Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog Group 2: Blog Post 3-You Need More People (Skeptics Wanted)

      When it comes to the consummation of information, we do not want it now. We want it 5 minutes ago. A website that takes more than 20 seconds to load warrants a call to our Internet Service Provider. Don’t respond to a text within a minute, people think you’re lying dead in a ditch somewhere. A shocking headline is posted on our social media and within minutes it has been shared or retweeted a thousand times over. In our effort to always want to be first, often inaccurate or blatantly untrue information is shared across the Internet. 
Skeptical child does not believe you
          In their book, Blur, veteran journalists, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosensteil introduce the concept of “skeptical knowing.” Skeptical knowing is about asking and knowing how to answer a series of systematic questions, (Kovach & Rosensteil, 2013), in an effort to verify the accuracy of information. Verifying information before you share ensures that you are viewed as a reliable source of accurate information. Whether you are sharing news about the latest celebrity gossip or the Ebola scare that is consuming the nightly television news, it is important to always be as accurate as possible with your information.
       Even if we do not make our livings professionally communicating information to others we all must abide by ethics. Ethically sharing information requires us to know the relevant facts, good or bad of a situation. Going back to the Ebola panic that is slowing growing across the United States, I have witnessed on my various social media outlets, an article from the website, National Report, , being shared as casually as one would share information about the Real Housewives of Whatever City. The National Report is a satirical site and the story about a Texas town being quarantined to due to an outbreak of Ebola is completely false. The article has been shared 118,000 times on Facebook and 1,222 times on Twitter (National Report, 2014). Despite having been verified as being false by and The Washington Post as late as today (October 19, 2014) readers of the National Report site continue to comment on the article as if it actual fact.
Kermit Sipping Tea
        In today’s age of rapid technological advancement, where anybody can upload an article or blog, post to the Internet, and reach thousands or millions of people, we all must be a bit more skeptical and not just accept everyone’s word as fact. We have to research and verify multiple sources. Once we are confident in the validity of our research we need to ask ourselves why this information is important enough to be shared. By sharing this information, who are the individuals or groups that will be most affected (Markkula Center, 2014)? Creating a false story about a potentially deadly virus in the hopes of gaining more hits to your website is not only unethical, but has the potential to cause unnecessary panic and further spread misinformation across the information superhighway.

Agni, J. M. (2014, October 14). Texas town quarantined after family of five test positive for the
     Ebola virus | National Report. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from

Google Images. (2014). Kermit Sipping Tea [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Google Images. (2014). Skeptical African Child [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). Blur: How to know what's true in the age of information
     overload. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. (2014). A framework for thinking ethically. Retrieved October
     16, 2014, from

National Report. (2014, October 14). Texas town quarantined after family of five test positive for the 
     Ebola virus | National Report. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from
     town-quarantined-family-five-test-positive-ebola-virus/ (2014, October 14). Texas town quarantined after family of five test
      positive for the Ebola virus. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from 

Blog Group 2: Blog Post 2-We’re All Famous Now

    Say goodbye to the Kardashians, the Hiltons, and all the other celebrities who are famous simply for being infamous. Fame is available to anyone with an Internet connection. We can be YouTube famous, Twitter famous, or Instagram famous. The idea of celebrity has rapidly changed since the adaption of social media. A survey conducting by Variety magazine reports, Americans between the ages of 13-18, are more enamored with YouTube stars than more mainstream celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence or Seth Rogen (Variety, 2014). I’m a few months shy of 40 and even I am more interested in YouTube celebrities than the carbon copy celebrities that mainstream media pushes on us. One of my favorite “reality,” shows is created by natural hair expert and daily vlogger Naptural85. It’s just her and her family with a couple of simple point and shoot Canon cameras. Every morning, like clockwork, I am on her channel ready to enjoy the regular everyday antics that are her life. Between her natural hair channel and her daily vlog channel, Naptural85 has over 650,000 subscribers. At 39 million video views (YouTube, 2014) she is one of the many people on YouTube who make a profitable career by regularly uploading videos onto YouTube.

    Technology has made it possible for many aspiring creative types to take control and direction of their art by bypassing the traditional routes to fame and doing it on their own. We no longer have to move to Hollywood or New York. We do not have to send our demos out to multiple record companies hoping for our big break.
    The new opportunities that technological advancement is creating have allowed a diversity of talent to be shared with the larger world. We are now finding images of ourselves, our particular cultures, and variety of identities being reflected in the entertainment media we absorb. No longer are we inundated with images of only type of celebrity that fits a stereotypical norm of conventional beauty or talent.
    An example of Internet success reflecting an overlooked demographic is Issa Rae’s YouTube web series. Launched in 2011, “The Adventures of Awkward Black Girl,” is a series about a young black woman who, like many others, is awkward and a bit socially inept. A series featuring a dark skinned Black woman with short natural hair would have been very difficult to get produced had Rae decided to take the traditional route to get her series produced. Her web series was so successful it allowed Rae to create her own network, She is now able to provide opportunities    and showcase stories not being told anywhere else (Naasel, 2014). With new technology she proves an original idea and some inexpensive equipment can create massive success and launch an actual career.

Ault, S. (2014, August 5). Survey: YouTube stars more popular than mainstream celebs amont U.S. teens | Variety. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from   

Issa Rae. (2011, February 3). [S. 1, Ep. 1] "The stop sign" - Awkward black girl [Video file]. Retrieved from

Naasel, K. R. (2001, September 25). How Issa Rae went from awkward black girl to indie TV producer | Fast Company | Business + Innovation. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from

YouTube. (2014). Naptural85. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from

Blog Group 2: Blog Post 1-Learn in Your Pajamas

      I have, on occasion, been accused of being somewhat of a Luddite when it comes to embracing new technology. I scoffed at Twitter when it first appeared. Now I’m on the site every day. I reluctantly gave up my Sony Walkman for a portable CD player and then an MP3 player. For a few months after receiving my first debit card in 2001 I refused to use it for anything and was highly suspicious about the concept of online shopping or payments. Just a couple of weeks ago I attempted to pay a medical bill and almost had temper tantrum in my work cubicle because the company did not have an online payment option. I had to buy a stamp and write a check. What year is this, 2001?!? I didn’t even how much a stamp cost! Technological advancement has offered us such convenience that any disruption in that convenience is almost a seen as a crisis. Paying for items online or being able to download our entertainment digitally is no longer seen as new option. It is an expected norm. As of July 2014, 81% of Americans had managed household finances with online banking in the past 12 months; 56% had paid a bill online in the previous month (Statistic Brain, 2014).
     The online environment is touching all aspects of our lives. One area that is being changed by technology is education. We can now attend classes while still in our pajamas. As with most new things, I was skeptical of online learning. How was I supposed to learn if I wasn’t sitting in a classroom surround by other students and a professor? I took my first online course in 2009, a math class I needed to take in order to achieve my bachelor’s degree. Being absolutely horrible at any math beyond the basics, and finding no math classes that weren’t offered during the day, I reluctantly signed up for the required course.

     I haven’t stepped foot in a physical classroom in almost 5 years and honestly don’t know if I will ever be able to actually sit in a classroom again.

     Online environments afford us the opportunity to multitask and get more done in the 24 hours we’re each allotted every day. I work a standard 40 hours a week job. If I had to physically go to a classroom in order to go to graduate school I would have quit after my first few weeks of study. It would have been too time consuming and draining to leave work, drive to campus, sit there for 3 hours, drive home and then repeat 2 or 3 times a week.

Online student at computer

          In addition to traditional brick and mortar schools such as Southern New Hampshire University or Arizona State University offering completely online programs that result in degrees, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are one of the ways higher education is becoming available to more and more people. MOOC allow educational courses from universities to be made accessible to anyone who registers (edX, 2014). You no longer have to be accepted into Princeton or Harvard University in order to enroll in courses offered by these universities. While traditional online classes charge tuition, limit enrollment, and offer credit (Pappano, 2012), MOOC typically do not offer degrees, course credit or charge tuition. What they do offer are opportunities for many people who enjoy learning, but cannot afford to attend university or aren’t interested in pursuing a formal degree or certification.
         At first glance, online education may seem like easy child’s play. With many courses being asynchronous, you can log on at any time of the day. You are not obligated to a set schedule of when you must attend class. Online learning requires having an extreme amount of discipline. There will be no instructor reminding of when work is due or hovering over shoulder while you work on assignments. For myself, the freedom to “attend,” class when I choose is one of the main reasons that I have enjoyed and tend to do well in an online educational environment.


EdX. (2014). edX: Take great online courses from the world's best universities. Retrieved October 
        18, 2014, from

Google Images. (2014). Black woman studying at a computer [Photograph]. Retrieved from

McLeod, T. (2013, August 19). The importance of higher educcation [Video file]. Retrieved from

Pappano, L. (2012, November 2). Massive open online courses are multiplying at a rapid pace- Retrieved October 18, 2014, from

Statistic Brain. (2014, July 13). Online /mobile banking statistics. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blog Group 1: Blog Post 3-Not Every Thought Needs to be Shared

           It's 2014 and if you are not active on some social media platform you might as well not exist. Social media is a major part of our everyday lives. It's how we share news, updates about our lives, and connect with strangers who become friends. One of the most overused sayings in today’s lexicon is “The Internet is forever.” However, no matter how cliché and overused it is, the fact remains, it very true. Once information is out on the Internet, there it remains forever. FOREVER. Even after the original content has been deleted chances are it was shared, retweeted, or blogged about a hundred times over. Dean Obeidallah (2013) of CNN puts it succinctly “Sure, there's a delete button on Twitter, but once it's out there, simply put: You're screwed.
            Public relations executive, Justine Sacco, is one recent example of not thinking before sharing. On December 20, 2013 just before boarding an international flight to South Africa, Sacco sent out the tweet below:

Caption: Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!

            Twitter was not impressed. 
            The tweet was retweeted thousands of times and while Sacco was in flight, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet became a trending topic. Though Sacco subsequently deleted the tweet along with her Twitter account, was fired from her position with IAC, and apologized, the damage was done. The first results for “Justine Sacco,” when typed into Google, brings up the Twitter debacle. As a public relations executive, you would think Sacco would know better. Social media has the power to challenge and transform. It also has the power to destroy a career in less than 140 characters. We all have a responsibility to not use social media for harm. Whether we are professional communicators or just regular people it is imperative that we think before we tweet.

Dimitrova, K. (2013, December 22). Justine Sacco, fired after tweet on AIDS in Africa, issues 
                apology - ABC News. Retrieved September 27, 2014, from 
Google Images.Retrieved from

Obeidallah, D. (2013, December 22). Justine Sacco case shows how Twitter can kill your career - 
      Retrieved September 28, 2014, from
Twitter. (2013, December). Twitter / Search - #HasJustineLandedYet. Retrieved from 

Blog Group 1: Blog Post 2-Let's Go

Oh, smartphone. How I adore you...and have an unhealthy obsession with you. Thankfully, I am not alone in my devotion to my smartphone. With 70% of mobile phone users in the United States owning a smartphone (comScore, 2014) and 42% owning a tablet (Pew Research, 2014) mobile technology is quickly becoming the preferred method for communicating both personally and professionally.

            Mobility allows us to transmit and received information anytime of the day from anywhere in the world. Our cumbersome desktops and laptops have been traded in for smaller and sleeker designs. The communications professional has the freedom to tweet from her Android phone or IPhone, update Facebook from her Galaxy Tablet, or create a new blog entry while sitting at her laptop from the comfort of her couch. By 2016, 63 million Americans will be working in a virtual or flexible role in the workforce (O’Brien, 2014). This will be due in large part to the creation of mobile technology. While mobile technology allows for more flexibility in the workforce, it does not mean we can forgo discipline and strategy (Calhoun, 2013) in the workplace.
Mobile Communications
           We are no longer tethered to a specific location in ordered to conduct our daily professional or personal lives. When we have a crisis, whether its as detrimental as the Boston Marathon bombing of  2013 Boston Marathon or as common as someone unable to come into work that day due to an emergency, mobile technology allows us to share information where ever we are. Mobile technology has disrupted the way we communicate and that is a good thing.

Calhoun, A. (2013, October 22). Keeping up with mobile: A game-changing strategy. 
Retrieved September 28, 2014, from  

CNN Library. (2014, September 26). Boston marathon terror attack fast facts -     Retrieved September 28, 2014, from

ComScore. (2014, July 3). comScore reports May 2014 U.S. smartphone subscriber market share - 
comScore, Inc. Retrieved September 26, 2014, from

Google Images. [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Metzger, M. (2009, May 5). MOCOM 2020 - The future of mobile media and communication [Video 
file]. Retrieved from

O'Brien, J. (2015, August 25). How to get your workforce ready for the next five years. 
Retrieved September 27, 2014, from

Pew Research Internet Project. (2014, January). Mobile technology fact sheet | Pew Research    Center's Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved September 26, 2014, from