THE RUNDOWN

Here’s to the rundown of this course. Media is emerging like no other. It is all around us and we can no overlook where it has traveled and become.

The Internet is becoming our major communication tool, and every day mediums like TV and Radio have been pushed into digital bridging. For example, I recently watched a commercial by Domino’s pizza company and there was a young woman who demonstrated texting the pizza picture image/icon better known as an emoticon or emoji to place a to go order. I was stunned I could not believe my eyes. As I think about changes like the Domino’s commercial it further illustrates how our traditional media has begun to connect itself to the Internet. Even though the Internet is one of our major platforms for information over flowing with data, we can not stop servicing the world or growing our businesses. We must organize our content and target our publics in a collaborative effort.

Let’s face it our society keeps up with the way the world grows. We have out grown dial-up connections to the internet, we have out grown cell phones that only allow you to place a call or send a text message, we have out grown many technology gadgets that only perform one or two functions at a time.

Although we have all the new features that allow us to personalize our entertainment or multi-task through technological advancements, we should consider what those changes mean for where we are headed in the future. The internet use to function at high-level traffic from surfing the web, today many businesses are creating applications so that people can have an easier more personalized experience with the way they do the things they want to do. The web has been one of our major resources for information since the early 90’s. Now that companies are creating “wall-like” structures it has become more and more difficult to add information where it can be accessible to all publics. This is important to the digital world because it is the very existence of how we share information, become innovative, create new opportunities, and advance in educational learning structures.

How do we overcome out growing the Internet to quickly and maintain order so that communication is still personalized, freely expressed, easily accessed, and ultimately keeps publics informed? Conversion is the catalyst in this situation and while it is a great component to technological advancements; how do we take control so that wall-like structures do not compromise strategic communication?

One answer is we create it, we design it, we alter it.

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Children of the Future

 

How many times have you used google lately? I recall recently being at a golf event and I came across a guy in general conversation he said to me, “I normally ask my employees did you google it?” So here is the thing, information is accessible anywhere at any time right? As professionals who have gone through many years of school and invested into our companies, we actively try to grow and become creative in every effort possible. We learn something different if not daily at least weekly, most of what we learn is usually by way of mouth from one person to the next. After hearing about something we usually look that information up to understand the information to its entirety. So if professionals who have gone through any level of school, work in any form of environment use the digital world to learn, why not the children?

Our children are the future, and we try very hard to protect them from the world we live in, as we should. Excluding our children from a very prominent resource in society does not protect them, it disables them. As a growing digital society, we as adults strive in our careers to understand digital platforms so that a very powerful tool does not overcome us or disable us. If we expect children who will someday enter adulthood to be equipped with the necessary knowledge to continue to make innovation successful and technology a useful tool we must educate them. Children should begin to learn at a fairly early age that technology is not only for self-entertainment but a means used to refine learning. Some examples can be found at a blog I recently visited: 10 Benefits of Exposing Young Children to Modern Technology is the title to the DigiParenthood blog where this information can be found. (Link at the bottom in credits) a quick capture of some of the learning techniques I am suggesting involves: “Cognitive Development, Hand-eye Coordination, Language Skills, Critical thinking, Development of Skills/Talents.” Those are a few from the DigiParenthood blog that we should take into consideration when shielding our children from digital learning advancements. Many times as parents we don’t know how to teach our kids the fundamental basics because we fear that we are not teachers and don’t want to confuse our children. The great thing about digital learning is that you are provided within fingertips of professionals who design software or blogs etc. to help guide you in helping to develop your child’s fundamentals of learning. One bonus to teaching children is pretty simple, children are already a blank sheet of paper just waiting for information to organize and discern into applicable information. As adults we have already learned a great deal and it is a bit harder to get us to see things differently or understand them in a different way.  We generally already have preconceived paradigms about how things work the way they do or why they should work the way they do.
I can recall a few images or post I have seen on Facebook where teenagers have used media in a way that defines their character negatively. Inappropriate language or inappropriate pictures seems to be the new norm for teenagers today, I suppose it’s just the “IN” thing to do. Often time’s parents have absolutely no knowledge of these instances or they join in with these inappropriate behaviors because they deem it funny and/or the cool parent thing to do. As a public we should have an understanding that things on the internet can rarely be removed and it takes  a great deal of work to do so including months or years depending on how much negative content remains. Parents need to understand exactly how the internet works in order to encourage positive effective use. Although we as a public sometimes feel that our public sites are our private business in what we do or say, building those personal profiles becomes almost a personal resume about who you are as an individual. We discussed branding a bit last week and I won’t necessarily jump back into it, but parents need to be mindful that personal branding effects your public life in a very massive way. The control of parenting children in today’s digital world is questioned a great deal not only by others but even ourselves. We wonder how long and how much we can control in order to protect children from evolving too fast. One way of remaining somewhat in control is by the primary goal of this blog, education.

Best practices are usually instilled because it becomes repetition. If children sit with parents to do research for school work or maybe preparing for a test, they will by habit learn to use the internet that way. If I always utilize the internet for socializing through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; I come to see the internet as a way to socialize. If I typically use the internet from early childhood forward for learning, the habit I have created helps me to assume when I pick up that iPad I am going to research something new today. It is easy to get distracted with digital media recreational items, but it is just as important to play games, socialize, and be creative with digital media also. Interaction with recreational items helps us develop a sense of vision. The world of fantasy enhances the creative portion of our brains, it helps us to take our dreams and invent them and that is how we change the world. We design innovative products by implementing the fantasies we create in our digital world.
Children who use digital media do not have an understanding of limits, children are like a blank sheet of paper they’re not full of information yet, there are no preconceived paradigms yet telling them this only can work this way, therefore they are open to consume large amounts of information and figure out how to create an opening. Once they create an opening they bring their visions to life because of an idea, a dream, or a fantasy. Those ideas formulate our world into future technology and future world advancements.

Your Brand, It Makes You

 

Branding is not just a logo, slogan, or the field of work you are in, it’s the DNA of the business.

The two concepts of this topic that are related and break them into two parts because I believe we need to have a clear understanding of each concept and then discuss their relation to each other and how the two work together in communication. I will note that through much of my research “Branding and Reputation,” our topics this week, are used together to explain the importance of how they are equally yoked. I want to suggest to you that though they support each other there are fundamental elements of understanding them separately in order to see how they benefit us in communication together.  I would imaging that we all as communicators know what branding is but for the sake of my viewers out there who may not have a communications or business background lets start with a quick overview of the basics.

Branding is not your company name or logo, its not even one idea that supports the company. Branding is in the perception of others in which they see our business. We come up with a name, logo, or idea about why our product or business is unique, but the public determines what all that means to them. We have expectations for what we design and how we implement it, but the general public takes those messages and behaviors and turns it into something tangible.  The things I do, the things I say, my social media sites, my career profession and my character/demeanor at work, my hobbies, and church evolvement, my taste in clothing, etc. those would tell you a bit more about my brand and who I am. Those things would tell you how I see the world, how I view people, if I am generally trusting, if I am generally caring and selfless, those are the things you would learn about me. The brand is not just the name or logo; the brand is all attributes that make up its DNA inside out. Your company’s gatekeeper’s attitudes, company’s quality in customer service, the company’s philanthropies and values, the companies visual appearance and consistency would be the entire brand.

I understand what branding is, and I can pretty much guess at this point that all those components matter in how the company achieves and grows in the perception of consumers, so how do we maintain how the general public perceives our organization? What happens if something goes wrong and one of those components misrepresent the brand and we receive negative feedback?

That brings us to part two of this blog, reputation.

Reputation is self-explanatory, most of my viewers out there who have taken interest in following this blog learned the value of having a clean respected reputation early on in life, possibly even during grade school right? Why do we care about reputation in regards to our organization or strategic communication planning? It’s simple, trust, loyalty, and adoption. I will share with you a personal detail about myself; I am an Apple junkie! I love my Apple Inc. products and there is nothing you could do or say to change my mind. I trust Apple because they provide superior support and their customer service is very tailored to the customer. I have never had an Apple employee rush me along or try to quickly sale me an item, it’s usually all about me, what I want and what I need. I have Apple support whenever I have an issue and they are patient and kind, they exhaust every option to help me out. I am loyal to Apple because of the before mentioned qualities but also because they build a promising product, of course with many things in life they become outdated or decline in performance over the years, but for the most part it’s a great product! The engineering is personalized and easy to use.  Finally I have adopted Apple as my own, whenever the opportunity presents itself I share my experiences with others, I explain to them why I like Apple. I am walking advertisement for Apple. Apple presents itself as a luxury trusted brand, their service from all departments, and products represent just that. They also provide warranty and option to return items or trade out within a given time frame, which lets you know they are not just sales people trying to make that sale. They’re reputation is promising to future buyers. How does reputation for strategic communicators affect our trust, loyalty and adoption?

Many times for strategic communicators the biggest mistake people make is disassociation. We are at time apart of an organization but we are also the primary faces publics see attached to the organization therefore strategic communicators must be mindful of our personal social media sites, our demeanor out in public at the coffee shop or grocery store, we must acknowledge no matter how hard it may be to accept, that we are our brand. I cannot push a non-smoking campaign and allow people to relate to my campaign and me behind the scenes of that campaign and then post pictures on Facebook at a family bar-b-q smoking as if no one would ever see. Yes, we feel that our personal lives are our private business but in the field of work we are in, we have to accept the reality that consumers are all people all over and we are the number one ambassadors to the brand we represent.

As we tie in the subject Brand and Reputation, we realize what branding really is and how reputations can make or break the brand. We understand that our personal lives are not exempt from ridicule and that publics now have the tools at their hands (online media) to destroy our brands reputation with information we expose and we then will be responsible for damage control.

The Need To Know The Crowd

Crowdsourcing is one of the major tactics for having open environments where innovation begins. Crowdsourcing makes collecting information for communication solutions fast and accessible for multiple publics, instead of a select group or individual trying to solve an issue for a large community. Crowdsourcing promotes strategy, problem solving, sharing of ideas and building on existing ideas. Crowdsourcing is typically an online forum or platform where communicators, business professionals, or individuals who share interest or values meet to discuss issues. Sometimes there is not a given problem that needs to be solved but more so shared ideas in order to create a new product or service.

I will briefly highlight some of the benefits of crowdsourcing, however I truthfully would like to focus on some of the challenges with this post simply because there are many articles out there about what crowdsourcing is, how it works, and how it can be useful to us. As I continue that conversation, let’s also think about how to strategically solve its weaknesses. First before discussing weaknesses, we identified that crowdsourcing allows a wide range of people to come together and discuss topics of interest. One reason this is successful is because one organization may be approaching business tactics in ways that it has “always worked,” but when coming together with a group of unknown individuals who specialize in that market, you are introduced to their thoughts and ideas. Another reason crowdsourcing is successful is because, the contributed information can be constantly built or formed. People can eventually take ownership of ideas and become innovators, a new concept can always be critique to make it most useful to the general public. A third reason crowdsourcing is successful is because you have a digital log of research and analysis that becomes a part of your credibility. Other professions from other established individuals help make up your credibility in addition to your own, basically you have your own professional support group. There are two types of crowdsourcing, one is ‘open’ the other is ‘closed’.  After hearing about all the benefits of how online networking has changed the way strategic communicators work, it is only befitting to find where this new technique is not very stable and find solutions. As with many things in this world, there is always a pros and cons list to everything, but how do we turn the cons list into opportunities? I can tell you from my personal experience that making a pros and cons list is only the tip of the ice berg. The real work begins when you actually start to formulate and strategize about solutions. I’m sure many of you out there would agree that telling someone or an organization there is a problem with the current system in place is one thing but actually developing a solution takes dedication, precision, and research. Through my research on this topic here is what I found (We will touch base on each)

Have you logged into LinkedIn recently and joined a professional group open to anyone or select members only? Have you realized that certain groups open up forms to discuss issues in their professional line of work? And how about noticing that people drift off topic and begin discussing their own stuff or ideas about something completely not relevant to the before mentioned question for the entire group? This is a challenge that collaborative innovation and problem solving experience. Best practices suggest that closed groups offer an elite more precise response rate than open groups. We want to encourage open groups because we know that open groups are successful for the general public in growing as a community in communication worldwide. We also want to be mindful that some content may not be necessary for an open group. For example, maybe a company decided to revise their business model and they survey individuals but the company only allows company members to join the group and discussion. Maybe you have to enter into the group by providing your company credentials to be verified as a collaborative guest. This is one way to manage idea overflow for specific issues. Now, Issues that are less specific in nature and require the outside population to help solve consumer issues would need to be open. Let’s say that someone wanted to figure out how to market new products through their company Facebook page but not only to their followers (mainly loyalty members) but also to new target markets? We would need the general population’s help who may be invested in other businesses to share their thoughts. To help reduce information overflow I suggest archiving, which brings me to the next point, filtering.

To filter information can be time consuming and due to the time it takes, as humans our brains eventually get tired so there’s the rule of accuracy of filtering out information by accident we truly need. We should archive good thoughts and ideas that are not necessarily irrelevant but are is just a step behind of the primary issue and come back to it. In addition to archiving we can also create additional conversations and move important questions raised to another communication thread that allows continued collaboration that does not interfere with the current information. We don’t want to confuse ourselves or others joining in on the topic by allowing multiple threads to go on and on.

Each of these build off each other, organizing data goes hand in hand with managing idea overflow and filtering. Once the information has been gathered in the appropriate place the next step is to begin organizing the progression. Once the population of professionals establish a common solution, those ideas should be built into a portfolio of some sort that offers a sequence in how the ideas were produced and maybe even list the name and title of individuals, unless they prefer to remain anonymous. By doing this, a communication plan can be drafted for many individuals as a template. This is just a thought of a solution I encourage you to comment at the end of this blog and suggest ideas on solving disorganization. The entire point of this blog post is to create the thread for possibilities and we grow stronger as professionals by doing so.

While making sure information is gathered in the right place in an organized fashion is important. Organization does not hold much value if the information does not make sense. It is easy when speaking out our profession to shorthand and use abbreviations. As a growing digital society we also have a tendency to use jargon or text language, professional we should not do that and even in forums that are not quite professional we still should avoid such instances because we reduce the ability for publics to clearly understand the goal. The goal of the open discussion should be clearly stated and easy for others to jump in and add to it. By this “jump in method” I mean that even those of us who do not initiate the topic, but add to it have a responsibility to state sentences clearly so that even one who joins in mid-way can understand the overall goal. Make it easy to follow and less time consuming to travel back through the feed because people are simply impatient today and we value speed in process of doing things. The faster I can navigate to the purpose, the more inclined I am to spend my time contributing useful research.

This topic is pretty simple and straightforward. In contributing information to the discussion we should be mindful that completely ignoring traditional media is not a good idea. Many times as professionals in the field of communication, we can easily get caught up with the idea of “keeping up” with what is new, but that does not mean we should avoid using proven successful media. Collaborative groups are usually via online groups but that doesn’t mean we should forget about traditional efforts.

As we utilize crowdsourcing we should be sure to encourage self-identity and professional background qualifications. Although people are more inclined to provide information and share ideas when they are free to remain anonymous, by encouraging individuals to establish who they are credibility is strengthened. Members of the group or individuals who chime in an open format can rest assured that information is coming from a legitimate professional or scholar.

In conclusion of this blog post, I believe that by understanding the benefits or strengthens of crowdsourcing we then know to acknowledge weaknesses as well in this new form of communication. By acknowledging the weaknesses we know that there is room for opportunities in research enhancement. The weaknesses I have mentioned are collected from my collegiate studies and a few of my own issues addressed. In the before mentioned issues, I have discussed opportunities in solutions to these roadblocks. I ask you to help me and join in on the conversation to suggest your ideas and thoughts. Do you think the points I raised are significant, do you think the solutions I provided are helpful or complex and why.

You Should Blog

Blogging is an outlet for everyone, especially entrepreneurs. It can be found very valuable to hold a blog. The purpose of writing blogs can be to promote a product or service, bring awareness about social issues or purely just to express your passion for writing. Blogs are very resourceful for sharing tips and giving information. It is a unique platform to share a person’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, sand experiences. Everyday blogs are becoming more and more popular. No matter your reason of blogging you can mind yourself as an expert blogger on your preferred subject choice just by sharing the right content to expose your blog. The most important key to publishing a successful blog is having a passion for your topic. You must have fun and be creative with your blog, after all some of the best blogs were created just for fun.

One interesting thing about blogging is all it requires a subject that you are passionate about. That is right it requires no prior knowledge to become a blogger. Which is all the reason you should blog.

You should blog for a number of reasons, but to name a few…

Blogging is a network that helps you learn new things. It requires you to do research whether its primary or secondary research. It can very well be that you experiment with a tutorial to share insight or it can lead you to follow other blogs and source the web for the knowledge you are looking to provide which enlightens you on the topic. Blogging is challenges one to be innovative. By this challenge you constantly learn new methods to heighten your blog topic. Many strategic communication professionals with strong knowledge in blogging often excel with blogs by incorporating new content to their audience and by proving their area of credibility with strong references.

You should blog if you desire a platform to express your thoughts and opinions. Blogs provide an area for you to speak and be heard. No matter the discussion you can address it with a blog. Blogs are wonderful tools to help bloggers establish themselves as experts in a field or topic. Blogging is a great way to legitimize your expertise on a subject and expand your online presence or platform. Many strategic communication professionals have capitalize on their knowledge of blogs and created blogs centered around their passion. Knowing how to properly utilize the tool can grant you a strong platform and audience.

You should blog if you are a communication or strategic communication professional. One in this area can prove their knowledge to employers to become head of the company’s blog. With a recent and updated blog one can pull it as a resume to increase their level and duties in their company. A blog can be a foundation to network and connect with people. Blogging can have the ability to bring like-minded people together. A blog is a outlet to connect with people and share your opinions and thoughts. Having a blog is a great way to gain an audience to share your thoughts and build an audience to communicate your knowledge on your blog to influence them.

Owning a blog can be a strong site to develop relationships with potential and existing customers. Blogs allow you to connect with your site visitors. A strategic commuincation professional can utilize a blog to get feedback from readers of their audience. This can be happen by asking your readers questions at the end of your post to get the conversation going or by simply allowing comments and feedback. By reviewing and responding to readers comments. This can create a rapport with your audience, build trust, and gain valuable insight into what your customers are looking for. According to Strategic America’s blog, it a company site ran by a member of the thriving company that is accompanied by a blog that provides insights on professional communication development. The blog leaves an area for readers to leave a reply. This is a great contribution to the brand. It allows readers to give feedback and it communicates that the company cares about its audience and their opinion. Strategic America is an example of a company that refers to its communication professionals and this shows that if one shows their knowledge and background it can make an impact and bring much success to your career.

 

Social Networking vs Social Media

Social media and social networking may appear to sound the same, but indeed there is some difference. The differences between the two are just as vast as night and day. There are some key differences and knowing what they are can help you gain a better understanding on how to leverage them for your brand and business.

Social media is a way to transmit, or share information with a broad audience. Everyone has the opportunity to create and distribute. All you really need is an internet connection and you’re off to the races.

On the other hand, social networking is an act of engagement. Groups of people with common interests, or like-minds, associate together on social networking sites and build relationships through community. Social networking is all about engagement. Creating relationships, communicating with your readers, building your following and connecting with your online audience. If you treat social networking like social media, you will come off as someone using a bullhorn. It’s important to listen as much as talk with social networking.

 

The Trend

Social Media is only a trend that will get bigger 

Social Media is a trend that is evolving right in front of us and only has the growing ability.  It is often in reference to sites such as Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. As seen today, social media is used for many purposes. It is common to see social media used for business purposes and as well as for personal use. Either way the purpose of its use is to deliver content to an audience and connect socially. Social media allows one to be expressive in his or her very on way. There are hardly any limits to what one can do with social media.

The latest trend is consumed of unique things like filters, live videos, and blogs that gain the interest of millennials today.

Now I found it hard to remember how we all survived the times when social media wasn’t so popular. Social media as we know it today is apart of our lives. Today is one of the most popular ways to communicate and catch up with old friends.

Social media is a trend and will be for some time. It is popular all around us. The average person can’t withhold hours away from it, because ultimately it is a source to know whats happening around you even if it is not directly around you.

This is a trend because literally everyone is on it. It is available at a click of a finger or a easy download. It has the power to spread news as fast a wildfire ensuring that everyone always has access to the latest news and updates around the world. It can be so powerful and supportive that it jumpstarts an individuals career or markets a business to gain for consumers by its rapid exposure to viewers and followers.  This is a trend because its available on a mobile device and is designed for all ages. Social media has something to offer for everyone.  Snapchat shows us the revolution of where the use of social media is traveling. At the beginning of its era it was used to blast what what happening in our lives from day to day. With time as we all progress and move forward with platforms like Snapchat we visually see that the use of social media will simply be used to display life from day to day just as it is.

With the expansion of stories on social media that will keep the trend alive and going. Creations such as stories on the platforms allow you to post day to day content without blasting your followers and making them feel forced to like or share your every move. This such innovation creates an intimate level of sharing that is quick for your viewers. In this feature on a platform you are allowed to know exactly who yo are reaching and as well as who is viewing your content. Along with the stories one is able to add filters, tags and locations that make it the content shared unique and fun.

Millennials today are expressive. These are the voices of today. The average millennial has four or more social platforms downloaded on their mobile device. It is apart of our culture and will only grow stronger in it with more innovation.

As we see a decline in things like newspapers more and more because of the rapid access of news to social media we can only see that this just the beginning of the social media trend of today.

 

 

 

I Am Not Dead, Just YET

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This week’s buzz from bee is all about whether or not if we are watching the death of newspapers right in front of our very own eyes

Newspapers as we knew it to be in most homes were apart of morning routine. Either it was a part of mom or dad’s morning coffee or the first stop heading out swinging by a newspaper stand. As we reflect on this moment, we may stumble over the thought of how that routine has changed across the world in many homes today. Mornings now a days in the average home aren’t started with a flip of a newspaper, but for sure with a click, like, and share of the latest news around us all because of internet. It is no secret that newspapers have faced a decline over time and the internet is a tremendous threat to its existence. Challenging question that is but all and all newspapers are still around and not extinct.

The very foundation of the American newspaper can be traced back to the late 1600s and  still finds its self relevant in today’s society. Several columns ranging from local news to common interest columns such as fashion and gardening, and even expanding out to political issues nationwide. As times has changed and technology has advanced the question of its relevance plagues many conversations of its very existence.  With the existence of the generaltional era or whom could be referred to as the baby-boomers is beyond reasonable to argue the relevance of the newspaper. With the existence of the baby-boomer generation it is seemingly apparent that the newspaper is still relevant today and will be for more years to come. Millennials may argue that the newspaper is phasing out and someday will become obsolete, but for the baby-boomers its apart of their very fabric.

The survival of traditional newspaper is texted from day to day, but it still finds a way to thrive. The decline in newspapers has been widely debated. Though there are less subscriptions than ever before. The newspaper industry finds a way to adjust by making effort to step over in the post-print world. For smaller news industries this may come as a challenge, but for known newspapers such as The New York Times and Washington Post they have gained many internet subscribers.