Monday, May 5, 2014

Why You Should Think Twice Before You Post

As a frequent Facebook user, it bothers me that teens and adults do not think twice about what they post online. More and more people need to think twice before they post certain language, pictures, videos, etc... over all social media pages. I have seen some people post some pretty graphic material on their websites; however, they need to realize that what they post could keep them from getting that job they have always wanted. If you think no one besides your friends or family will see what you post.....think again. Employers constantly check your social media sites. If you apply for a job, the employer can look for you on Facebook, Twitter, etc.... and see what kind of person you are before they decide to hire you. If you read the latest journal articles on hiring and social media, you will find that what you post online can have an impact on whether or not you get that dream job. However, do not take my word for it. Please do the research and you will out that what I'm saying is true. So I hope the next time you use social media, you will think twice about what you post. Have a great day!!!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Must Watch This Movie - Disconnect

Hello Readers,

This will be my last blog for a while. I plan to write again at some point but not on a weekly basis. These last few weeks I hope that you have enjoyed my postings and have learned a lot from them. I hope you learned a lot about media convergence, citizen blogging, crowd-sourcing, branding, and children/teens and using emerging media. One day when I teach communication courses, I hope to use this blog as an example for my students. As I end this chapter of my blog for now, I would like to recommend a movie that I have recently watched with my husband. The movie is called Disconnect. It is a great movie for all communication professionals to watch. The film talks about how we are so connected online; however, we are so disconnected with the people around us. The film follows the lives of several families that are somewhat destroyed via cellphones and computers. This movie is a wonderful film about technology and human relationships. The last blog that I posted concentrated on children and young teen adults and the pros and cons of them using technological devices. The movie Disconnect definitely demonstrates a teenager that has his life turned upside down because of mobile phones and the internet. The movie also shows how teenage bullying can go too far with the help of digital devices. As I have stated previously, technology is not all bad; however, if we become too consumed by it, it can destroy us. Both adults and children need to learn boundaries and establish limits when it comes to using digital devices. As you will see and find out, if you watch the movie, people that are sucked in and become addicted to technology tend to lose control of their own lives. If you want to learn more about the movie before renting or buying, please check out the link below:

Thank you for reading my blogs. Please check back periodically for new postings. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Computers & Smartphones: Safe for Children and Young Adults?

My nephew Jay using my Mom's laptop.
We all know that the world we live in today is a world of technology. Each day, more and more children and young adults are using technological devices such as computers, smartphones, laptops, iPads, and other tablets. The usage of technology by children and young adults has its pros and cons. Research suggests that some of the worries and cons to children and young adults that use the internet via computer or mobile device are the following concerns: privacy issues, bullying, pedophiles, spam, chain letters, withdrawal from the real world, and a false sense of security. Some of the pros concerning children and young adults that use electronic devices are the following: sense of keeping in touch with real-life friends, able to talk to and  bring up sensitive topics to their parents that the children/young adults could not do so in a face-to-face setting, cellphones are a quick and easy way to communicate and negotiate plans such as informing parents that the child or teen will be late getting home, and once again a false sense of security so that the child or teen can push the limits on where he or she wishes to go. Sonia Livingstone states the following about children and teens that use social networking sites, “social networking is time-wasting and socially isolating, and at worst it allows pedophiles to groom children in their bedroom or sees teenagers lured into suicide pacts whiles parents think they [the children] are doing their homework. (2008)” Sonia Livingstone has an excellent point. There have been cases where children and teens where solicited online to do sexual favors for pedophiles, weather sending inappropriate pictures or even worse such as meeting them in person. Also, there have been cases where children and young teens have made suicide pacts online. Wolak, Finkhelhor, and Mitchell state the following statistic concerning sex offenders soliciting youths, “Between 2006 and 2006, there was a 21% increase in arrests of offenders who solicited youth online for sex. (2009)” 21 % is a big increase when we are talking about the safety of our children and teenagers. Even if it was just one child or teen that was solicited for sex online by a pedophile, that is still one too many. As far as the suicide pacts go, there have been some occurrences where teens and young adults have gathered online to discuss suicide pacts. Some have even been successful with their mission. Parents have to be more proactive in their child and/or teen’s online endeavors. Kerry Devitt and Debi Roker states the following about the positives and negatives of children and teenagers using mobile phones, “the findings show that young people and parents see mobiles as a key way for families to keep in touch, and to monitor and ensure young people’s safety. However, some participants felt there was a downside to this, in relation to some young people either withdrawing into their own social worlds, or having a false feeling of security as a result of having a mobile. (2009)” Mobile phones do allow teens and young adults to fast and effectively communicate to their parents to let them know where they are at and how late they will stay out at night with a significant other or with friends. However, the participants are accurate in their assumption of teens and children getting addicted to the internet via mobile phones or computers while becoming oblivious to what events are going on around them. For example, young adults such as sixteen year olds that are able to drive have a higher risk in getting into car accidents due to texting while behind the wheel. ( The young adults become so dependent on their mobile devices that even while driving they think they must be on their phone. When they are on their phones, their attention is no longer on driving; therefore, causing some mistakes. There have been some occurrences where some young adults have died or killed others by texting and driving. Even though the mobile device does allow children and young adults to contact their parents, caregivers, or police in case of an emergency; however, the child or young adult may not be able to get to their phone in time during an emergency situation. As mentioned previously, young teenagers can get into car accidents while using their mobile phones. In a situation like that, the phone is actually the cause of the accident. Also, in Devitt and Roker’s article, they mentioned that mugging was a concern for both the young people and their parents. Both have concerns that people will see the youngsters with their cellphones and come up and rob them of their cellphones. (2009) In a case like this, the cellphone would not help the young adult get out of the bad situation but yet again be the cause. The use of technology by young people is not all bad. With the right boundaries set and proper supervision, the internet can connect a young person to a vast array of learning and positive communication. Students of all ages benefit from the seemingly unending resources that the internet can connect them to. The use of mobile communication by children and young people also has its advantages. In addition to being able reach a child, the parents can also use tracking technologies on most modern phones to keep tabs on their children. Technology can also be a good way to get young children interested in learning. There are games you can download on to your smartphone or tablet and even tablet type devices designed for children that are preloaded with software that is aimed at learning while playing. These devices come with parental controls that limit the amount of time a child can use the device as well as filter content during online activities. Just about anything you put into a child’s hands can be dangerous if it is misused or abused and technology is no different. There will always be threats from online, and young people will always try to get away with something if given the chance. However, with proper supervision threats can be avoided and with the right rules and boundaries set, technology aided misbehavior can be kept to a minimum.


Devitt, K., & Roker, D. (2009). The Role of Mobile Phones in Family Communication. Children & Society, 23(3), 189-202. doi:10.1111/j.1099-0860.2008.00166.x

 Livingstone, S. (2008). Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: teenagers' use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression. New Media & Society, 10(3), 393-411.

 Wolak, J., Finkhelhor, D., and Mitchell, K. (2009). Trends in Arrests of Online Predators. Crimes against Children Research Center.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Image Is Everything

What exactly is someone’s personal brand? Nance Rosen suggests that your personal brand is your image and/or reputation. It is the image that you create for yourself to your family, friends, the internet, and the company and customers that you work with on a daily basis. Your personal brand tells the world what kind of person you are and what kind of personality traits you have. Your personal brand can also tell the public about which hobbies, travels, and projects you might be involved in; however, but they are not limited to such. Also, the public can tell whether or not you are easy-going, artistic, lethargic, egotistical, reliable, inventive, or any other trait that you might possess. (2013) So, did you know what you say and what you do online has consequences to your personal brand? Did you know if you post things that are unethical or immoral you could be putting your company and brand at risk? Nance Rosen states that anything you do on your social media website can have an impact on your brand. For example, whatever pictures, videos, and information that you put out there on the digital web such as on Facebook or Twitter reflects your brand, company you work for, and you. Therefore, if you post things like a half-nude picture of yourself or videos of you partying and drinking with a group of friends, the public and your potential clients will think that you do not take yourself and your job very seriously. People that were interested in your brand may not be so interested once they view your Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking page. However, this is a two-way street, because your Facebook or Twitter page could or might be filled with all sorts of family values and community projects. Therefore, having good morals will show potential clients and the public that you care and are passionate about your family, the community, and that you get involved. Potential customers will probably be more interested and willing to invest in you and your brand. (2013) Let us take a look back at the journalist that was fired for her confessions on her personal blog site.  Shea Allen and other journalists are supposed to uphold a certain type of image to the public so people like you and me will rely on their news coverage. Journalists have a certain code of ethics that they are supposed to uphold. Shea Allen’s blog reflects that she is a person that may not be trusted. She has obviously admitted to sleeping on the job and that she will ignore her clients if she deems them as boring. (Eck, 2013) This sort of behavior will not help her brand or the company that she represents. People that read Shea Allen’s blog will most likely, but not all, have a hard time trusting her. Another example of how someone’s personal brand can destroy their company’s image is the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal case. Criminal charges were filed against Mr. Sandusky for being accused of sexually molesting eight athlete boys from Penn State University. These charges and this case have had a huge impact on Penn State’s reputation. The school has lost donations, sponsors, and students due to the case. Jerry Sandusky’s personal brand has negatively impacted Penn State. Penn State will have to work hard in order to regain and rebuild their reputation. (Carpenter, 2011) Communication professionals need to be able to show the public and their company that they are hard-working, honest individuals that can be trusted. Also, Nance Rosen notes that it is highly important for professionals to stand out above the crowd on their social media websites. If your Facebook or Twitter page is boring, does not reflect your knowledge of your brand, or highlights you in some special way, you could be overlooked by potential employers. (2013) What is a good way to spice up your personal brand? For starters, do not post things that are inappropriate. You need to focus on your personal traits that will attract and appeal to potential customers or prospective employers. Larry Chiagouris and Brant Wansley suggest that your website must capture your viewer’s attention and build awareness of what your company and/or your brand is all about. Once you have the client’s attention, he or she will decide whether or not to do business with your company or you. Therefore, your website or social media site should appeal to the public’s desires and interest. Once a customer, client, or potential employer has become familiar with your website and you, he or she will trust you. When there is trust involved between others and you, the others will invest in your brand. You are more likely to get more job offers or your company that you already work for will increase in customers. Not to mention, if your company website does not look like a company that can be trusted, your customers will question whether or not share their most personal information with you such as their credit card number. The same is true for general brands. Companies like Yahoo and Amazon must keep their reputation shown in a positive light online. It is important for corporations to build a solid relationship with their customers. Organizations can do this by interacting with their customers on their websites and implementing strategies on their website that will continue to attract and appeal to the customer’s needs. In other words, the company must keep the customer engaged and satisfied. (2010) Branding is extremely important, and what you say or do has an impact on your brand. In conclusion, you always need to think about your actions before you do them, because a bad post or so forth can cause your company and you customers. As I have already mentioned earlier, cases like Shea Allen and Jerry Sandusky are perfect examples of personal branding that has gone wrong. In the world of marketing, it is completely true when they say image is everything.


Penn State Scandal: Image Damaged; What Can University Do?


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Is Crowdsourcing A Good Thing?

Crowdsourcing is when companies use the public crowd to help the company solve complex problems. Crowdsourcing is an online distributed problem-solving and productive model that has emerged in recent years. Companies can post a problem online and a vast number of individuals can offer solutions to the company’s problem. Once an individual has a winning idea, that individual will be awarded some form of a bounty such as money. One of the many benefits to crowdsourcing is that the company does not have to upfront a huge amount of money to get professionals to help solve their problems. Many small corporations have had some success using crowd sourcing as a way to solve complex problems. In Daren Brabham’s article, he gives several examples of companies that have had success with crowdsourcing. Threadless and iStockphoto are two small corporations that have benefited greatly by the use of crowdsourcing. Threadless does not have to pay professional designers to design their shirts. Anyone that has access to the online world can go to Threadless’s website with a t-shirt design and if the staff like it and the design receives good ratings, then Threadless will adopt the contributor’s design. The individual of the winning design will get a $1,500 check and $500 worth of Threadless t-shirts. IStockphoto uses a very similar strategy. Amateur photographers submit three photos to be judged by the iStockphoto staff. Once the photos are picked, the photographer will receive a 20 cent royalty for every time their photos are downloaded. Each picture on the website cost from a dollar to five dollars. The more extravagant the photograph is the higher the cost of the image will be; for example, the best photos might cost forty dollars. Companies are able to use ordinary people that use the internet to help build their company without having a bunch of professional staff members. This allows the company to save enormous amount of money. (2008) The problem with crowdsourcing is that the crowd could turn on the corporation. When the crowd turns against the organization this is called crowdslapping. Think about it, the crowd that has the winning t-shirt design or winning photograph is not getting paid the same or nearly as much as someone that has professional training in design or photography. Also these freelancers do not have to be provided with health insurance, paid vacations and sick leave. They do not require an office or workspace nor does the company have to provide computers or software for these individuals. If the crowd were to become angry at the fact that their contributions do not match their compensation, such publicity could be damaging to the company. Some might even call it “labor exploitation on the internet (Brabham, 2008).” Also, the new age of crowdsourcing is causing professional photographers to become out-of-date. Brabham states, “Because of the willingness for amateur photographers to ‘dump’ their work on iStockphoto for next to nothing, professional stock photographer are becoming obsolete. The tragic tale in this loss of jobs is the last tail of an increasing obsolescence of the industrial economy as a whole, and the diffusion of technology (like the digital camera) spread of expert knowledge (via the web), and our discovery of value in amateurs can be seen as refreshing and liberating in its own way. (2008)” In other words, professionals are losing their jobs to crowdsourcing, because crowdsourcing allows individuals to connect with companies and be a part of the company’s agenda and product. So what is in it for the crowd? Well, the crowd can sport their own ideas and or photos. For example, an individual that won a t-shirt design could sport his or her own design; therefore, promoting him or herself as an innovator, creator, and designer. A winning iStockphoto photographer could add that to his or her resume or portfolio. The crowd gets to become part of a business or industry that they have not yet been able to break into as a full time employee. Individuals who would love to be a professional photographer can now participate with iStockphoto to reach their goals and dreams. Crowdsourcing is way for the ordinary person to play on the same playing field as professionals without having the proper training or a person who has the training but lacks the experience to land a job in their field. The crowd gets to be creative, and they do get something such as money or so forth for their participation. Not to mention, crowdsourcing participation allows them a chance to advance in their careers. Some of the people have become quite successful after they have dabbled in the world of crowdsourcing. Jeff Howe states that Ed Melcarek has made over $35,000 by solving company’s problems by participating on a website called InnoCentive. Mr. Melcarek helped solve a problem that Colgate-Palmolive was having concerning injecting fluoride powder into tubes without it disappearing into thin air. This particular problem earned him $25,000 for solving the case. Melcarek also received $10,000 for solving the method to purifying silicone-based solvents. InnoCentive is another website that allows the crowd to participate in corporate research and development problems. Just like with iStockphoto and Threadless, individuals can go to the website and submit solutions to several companies’ problems. (Brabham, 2008) Another individual by the name of Lisa Gagne has had huge success from crowdsourcing. She has had over 390,000 of her photos downloaded on iStockphoto. Her and her husband can now live very comfortably. (Brabham, 2008) However, another problem with crowdsourcing is that there is still a digital divide in this world. Not everyone is able to get online and have a fast connection speed. There are many individuals that are unable to get high-speed internet. Also, most people that are using the internet according to Brabham are white, middle to upper class people with higher education. Therefore, the digital divide is causing a lack of diversity in crowdsourcing. (2008) Much like anything else in this fast paced ever evolving digital world, there is going to be ups and downs and pros and cons. Crowdsourcing is no different.


The rise of crowdsourcing

Crowdscourcing as a model for problem solving

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism

I guess the first thing to cover would be to define citizen journalism. According to Luke Goode, citizen journalism is associated with the internet; however, this is not always the case, citizen journalism does not always necessarily stay online. Sometimes professional journalists will use eyewitness accounts, pictures, or video footage as well as information found on the blogs of citizen journalists. Also, print media sometimes have columns written by citizen journalists called soapbox features. However, when the world of both the traditional journalism and citizen journalists collide, the boundaries start to become increasingly indistinct. He goes further to define the citizen journalist as being more than someone who simply comments, reposts, or tags pictures on random websites. A citizen journalist is someone who actually captures news worthy events as it is happening and shares it with the rest of the world. The scope of the citizen journalist is not limited to breaking news events. Investigative journalism is also becoming more prevalent in the world of amateur news. A person researching a company, business, or government agency for any number of reasons may stumble upon some sort of scandal or potential wrong doing relating to that entity. If this person takes this information and brings it to the public’s attention, they have just become a citizen journalist. Mr. Goode goes further to explain that we cannot ignore or dismiss the potential impact that citizen journalism has on traditional journalism. One of the problems with nontraditional journalism is the lack of regulation. A citizen journalist can take a story and rework, change, or alter a story as it is circulating online; therefore, changing the original story. In fact, without anyone to answer to or guidelines to adhere to, they can simply make up their own news and post it online. (2009)
The average American is getting more and more involved in the political process, thanks in part to blogging and citizen journalism. James Surowiecki said in his TED Talk video that, “we are giving people that have never been able to talk before a voice, and we are able to access information that has always been there but has gone essentially untapped.” (2005) Before the world became so utterly and instantly connected, we were unable to discuss things like news, current events, and politics outside of our friends, family, and coworkers. With the communication technologies now available to us, we can talk to virtually anyone, anywhere, at any time. Today, people can go online and create blogs, websites, and profiles to discuss and promote anything and everything. Scattered throughout the seemingly never ending sea of information at our fingertips is citizen journalism. Sometimes you can find it were you least expect it. Mena Trott created a blog with the sole purpose of leaving a legacy of herself for the future generations of her family. She felt it was important to make a record of herself so that they could know who she was, beyond what memories of her that had been passed down. (2006) Though this blog is very personal in nature, it has the potential to be a platform for journalism. For instants, if in one of her daily posts she happened to mention a car crash that she had witnessed then that could be considered citizen journalism. By posting the when, where, and what type of vehicles were involved and so forth, she would be considered a citizen journalist.
Of course there are draw backs to citizen journalism. James Surowieck mentions the following about blogging in general, that people tend to lose their individuality. They jump on a band wagon about a particular topic and begin to lose their own opinion on the issue in favor of the views of the majority within the group. (2005) This behavior could have an impact on citizen journalism. For example, say a person were to post a story based on some information he or she had. Then the person also read another post about the same story, that person is more likely to change their story to match the other story not knowing if the facts in the other story were true or accurate. This is when citizen journalist should always fact-check their information. Chris Measures, who has had 15 years of PR experience, suggests there are three reasons why people should be wary of citizen journalism:

1.      Citizen journalists tend to be bias. Professional journalists are trained professionals that look at both sides of a story and can write from a non-objective point of view. Citizen journalist does not have the type of training; therefore, their stories are not as credible as professionals.

2.      Citizen journalists are not trained on the libel law. Professional journalists do have this knowledge and training. They know what they can and cannot say in a news story. An example of this is when citizen journalists wrongfully accused potential suspects and alleged co-conspirators during and after the Boston marathon bombings. The citizen journalists caused the police to take longer on the investigation. It also caused huge problems for those that were wrongfully accused.

3.      Last but not least, citizen journalists do not realize the copyright issues. Once a citizen submits a story, video, or picture to the press or news site, that news sources has the right to use the material however they choose to use it. (2013)
Even though Chris Measures brings up three good points about why we should be wary of citizen journalism, the fact is they are not going away any time soon. Professional journalists and citizen journalists can learn a lot from each other and work together in creating the news. When citizens see things that are news worthy, they should tell professional journalists the story and details and let the professionals research the story more thoroughly and write the articles. However, there is no way to convince everyone in the world to do that, so for now my advice would be to always fact-check what you read online. Thank you for reading.

Goode, L. (2009). Social news, citizen journalism and democracy. New Media & Society, 11 (8), 1287-1305. Doi:10.1177/1461444809341393

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Social Media? What's The Hype?

Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are changing the way the world communicates with each other. Social networking sites are also changing the way companies advertise and the way people receive the news. For instance, companies are using Twitter and Facebook to market products to people who have a common interest in their products. For example, I list on my Facebook page that I go to college and that I like certain types of movies. All I see now on my feed page are ads for colleges and movies. Also, people log on to their social networking sites to get the latest news. I know that I have learned about several stories from logging onto my Facebook page. However, I always go to creditable news media sites to research the stories that I see on Facebook to make sure they are true stories. Sarita Yardi and Danah Boyd suggest that there were over 30,000 tweets about the shooting of a late-term abortion doctor, Dr. George Tiller in 2009. People from all over started to dispute the pro-choice/pro-life debate. (2010) Social media has a way of getting people involved with the news. Actually, as I have mentioned before, ordinary people can now distribute the news. We no longer have to wait to watch the news on television. We can see it happening in real-time by using social media and other sites. Clay Shirky mentions in his TED talk that people can upload real-time news as it is happening. He gives a great example of how citizens in China uploaded photos and videos of an earthquake before any news source or government officials had a chance to say anything about the earthquake. Because the Chinese government and the media could not contain the information, the Chinese government placed a firewall so Chinese citizens could not have access to sites such as Twitter. (2009) The Egyptian Government took similar action when political uprisings in that country were being coordinated through social media sites. This is a huge change in the way news is dispersed to the public. Before the internet and social media sites, people watched the news on the television or read the newspaper. Professional journalist were the ones researching and finding out what was going on locally and around the world to tell the public of their stories. People had to wait for the news to come on or go buy a newspaper. The news was not in real-time, and people could not read it instantly at any given time. In today’s society, as long as you have access to the internet, you can watch what is going on around you when something happens.
Social media is changing how companies look at marketing strategies. Some companies are laggards in the use of social media for their business; however, not using social media could harm their business. There are many good reasons why companies should use social media sites. Splash Media states the following on their web-site about the top 5 reasons why companies should use social media sites:

1.      The conversation is already out there, so a company is either in the conversation or left behind.

2.      Facebook has over 618 million daily active users. A company cannot afford to miss all those people.

3.      It is an easy and immediate way to connect to both fans and potential customers.

4.      It is a way for companies to support their traditional marketing ventures.

5.      There is a huge benefit to having access to real-time market feedback and intelligence. (

Companies should participate and socialize with their customers on social networking sites. This type of interaction allows for organizations to know exactly what customers like or dislike about their products. Todd Wasserman notes that organizations can use the following three strategies to market a brand to consumers:

1.      Passion: When companies connect their brand to the consumer’s passions and/or interests.

2.      Personalities: When companies entertain consumers with their personalities.

3.      Transparency: When companies provide interesting or important information to the consumers about the product/brand.
The organizations can use one or all of these strategies at the same time. Companies who use the passion approach can upload pictures or commercials to their social media sites of their brand associated with something their customers like. For example, the Nike Company uses pictures of athletes associated with Nike clothing. Companies that prefer to use the personality strategy use humor or witty comments to appeal and attract consumers. For example, Geico uses a funny gecko lizard and camel to appeal to their customers. The transparency approach informs the consumers on what makes the product the best of the best compared to all other like-minded products.  For example, IBM uploads several blogs informing the public of all the new innovations that IBM has to offer the world. (2013)
However, there are some risks involved in using social media. Communication specialists always need to be professional on their social media web-sites. If communication specialists are not professional, it can cost them their jobs. They also need to be sure their personal sites and blogs are professional as well. Like it or not, what you post online can cost you your job. One journalist, Shea Allen, lost her job with WAAY for posting her top ten confessions on her personal blog. Among some of Shea Allen’s confessions, she admits to sleeping on the job, going bra-less during live broadcasts, and stealing mail and putting it back. (Eck, 2013) Once communication professionals enter the digital world, they are constantly being watched by the public and by their employers. Also, unfriending someone from your social media circle has real-life consequences. David Mielach mentions that social media users who were unfriended had a lower self-esteem, they felt unwanted, and a sense of loss of control. They were actually in a worse mood after a social media break-up. (2013) People need to be considerate of this when using professional or personal sites. Communication specialists should take the same precautions when posting on their company or organization’s web pages. For better or worse, social media has become an inescapable part of most people’s daily lives.    


Dynamic debates: An analysis of group polarization over time on Twitter

Facebook unfriending has consequences

How social media can make history (This is a TED Talk video)
Steal three social marketing tricks from top brands        
WAAY (Huntsville) reporter fired after posting a list of confessions to her personal blog