Final Thoughts: So hard to say goodbye

Last Thursday was basically the culmination of COMM 602. During this session we discussed our final thoughts on the future of communications. I listened to my classmates discuss all they’ve learned from this course and the various technologies they believe will be relevant in the future. Our last class was so awesome! All I could think about was the fact I wasn’t even in class for the discussion. *record scratch*

I was absent from class that day. However due to the technologies available to us I was able to view the entire class session online and feel like I was still a part of the discussions. During my second week reflection I wrote “attending class virtually from the comfort of my own home would not have been possible if not for digital convergence”. In the past I would’ve had to beg my classmates for notes or a quick rundown of what was discussed in my absence.

The topic of digital convergence set the tone for what our whole course was about. If it weren’t for the merging of various technologies, we wouldn’t live in a society where some much of our daily task are simplified due to smartphones, tablets and Internet. All of these devices allow us to be mobile while still completing everyday task that previously required us to be more stationary. Digital convergence has allowed us to multitask.

So how what does the future of communication look like? My classmates (and myself separately) discussed some hot topics that we believe will become the “norm”. Some of the topics we discussed were: second screen experience, drones and the digital divide. My classmate, Warren believes second screen experience is “where communication is going”. He really likes to immerse himself in what’s going on around him and believe second screen is going to be a bigger part of the social media experience.

I agree 100%. I didn’t realize how many television shows utilize the second screen experience. In recent months I’ve realized so many of my favorite shows like: Braxton Family Values, Are You the One and So You Think You Can Dance utilizing second screen for viewer interaction. I don’t usually use Twitter for live tweeting but I definitely use Facebook for the same experience. Especially for really popular events like the Emmys, Golden Globes and #PopeInDC. The second screen experience is definitely the things of the future.

We also discussed drones. Of course being a privacyphobe (I made that up), I did not see any benefits of drones. When I heard that Amazon (my secret lover) and Domino’s pizza have toyed with the idea of using drones for delivery I thought about how ridiculous that sounds. Amazon has one of the most amazing shipping times ever! I would think with the risk of drones getting lost, never to see the light of day again, that it would decrease their customer service rating. I just don’t see the benefits.

Then my classmate, Bill, made me view drones from a business perspective. In his job in newspaper he’s had first-hand experience with drones. Bill stated some of the benefits of drones are the “convenient and cost effectiveness”. Previously the company would have to hire a pilot, charter a plane and hire a photographer to take photos of scenes from the sky. He also stated “drones allow you to not be in the way but still be able to provide content to their readers”.

The discussion about drones got my classmate, Jessica’s wheels turning and she posed the question about whether drones would further increase the digital divide. Due to the fact that many people would not have Internet access. My classmate, Bob, then proceeded to blow my mind by stating that companies are testing drones that “deliver Internet to places that otherwise may not have accessibility to content”. *record scratch again* I did not know that Facebook is testing a drone to allow Internet access to those in rural areas. (Check out the article here ).

One thing I’ve thoroughly enjoyed about COMM 602 is the interaction with my classmates and Professor Strahler. They constantly make me think outside of my traditional thinking and bring topics to my attention that I wasn’t previously knowledgeable of. I’ve learned so much! I find myself having conversations and various “ah ha” moments on social media, outside of the classroom setting, about topics we’ve discussed. I previously thought only Multimedia Storytelling ruled my life. In actuality so does COMM 602 and I can deal with that.

Peace and Blessings,

Nikki

Customized Ads: The Creepiest of Creepers

Those shoes that you have been wanting for weeks, you Google them, head to Macys.com to check the prices, balk at the cost and click the X on the website. Now on every page you visit there is an ad for that shoe. These types of advertisements and customized ads were a big part of our discussion during this weeks’ ICC 602 class time. If you aren’t familiar with these kind of ads then let me introduce you to this thing called the Internet.

Banner ads are everywhere online. They are, as my classmate Valerie stated “stalking us”. That is exactly how I view them. They are creepy! My classmate, Diana, summed up my exact thoughts concerning these stalker ads. Diana stated that “I ignore those kind of ads, their attempts to sell me products, doesn’t work on me”. Bob, another classmate, stated that he doesn’t even notice the banner ads anymore. I agree wholeheartedly with both of them. I am not easily swayed when it comes to those ads and I never click on them.

Other classmates however were not bothered by the presence of the ads. Jessica stated that she “likes the availability of ads when they are relevant to products she’d like to buy”. Valerie stated that although the ads stalk her online, she usually is more likely to buy due to the constant reminder of them on ever website. Marissa stated that she doesn’t mind customized ads but hates how ads are disguised as content or a story. That lead into our discussion about Native ads.

Native ads are basically sponsored ads buried in content and written in the under the guise of being advertisement. Prior to gaining a better understanding what native ads were, I never clicked on them. I just viewed them as another way for my information and online activities to be tracked. When I do a Google search now and I see “Ad” next to links of my popular web searches, I never click them. They’ve always be suspicious to me. I give websites that run content they truly don’t support just for monetary gain a serious side-eye and lose respect in the credibility of those sites.

In conclusion, I am definitely in opposition with the use of customized ads and the effectiveness of them as it pertains to my shopping experiences. It creeps me out to see any product or service that I’ve Googled on every single website I view afterwards. I understand (and can appreciate) companies trying to make a profit but not at the expense of me feeling like I’m constantly being watched.

Until next time,

Nikki

Are Citizen Journalist the new face of journalism?

Our live session this week in ICC 602 was interesting. During our asynchronous work we learned about the historical aspect of journalism and how we evolved from print to digital. One of the newer aspects of “journalism” that I found interesting was the idea of Citizen Journalism. Citizen journalism was defined by Mark Glaser as “the idea that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact check media on their own or in collaboration with others”.

This is a far cry from journalism of the past. According to my classmate, Bill who has worked for a Long Island newspaper since 1999, newspapers “. It used to be about everyone having the same story. We used to have a few days to verify all information. Now the pressure is to get the story out quickly”. With the new hurry up and post something nature, the question of ethics comes into play. Bill states that journalist are often “tempted to be less focused on credibility. Pressure from editors to put the information out quickly but that’s not fair to readers and people they’re reporting on.”

I am on the fence on how I feel about classifying citizen journalist as “journalist”. I do believe they can create important and relevant stories. However when the aspect of quality and accuracy of these untrained journalist, I begin to question how effective a citizen journalist is. Due to the current need to be the first to post breaking news, citizen journalist are usually out and about, smartphone ready to take first-hand accounts and photos of events as they happen.

While I do question the authenticity of citizen journalist, there is no denying that various brands see the benefit of their voice to consumers. There are many brands that have bloggers (citizen journalist) sitting in the front row during NYFW, on red-carpets, and offering their views to popular designers like Diane von Furstenberg. Why? Because popular bloggers have a following with consumers and to their viewers their opinions matter. So there may be some credibility in citizen journalism. Just as we have to monitor reputable journalist (i.e. Brian Williams), we have to police citizen journalist as well.

Until next time,

Tanika

A little word with a broad meaning

The big discussion during Week 7 of our class discussion for ICC 602 was about big data. According to an article written by my classmate, Jenna, that question is one that yields a variety of responses. In her article “What Is Big Data”? Jenna interviewed top leaders in a variety of industries inquiring about what big data means to them. To the surprise of Jenna, the answers varied extensively. Essentially, you can ask multiple people their definition and you can expect to get twenty different answers.

When my classmates and I were asked to define big data the answers were essentially the same but I believe that was due to the definitions we were giving during our asynchronous work that week. Big data is a little word that has left many people staring blankly into space searching for a proper definition. One classmate stated big data means “a lot of information and using that massive data mining to analyze information looking for patterns and trying to draw conclusions” based on that information. Another classmates stated that big data mean “a lot of powerful data”.

Our breakout discussion for this week was about how big data has changed in a variety of industries from the past to the present. Initially I thought this would be a simple question to answer until I realized just how much has changed. One group discussed changes in the banking/financial industry. When we think in the past we had go into the bank personally to make a deposit. Today we can make deposits from anywhere using mobile apps and other online features.

Another group discussed the education field and how schools utilize the big data received such as demographic information to fulfill admission quotas “to be eligible for government programs, spending, etc.” Group 3 discussed Health & Fitness which I believe is one of the main industries that stands the greatest risk with dealing with big data. My classmates discussed how previously all health records were kept in-house at the medical/dental offices. Today everything is kept electronically which would cause a huge privacy issue if this information in hacked.

Big data affects every area of our lives. The information we provide on the simplest of questionnaires is being stored and analyzed for use in a variety of industries. We discussed the 3 V’s of data mining which helped me better understand big data. Volume references the amount of information to be analyzed (How much). Velocity is the “the increasing rate at which data flows” basically (how fast) the data is processed. Finally we have variety which is the different forms of data. I believe big data is a complex term but the 3 V’s definitely help me better understand the concept.

Week 4 – YMAK -You May Already Know

Howdy,

This week one of the topics of discussion in our Digital Communication course was about Internet acronyms. Now “DQMOT” but I heard that “LOL” is no longer the cool thing to say in the Internet world. According to an article posted on Twitter by my classmate, Bill, one of our beloved acronyms, LOL, is nearing retirement. It seems the more fetch (Mean Girls reference) thing to say is “haha”. *blank stare*

We also discussed our Digital Consumption diaries. Our assignment was to log every time we used a digital device during a 24 hour period. I choose to log my time on a day that I would be out and about working on a project for my other class. Essentially I thought the amount of time I spent using digital devices during that time would be less than normal. I was completely shocked how often I picked up my iPhone to use Google Maps, check Facebook/Twitter/email, used it to take pictures. In total I was on a digital device for 5 hours and 54 minutes. This was an atypical day for me, so on a normal day I think I can easily add 3-4 more hours to that time.

Professor Strahler asked “What could you live without?” and almost unanimously we agreed that we could give up television. For me, I enjoy watching television but not necessarily “live” television. The DVR is one of the best inventions EVER! One the contrary the least utilized digital device used was “actual radio” as my classmate Traci stated. Most of my classmates stated that they listen to streaming radio to enjoy music. So some of the once popular media forms, radio, is becoming antiquated due to digital convergence.

Our classroom time also included discussion about Digital Divide which is essentially the split between those that have access to modern information and communications technology and those that do not. The global divide may be based on e.g. wealth, language and inadequate literacy and education. The social divide may be based on e.g. economic resources and demographics. It was very interesting to read the statistics completed by Pew Research Center documenting “Who’s Not Online” (2013). One of the more overwhelming revelations was that 46% of people with disabilities are not online. This made me realize more advancements need to be made with digital devices to accommodate those with disabilities.

Our digital divide discussion lead us into our breakout groups for this week. We were asked to plan a conference for communication professionals to discuss “Closing the Digital Divide”. Two out of four groups allotted time to specifically targeted accessibility for those with disabilities. Group 2 stated it is important to make “technology simpler to use and accessible”. They also stated “education and training for those with disabilities for digital access”. Group 4 chose to have representatives from various companies discuss how they are making the internet accessible to those with disabilities.

I really enjoyed our class discussion this week. We covered a lot of information. I look forward to seeing what Week 5 will bring with the discussion of Internet Goverance & Ethical Issues.  Have a great weekend and….

Until next time,

Tanika

Brian Solis’ and Snapshots

Week 3 of our asynchronous work we learned about Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism which was developed to essentially show how the various social networks are organized. I found the prism to be very useful. Solis developed the prism around helping YOU (ourselves personally and businesses) find out how we envision our social media profile. The prism is broken down into categories e.g. social networks, blog/microblogs, music, livecasting and social commerce to easily see various platforms that may suit your social media needs.

The Conversation Prism specifies five categories and questions that are useful in determining how you personally and professionally (businesses) intend to utilize social media. The categories and questions are:

  • Vision – What do you see to achieve with social media? How does that translate to others?
  • Purpose – Why social media versus other techniques to reach your goals?
  • Value – How will social media benefit you in your personal and profession life?
  • Commitment – Do you have the time to commit to social media to reap its benefits?
  • Transparency – As a business are you ready to put yourself out there to build relationships with the customer base.

Professor Strahler stated that there are some businesses that want to develop a social media presense only because it’s the “thing” to do. I couldn’t agree more because there are businesses that aren’t using social media to the full extent most likely because they don’t see the real value in it. I believe if businesses asked themselves these questions and used Solis’ Conversation Prism they may be more successful when building their brand via social networking platforms.

Speaking of social media platforms. This week our assignment was to develop a Snapshot presentation utilize a Social Networking platform. I’ve never felt so “green” while learning about so many new social networking platforms. One of my classmates, Adam, did his snapshot on Venmo. Until that very moment I’d never heard of such a thing. According to Adam, Venmo is a “mobile payment service that allows peer-to-peer payments”.

Initially I thought “Oh this is just like PayPal” but as Adam continued in his presentation I better understood the difference. First of all unlike PayPal, Venmo allows you to instantly use money sent to you versus waiting a few days for it to clear in your bank. Secondly, there is a social media aspect to Venmo. You are able to post in a “Facebook-like transaction newsfeed”. If you connect your Venmo account with Facebook it allows friends/globally that also have Venmo to see different reasons payment was sent to people.

Since our class meeting I’ve come in contact with at least 3 people in my travel group that swear by Venmo. The Snapshot assignment just further opened my eyes to the plethora of social networking tools that are available to us. It also reiterated the valuable importance of Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism. This weeks class was very interesting and opened my eyes to so many different tools that I will use in the future. Thanks to this weeks’ discussion my phone apps will likely triple.

Until next time,

Nikki

Week 2 – Reflection

This week in Intro to Digital Communications was once again very thought-provoking and dare I say it fun *gasp*. During this week’s asynchronous work we had to complete an obituary for a dead dot-com. This assignment was hilarious to complete and I appreciated the opportunity to hone my comedic genius skills. I’m not sure that I was entirely successful in my efforts but that’s neither here nor there *single tear*.

As our professor’s asked why were believe he had us complete this assignment. There were a plethora of wonderful responses. My thoughts on the reason for the assignment mirrored many of my classmates. Additionally, their responses opened my eyes to other possibilities. I personally believed that many of the dead dot coms paved the way for newer platforms.

My dead dot-com was GeoCities. In all my research I found that the decline in popularity for GeoCities came from the next big thing, MySpace. It is my opinion that MySpace was an advanced version of GeoCities with new and improved features. As one of my classmates stated the dead dot-coms were “not able to keep up with the technology/supply and demand/competition from newer platforms.

Another highlight for me was participating in our first “breakout sessions”. These sessions gave us the chance to participate in smaller work groups.   The three questions we were asked were:

What is the Internet?

It was interesting to see how each group approached this subject. There was a mixture of groups stating the more technical aspects of what the Internet meant to them, while other groups that were geared towards the social aspect. The consensus was that the Internet provides an infinite amount of information.

What are the functions of the Internet as a communication tool?

This question lead to a conversation dubbed the “great debate”. The dialogue pertains to whether or not the Internet is a catalyst for the seeming decrease of face to face interaction. Does the Internet help or hurt social skills? I see both sides of this debate and can appreciate all opinions. Personally, I’ve seen people who are very introverted “offline” yet they are more extroverted “online”. Some people feel unrestricted while online, than when face to face. This is truly a debate where both sides offer very valid points. I look forward to future discussions on this topic.

What are your thoughts on the author’s point from the 1995 article? http://www.newsweek.com/clifford-stoll-why-web-wont-be-nirvana-185306

First of all my group “cheated” (Sorry Dr. Strahler) and read the article first before answering the questions. This article was a hoot to read. Although each group member clicked away from the screen while reading the article, but I could hear the collective “Are you kidding me” from each member. Initially we all thought Clifford Stoll was an idiot (Oh, just me?). The article certainly read like satire (think, The Onion). Soon we realized that he was very forward thinking in his assertions about the future of the Internet. Each group noted that Mr. Stoll had very valid thoughts for the time (1995). Many of the issues he discussed have been greatly improved upon. All I know is Mr. Stoll better not be sitting at home surfing “The Net” right now using dial-up just to drive his point home.

All in all this week’s discussion was great! I really enjoyed our class time. Cheers to all…..

Until next time,

Nikki

One down…..Week 1 Reflection

Yesterday marked the first official start to my masters program at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication.  Although I am a veteran of online education, I was absolutely terrified logging into the Adobe Connect software.  As with any new group, we were tasked to provide an introduction. As my turn neared, I began to stumble over my words and forgot most of what I’d practiced in my head. Yep, not nervous at all! (Insert sarcasm)

In our readings the past week, we discussed Digital Convergence.  Prior to opening my textbook, I’d never heard this term but in actuality the influences have been utilized for many years in my life. We learned that digital convergence is essentially combining previously separate technologies entities into one digital device. Attending class virtually from the comfort of my own home would not have been possible if not for digital convergence.

Another topic of discussion was, is it possible to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology? I don’t believe we will. It seems that as soon as a new device is released to the public, the technology is already antiquated. As an Apple user, I was saddened to realize that as innovative as Apple products are, Android already had many of the “new” technology Apple users were newly privy to. For most people the demand is always for bigger and better, new and more innovative. Companies are always striving to be the first to offer the next hot items. Therefore, I believe it’s impossible for us to keep up with the world of technology.

I anticipate this course being an eye-opening experience and I look forward to the great conversations to come. Our class is full of diversity and I know we’ll often have “ah-ha” moments due to the various perspectives we’ll encounter. Here’s to a successful semester and a step closer to graduation. J

Until next time,

Nikki

Marrakesh Express……(Random)

*I’d never heard this song but how fitting it is*

Many moons ago most of my friends were jumping on the blogging bandwagon.  I vaguely remember attempting to start a blog but I could never quite pinpoint exactly what I wanted to talk about.  Over the last couple of years I’ve found something that I love so much.  Something that causes my mind to wander, something that brings a huge smile to my face.  That “something” is traveling. *swoon*

I was raised as a “military brat” (Hooah) so traveling is a part of me.  Until I graduated high school in…(well never mind that), I’d never lived in any location longer than 3 years.  As I entered adulthood I wanted nothing more to be settle, to finally live in an area and call it home.  Home  ended up being Virginia.  I quickly made friends, found a job, started school and was content in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.  As far as I was concerned I would never move again.

In 2008, my husband was randomly offered a job in Northern Virginia.  What?  We’d just purchased our first home a year and a half earlier, there is no way we’re moving.  Plus, you don’t just take me out of my comfort zone.  *frown*  Needless to say the offer was too great to pass up.  We sold our home in 1 week of putting it on the market and moved to Northern Virginia.  I firmly told my husband that “we give it ONE year and if I hate it we’re leaving”.  He agreed.  Seven years later, we own another home and I couldn’t image living anywhere else but here (and New York City).

That was until June 2014 when my husband and I visited the beautiful island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos (TCI) in the British West Indies.  I fell in love!!!! The island covers an area of 38 miles of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.  I lived in Hawaii for 3 years and I loved it but nothing compares to TCI.  From that initial trip, I knew that I would travel to that island again and again.  Now my aspiration is to one day live there, if not permanently, at least 6 months out of the year.  The picture below is of Grace Bay Beach at the Ocean Club West resort.  In June 2015, I was able to bring my mother along and (temporarily) share this beautiful island with her.

After that trip, the travel bug hit me hard!  I joined a travel group and salivated over the amazing trips people were taking.  I learned amazing websites to aid me in locating amazing flight deals.  One of my amazing friends is a travel diva extraordinaire with seemingly unlimited vacation leave.  She is my main travel “pusher” (PushaKee as we call her) and she post flight deals daily on her Facebook page.  She is the Queen of “carpe diem”, responsibly of course.  A coined phrase of hers is #bookdatish.  So in March of 2015, she posted a round-trip flight deal from Washington, DC to Marrekesh, Morocco for $681 dollars (with added cancellation protection).  Without pause, I pulled out my credit card and purchased one round-trip flight to Morocco.  *eek*

Petrified that I would be taking my first solo, adult, international flight alone, I quickly sent my sister a message and told her about the amazing deal.  After squealing about my impulsive purchase, she asked “what are the dates of the trip”? To which I responded with a pause “February 6-12, 2016”.  She said “I’m in ” and gave me her credit card information to #bookdatish.  So next year we will be experiencing for the first time, Marrakesh, Morocco. *faints*  Since we’ll be there for a week, we’ve decided to catch a $90 flight to Rome, Italy also.  We are so beyond excited and cannot wait to experience this amazing trip together.

That was the start of my impulsiveness as it pertains to travel.  The story doesn’t stop there.  Last week, Pusha Kee posted a deal for $99 one way on WOW airlines from Baltimore Washington International (BWI) to Paris.  I TOTALLY booked it for October 2015, for a grand total of $428.35 ($99 and return $275+insurance+choosing seat fees).  I was sooo excited until I told my husband and he reminded me that we are going to Paris for our 10 year anniversary. Since he can’t make the October trip, I decided to cancel. 😦  I’m sad about it but hey this gives me ammunition to remind my husband “Do you understand that I cancelled PARIS for your”!!!! *smile*

Until next time,

Nikki

First class post *bites nails*

I am officially a graduate student inThe S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.  I am nervous about this new endeavor but absolutely determined to do my best (and then some).  I have so many goals and dreams that will only allow me to be GREAT!  I have a tendency to get very long winded but don’t let that stop you from checking out my blog periodically.  Thanks for joining me and until next time.

~~Nikki~