Working with WordPress

The management of content is much more than having an idea and a medium with which to share it. In middle school and high school I used Xanga, my first encounter with content management. At the time I really did not understand its purpose, I was unfamiliar with blogs and writing for entertainment or information. I saw it as a way to vent about my life and get to know my friends on a different level.

Fast-forward to 2012, I am starting my internship with the Dalton Agency and I needed a way to reach people that was not Facebook or Twitter. I was simply exploring the concept of blogging, I didn’t know what kind of content I wanted to create, but I knew that I had ideas I wanted to share and needed a clean platform to present them on. Now I have not written many posts on here but I have viewed a fair amount and developed a well-rounded opinion of WordPress.

When it comes to things I enjoy about WordPress as a CMS, the list is short but meaningful. I am a fan of systems that integrate, so being able to create a post and then share the link to my Twitter account does two things: saves me time, and expands my reach. I really enjoy the mobile application, it is clean to look at and really intuitive making for a pleasant user experience. The site itself is simple which is great for me as I do not like when websites are too busy. It allows me to find what I’m looking for with few distractions. My only qualm with WordPress comes when I first started using the system and getting acclimated. I did not find the system easy to begin using and a lot of the settings were a tad cumbersome. As I’ve become more comfortable with the site and it has received updates, I still find myself learning new features and falling back into the difficult to use mindset.

Overall, I do enjoy WordPress and see it as a great CMS for those starting out. As far as scaling it for businesses, small start-ups could benefit from its generally simple nature, but for larger corporations, they may need something a bit more advncaed and interactive.

Communications Potluck

It is hard to believe that this first semester is coming to a close. It was only July when we began this journey through digital communications and here we are ten weeks later completing the course. This post is not intended to discuss new topics but more of a reflection of where we’ve come from and where communications may lead us.

As students’ pursuing graduate degrees, we all possessed varying experiences and backgrounds. This made for a dynamic group of individuals with a diverse wealth of knowledge. This course reminded me of the importance of interpersonal relationships in that a large majority of learning took place just through our interactions in the live sessions. The sessions, though structured, were allowed to develop in a manner that was so organic it can best be described as an open forum. Our different personalities were allowed to shine through and really set the tone for the course moving forward. As communications students and professionals, being able to openly discuss various topics really made the experience more personal. Like any other course, we had an objective, but Dr. Strahler really wanted us to drive the course with our discussions. This allowed us to not only draw on our different experiences, but to really learn about one another and really steer the class towards the destination we as students wanted.

As the course came to a close, we began to dive into our individual interests, tracks and reasons for enrolling in the program. This was an interesting time because we got really see our individual passions for Public Relations, Advertising or Journalism. It also allowed us to reflect on our interactions and really envision each other in those fields based on how we interacted in class. Looking to the future, I know that enrolling at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse was a great strategic decision in my career development. I see the passion the instructors and my colleagues have for knowledge and innovation and it drives me to further understand and study digital communications as it pertains to my goals. By the end of this program I am not expecting to understand all aspects of digital media or be a social media guru; I simply want to take an idea that is complex and disseminate it so that it can be understood and enjoyed by the masses.

Age of the Smartphone

As long as events are occurring, society will always want to know what is going on in their world. Providing social circles and communities with newsworthy information drives journalism. In today’s world, we’ve become more concerned with when and how we receive this information as opposed to what it is we’re receiving.

As technology develops, we’ve become accustomed to the idea of immediate satisfaction and gratification. We’ve become enamored with not only capturing every moment, but sharing everything as well. The notion of citizen journalism has really transformed as social media has developed. Anyone can now document anything, publish and have an immediate impact on their local community. In the past, different steps had to be taken in order to document, edit and publish content. Today, I can take my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to a concert, take pictures and video, edit them from my perspective and have it published within minutes.

The above scenario has done two things to journalism, made it a discipline amateurs can easily practice and brought journalism professionals under much scrutiny. The reach social media has makes it hard for traditional gatekeepers to regulate what is made public. One thing we’ve repeated in this course is that we are no longer just consumers of digital media, but we are also the providers and consequently the gatekeepers as well. The scrutiny that journalism has come under as a result of citizen journalism has hindered the progress professionals have made to establish and maintain a certain level of credibility. It is easy to post content as an individual when you feel the only consequence is negative commentary, but professionals do not have the same freedoms.

It is our responsibility as both creators and consumers of digital media to practice some social responsibility. Being the first to report an event doesn’t make you the most accurate. As an individual who wants to venture into the space of public relations, I know mobile technology will be at the forefront for the majority of my career. In order to make sure that career is successful, I will have to make the decision between fifteen minutes of fame or twenty years of reliability.

More Data Than We Can Handle?

This week we discussed the idea of big data and how it is impacted the we access information and how that has looked through recent history. With all the information that is available, data mining has become more important than ever when it comes to sifting through the countless amounts of information. Industries that require access to large quantities of information are often looking for ways to contain and easily access all of this data.

Let’s look at what big data really is; the word big is two-fold in that it refers to both the quantity and quality of the information in question. The frame of reference for what is big has also changed throughout the electronic and digital ages. Using smartphones as the method of access to the data, a few years ago although phones could access the internet their internal storage was very small. As technology has developed, the internet has not gotten smaller but the capacity our phones have for storing and sorting through data has grown in an attempt to accommodate the wealth of data.

If we look closer at an industry like banking we can really start to understand what big data is and how it has really shaped how we interact with the world. When it comes to managing our money, this process use to be manual, time-consuming and more often than not an inconvenience. You had to make sure you were in a location your bank supported, you had to have account numbers written down, balancing books was done by hand. Now take these processes and multiply them by everyone with an account and that was what made working in a bank such a chore. As technology developed these made handling all of this information easier for both the banks and the patrons and with the development of smartphone applications, put control directly at the fingertips of the member.

As we move forward and the world grows, what will data management look like in the future? The amount of information out there is not going to shrink so methods of categorizing and accessing it will have to match the capacity. This goes back to the question of can we keep up with technology? I believe the question shouldn’t be can we keep up as much as can me manage technology as it develops.

Unplugged

In a world largely governed by digital media consumption, we’ve become slaves to the speed at which we can both obtain and divulge information. It is important to note that digital media has made our world of seven billion seem so much smaller. We found that on average we each spent over five hours checking digital technology daily. Is that a sign of our current culture or something greater? Our cohort dove into the trench created by the digital divide and discovered we all had similar thoughts on the matter.

Accessibility and education are two of the driving facts widening the digital divide. Accessibility encompasses many facets: economics, available technology and societal barriers to name a few. Affordability, technology and cultural differences have a direct correlation on ‘where’, ‘who’ and ‘how’ the world communicates today. As a cohort we are really starting to understand the importance communication plays in our daily lives. The digital divide also plays a role in the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of communication as well. This transitions us to the education side of the divide. There is huge disparity among generations and their reasons for using digital media. More often than not, whether or not we use digital media is dependent upon who we are. Fear of change, sense of privacy or being simply uninformed can all affect one’s feelings towards digital technology.

Our cohort pushes one another every week through various means to understand communication today and how it will look in the future. The divide will continue to grow, but it is imperative that we continue to build bridges that allow us unite digital immigrants with digital natives. As we press on towards the future it is important to think about why you choose to be connected. Does remaining logged in to the digital network allow you to feel a sense of control? Or is it time for you to unplug and reassess why you stay connected?

How Do You Connect

This week, the Communications@Syracuse July 2015 Cohort discussed ways in which we connect with one another, i.e. social media. As a member of the Millennials, I consider myself fairly adept at the various platforms out there. What I did not realize was how social media has grown and changed our global community into one that now fits onto a HD screen.

Social media has applications across so many platforms, from shopping to entertainment and education to interpersonal. It has changed not only how and why we communicate but is having an impact on the when as well. The current state of technology allows consumers to fulfill the need for immediate response from suppliers, coworkers, entertainers and acquaintances. Gone are the days of waiting for information to be disseminated by conventional means, we now “Google it,” “Shazam it,” or “Facebook it,” to get information when we want it.

The uses for social media are plentiful, think of how many hobbies or people you’ve met just from creating an online profile. With each new digital footprint you make, you are instantaneously connected to others with similar interests on a global scale. For me, that is the most impressive part of applications like Snapchat, Foursquare and Yelp. Applications like these allow me to get immersed into local events, nearby attractions and world-wide celebrations all from a mobile device.

As our society develops, we need to begin thinking about how we will remain connected in the future. What do we need in order to fulfill our growing need for connectivity? Will lose all forms of interpersonal relationships or will we finally slow down, look up from our screens and say, “hello,” to the person next to us?

The Digital Footprint

As week two comes to a close and week three begins I am starting to realize just how far we’ve come as a society. The success we’ve had at taking our world and shrinking it down to a hand-held device is a testament to that fact.

This week examined what the internet is and how we utilize it. Using personal experience rather than a technical definition we were able to generate many ideas of what the internet is. To some it is a means of communication, business, education or entertainment. The consensus was that it is a resource which connects consumers and suppliers in a way never though possible.  The manner in which you use the internet defines it for you and dictates what kind of footprint you leave behind.

The digital footprint I’m leaving behind will definitely be based in the social media realm, though the applications I use have changed over the years. Each application or website you use can be viewed as a virtual shoe and your length of usage over time creates your trail of footprints. It is important to know that we all benefit from digital communication. It allows people to work remotely, learn from great distances, shop at faraway establishments and even reunite with loved ones.

Think back to when you first utilized digital communication, was it a pager, cell phone, email or fax? All of these have blazed the trail for the way we communicate today. As long as the internet allows me to explore different methods of communication I plan to try on many virtual shoes and leave behind a valuable trail of digital footprints.

Faster than the speed of Communications

This summer, I have the privilege of participating in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University’s first online M.S. in Communications program. Our first live-session met on July 21st and it was like no other course I’ve taken before. Coincidentally, this Introduction to Digital Communications course had us discussing digital convergence. I find it fitting that our program allows for face-to-face interaction, a strong learning management system and combines social media for a world-class experience.

I have taken online courses in the past, but what I’ve experienced in just one meeting has changed my opinion of online for the better. Face-to-face interaction allows me and my thirteen colleagues to experience online education in an entirely knew way. We spoke of the concept of digital convergence while actively participating in the concept itself. If you were to combine Skype, Facebook and in-class lectures you would get the 2u experience! That is what digital and media convergence is all about, taking information we use to consume individual and combining into one medium. My biggest annoyance with conventional courses was that I was not able to apply many concepts to my daily life, but with this platform not only am I applying the concepts to my daily routine but also experiencing every week in class.

When I made the decision to pursue a Master’s degree, I knew the direction I wanted to go; communications is so prominent in our everyday lives and has connected the world in unforeseen ways. I did not however, know which institution I wanted displayed on my degree. Following a few months of research I decided not only was online the way to go, but I wanted Syracuse University. Fast-forward from April to now and I am one class deep into the program and looking forward to the future.

A New Beginning

 

Every college graduate has dreams of graduating and landing that career-starting opportunity. What some graduates and especially college seniors are unaware of is that job searching is a full-time job. My job search began while interning with the Dalton Agency. While there I was exposed to a sector of the communications field that though interesting wasn’t an area that I wanted to pursue a career in. Months went by and it seemed I would never find a job that would fit my desires. I wanted to be involved in communications, interacting with people, creating plans and informing people about whatever organization I am with has to offer.

 

 

Fast-forward to January and I am a month out of school and unemployed, the scariest feeling I’ve ever had. Then on a Monday, a day which many view as the worst day of the week, I received a phone call from PLS Logistics Services expressing interest in hiring me. I was invited to participate in a phone interview Wednesday which led to a face-to-face on Thursday. After meeting with the hiring personnel for the company I knew I found an opportunity that would allow me to do something I enjoy and give me the opportunity to grow with a developing company. That same afternoon I was contacted by the company and officially offered the position of Talent Acquisition Specialist for PLS Logistics Services.

 

 

The opportunity to be a member of the Human Resources Department for a developing company and help them grow is a privilege. My advice from this experience to all job hunters is to persevere, be diligent and remain positive. Though my college days have come to an end but 2013 truly has proven to be a new beginning.

 

Until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thousand Words…

Readers,

Let me first say I write to you now as a graduate of the University of North Florida.

Now onto more important things I just watched “A Thousand Words”, starring Eddie Murphy and let me tell you silence truly is powerful. If you were given a tree that lost a leaf for every word you said and when the last tree fell and the tree died you died with it, what would you say? Would you give the answer to the question a teacher asked? Tell a long-time friend “Happy Birthday,”? Or tell someone how much you love them? What it really comes down to is understanding the importance of not just who we speak to, but what it is we say. It’s a common misconception that you have to say a lot to get your point across. There’s a reason I used the word “misconception” because you don’t need to say a lot to convey a message. The best messages are conveyed simply and concisely. The ability to give information to others without being too wordy is an art that has become lost with the times. Nowadays people only want to hear themselves talk and often don’t get to hear what others have to say. Meaningful conversation has been placed on the back-burner and replaced with short-handed text messages. Society has truly become a place where we either say too much or no one speaks to anyone at all. Well readers, here’s my challenge to you: take a week, a day or even a few hours and truly think about what you’re saying to people. Be critical in your word choice and only say what needs to be said. More importantly listen to those around you, the responses you hear will let you know if your messages was delivered. 

So the next time you speak to a friend, loved one or significant other, pretend what you say may be the last time you get speak to them. That doesn’t mean say everything under the sun rather say what truly matters and what you want them to hear. 

Until next time…