Opinion Blog: Balancing Life and Facebook

April 27, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Erica Penunuri
epenunuri@smu.edu

We can start out on a friend’s page on Facebook and thirty clicks or so later we are creeping on someone who we have no connection with.

Wow, has this world shrunk.

Well, I suppose they were a friend-of a friend-of a friend, which is how you got there in the first place – BUT that is beside the point. You don’t actually know the individual, but here you are creeping on their profile pics, judging their poses, and invading on their “wall to wall” conversations. You have practically just met a complete stranger.

Excuse the pun, but this is taking “judging a book by its cover” to an entirely new level and is something we need to be aware of.

I shamefully admit, while I have my fair share of silly, dorky pictures, my Facebook page is mainly decorated with me at my best (and when I say best I mean,”glammed-up-ready-for-a-night-out-on-the-town”, best). This is the standard for most…well that or I am just an extremely self-absorbed person (which is also quite possible).

My point being is; how far does Facebook lead us from the real person?

LETS REMEMBER: These are pictures carefully chosen to represent an individual, followed by conversations or “wall to wall” posts carefully thought out with a motive, completely aware that there’s an audience at hand.

People want to sound witty, funny, unique, loud, and bottom line, “cool” – whatever lies in that definition for you.

Has this altered the way we communicate with others; in the sense we are losing tangible contact with people?

This concern don’t apply for merely facebook but the entire tech-world:

Don’t wanna meet face-to-face? Text.

Too afraid to inform your boss your going to be late? E-mail.

Forgot to send a birthday card to someone? Write on their wall.

Although these rapid methods are lifesavers at certain points in time, the more we rely on the “send” button, the more we can rely on an “end” to character, personality, and other things that are only attainable by the human touch.

The key is balance. Don’t feel like spending 5 minutes on the phone just to figure out where you want to meet? Text. Called someone and they didn’t pick up? By all means, text. Please don’t leave a voicemail saying, “Hey, call me back when you get this, bye,” (Really?)

However, when it comes to important events, like birthdays, there is much more value in an actual birthday card, rather than making yourself the-1-out-of-50-friends who post on your good friend’s wall.

Simple interaction with people is healthy and rewarding. Texting does not capture facial expressions, and e-mails do not send hand shakes.

So remember: In this fast paced society where everything can be done at a touch of a button, lets slow it down a bit to appreciate the simple touch of a person.

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.

Opinion Blog: Is Obama losing steam?

April 6, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Samantha Verrill
sverrill@smu.edu

Was President Obama too informal about his formal statement to run for the presidency on Monday?

Though this was a formal announcement, it came in a very casual manner. Obama sent an e-mail and video. There was no speech at all.

With all of the glitz and glam of the last election, I expected fireworks. For a President whose approval rating has been in decline, he might serve his interests better by directly addressing all of his constituents. The e-mail was only sent to those who are signed up to receive messages from him.

The e-mail was a grassroots oriented plan that stated the importance of one-on-one conversations verses “expensive TV ads or extravaganzas.” Obama said he wanted to start campaigning on a more individual and personal level. Here is some news Obama, YouTube videos and e-mail blasts are about as impersonal as you can get.

The daring to be different could put a huge damper on his campaign. His newness is wearing off and he needs to have some substance behind him or his whole campaign will fail.

Obama is using social media for this election, just like he did last time. He is even holding a facebook town hall. He says he wants to be more hands on with his constituents but his actions show something completely different, the road to November 2012 should be an interesting one.

Though many were caught up in the change Obama spoke of last election it may take more than a two-minute video to get everyone re-interested.

In 2008 many candidates chose to forego the traditional speech. Obama could have made a better effort with one of the best political teams in the country and all of the advantages of being an incumbent. For a guy who was dubbed an innovator in the last election, there was nothing innovative about this low-key venture.

Is it laziness or the intense pressure of being in office that lead Obama to announce intentions for seeking re-election in this manner? Whatever it is, he may want to kick it in to high gear and at least pretend he cares before other candidates start announcing their intentions to run.

Facebook Facts: How Social Networking is Taking Over

February 27, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Logan May
ljmay@smu.edu

As college students sit in class, most of them can be seen checking their friends’ statuses, looking at new pictures from the weekend, or responding to an event invitation.

Facebook is everywhere – on laptops, cell phones, and it even made its premier as a feature film movie in The Social Network. As the social networking site becomes more popular, people everywhere are quickly making it their homepage and go-to site for information.

“Sometimes I get on Facebook and two hours later I forgot what I logged on for,” SMU graduate student Neely Stoller says.

Facebook currently has over 500 million active users who spend a total of 700 billion minutes per month on the networking site. America currently leads the number of users list with almost 150 million users, followed by Indonesia with roughly 35 million users.

The average Facebook user may spend more time on the networking site than they think. On average, users spend more than 55 minutes a day browsing the site. Some more Facebook averages: 130 friends per user, 8 friend requests per month, and 25 comments on Facebook content each month.

Although Facebook was initially intended to target college students, more than 1.5 million local businesses have active pages. Summer Burke, Web Presence Professional, uses Facebook on behalf of businesses to promote fan interaction within companies. At the end of 2010, Google changed the way they rank pages on their results page. Instead of just looking at keywords, they are looking at social interaction and business’ reputations.

“Facebook is a great place to publicize upcoming events and to let fans get a more personal look inside a business,” Burke says.

Barbara Morganfield, SMU Education Senior Lecturer, has developed a Facebook group for her students to use throughout the semester.

“I wanted students to have a way to go beyond what was assigned in class and begin to look for issues that were of interest to them and to have a place to share that information,” Morganfield says.

Facebook provides students the opportunity to put down the pencil and paper and interact with their peers. Morganfield adds that the site allows quick feedback on homework, discussions, and lectures.

Within the last year, Facebook has rapidly expanded. Between 2010 and 2011, total users has jumped 42.4 percent from 103 million to 146 million. Female users make up 55 percent of the site, with males trailing at 43.4 percent.

The 18 to 24-year-old demographic has made a huge jump in active users since 2010 with a 74.1 percent increase. So why is the site expanding at such a rapid rate? The desire to keep in touch is what attracts people, along with the “need to connect and socialize,” says Morganfield. Even the 55 and older demographic have increased by almost 59 percent from 2010. Grandparents are now joining the site to see pictures of their grandchildren who may live in a different state. What used to take days to send, now takes a click of the mouse.

“Now, with a lot of my friends getting married, it’s really easy to create groups to exchange addresses and make event invitations really quickly, and for free,” Burke says.

Facebook is everywhere; and with smart phones, Facebook mobile users are twice as active as non-mobile users. There are over 200 mobile operators in 60 countries promoting the use of Facebook. With numbers like that, it is no wonder people are constantly using their phones.

While there are many benefits to using Facebook, such as networking, sharing ideas, and staying connected, there are some downfalls to the site. If more and more college students are using the site, that could mean less time spent on academics. People may be checking Facebook on their phones while driving and could cause an accident. Children could be playing outside with their friends, but instead they are sitting at the computer for hours at a time.

A Facebook fact that many parents may fear: Drugs are the highest rated public interest on the site. In 2010, a mere 28,000 users exchanged drug- related posts. Now, over 355,000 users are talking drugs. Sex and Rock and Roll trail drugs for the next top interests.

Technology is a powerful tool that is a huge part of day-to-day life. Facebook continues to expand every day with more and more online opportunities for its users. It is no wonder millions of Americans are addicted to the social networking site.

Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 4

November 4, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 4 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

On today’s Daily Update you’ll find out why Rangers fans still have a reason to celebrate and the direction that political campaigns are moving. Also, Kellius Cunningham will gives a preview of what this week’s football game against UTEP is going to look like and how SMU’s athletic policy is changing. All this and more on your Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Nov. 3

November 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Nov. 3 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Join us for details about Republicans taking back to U.S. House, the two SMU students’ names in the car accident names have been released, and we’ll tell you how long will the cold rainy weather be around in Dallas.

Global News Blog: In the Land of Facebook

October 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Taylor Reed

In the United States, Facebook is a national phenomenon. There’s a movie about its creation, the guy who invented it is richer than anyone can imagine and if I’m not mistaken I’m going to guess you reading this blog yourself have a Facebook account.

In social society dictated by Facebook, it’s amazing that this social necessity is used barely in other nations. If you went to Austria and asked any one if they had a Facebook you may get a yes or a questionable look. For Austria the Facebook fad never really caught on, the real “social network” is studivz.net.

I created my own studivz page and after a little creeping I found that it is much like the Facebook you and I know but with a much simpler format. After further exploration I found that though it was a different site and had a different network of people, it had the same underlying themes of what we as US students find on Facebook. So if traveling to Austria is out of mind, take a second and open up a studivz account so you can keep in touch with your new friends!!

Dallas Journalists Come to SMU to Give the Lowdown on What’s Happening to Journalism and The Media

October 26, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kalyn Harper
KHarper@smu.edu

Distinguished Dallas journalists discussed the growth of social media and strategies for students to enter into a professional career in journalism at SMU’s Meadows Symposium 2010: The Art of Entrepreneurship Friday.

The panel discussion, “From Citizen Journalist to Professional,” was held by Matthew Haag, writer and blogger for the Dallas Morning News, Linda Leavell, editor for DallasNews.com, and Callie Wall, KETK-TV anchor were invited to discuss the growing world of social media.

Linda Leavell is managing editor of The Dallas Morning News website, where she has worked since January 2003. MU graduate Matthew Haag, who interned under Leavell, covers Plano and Plano ISD for The Dallas Morning News. SMU graduate and journalism major Callie Wall was hired by KETK, an NBC affiliate in Tyler, where she co-anchors a 2-hour morning show, KETK Today, and a one-hour midday show, East Texas Live.

Each journalist on the panel were invited to discuss where journalism is going, how it’s changing and what people can expect. Students were encouraged to ask any and all questions about what their careers and perspectives on the future of the media.

The underlying question of the day: What do we, as journalists and future members of the media, need to know to make it?

“Journalism has always been about being first and being the most current,” Wall said.
“This industry is moving so much faster than it ever has and social networking, amongst other things, is repelling it forward.”

The future of journalism is changing because of the incorporation of multimedia, and flexibility is the key to success in the business.

“Flexibility is huge and your willingness to experiment—maybe Skype live to do an interview—you have to be willing to be on the cutting edge to see what works and what doesn’t work to better reach your audience,” Haag, who co-writes a beat blog about Plano on DallasNews.com, said.

Journalism students are learning the implications of live blogging—an experience that many older reporters aren’t comfortable with. CoveritLive and other mobile sites are becoming more important because people want to get their news on the go.
Haag uses Twitter and Facebook for reporting, which “adds more social responsibility” to what he does. People expect news from a number of platforms: newspapers, websites, mobiles, iPhone apps, and iPADs.

Now, reporters must know how to distribute news that is valuable in various forms of media because the receipt of information is different. “The immediacy of it all is indicative of how fast things are changing,” Wall said.

After the panel discussion, SMU sophomore and journalism major Erica Penunuri asked Wall, “What makes you happy about choosing this career?”
“Feeling like I’m bringing information to people is a pretty powerful thing, I never go day to day with the same thing going on because news is always changing,” Wall responded.
“It’s not an easy industry to be in, but if you thrive on a changing environment, it’s a fun a one to be in.”

Meadows Symposium Offers Tips for Landing that First Job

October 23, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aileen Garcia
aileeng@smu.edu

Four SMU graduates shared tips Friday on what they look for in a new employee, sharing insight on what they expect from candidates and how the smallest mistake can send your resume to the trash bin.

The alumni panel was part of a day-long Meadows Symposium event focusing on the art of entrepreneurship. Journalists, actors and communications professionals spoke in classes and networked with students in the Owen Arts Center and Umphrey Lee Center.

Jack Gallivan, director of operations at RJW, said one of the most important things students need to land a job is a legible resume that describes what you did, when and where.

Employers are bombarded with hundreds of resumes for a job position, so even a small mistake can cost you an interview.

“If I see any misspellings I’m just not interested,” said Valerie Tabor, co-founder of Contemporary Ballet Dallas.

Networking also is a key factor that helps young graduates connect to people that could help open doors.

“At the end of the day it is all about relationships,” said Royce Wilson of Cox Media.

Ed Wilson, former president of Tribune Broadcasting, said Googling a person and finding a common interest that they like can help make conversation and get one’s foot in the door.

Students seeking jobs must note that every little detail counts, panelists said.

Research the company and know who works there, Wilson said, adding that nobody wants to go to an interview and get blindsided.

Having confidence, a strong handshake, and making eye contact are a few things that I look for, said Tabor.

Social networks seem to be on every employer’s mind, and an embarrassing picture could cause a candidate to lose an opportunity for a job.

Clear your MySpace and Facebook pages of any inappropriate pictures, panelists said. Employers have ways of maneuvering through privacy settings to view your account, Tabor said.

Tabor also said bringing copies of resumes to an interview is smart planning just in case an employer would like someone else to interview the candidate on the spot.

“Closing an interview saying you want the job and highlighting the qualities you bring to the table lets the employer know you are interested,” said Jessica Rugg of the Dallas Cowboys.

“Find that point about you that makes you valuable. Learn how to sell yourself,” said Carrie Ford, director of marketing for the Crow Collection of Art in Dallas.

It’s important for graduates to know that life takes its turns.

I had my whole life planned out. I was going to take the bar exam and work for the FBI. Well the day I was supposed to take the bar I had kidney stones, said Tabor.

Tabor did end up applying for the FBI and was accepted, but turned it down and hasn’t looked back. She now is cofounder of the Forth Worth Ballet.

“I’ve never meet anyone who graduated and got their dream job right away, but hey 10 years from then,” Tabor said.

“Not trying to discourage education, but it doesn’t matter what you get your degree in. It hasn’t been an issue,” said Gallivan.

Gallivan rephrased his quote saying going into a specific trade and having that educational background does give one an advantage over others, but not having that background should not discourage anyone from pursuing their dreams.

Rugg recapped the discussion reminding their audience that, “Your degree means everything and also nothing.”

It means everything by giving you an advantage to others, but it doesn’t have to restrict anyone to one field.

“Branch out, go that different direction,” said Rugg.

Social Networking Sites Are More Important Than You Think

October 21, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Maggie Ashworth
mashworth@smu.edu

Five years ago, Facebook was popping up in high schools across the country and Twitter was practically unheard of. Today there is an entire facet of careers dedicated to the world of social networking.

Last night, as a part of the Hegi Career Center’s Social Media Week, five Dallas professionals gathered in the Hughes-Trigg Forum to discuss the importance of social media jobs with SMU students. The Careers in Social Media event featured panelists that log onto social networking sites on a regular basis- and get paid for it.

The panel included Laura Stillo, social media producer for YouPlusDallas, Mike Merrill, director of marketing at ReachLocal, Brian Conway, who handles the social and digital media for Weber Shandwick, Kendall Shiffler, social networking and marketing associate for Lower Oak Lawn, and Jessica Nunez, owner of Nunez PR Group.

Although the panelists work for businesses ranging from modern digital journalism to real estate and public relations companies, each receives large amounts of traffic and attention as a result of social media.

These social media professionals covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from appropriate subjects to post on Twitter and personal blogs, to knowing where to draw the line between personal and professional social media.

As black and white as it may seem, today’s college students are still posting unsuitable pictures and information about themselves across the World Wide Web, regardless of the fact that future bosses will have access to this information. Mike Merrill believes it’s best not to blur the lines.

“Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom to see,” Merrill said.

Although Twitter might seem like an appropriate place to tell the world about your horrendous hangover, it’s better to tweet about what’s going on in the world, or topics that are relevant to your areas of interest.

Employers want to see your creative writing ability and input on current events, but spare them the details of your crazy nights out

“Brand yourself online well,” Stillo said.

The importance of “careful” blogging was strongly emphasized by each panelist.

Nunez, who own’s her own PR firm, clarified that blogging experience is important, but it means nothing unless the subject matter is relevant.

“We tell you to blog, and then you go out and blog about your life, and then I know too much,” Nunez said. “Blog about something that you care about and that interests you, just don’t tell us about your weekend on Knox-Henderson.”

The subject of a blog can be helpful or hurtful and the first step to understanding proper blogging is to look at your blog as a representation of yourself. Panelist Laura Stillo took this approach, and it helped her land her current job.

Stillo, who graduated from SMU in 2009, used her blog from an advertising class to demonstrate her writing ability and it got her a job interview at YouPlusDallas.

By showcasing her initiative to find interesting information, as well as her unique writing style throughout her blog, YouPlusDallas saw Stillo as an exceptional job candidate. Traits such as writing ability and experience can’t be explained on a resume, but a blog can convey that information.

According to the panelists, blogging and internships are the way to demonstrate one’s ability, and that’s what makes job applicants stand out. When it comes to blogging, the panelists told students that there are several ways to approach beginning a blog.

Merrill urged that WordPress.com is the ultimate domain site for those who are ready to become dedicated, serious bloggers. But, for beginner bloggers who want to start out slow, he recommends reading Problogger.com or Copyblogger.com for tips on better blogging.

As far as internships go, Nunez feels that experience as an intern is essential for resume building and will pay off in the long run.

“It’s like the accessory to your outfit,” Nunez said. “Your degree is your dress, accessorize it with your internships.”

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