Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lessons from Class Skype Chats

In this blog post I am going to be sharing the lessons I learned during my Professional Writing class over the course of this past semester through our Skype discussions with different successful individuals. By talking with them and asking questions about their backgrounds and histories and how they got to the places they are now, we were able to take away some facts that we may have otherwise had to learn the hard way.

The first person we spoke with was Reginald Ponder, who works in the field of advertising. He helps people to figure out the objectives and strategies behind the commercials they want to create. Before this he worked with media buying and planning and also with what is now AT&T.
He noted that his knowledge of sociology is helpful in advertising as it helped him to understand the concept of “interpretations.” This means that different people from different demographics will not always read a message the same way due to their histories and personal experiences. He stressed the importance of this- of knowing one’s key audience and what they are looking for. In regards to this, he said “A website is your business card.”

I learned from Reginald Ponder that advertising agencies have a lot of areas for careers. For instance, a person can work for public relations and promotions, work directly with clients, or even be the bridge between clients and agencies. The key according to Reginald Ponder is knowing what you are best cut out for and using that to your advantage.

Our next discussion was with Lena West of Xynomedia, a website devoted to helping companies both big and small understand the usefulness of social media sites. She explained the difference between social media and social networking and explained how each are important.

She also stressed the importance of learning to use technologies that can help us advance ourselves, as well as the importance of taking advantage of our failures in order to learn even more. She noted that mistakes will teach more than successes do, because they will force a change.

Most importantly (to me, at least) Lena West encouraged us to follow our own paths, as each person has certain abilities that will set them apart from others. She urged us to really embrace our own skill sets and expand upon them in order to find real success, both inwardly and outwardly.

Next to visit our class electronically was Liz Henry. We did not talk for very long with Liz due to technical difficulties but she was still able to provide us with useful information. She discussed with us the idea of “open source” projects which I found interesting because I hadn’t really given it much thought before.

Although we didn’t discuss it during the chat, I felt I learned a lot from Liz Henry’s blog. I have not yet read all of the posts but what I did read was very interesting. Not only did I learn about the subjects she talks about but I also learned about what it must be like to blog professionally as a journalistic venture.

We then spoke with Anaezi Modu, the founder and CEO of Rebrand. Sort of like Xynomedia, which helps companies learn about social media and networking, Rebrand helps companies to build more effective websites and identities. I found Anaezi Modu to be very inspiring as she explained the idea of going with one’s instincts and following what you want to do.

She helped me to understand the importance of how I present myself, both in person and online. After we spoke with her via Skype, I felt encouraged to start building my own identity now. I realize that it is going to take a while, but hopefully small steps will add up to larger ones and I will have an identity and website that I can be proud of, and that both of these will help me to find a strong career in the future.

Our final chat was with Randall Rothenberg of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. His story of how he got to this place in life was inspiring, and it was interesting to learn how the IAB grew as the internet was becoming a larger force. I learned from Randall Rothenberg to look out for things that could be promising in the future as one can never be sure what path life will take one down.

The relationship between advertisers and those who are the targets of advertisements is an interesting one, and with new technology the way advertisements are received is changing. This was a very thought-provoking chat which made me think about how things are going to change in the future in regards to advertising and media.

All in all, the Skype chats were helpful and I learned that although I am still young, there are ways that I can begin to build a foundation upon which I can structure a career in order to make things easier for myself in the future.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Star Power: Celeb Endorsements Click With Younger Demos

This article focuses more on advertising. It discusses how demographics react differently to different kinds of advertising.

This is very thought provoking- what contributes to how advertising affects different people? Is it a cultural divide between the generations, or is it something that comes with age?

These are questions that those in the ad world have to consider. What group are you trying to reach, and how can you make an efficient advertisement tailored to that group?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The family that plays together...

Nickelodeon Study: Families Close, Most Share TV, Activities

I found this article to be very interesting. Growing up, and even now, my family only had one television, and it was in the middle of the living room. We never really fought over it at all, even before we had the DVR, but I remember begging my parents if they would let us get another one. In retrospect, I'm not really sure why I wanted one so badly. I don't watch an awful lot of television to begin with. I think I asked because all of my friends (it seemed) had their own televisions, or at least a second set somewhere in the house.

Did our television keep us close as a family? Well, sometimes it did, but sometimes it didn't. We never really watched movies all together very much, since our tastes differed and we generally couldn't find one thing we all wanted to sit down for the duration of. It seemed that the more we tried to plan for "family TV time" the less likely it was to happen. It was always those nights where someone started watching some History Channel documentary when suddenly the other three would creep in and curl up in the other chairs to watch together.

The article describes how even though it would seem that the technology we now have should pull families apart, they actually in some cases bring families together. Quality time isn't going away, but rather, it is changing, and in some instances this is for the better.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The internet, where you don't have to wash out your mouth with soap

This post, from the "TV Watch" segment of MediaPost, brings up the idea of what is considered "acceptable" language on television versus what is acceptable on the internet.

Nowadays we are certainly much less conservative about profane words in the media than in days of yore. This is partially due to the internet, where there is no filter that one must pass in order to publish one's information. If I wanted to, I could unleash the longest string of profanities the world has ever seen right here in this blog, and there is little that could prevent me from doing so. So long as one is not inciting violence or hateful acts against a group or distributing illegal material, the only thing holding a person back is his or her own taste.

I suppose this is a good thing. There are plenty of things in the world more dangerous than a foul mouth, and although it may be unpleasant to listen to, one can always click away from the page, or (as this article discusses) change the TV channel.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Technology of Our Generation

This article provides statistics about the amount of time other members of my demographic spend with different kinds of technology each day.

Most of the information therein did not surprise me. The chart which provided "product" alongside "average daily hours of use" seemed to be fairly accurate when I considered the people I am familiar with.

As much as it makes me a little uncomfortable to think about it, I probably do spend five hours (or more) on the computer each day. It may not be all in one continuous block of time, but the little chunks of time add up. As for the two and a half hours of television, it does not apply to me, but several of my housemates have their televisions on much of the time while they are in their rooms.

It also discussed the frequency of use of online video sites and how that usage is divided among films, television shows, and other visual formats. In all, it is an interesting collection of statistics that seem reasonable for my age group.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Radio- Still Going Strong

For my communications class, I needed to write a paper about the radio industry using information found in trade papers. To do this I had signed up with the website It was very helpful and provided me with a plethora of articles, including those relating to the radio industry as well as other forms of media.

One report I found there was the following: It discusses radio's usage, which is what I decided to write my paper on.

I was somewhat surprised by the article's findings. It explained that despite the rise of iPods and other forms of audio media, radio is still the most popular. And rather than iPods and their mp3 ilk taking away from radio's strength, the article explained that those with such players were actually more likely to listen to the radio! Very insightful. I will discuss this further in another blog post.