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.

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