 2009

The early days of search engine optimization were, in hindsight, so simple. Back then all it took was a few good meta tags. Even tactics like invisible text and keyword stuffing not only wasn’t frowned upon but actually worked. Of course, that’s all changed. The search landscape is very different now, and while it used to be that scattering keywords around like confetti was all you had to do, today a much higher premium is placed on two things: content and inbound links.

1

There’s no absolute consensus on how important each element is, and it varies slightly from one search engine to another, but content weighs in as more important, probably about 70%, with inbound links making up the other third of this two part equation.

I would like to point out there are about 100 other factors that play a dynamic roll in acheiving top ranking but these are the foundation of everything else. If you don’t have these two, the rest is useless.

Step 1: Content, Content, Content

Much like the real estate mantra “location, location, location,” climbing the ladder to the top of Google requires great content. The bottom line is that visitors will not stick around to check out your site unless your content is worth looking at. This will not be an overnight process.

Writing for a website is a bit of an art. It’s important to use keywords, but the tone should be one of natural speech. If you’re using to many keywords that you’re stumbling across the words as you read them, and you’re sacrificing general readability to get more keywords in there, that’s a mistake. If you’re unsure, ask a friend to help you write something in a naturally conversant way.

Ideally, each keyword phrase should have its own optimized page. That’s not likely in reality, but you should limit your usage to no more than two or three keyword phrases per page. You should allow for about 200 words per keyword. For a paragraph of the length of this one you’re reading now (~190 words), use the keyword no more than two times within the body text. The keyword should definitely be in the page title, and should be used within the first sentence of the content. Beyond that, limit use of your keyword phrase and spread it equally throughout the page. Wrap up the whole page of text with another usage, to show the spiders that the content is relevant throughout. Incorporate the keyword as anchor text for links that lead to another page of your own site, particularly the first usage. The link should lead to another page optimized for a different keyword, but with related content. For content with two different keyword phrases, the same rule applies: about 150 words per usage of the keyword.

Step 2: Link, Link, Link

When linking, go for the highest quality sites with content that is relevant to yours. Link farms that link your digital photography equipment website to a running shoe website are likely not going to help you. When linking, be consistent in how you enter your website, because in Google’s eyes, “http://www” is not the same as “www”. Google considers links from high PageRank pages as more “authoritative” than links from low PageRank pages. Sites with PR of more than 5 will likely know they are in desirable link territory because they’ll be receiving a lot of link requests. So go back to Step 1 above, and start building that great content so that they’ll have no reason to deny your request.

There are several tools available that can help you determine the PageRank of a site. (This is not the same as a site’s placement in the search engine results pages.) The free Google Toolbar is one tool that can help you quickly determine the PR of any page you surf to. It will appear as a blue bar indicating a whole number strength between 0 to 10. Most high quality pages have a PR of at least 4. Only the most popular pages, like Google itself or something like CNN.com, have a PR of 10.

One thing to avoid if possible is a Links page, where all of your inbound links are essentially relegated to the content dustbin. Having all of those precious links going to one page, or all to your home page, is a big mistake and a waste of what could be major link juice. The links should go to your actual content pages, where they are most closely related to the content of the linking site. Most often, the home page is the highest PR page on a site, so the link should originate from the other site’s home page, to one of your deep content pages.

Inbound links to your pages should feature your keyword as the anchor text triggering the hyperlink, in other words, the keyword is the clickable part leading to your page. Surround the link on your own site with as much relevant content as possible. This is not the place to use generic, placeholder text.

The Method

Building links is a bit of a chore. The best way to handle it is to add it to your schedule and do it like any other task. There’s really no better way, other than great content as we just discussed, to build your website’s stability and authority on the major search engines. It’s a task that will repay you in full, provided it is undertaken with some care. The automated reciprocal link services are questionable. The links are often to low quality junk pages, or temporary, or are links to pages that can get your site blacklisted on Google.

It’s tedious to link manually, so the other option is to hire that service out to a professional. If you do choose to investigate paying a link service, find one that sets it up so your page links to another, which links to a different page, which then links to you. That way each link is counted as a one way inbound link by Google, which is the most valuable type of link to have. Periodically check your backlink profile, and make sure the links aren’t broken, and are to quality pages.

If you’re building the links yourself, take a little care with how you phrase your link request. Some people aren’t aware of the value of links, so explaining to them what you want to do and how it will benefit both of your sites will improve your odds. Don’t write the email like a caveman. Explain why the page you want them to link to is most relevant to the content they have on their own site. Link to it in the email so they can see the page and be sure that what you’re saying is true. Put the link to their site in place first. When possible, use the webmaster’s name, so they know you’ve actually done your homework and you’re not an automated linkbot.

Also, steady linking over time is much more important than just lots of links. Google want to see that people continue to see your site as a valuable resource over time. If links suddenly stop coming, it’s a sign that your site or page no longer holds it’s value. A priceless tool in combating this is to provide something related to your topic like an online tool, video or article (“sticky content”) that makes others want to link to it.

Summary

The goal of having a quality site is that people will naturally want to link to you, and while link-building will be something you have to do, it will be a supplement to organically-grown (so to speak) links on your site. As your content improves, you will get more links, and you will begin that climb up the Google ladder. Add in some links that were hand-picked by you, and improved content, and you’ll climb even higher.

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About Limelight Department

Limelight Department in advertising agency that specializes in Internet marketing for businesses across the US and Canada. Our experts utilize proven strategies of website development, media design, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, copy writing, content distribution and many other services to send targeted, ready-to-buy traffic to your site. Visit LimelightDepartment.com for more information.

Plus more awesome and helpful internet marketing articles.


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The Importance of Your Online Identity

As I learn more about new media I am always finding excellent blogs as I browse the vast internet, recently I came across an excellent blog on Careerealism’s site about the importance of YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY. As I spoke in my last blog about the importance of new media in searching for a job, this blog also touchs base on huge issues on this subject. I found it very insightful.

Career Truth #1: Brand or Be Branded (Are YOU Willing to Risk What Shows on the Top Fold?)
March 12, 2009 by sparktalk
By J.T. O’Donnell

Several people have told me lately they don’t care about their career identity online. “I should be able to do what I want,” or, “My life shouldn’t be judged by employers based on what they see on the web.” I say this: brand or be branded. You can either make sure people ‘hear what they see’ in a way that boosts your credibility. Or, you can ignore your online presence and be seen as, A) non-existent and unimportant, or perhaps even worse, B) the Dennis Rodman of the net.

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Let me explain…(and trust me, you are going to want to read this story!)

A young woman reached out to me recently supposedly ‘desperate’ about her job search. Having graduated college last spring and yet to land an interview, she claimed to have ‘tried everything’ and was sure she was doing something wrong. I looked at her resume which had some things that could be improved, but her academic achievements were solid and in a specialized field. Then, I checked her cover letter. It was pretty standard, but not bad, which then made me wonder if her online identity was the issue. So, I decided to complete an Internet search on her – just as 4 out of 5 hiring managers do today. I put in her name and the school she graduated from. What popped up in the results shed some light. The #1 item in the results was her Facebook picture. It was a blurry photo of her in a sweatshirt and her eyes were closed. Okay, so it was nothing terrible, but it also wasn’t a powerful first impression.

And besides, what followed was much worse…

You see, her Facebook photo also happened to be the ONLY thing that popped up about her. Nothing related to school, nothing related to volunteering, nothing related to her field of study…absolutely nothing. In fact, the next 10 entries thereafter were for someone with the same name but different middle initial who currently writes a very open and direct blog about an alternative lifestyle subject.

Now, is it frustrating to think she might actually be getting discriminated against because of an online search? Of course! This recent grad doesn’t have a lot of experience, which means her career identity is being branded as sub-par (and maybe even misinterpreted) from lack of solid professional online content. Yet, that doesn’t mean a person with this problem should sit in the sandbox and pound their fists. Any person, at any age, at any time in their career can build a strong online career identity. The reality is you only need 5-6 good things to come up in a search so the top fold (the uppermost portion of the computer screen that shows the top search results) is filled with positive items about you. Why? Because people rarely, if ever, bother to scroll down or click on the next page of a search. They usually assume what is in the top fold is the most relevant.

So, how do you create and/or improve your online career identity?

Step 1: Identify Your Brand’s Keywords

Do a search on yourself and see what comes up. You may find someone with your name has coveted the top fold. From there, identify what keywords you can use to differentiate yourself from this person. Should you be using your full name? Your middle initial? Your affiliation with an organization or a type of work? Figure out how you want people to find you so you can build your brand around these keywords.

Step 2: Become a Blog Reader & Commenter

Begin reading career-related content on blogs for 10 minutes daily. This will help you stay-up-to date and in-the-know. Then, start posting thoughtful, well-written, professional comments on these blogs related to your field of interest. Don’t know where to find these blogs? Go to www.AllTop.com – they are like a magazine rack of online blogs. There, you’ll be able to find dozens of blogs related to your career aspirations so that you can post comments to enhance your credibility as a knowledgeable member of your field/industry. Better still, if you are reading this, you are on a blog RIGHT NOW. So, take 2 extra minutes to post a comment and you’ll be on your way.

Step 3: Ask to Guest Post & Become a Subject-Matter Expert

Once you’ve got commenting down, it’s time to consider writing a guest blog post on a subject related to your career. After you’ve become a regular commenter on a particular site and feel you relate to their readership, contact them and ask if they would accept a guest post from you. Give them an overview of the topic you would write about. If they are interested, you can write the whole article, submit it, and voila – you are a published author on the net.

Step 4: Get Your Twitter Brand Up and Running

Finally, get a Twitter account and learn the 3 key phases for leveraging its power for your career. (FYI – sign up HERE to get step-by-step instruction on how to do that). Twittering is micro-blogging. Better still, it’s like instant messaging for professionals. It is an easy, fast way to connect with hundreds of like-minded people in a short period of time. You can be connected to 1000’s of people in a matter of weeks. Better still, you can ‘tweet’ (post short 140 character comments) to them which a hiring manager can read if they do a search on your Twitter account name. So, it’s like inviting an employer to see what you are like to converse with. A great way to brand yourself! (And don’t forget to follow @careerealism on Twitter so you can see the 14 career experts who are donating their time and providing real-time advice to career questions from our followers as part of our Twitter Advice Project.)

Does this sound like too much work? It’s really not, I promise. But, even if it does take a little effort, it’s worth it.

Here’s an example:

One of the interns in our CAREEREALISM program actually joined the marines and was deployed in Iraq. He did this so he could pay for college. When he came back to the university, he was contacted by a student who wanted to write a story about his experience. He’s an extremely humble person, but agreed to do the interview. The story posted online and it is an incredible look at what life is like there. Now, he never told myself or the rest of our team about this. Actually, with his permission, I was the one that shared this online story with his fellow interns; many of whom have become friends with him in the last year and didn’t even know he served in the war. So, how did I know? As his potential employer, I looked him up. You can imagine how much his credibility went up in my mind when I saw and read the story. And, since joining our internship, he’s also begun blogging. At this point, he has a pretty incredible top fold – and he’s only a junior!

In summary, it’s like I said…brand or be branded. Why risk having a lack of any career identity or a bad online presence just because you didn’t take control of the situation? Yes, getting your top fold to look good takes a little effort, but it can provide an incredible return on your time and energy investment.

I am lucky to say I am the ONLY Makenzie Marineau out there (at least that I am aware of ! ) so when I am googled all the articles I have wrote for the newspaper pop up along with my twitter, Facebook, blog etc. Try doing a search on yourself and see what comes up!


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May 30, 2009

How to use new media to benefit your job search

As a current student I realize sooner than later I will be faced with having to compete with millions of other grads for entry level positions in the working world, and I do understand how important it is to try and stand out, that is why I have been exploring my options with new media and how I can promote myself using it.

First off start networking yourself online using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each one has something different to offer but all share a simple purpose to NETWORK. Using social networking sites allow you to put yourself out there in front of the others, you can gain expert advice in your field of study or help someone else and by doing so gain connections. You get an opportunity to meet a large group of professionals that all share your same career aspirations that are willing to reach out and connect with you…how awesome is that!

Next put yourself online by investing some time to make an online resume. Great sites to build your resume and profiles include Emurse, VisualCV, Carbonmade and GigTide. There are others out there but these are the ones I have found fairly easy to navigate. Carbonmade is more for putting together a portfolio of work and the look of the finished product looks very impressive.

By making an online resume and portfolio you make it that much easier for anyone – including potential employers – to view what you have to offer. None the less it gives you an edge showing your future employer you are fully capable of using new technology methods to market yourself and potentially benefiting their business. By having your resume online it can also make it much easier for you to apply to positions by just sending the link, plus some companies give you the option of sending a website link instead of uploading a resume. You can look at my online resume at emurse to get an idea of what one looks like. I love the fact that my emurse website allows me to post writing samples along with examples of my work.

Think of the possibilities…Having your resume online could help you land a job maybe you weren’t necessarily looking for, maybe a company came across your resume and profile and liked what they saw…poof…new job. Well I like to dream I could be handed a job, who doesn’t?

Blogging about what you are passionate about can also grab a future employer’s attention. Blogging shows people a little bit more about who you are – interests, passions, personality etc. – Depending on what field you go into blogging may be an extremely important factor when coming to landing a position or it may not be relevant, but for someone like myself who is going into communications I feel that more and more employers are looking for people who do have their own blogs and most applications are now asking for your blog site or website address.

I also feel that blogging can allow you to show off your creativeness and depending on how much effort you put into it can set you apart from the rest of the job candidates.

Flickr, YouTube and other online sites can also get you actively involved with future employers.

There are many ways to network yourself and using new media is an excellent way to do it. It helps you reach those people you wouldn’t necessarily be able to. In the competitive world of job hunting, especially for entry level individuals, it is extremely important to remember to network network NETWORK!


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April 30, 2009

The Wonderful World of Social Networking

As a new media communications major and a hopeful journalist I have thrown myself into the craziness of social media and networking at full force. I have finally pegged twitter and am finally getting the full benefits from using it. More and more each day I get sucked into it. Constantly I am searching the site for interesting postings to re-tweet (RT), which man oh man are there tons!

Another social media network I absolutely love is delicious.com. It is a social bookmarking site and it is so beneficial for someone online. I bookmark everything I look at! Or if I don’t have time to read it at that moment I bookmark it anyway that way I will always have it to read later when I find time. I have pages apon pages of articles and links. It is great to be able to go back and give your sources to someone if they ask or quickly find the link if you want to re-post it.

Currently I am enrolled in a NMC 302: Reporting and I am absolutely loving it. Not only because who doesn’t need practice on good reporting skills or I love the work, but also my professor is absolutely amazing. She is a former newspaper reporter and has been teaching journalism in some form for about 12 years now. Her blog is great and I highly recommend checking out Old Dog, New Media.

In my reporting class we are doing beat journals every week. I have choose to switch around between international news, social networking and the media as my beats. This last week I wrote on social networking and I thought I would share it.

The World of Social Networking: April 19th to 25th, 2009

In social networking news Twitter has continued to dominate headlines. NPR, CNN, New York Times, LA Times, OPB all featuring the Twitter name in stories. On Mashable: The Social Media Guide, a story revealed today, April 24, actor Hugh Jackman used Twitter to help find a charity to donate $100K. He had asked Twitter users to pitch in 140 words or less why their chosen charities should receive the cash.

Mashable blog on Hugh Jackman charity donation.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has helped organize and host scores of successful charity campaigns. Early in the year Twestivals were held around the world where local Twitter communities could gather together offline and socialize to benefit and raise money for charities. It amazes me that this social networking tool can be such a useful campaign and fundraising tool. Most people who don’t use Twitter or have yet to understand its use may have a hard time realizing the powerfulness of the social connections it helps with. To learn click here Twestivals

I myself as a Twitter user have never heard of these Twestivals before but I am very intrigued that the Twitter community is using social networking to benefit those all around the world. It shows you how powerful connections are and if you gather a large group of people from all over with the same interests, concerns and cares then something amazing can come of it.

On CNN a volcano in Alaska makes headlines for having over 7,000 followers on Twitter.com. It would seem silly that a volcano would be making so many friends but then one must realize there are plenty of people all over the world that would enjoy keeping up with its seismic activity.

CNN: Volcano finds followers aflutter on Twitter.

Los Angeles Times wrote on April 22nd about Tweeting from Iraq. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was visiting Iraq this week as part of a delegation of new media technology executives invited by the State Department to explore ways technology can help rebuild the country. Execs from YouTube and Google were among others participating. They are hoping to use new technologies to promote transparency in government, encourage private-sector development and address many of the social problems Iraq is confronting.

LA Times: Iraq: Twittering from Baghdad

I think this is a great idea but most people in Iraq don’t have access to the internet so it may be difficult at first to get things rolling. But Dorsey had noted that 85% of Iraqis use mobile phones, which allow them to tweet and promote social networking. Who would have thought that social networking would have been called into play to help rebuild Iraq? Not I. It makes sense to me how it can help Iraqis voice their opinions and organize their ideas but can it really work. With the direction technology has been making in media and social networking I don’t doubt that something positive will come of this project. No one thought a revolution via twitter was possible but Moldavians proved a lot of people otherwise.

On NPR I heard of the news that Ashton Kutcher surpassed CNN in a race to one million followers. Each party had agreed to donate mosquito nets to battle malaria win or lose. Again you see how charity comes into play using Twitter.

NPR: Ashton Kutcher bests CNN to Become undisputed Twitter King

Monday, April 20th, I listened to a great piece on NPR about how Twitter and other social networking sites are being used for news sources more. Breaking stories sometimes appear on Wikipedia or Twitter before they are even reported by news organizations. It also talked about how journalists sometimes pick up pieces of news on these sites as a starting point to a breaking story.

NPR: Thumbs to the News: public Turns to Twitter

But the real question that is tackled: can you trust the news you receive from these social networking sites? If you read about a breaking story on someone’s Twitter page does that make it real? A lot of these people who are relaying these breaking news stories aren’t actual journalists or professionals of news. It can be hard to tell if information was even verified because for non-journalist they don’t understand the importance of that. It is frustrating as a hopeful journalist seeing how just about anyone could throw out a juicy news story or any information that might not fully be true and it may be read more than your story, which you worked hard hours to get the facts and get them right. But I do also see the positives of social networking news stories because it is helpful to people who don’t have a lot of time on their hands to quickly get updates about what is going in the world. That is why the New York Times and other established news organizations have social networking sites so they can deliver truthful breaking stories to people around the world. I would personally choose to believe a twitter feed from the NY Times over a man in India who just gave an up date on breaking news in Oregon, not saying this is true but just an example of what could be.

As I search relentlessly for summer internships I have came across quite a few offering experience running social networking sites for companies. For businesses today it is a must to be marketing themselves on these social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace or Twitter. Pizza Hut even put an ad out for a summer job to tweet for the company, I found out through New York Times.

NY Times: Tweeting becomes a summer job opportunity

Businesses need to market themselves on these sites to rack full potential of advertising. It helps consumers connect with businesses like they never have been able to before. Social network sites allow them to get in touch and see how the consumer feels and get input that can help them out in being successful. I think it is a great tool and should be used as much as possible in marketing a product or business. But again social networking sites such as YouTube can also play an enemy. Take for instance an article in BusinessWeek about how a few Domino employees posted a video on YouTube of them molesting food before sending it out to customers.

BusinessWeek: Domino’s Pizza Youtube video lesson: Focus on Standards, and Pack your own Lunch.

At first Domino’s tried to convey it as a hoax but that didn’t work. As you can imagine things haven’t been going very well for Domino’s in trying to put this fiasco behind them. It is hard with social networking to hide information because everything is seen and heard. For one business or entrepreneur it might help build them but for other companies it may be the death of them. I am not saying Domino’s will be closing their doors any time soon but I don’t see customers rushing to their phones to dial in delivery any time soon either.


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April 9, 2009

Isla Mujeres, a Mayan Disney World and Eco Friendly Cabanas

Filed under: Backpacking,Mexico,Travel @ 8:25 pm

I recently returned after an awesome 10 days of traveling around the Yucatan Peninsula. I traveled with two very good friends from my home town of Coos Bay and one’s boyfriend. A few days into the trip we were joined by an amazing New Yorker. It was such a great experience and I couldn’t have been more delighted at the fact that my two friends are both fluent in Spanish too. I speak a little but stopped taking courses after my first year in college, I am a tad bit rusty. It was excellent to be traveling with them because this way it was easy for us to carry on conversations with the locals and always find the best places to eat and get inside view from the people in the area. We flew into Cancun but made a b-line for Isla Mujeres ( a small island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula ).

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We stayed at a youth hostel named Poc-Na which was recommended in every guide book we read. I carried along with me my trusty Let’s Go! Mexico guidebook (best guidebooks ever! Wrote by Harvard college students for the budget traveler. Perfect!). The time we spent at the Poc-Na was great and we only spent about $10 a night to stay there. Isla Mujeres was my favorite part of the trip because the island was so small we could walk everywhere. There wasn’t as many tourists or travelers and the beaches were low key and beautiful. I was glad I didn’t experiance the Cancun life. After leaving Isla we traveled to the town of Vallavolid which is by far our most cultural experience. There are very few if any travelers walking the streets in Vallavolid but the city does hold a lot of history. Our real reason to stay in Vallavolid was to travel to Chichen Itza -the religious and political center of ancient Mayan civilization. We spent most of a day at Chichen Itza walking around old Mayan architecture. It was an amazing site and it is one of the new seven greatest wonders of the world. There is so much history behind the old civalization.

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After chichen Itza it was a mad dash back to the coast. We headed for Tullum where we spent the next two nights living in beach side cabanas with hanging beds. The resort we stayed at – Diamante K – was considered an eco friendly resort. The showers were all double shower heads with beaded curtains keeping everyone from outside from seeing in (doesn’t really work too well) and the lights only came on from around 7pm to 12am every night. There were no plug ins or electricity except for at the restaurant/bar on the resort. Most of the resort was lite up by candle light including the bathroom stalls which were outside. It was a great way to live for a few days and a beautful place. I loved to wake up in the morning and open our window to the crashing waves. Unfortunately the wind was acting up while we were staying there. It seemed as if we were living through a mild hurricane. The whole place brought back memories of when I traveled in Belize with my family and we stayed in a cement hut. In Tullum we even got to check out a cenote which are sinkholes that expose underground water and caverns.

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After Tullum we packed up and travled north to Playa Del Carmen. Playa is now the fastest growing city in North America. In just two years the population jumped from 80,000 to 140,000 people. It is said to have a great night life (still cheaper than Cancun) and breath taking beaches. Again the wind was so horrible the water was churned up and the sand was just whipping across you. No one was going snorkling or diving because the wind had made the visibility awful. It was for sure a bummer that we couldn’t get out to the reef. The reef off the coast of Playa is part of the second largest barrier reef that travels all the way down the coast of Belize. Playa was a very touristy and expensive for us so we decided to pack up and travel back up north to Isla Mujeres to spend the last couple days there. We were lucky to book the same hostel again and enjoyed the last few days taking it easy on the white sandy beaches and relaxing. It was an awesome adventure that I was lucky enough to experience with my good friends and I even made a bunch of new ones along the way.

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What inspires you?

Filed under: Creativity,Inspiration,Motivation @ 12:49 pm

It amazes me when I sit back and think of what has inspired me in the past few months to take on such a strong determination towards journalism and communications. It has been shocking to realize some of the people who have inspired me the most, people I don’t actually know at all but I have read enough of their work and about them to get a good idea of who they are. People can inspire you in the oddest ways and without knowing it. I love to see and hear about amazing people with their different passions and goals. I would say I have a few too many goals and dreams, but after seeing what other awesome people are doing I find hope for myself that I too will succeed. I love to find inspiration in new people. I want to learn about everyone and share everyones story with the world, that is something that helps drive me to become a great journalist. One day I hope to share my stories…gosh I have tons already! What brings inspiration to you? There are so many things that can effect your thoughts and ideas on a daily basis. Next time you are feeling a little inspiration kicking in try and utilize it and get your creativiness and thoughts flowing. Write it down, draw or paint it, maybe even create it!

Another issue that I have sometimes is I tend to have my best thoughts and ideas come to me while I am driving my car. Grrr can this be frustrating! I can’t write while I am driving! I drive a LOT too. Maybe the fact that I have hours on end for my thoughts to run wild, or the fact I have no one else to talk to so I resort to myself, but I come up with some great ideas while driving. Sadly this causes great many problems and frustrations on my behalf because I end up forgetting them or spending lots of time trying to remember them. Where do you get your best ideas? Is there a certain spot you go to or does your creativeness come to you all the time?
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Another time for me is when I am about to fall asleep. I am a big thinker and I think about some stuff way too much. I know how cruddy it can be when I am trying to get to bed and I am thinking about everything from what I have do tomorrow for what great story ideas to write about. Thoughts can sometimes eat away at me too. I have a tendancy to think too much about the past and the future instead of the here and now. I have worked on putting the past behind me so I don’t deal with those issues as much anymore but I still am always thinking ahead of what I want to be doing next. Yes I am a huge dreamer.
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