Opinion Blog: omg, txt shrth& n dxNre

April 13, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Posted By Natalie Posgate
nposgate@smu.edu

Last month, the words “OMG” and “LOL” were added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Who knew that certain shorthand words associated with text messaging would officially become a part of the English language.

Also included in last month’s word induction was the heart symbol (?). It is the first symbol to “ever grace the volume.”

While these new words reflect the age we live in, they foster a sense of informality in our language that was not there 10 years ago. Since the Oxford English Dictionary considers these words legitimate, is it now acceptable for reporters and other professional writers to use these words in their work?

I think not.

I remember when the written word was considered something sacred. If somebody used a questionable word, the response would always be, ‘Well is it in the dictionary?’

Now that words such as “chillax,” “bromance” and “chill pill” are included in this dictionary, I can’t take this “word bible” seriously.

Part of the issue derives from the strong effect social media has on the way people interact with one other.

Adding somebody as a friend on Facebook is now such a well-known concept that people have automatically dubbed the act as “friending” someone, along with “defriending” someone if they remove them as a friend. Though I think it is acceptable to use these words in casual conversation, I would be horrified if I ever saw words like these in a news story.

If words like these become such a significant part of people’s verbal vocabulary, will they slip into people’s writing?

Because of the way today’s society delivers and receives news, I can understand why words like “bloggable” were added to the dictionary. In some instances blogs have been the first outlets to deliver breaking news, they have proven their importance and deserve to be incorporated into our terminology.

But are words like “sexting” really going to enrich the English language? I’m pretty sure none of my future editors will take me seriously if I try use “sexting” in my work.

It’s ironic that “Web 2.0” became the one millionth word in the English language; the “Web 2.0” is the reason such ludicrous words even exist.

Acclaimed Author of ‘Julie and Julia’ Talks About How Blogging Changed Her Life

March 3, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Andy Garcia
atgarcia@smu.edu

ulie Powell, author of "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously," shares her secret to happiness at the 46th Annual Women's Symposium at SMU on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. (PHOTO BY SYDNEY GIESEY/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG))

Julie Powell, commended author of Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes and 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, knows the power of blogs and their role in society. Her book was adapted into an award-winning film, featuring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Powell.

Powell started her blog, The Julie/Julia Project, while working in various temporary jobs in New York City. She did not anticipate that her account of cooking Julia Child’s recipes would launch a career.

Describing herself as a “project girl” Powell believed the blog would provide focus to her life. Only after the project was underway did she realize the potential of blogging.

When Powell saw people were interested in her work she was hit with a flurry of emotion.

“I was a little terrified but it was also exciting,” Powell said. “It felt like I was walking this tight rope and everyone was watching.”

Once readers started commenting on her work, Powell claims her blog became a chat room for open conversation. Recognizing the value of expression, Powell said she allowed her blog to develop on its own.

“The blog really was a community, there was a sense of responsibility among the community,” Powell said. “If you ever wanted to comment again you had show some kind of respect, so it was kind of self regulating that way.”

Seven years after the completion of The Julie/Julia Project, a successful novel based on the blog and other works, Powell still thinks blogs provide an excellent medium for communication. However, Powell warns blogging can lead to problems in society.

“I just feel it leads to a certain lack of discipline in the way we talk to each other,” said Powell. “We are too busy telegraphing every thought we have, to consider what those thoughts mean.”

Powell suggests people interested in blogging find something they are passionate about and dedicate themselves to staying with it. Whether it is politics, sports or even cooking, she says there is an opportunity to be a part of the growing online discussion.

For more pictures of the Women’s Symposium click here!

For a recap of Julie Powell at the Women’s Symposium check out this video:

Video and editing by Fernando Valdes
jvaldes@smu.edu

Julie Powell Lecture from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Global News Blog: Spicing Up Your Blog Is a Click Away

April 20, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Cynthia Kinard

Ljubljana, Slovenia is receiving a blog face-lift with the help of Zemanta. “Zemanta, Ltd. provides online content creation and discovery tools for bloggers. It offers tools that enable users to discover and find content on the Internet, as well as bring photos, links, tags, reblogs, and documents to their blogs. The company was incorporated in 2007 and is based in London.”

Zemanta has created a “one-stop shop” for bloggers. Once they post their blog the software scans their content using search technology. Then it recommends free and public-domain objects that bloggers can add. They have the choice to add images, audio, and video ranging from YouTube, Amazon, and Wikipedia.

Another interesting feature of the software is that it analyzes the actual meanings of the words. For example, “When Zemanta scans a blog entry, it can tell the difference between Apple the company and apple the fruit when it suggests links and content to be added to the posting.”

The best news about Zemanta is it’s free. As of February 2009, 27,000 bloggers spiced up their blogs by adding the “Zemify” tool and three months later the numbers have almost doubled. So, how is Zemanta going to make any profit if it’s free? They are aiming to use sponsored links and associate referrals to help produce revenue.

One problem Zemanta might face is competting with search engines like Google and Yahoo. “Nick Thomas, a London analyst at Forrester Research (FORR), says the link suggestions also have to be extremely accurate, or bloggers may look elsewhere for multimedia content. Semantics is the next step of the Web, but you don’t want to directly compete with Google.”

Alex Spetic, Zemanta’s chief executive has high hopes for Zemanta to make money from the blogosphere because after all he’s in it for the money.

How important is spicing up your blog? Are companies going to use this tool? It’s a great theory—a one-stop shop for all the bloggers needs. It could save time and money, but will Zemanta actually profit from the public that use the software? Obviously, technology is advancing along with blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and other social networks. Could Zemanta be the next big thing—a face-lift to your blog?

Hilltop Gets Dose of ‘Style’ With New Blog

April 8, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

From staff reports

Journalism students Christina Geyer and Sarah Bray recently created the new lifestyle blog SMU Style as the Hilltop’s “online style source for everything fashion, art, dining and entertainment.”

The creators said the site has been modeled after other blogs likes of Fashionista and DailyCandy.

The site iS currently looking for contributing writers to post blogs at least two times a week. For more information email smustyle@gmail.com.

Global News Blog: Phelps Asks for Forgiveness in China

February 17, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Ashlee Rivalto

Michael Phelps has recently appeared in a video addressed to his “Chinese Friends”, seeking forgiveness for the recently published photos of him using a marihuana pipe. During the 52 second video Phelps speaks particularly to the Chinese youth, thanking them for the support they have shown him throughout the past week and asking them to, “…please learn from this lesson, be positive in life, and do the right thing.”

Why is Phelps only apologizing to the Chinese? There are some different theories to this question. James Reynolds, the BBC Beijing correspondent, seems to think apologies matter more to Chinese people. In his article he sites a few other apologies made to the Chinese in recent history saying that it is in the Chinese culture to value apologies. But don’t we all?

There have been many responses to Reynolds’ article, many agreeing with him stating that the Chinese culture does value repentance more than other cultures. One commenter writes that the maintenance of “face” or “character, reputation, position and authority” is a major part of social relationships in China. “Phelps lost face with his actions. It was more important for him to show repentance and try to regain Face with the Chinese than with an American or British audience.”

Or was it more important to show repentance to his Chinese fans because his new friends at Mazda were requiring him to do so? This is the theory stated in a blog post on New York Times’ “The LEDE” published last Friday. The blog states that Mazda required Phelps to apologize, after signing him as a sponsor last month in a deal that is said to be worth a million dollars—the largest sponsorship held by a foreign celebrity in China to date.

Kellogg’s however, has already dropped Phelps stating the athlete’s behavior is “not consistent with the image of Kellogg.” Apologies or no apologies Kellogg’s will not forgive Phelps for his actions. But Speedo, Visa, and watchmaker Omega have stayed on with Phelps—no video apologies needed.

So is this showing Americans do not value apologies and forgiveness like the Chinese? Do Americans not care about people’s character, reputation, position and authority like? Phelps, are we not your “American friends”—where is our video? Maybe in the coming weeks Phelps’ remaining American endorsement deals will require him to apologize to his American Friends—just another attempt to keep up with the Chinese.

Is It Just Bad Luck?

October 19, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Casey Gibeaut

I don’t get it. Why is it that SMU football can’t close a game? In the four years as a student here at SMU, I have seen one impressive victory, that being SMU beating TCU in my freshman year. Ever since SMU has been incapable of closing a game. Take a look at the season record. With the exception of the three blow outs earlier this year handed to them by Rice, TCU and Texas Tech and a fourteen point victory by The University of Central Florida, no other game has been unreachable. So what is the problem?

Is it lack of luck or fate? What is it that makes SMU do this week after week after week? How many more games are they going to lose by one touchdown? How many more games can they lose in Overtime? How can a defense do this every week? Where is the stamina?