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Final Thoughts…

2 Jun

Maintaining Revenue In This Changing Industry

Communications is changing drastically.  People using the technology and those working in the communications field will have to be more flexible than ever in the years to come.  Social media is changing the way in which everything is done.  As more people go online or on their phones to gather their news, newspapers and broadcast companies must find new and creative ways to gain revenue.   It’s a time for innovation.  Research shows people spend up to 8 hours a day online.  Advertisers see the trend and want options.  News organizations will benefit hugely when they realize the potential of online revenue.   Websites need to be user friendly.  Those who manage the websites need to use search engine optimization steps to gain the most views possible, and then, the money will come.  Gathering the news and weather online will need to become more of an “experience” for the visitor.  They should be able to get the content they want and at the same time be entertained.  From posting “eye-candy” on the website as side-bars, to creating games that will draw visitors back, online content managers need to always be in tune with the trends.  Then, and only then, will they have the upper edge in this rapidly changing online world.

 

 

Calling All The Ron Burgundys…

These are the same strategies that will hook young readers to the website and hopefully, keep them coming back for more.   I think the way in which news is presented will be changing in big ways as well.   People get their news throughout the day–online, on their phones and in blogs.  By the time the newscast is on in the evening, many people have already heard the big stories.  So, to maintain viewers, news is going to have to transform into something we’ve not seen just yet.  It’s going to be a very delicate balance to maintain credibility and still be edgy enough to give the viewers what they want.  I believe news anchors and reporters are going to have to get more intimate with their viewers.  Facebook pages and tweets, will continue to provide a platform to have casual conversation with the people who tune in to watch the news.   Big personality from the folks on the set will play a big role in ratings.  It always has…but I believe going forward, it will mean even more.

Superheroes and Princesses: A Lesson in Animation… and Getting Along

1 Jun

                                                    

     A LESSON IN GETTING ALONG

 

                                        

    

Endless Possibilies

This was a fun project for me to explore.  I have never worked    with animation before and while I am certainly new to this, I can see how addicting and fun this can be.   The possibilies with what one can do with this, if they have all the time in the world, are enless!    Please enjoy this “animation” and the unexplained “bonus” at the beginning:)

 

A “Look” Behind The Scenes of a Newscast: Final Project

31 May

This is what you don’t see from home.

 

Children and Technology: An Inseparable Bond

29 May

And this is just the beginning..

Having three children under the age of 4, play-dates have become a pretty routine activity for my family.  My kids love to play with their friends and the moms just enjoy sharing some adult conversation.   On any given day, the topic of touch-screen devices almost always comes up in conversation. It’s tough to be a parent these days.  Most families have two parents who are working 40-50 hours a week.  The time the family does have at home together, is often a delicate balance of play time, story time, clean-up time, laundry time, cooking time, and work, brought home time.  So, enters those touch-screen devices.   It is an easy go-to for many parents who are just trying to get something done.  Even as I write in this post, my children are watching their favorite movie on TV.   We have not taken the leap into purchasing an iPad, nor do we have any desire to buy any hand held game consoles for our children.  I’ve heard a lot about the negative effects on children who have spent hours playing games on these devices.  That said, I’m sure there will come a day when our children will want to have the PS2 or another popular hand-held gaming console. For now, I’d rather hold off for as long as we can, until more research can be done on the effects of these devices.  Finding research on the effects of touch-screen devices and children is difficult–and to me, that speaks volumes!

Some professional insight

One posting I found that provided a little insight was on Boston Children’s Hospital’s pediatric health blog.  Dr. Clair McCarthy wrote that she tends to be very negative about touch screen devices when talking to families, stressing a 2-hour time limit to help prevent obesity.  She adds that they (pediatricians) often warn about Facebook depression, exposure to sex and violence, cyberbullying and online predators.  If that’s not enough to get parents thinking, she also chats with them about how texting can keep kids up at night and how video games have been linked to ADHD.  Hmmm, sign me up!  I think we need three iPads…one for each of my kids.   Not quite!!  Reading on though, you get the sense that while there are concerns, there could be some benefits to children using these touch-screens.  Dr. McCarthy says the internet is a great way to teach children things we don’t know.  When they ask a question, (and my 4 year old asks hundreds of them) it can be a wonderful tool to get the correct information to children immediately.  She adds that some websites allow children to see other countries and people all over the world in a way we’ve never been able to see before.   Even I have to admit that some of the websites do seem quite educational for me, and yes, even for my children (McCarthy, 2011.)

Future of Education

Classrooms of the future may very well have iPads at every desk. Wouldn’t that be something.  My husband, who is a fifth-grade teacher, has a smart board in his room.  It’s a huge, interactive touch-screen that the kids love to work with.  As we look at the future of education, we can’t ignore the fact that kids today belong to a generation that has never known a world without hand-held and networked devices. According to the blog,  Tim Elmore, On Leading The Next Generation, American children now spend 7.5 hours a day absorbing and creating media, about the same amount of time they spend in school.”  That’s crazy, but it seems, it’s the direction we are going.  The author also points something out that is kind of an eye-opener to me.  He’s reminding his readers that back in the 1960’s, people were just as worried about TV’s as they are about the hand-held device craze.   The public worried about the effects of time spent in front of the screen, and how it could effect behavior in children.  Then came, “Captain Kangaroo” and “Sesame Street,” and all was well in the world.  So, while TV can be used to show violent images, we have learned through the years it can be used for educational purposes.   Elmore says the same is true for today’s technology.  He says, “Handheld and network devices are at the same turning point, with an important distinction:  they can be tools for expression and connection, not just passive absorption.” (Elmore, 2012)

Full Circle

So, let’s come full circle.  I’m not sure I’m ready to hand my four year-old son an iPad.  I can see how there could be some benefits and according to the article, teachers report educational benefits of  frequent technology,so can teachers.  Some major findings from teachers who use technology frequently in their classroom show there are greater benefits to student learning when technology is used.   In fact, after a study involving more than a thousand students, teachers concluded the more they use technology in the classroom, they more they recognize and value the positive effects on learning and its connection to 21st century skills.   (the Journal)   As much as we may fight it, I think we all have to accept that technology is going to have an impact on our children in more ways than we can imagine.  Our role as parents remain the same however.  I think as our children spend more time on the internet and other devices, we have to do what we always do–protect our children.  In this case, it means moderating the amount of time spent on the devices and managing the content they are being exposed to. 

sources:

McCarthy, C. The new digital reality: why parents and pediatricians may need to rethink their messaging. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://childrenshospitalblog.org

Elmore, T. The Future of Education. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://blog.growingleaders.com/future-of-education/

http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/06/28/teachers-report-educational-benefits-of-frequent-technology-use.aspx

Flexible, Social Networker with Great Writing skills = Job in Communications

27 May

Are you socially connected?

Are you checked-in? Is your status updated? Did you accept that last request to be Linkedin?  Did you see that hilarious video that’s going viral today? Can you believe how many people were tweeting about Jennifer Lopez’s outfit during the American Idol finale?  How many people are following your Blog?  If you can answer every one of those questions, you are well on your way to getting a job in Communications.

The changes that have happened in the past decade in the Communication’s field are astonishing.   Journalists who used to use the Associated Press to catch all the breaking news, now rely just as heavily on the people in their hometowns to bring the news to them.  How?—through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube mostly.   Who would have thought journalists would be able to gather news through a social network?   It’s happening more and more.  A journalist often times uses his or her Facebook or Twitter account to reach out to viewers when they’re trying to confirm a story or perhaps land an interview.

This is an example of what I’m talking about, taken from my professional Facebook page at Fox43.   The fact of the matter is, if journalists aren’t LinkedIn to social media, they aren’t in the game at all.   So, anyone looking for a job in Communications, needs to know everything there is to know about social media.  Prospective employers will be asking the questions, to determine how savvy the candidate is in this every growing medium.   Don’t buy into it?  Check out some of these staggering statistics!

Social media in business stats social media for business

  • 65% of the world’s top companies have an active Twitter profile
  • 90% of marketers use social media channels for business, with 93% of these rating social tools as “important”
  • 43% of marketers have noticed an improvement in sales due to social campaigns
  • 72% of marketers who have worked in social media for three or more years said that they saw a boost in turnover due to social channels (the longer you’re working in it the better you get)
  • 91% of experienced social marketers see improved website traffic due to social media campaigns and 79% are generating more quality leads
  • The average time spent by marketers on social media is 1-5hrs per week for those just getting started and 6+ hours per week for those with 3+ years of experience
  • The most popular social networking tool for marketing is Facebook – being used by 92%, followed by Twitter (84%), LinkedIn (71%) and blogs (68%)
  • LinkedIn is 4X better for B2B lead generation than Facebook and Twitter
  • Only 10% of marketers are actively monitoring social media ROI
  • Only 22% of businesses have a dedicated social media manager
  • 23% of Fortune 500 companies have a public-facing corporate blog
  • 58% of Fortune 500 companies have an active corporate Facebook account, 62% have an active corporate Twitter account
  • 47% of customers are somewhat likely to purchase from a brand that they follow or like
  • 80% of US social network users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook
  • 40% of consumers prefer social logins over creating a new/guest account
  • In terms of users engaging with social log-in, 60% use Facebook, 12% Yahoo, 11% Twitter, 10% Google and 7% LinkedIn
So who’s managing all these accounts and helping to layout the design for these pages?  Communication specialists that have a degree in some field of Communications.  It is such a booming business right now.  Dirk Cleveland, who works for a Silicon Valley headhunting firm says finding someone with the interactive digital skills that many app startups require, is difficult.  Kalvin Wang, the co-founder for a carpooling company adds, “There are so many start-ups and so many tech-companies that are snapping them up.  It’s slightly ridiculous.”

A “Chameleon-Like”Persona

Are you the type of person who can do just about anything when called upon to do so?  Are you flexible and skilled enough in this field to offer up your diversified abilities when needed most?   If you can say “yes” to this, and are sincere, you will stand out among your competitors.  At any given moment, those who work in Communications, will need to change things up totally.  For example, in broadcasting, when news breaks, a reporter and photographer must drop everything they are doing and head to the scene of the breaking news.  Upon arriving, they must be quick on their feet and ready to go live from location within minutes.  Also, more and more companies are hiring “one-man-bands.”  It’s a great way to cut down costs and still get the same end result.  Many photographers currently in the business are doing everything they can to hone their skills on story writing.  We are seeing more photographers producing “nat packages.”  This is a type of story in which the people tell the story.  There is no reporter track.  It’s just a person describing something they are doing and then the photographer puts video over some of their interview.  A photographer at Fox 43 just produced a series of two stories using this “nat package” concept.  It was about people who are diagnosed and living with Lyme Disease.

Can You Hook Them In??

No doubt, the hook of the story, is the most important element.  A good writer knows this, and, knows how to implement it.  Whether a person is writing for a company blog, a restaurant Facebook page, or for a local news station, they want to keep their customers or viewers around.  They want their material to be sticky!  If a viewer isn’t interested in the story within ten seconds, they are moving on.  Having excellent story-telling and writing examples will be a huge determining factor on whether or not an employer will be hiring someone for a communication’s position.  Not only finding a hook, but the characters to help tell the story are essential in making this equation work.  People are overloaded with media these days.  Speaking from a broadcaster’s perspective, I know people can find local, national and international news everywhere they look.  I know if reporters want to keep their viewers around for more, they need to find a creative way to tell their story.   It is very likely the viewer has already heard the story.  So, presenting the story with an element of entertainment, in a visually compelling way, is one way to keep viewers around.   Good story-telling and writing is key in doing this.

List of contributing statistics articles:

http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/online-time_b22186
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twitter-marketing-infographic_b22134 
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/future-social-customer_b22111
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-media-consumer-service_b22105
http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/video-infographic-pinterest-statistics-stats-facts/
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-apps-study_b21961
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/marketers-social-media_b21954
http://socialmediatoday.com/davidmeermanscott/493633/linkedin-4x-better-b2b-leads-facebook-or-twitter-says-hubspot-study
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/pinterest-twitter-facebook_b21888
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-media-business-roi_b22274
http://allfacebook.com/socialbakers-mobile-infographic_b88216
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twitter-140-million-active-users_b19729 
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-tv_b22208

Hard To Get The Words Out

26 May

 

Everyday, as I gather  news of the day, I read about a case of child abuse.  Most days, they are cases that involve children who didn’t survive.  As a mother, some of the abuse is so unimaginable and heart-wrenching, it makes it difficult to even get the words out.  Just last evening, we told our viewers about a Philadelphia mother who killed her 1-year-old twins and tried to poison her 4-year-old  daughter.   Then, we showed the imaged of their little bodies being carried out of their home.  I could hardly get through the story.

It seems to be a hidden epidemic.  We hear about the kids who are abused from day-to-day, but did you have any idea that on average in the United States, we lose about five children a day to the hands of their abuser. According to ChildHelp, an organization that works to bring awareness to the growing problem, the United States has the worst record among industrialized nations.  Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving 6 million children; that’s because reports can include multiple children.  We can’t stop the abuse, but we can keep our eyes wide open.  Too many times, the signs of abuse are staring us right in our face.   We all have the ability to be the voice for a child who has lost theirs.  

 

 STOP CHILD ABUSE

Sources:

 

Get With The Program!

24 May


On Board or Falling Far Behind…

It is certainly not the time for businesses to sit back and watch as the world around them changes.   Everyday, more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon, logging on to a social media network.   Enterprises that aren’t recognizing that will fail to exist in the years to come.

Plenty of Businesses Are Logged On

Those who realize the advantages of social networking are reaping the benefits.   The potential for exposure is huge if a business owner educates herself.   People don’t have to look far these days for statistics that show just how much there is to gain by being involved in as many social networks as possible.  For example, according to the folks at Inspirationfeed, about 62 percent of adults across the world use a social network.  And as of 2012, they add, Facebook has about 901 million active users and nearly 138 million unique views each month.  Twitter drawing about 140 million active users while YouTube gets close to 107 million unique visits every month.  A lot of businesses are starting to understand the marketing possibilities, with around 53 percent of small enterprises using social media (Inspirationfeed).  The Companies that are using social media like what they see!

    Facebook

     Business owners are using Facebook pages to put information out about their store, restaurant, or company.   The really smart ones are using Facebook fan pages to get people to “like” them.   The social network provides a space for people to come together who share something in common–they like the business.  Those who like the business may then recommend their friends “like” the business.   Facebook also provides a space for the business to post videos and pictures highlighting some of the things that take place at their establishment.   It can be a place to post menus, products, coupons and more.  The more traffic the Facebook page gets, the more advertisers they can get to tag onto their page.  It all =$$$$$$$.

Twitter

Twitter is another great way many business are getting the word out about their products.  The difference here is it allows a business to keep followers up to date, at real-time.   For example, a restaurant has an unexpected guest pop into the restaurant and they tweet, #ladygaga just walked through the doors! what a surprise!!!  Another example could be a the owner of a car dealership is at a trade show and tweets, #Lamborghini on show floor in two weeks! (and then attach the picture) Twitter is great because it doesn’t have to be long, but it can certainly get people talking!

   YouTube

    YouTube is just another forum for businesses to show off a product or products.  A small electronics company just starting out can put a “how-to” video on YouTube, and if they’re smart about it, they can gain some serious exposure.  It’s very much about strategy when it comes to marketing on social media.  What is going to be the farthest reaching subject that will effect almost everyone.  Which “how-to” demonstration is likely to get the most views?   The businesses who have this idea down, are the ones who are thriving in this new world in which we live.

Blogging

Anyone can blog and make money doing it…doing it well, can draw people by the thousands to a site.  Companies, restaurants, merchants, and so on, can blog till their heart’s content.  There’s no space limitations.  Through RSS Feeds, businesses have a huge opportunity for exposure.  By finding a niche, and a person who can generate relevant, and informative content on a daily basis, many businesses are expanding.  Blogs, as well as the other social media networks also provide an opportunity for feedback.  If handled well, this is another opportunity for businesses to be embraced by their communities.

There are a lot of Enterprises embracing these new times and they are the ones who will thrive in the years to come.  For fun… here’s a link to the top 5 businesses who are kicking butt in the social networking department!

Top Five Companies Using Social Media

sources:

http://mashable.com/2010/10/05/top-enterprises-social-media/

http://inspirationfeed.com/articles/social-media-articles/top-5-social-media-strategies-for-small-businesses/