Social Media Networking

One of the things I tell students to do like Chicagoans vote — early and often — is to Google themselves. You need to know what’s out there about you so you can control the public presentation of yourself when it’s time to look for a job. I demand students clean up their online acts well before potential employers may be lurking around as faux Facebook friends looking for reasons to dump half the stack of resumes they’ve got. I Googled myself and found this YouTube clip. It’s raw footage from an interview I did with some of my Oregon State University students on the impact of new media on the election of President Obama:


What Kind of Tech User Are You?
The Pew Internet & American Life Project asks this in a quiz you can take to get a sense of where you fit in the tech spectrum.
Here are my results:

You are an Digital Collaborator
If you are a Digital Collaborator, you use information technology to work with and share your creations with others. You are enthusiastic about how ICTs help you connect with others and confident in your ability to manage digital devices and information. For you, the digital commons can be a camp, a lab, or a theater group – places to gather with others to develop something new.”

To all of my students: What are you?

 There is a lot of discussion about the impact of social media on journalism and what role it could/should play in ‘real’ journalism. Those of us who are teaching media in the midst of this revolution are thinking and talking a lot about how and what to teach while riding this often precarious wave. TED Talks, one of the best resources for exploring all kinds of important, timely topics, offers a wide range of thoughtful lectures examining all sides of social media in their series “Media with Meaning.” In his talk, ‘How Social Media Can Make History,” Clay Shirky argues:  

“While news from Iran streams to the world, Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors (however briefly). The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.”

Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History

In his talk, “When Social Media Became News,” James Surowiecki argues the 2005 tsunami transformed social media forever. Check it out:

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This is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Facebook. Seriously. It makes me cry all the time.

I was searching for people from my high school and the name of this guy popped up. He was a great person, very friendly and decent and fun to be around. So I Friended him. I didn’t even know if he would remember me!! But I loved high school and he had a warm smile and I remember him so well that I gave it a shot.

Below is the note I got back. I mean, I know Facebook serves lots of daily, mundane, plan-making, time-wasting, insipid purposes for those 20 and under. But for those of us in our 40s, at least for THIS old broad in her 40s, Facebook is like a human time capsule reconnecting me with my favorite parts of my life and the wonderful people from those times.

I just got Friended by a girl who was my bestest friend when I was in 2nd grade. My daughter can’t believe I was ever her actual age AND that I had friends! Old neighbors, colleagues; these are not mere social networky associations. Many of these peoples’ faces and names alone make me burst into tears.

I am so moved and happy to reconnect with them and our connection — new media freaky-deaky as it is — is genuine and important. Why wouldn’t I have called them or searched for them? That’s another post. But for now, read the note below from my Facebook wall, and know that I’m still crying about the sweetness of an old friend from high school teaching his daughter life’s big lessons.

My wife and I were sitting at dinner when my Blackberry went off with the notification from Facebook with your friend request. When I told my wife you had sent me a friend request, she said, “How do I know that name?” And I reminded her of how I told my daughter (and her) about you when she was in first grade, about 10 years ago or so.

As she started school we were telling her to be nice and kind to people and I used you as an example of one of the nicest, kindest, smartest and prettiest girls in high school and I hoped she grew up to be just like you. And she has. The funny thing is that she also is considering journalism!

I see you are in Oregon…were you with the Tribune at some point? I think I remember seeing your byline sometime when we were in Chicago.

Your daughter is adorable. Hope you are well.


The striking staffers of the Oregon Daily Emerald talked with UO J-School Dean Tim Gleason today. I’m anxious to read how that went. I worked for Dean Gleason at the J-School for several years and I know him to be a real advocate for student journalism. I remain hopeful that their conversations will be fruitful, all sides will be heard, and a fair resolution can be achieved. Everybody involved wants the Emerald  — and its staff — to thrive. This much I know.

Update from the ODE student blog:

Talks with Journalism school dean

March 5, 2009 by independentjournalist

Currently, six members of the Emerald’s staff are in a conference with the dean of the University’s School of Journalism and Communication about the strike.

They are Editor-in-Chief Ashley Chase, Managing Editor Allie Grasgreen, News Editors Robert D’Andrea and Rebecca Woolington, Photo Editor Dave Martinez and News Reporter Emily E. Smith. We’ll give you more information on how that turns out the second we get it.

Here’s an excellent exploration — written for us regular folk — of this whole new idea (new to me) of SEO, search engine optimization.

Simon Skinner, of my new BFF blog, NicheUltra Dot Com

“SEO, or search engine optimization

is something which a lot of people find intimidating ? after all, the study sounds like something which isn’t going to be a whole lot of fun. However, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal; once you learn a bit about SEO, you might find that SEO can be a lot of fun. Search engine optimization is essentially the practice of using keywords (the words people type into Google or other search engines) in the text of your website, articles and other material online. Let’s place it this way ? say that you have a website which sells camping tents. If you want people to be healthy to find your site easily by using search engines, you’ll want to optimize your website for the words and phrases which people use when searching the web for camping tents.”

So I think I was the “featured blog” on WordPress (see below)…which coincided with my class and I learning my new BFF new media concept:  SEO. Search Engine Optimization.

We had this most excellent speaker, blogger-guy extraordinaire, Eric Eldon, who actually makes a living as a blogger.

Eric shared with my New Media Communications Intro class his career path, new media innovations and strategies for success. Get aggregated. Write all the time. Remember to eat. Get it right or people won’t read you or cite you.

He works 80 hours a week, writes 3-5 stories a day for his blog and is constantly juggling ideas, contacts, new ventures and networks. He keeps up on all the news in his industry, reads voraciously and knows what is competition is writing within seconds of publication. What struck me was how much it  sounded like the life of an old AP correspondent, updating constantly, racing from story to story, relentlessly chasing. Everything old is new media again.

Meanwhile, here’s my aggregated self:

Here’s what I think is my debut as WordPress featured blog:

Blogs about: Barney Gimbel

Featured Blog

Another one bites the dust…Repeat after me: Don’t Steal Copy Don’t Steal Copy Don’t Steal Copy

oldschoolnewmedia wrote 1 day ago: I don’t get this. Cool job. Apparent brain. Head attached. What could possibly compel somebody … more →

Tags: Industry News, New Media Training, Blogging ethics, Fortune, Jayson Blair, Journalism ethics, plagiarism, quotation marks

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