Sunday, April 25, 2010

Second Life

A virtual world is an online community in which users take form of Avatars and interact in a 3D environment.

SecondLife is one of many virtual worlds online today.

SecondLife is a free online virtual world developed by Linden Research, Inc. Users can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade 'property'  and services with one another, or travel throughout the world. Avatars may take any form users choose (human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or a combination) or format themselves resembling their real life characteristics. Each user can create one avatar per account, but users are allowed multiple accounts. Users communicate via Instant Messaging, which can be viewed on the screen in-real-time.

That's the general synopsis of what SecondLife is.

What is interesting about this and other virtual worlds is that businesses and companies are establishing themselves, using and participating in them.

Business are now holding meetings, conventions, presentations, etc in SecondLife communities. It seems like an easy way to bring people from all over the world together for a short time to meet. Some businesses even hold their weekly meetings in SecondLife. Take IBM as an example:

"IBM is using the virtual world of Second Life as the next best thing to being there for corporate meetings.
The venerable computer maker has established at least one virtual island in Second Life where it has hosted employee meetings."

Businesses find that they can save a lot of money by meeting in this virtual world verses trying to fly everyone in for an event.

"This past fall, the IBM Academy of Technology held two major events in Second Life. The first was a specific Virtual World Conference for over 200 members... saved $320,000."

Virtual worlds could prove to be an economical strategy for companies.

Oprah Mobile Application

Who doesn't know this face?

As if Oprah Winfrey did have everything already, she now has her own phone application. 

Oprah has dabbling in acting in such movies as The Color Purple and the Bee Movie. She owns her own production company, Harpo Productions. She helped produce the Broadway sensation The Color Purple.  She produces two magazines: O, The Oprah Magazine and O at Home. She has a radio show on XM Satellite Radio called Oprah and Friends.  She was one of the founders of the television network Oxygen and is now establishing the Oprah Winfrey Network. Her net worth is 2.3 billion big ones. 
Well, the only reasonable next step was of course making an App. 

Oprah's new app featured on her web page allows you to:
  • Receive alerts and notifications about the availability of reservations for The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  • Watch video highlights from The Oprah Winfrey Show, including backstage interviews with your favorite guests.
  • Access the latest articles and features from and O, The Oprah Magazine.
  • Listen to audio clips from Oprah Radio, including Gayle King, Dr. Laura Berman, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
And much more!

This app is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Palm.

So if you're a Oprah Winfrey fan, this is the app for you!

What the Trend

Want to know what the latest Twitter trends are? provides the public with up-to-date trends on twitter.

For example: if you want to know what is currently trendy or trendy today, it provides a top ten list of both:

What if you wanted to know the trends for the past month? It can do that too.

It looks like in the past month some hot topics have been: Justin Bieber, Easter, Glee, and Zodiac Facts.

It also provides viewers with who is most active contributor and what country is the most active contributor:

It even provides a map:

If you want more information than this, you have to become a Pro Member. It only costs a $450 a month! (sarcasm)

What The Trend is used mostly by professionals hence the great introductory price. Companies such as AdvertisingAge, Mashable, The New York Times, Tech Crush and The Next Web are avid users of What The Trend. Why just today Mashable used What The Trend in a blog entry.

Check it out!

Social Media Monitoring Tools

This week I have a social media audit project due in my Social Media for Public Relations course. We were provided with a list of ideas and tool we could use for this assignment. Here are some really great tool you could use if you wanted to monitor a company/brand/person/event etc.

First of all Google Reader is an essential social bookmarking tool. It is a place were you can send all the information from all your monitoring tools through RSS feeds and keep it organized and compressed.  I use Google reader on a day to day basis.

Back to the presented topic. Here are some great tools I used for my project:

Google Alerts:
Google Alerts tracks the Web for Sites, Blogs, News, Microblogs, videos, and Images.
For this project, I created a Google Alert for any of the above having to do with iPad, iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iTunes, Mac, MacBook, and/or Steve Jobs.

The Alerts will be sent directly to my Google Reader as-they-happen.

Twitter Advanced Search:
Twitter Advanced Search gives the option to find tweets based on words, phrases, hashtags, people, places and attitudes.

Here's what my results feed looks like:

You can also RSS Feed these results, which of course I did. I highly recommend you do as well. This search also provides 'in real time' results like Google Alerts.

IceRocket searches the Web for sites, blogs, news and more for your key words of choice. Here are my results:

IceRocket provides you with the option of viewing results from today, the past week, month or you can choose dates yourself. It has RSS feed capability as well as the others.

There are many more site like: Social Mention, BoardTracker, Delicious, Yahoo Pipes, etc.

You can also monitor the subject of your choice on Facebook and Myspace.

The point of all this monitoring is basically to research and see what other people are saying and reporting on your topic. It is a very helpful research tool, essential for social media savvy university students like me!

The Democratization of Fashion

If your a fashion enthusiast and love social media, you'll love CHIQ

This week I Finished my Personal Learning Project for my Social Media for Public Relations course. This Project was aimed at providing the student with the opportunity to tailor an assignment to our own learning needs and course related interests. I chose to create a digital media kit for

I believe that Chiq is unique and I am confident in it's mission to reshape the dissemination of fashion.

Chiq is an online community that encourages women who follow style to become fashion leaders. It is an indespensable resource for fashion dissemination and the Internet's only open platform social networking site devoted exclusively to fashion and online sales. Community members upload photos of their favorite clothing, shoes and accessories and are awarded points from other members who cast CHIQ-it votes for the items they consider 'hot'.

Now I know this doesn't make much since right now, but let me explain a little further...

Becoming a user:
Becoming a user is simple and best of all it's free! Just go to the Chiq web site and click the 'my chiq' link and it will prompt you to sign in or create an account. 

Once a member:
Once a member of the Chiq online community, you can upload and submit items from multiple sources which you believe are fashionable and want to share. It's an easy and convenient way to share your favorite fashions.

Chiq it:
Once a piece is uploaded, other users can vote on the item with the "chiq it" icon.

What's it for?
With users consistently uploading new items daily, everyone can keep up with what's new, trendy, and successful. Further, not only do members help determine what is showcased, but they also have the opportunity to network with other users who are passionate about fashion. 

What all does the site entail? 

Chiq provides an up-to-date feed of what users are uploading.
It provides a real time list of what's most popular via chiq votes.
 A blog reporting all the latest trends from around the world.

A list of the hottest topics being talked about in the chiq community.
Chiq is also participates in social media communication, such as Twitter and Facebook, so you can follow Chiq updates whenever you want!

So what makes Chiq different?

Chiq isn't just for fashionistas! It also for the user of bloggers, lables, and linkage partners. how so you ask?
Fashion bloggers can both utilize and contribute to Chiq tremendously. Bloggers can pull trends and new ideas from users and contribute to the forum by communicating their own thoughts to the community. 
Lables can take consumer feedback on their products and use the information to benefit the growth and innovation of their company. The more products produced by a label posted, the more feedback is provided.
Linkage partners can utilize Chiq as a promotional vehicle for fashion items as well as a traffic accelerator and sales mechanism.

Why Chiq matters!

Chiq is so unique and important because users now have a voice in shaping the marketplace.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The iPhone: What your Blackberry can't do

Can your phone navigate the night sky? Can you tune your guitar with it? How about record how many miles you just biked If you have an iPhone, it can!

There is an iPhone app for just about anything and everything today. Here are just a few apps to temp you to flip from your old phone to a smart phone:

Star Walk - With Star Walk you can navigate the sky in real time. If you tilt your phone towards the night sky, the app can tell you if you are staring at Orion himself. You can also review the phases of the moon and see what it will look like tomorrow or next week. With the Time Machine display within Star Walk you can even travel through time to see what the whole sky will look like a year from today. And, If your unsure about a constellation you are observing, it's okay! Star Walk also has Wikipedia access, which can look up any information you need to know.  

Cleartune- Cleartune is an instrument tuner and pitch pipe. The built in mic within your iPhone picks up noise and creates a convenient and accurate way to tune your guitar or other instrument like a pro.

"As a regularly performing professional musician with a college degree in music and teacher I would reccomend this product to anyone."


iMapMyRide- iMapMyRide uses your iPhone's GPS technology to track your path and find out how far you bike. Now it's easy to track your progress and reach your goals. There is no more second guessing. You can feel confident and comfortable knowing time, distance, pace, speed and elevation. Once you're done with your ride, you can save your data and it will automatically upload to

There are thousands of apps out there to help you doing anything from manage money to finding you a good dinner spot. There are over 50,000 apps out there for you to discover. Don't be shy, take a look at more apps at the Apple web site.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Archiving Tweets

Twitter has made it all the way to the Library of Congress!

According to the library of congress blog, your tweets will now be archived in the Library of Congress. Every tweet since the beginning of twitter history (March 2006) will be archived digitally and housed in the infamous Library of Congress.  These tweets will be made public.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. It  receives copies of every book, pamphlet, map, print, and piece of music registered in the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and serves as a research tool to congress and the public.

According to the Twitter Blog: "Today, fifty-five million tweets a day are sent to Twitter and that number is climbing sharply."

Why are our tweets going to Congress?

“Tweets and other short-form updates create a history of commentary that can provide valuable insights into what’s happened and how people have reacted,” wrote Dylan Casey, Google’s product manager for real-time search.

Our tweets are seen as a time-line of history that have recorded important world event such as the presidential election of Obama, and the earthquake in Haiti. The Library of Congress believes that are tweets can have a large contribution to history.

Also in twitter news: Google has created a wonderful new way to revisit tweets related to historic events.

You didn't think that the Library of Congress was going to take the whole cake did you?

It's called Google Replay.

"Since we first introduced real-time search last December, we’ve added content from MySpace, Facebook and Buzz, expanded to 40 languages and added a top links feature to help you find the most relevant content shared on updates services like Twitter. Today, we’re introducing a new feature to help you search and explore the public archive of tweets", says

iPad Ban

If you're thinking about taking that iPad to Israel, think again!

The Wall Street Journal released a report recently stating that Israel has banned the iPad. The Apple product's wireless technology is said to threaten interference with other technologies. Reasoning behind this ban has said to be because the iPad was developed in U.S. standards and does not converge with European or Israel standards. This is because U.S. standards allow stronger signals than that of other countries. 

"This device's wireless strengths violate Israeli law and will overpower other wireless devices in Israel," ministry spokesman Yechiel Shavi said.

Apple argues that the iPad has been created in compliance to international Wi-Fi specifications.

People have been flying into Israel for years now with other devices with the exact same configuration. Why is it not that Israel is putting a foot down? is there something fishy going on here?

"Mr. Shavi, the ministry spokesman, said anyone who brought wireless devices configured to U.S. standards into Israel in the past should have declared them to customs officials and could have had their devices confiscated."
Those flying into the country are being denied the ability to keep their devices and are being asked to leave them with authorities in the airport at the cost of a storage fee. At the time of their departure from the country, they may pick their devices back up.

This may be seen as an extreme inconvenience for those who use their iPad as their main source of organization, communication, and information. Those on business trips may want to arrange a different form of technology and return back to their laptops.   

There is a theory that Israel feels that the technology of the iPad undermines their status in the technology industry as a high tech country and influence. Another speculation is that it could possibly interfere with Israel's military "communication technology".

Once Apple has released a version of the iPad that is in accordance with the standards of Europe and Israel, the ban will be lifted.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Re-Cap St. Edward's University 2010 Homecoming Weekend!

2010 Homecoming Celebration Video 

This year marks the 125th Anniversary of St. Edward's. As so, the university wanted to make this year's homecoming celebration extra special for student, faculty, and alumni as it launches a year full of celebration. This video chronicles the events that occurred over Homecoming weekend Feb. 19-20 2010. One of the most exciting contributions to celebration was the welcoming of the class of 1970 for their 40th year reunion! I know they were proud to see the university buzzing with excitement and celebration.

This film starts out with a view of our main building from East Hall, our all girls dorm. It then hit all the highlights of the weekend. The Homecoming Tailgate was a huge success this year. Last year it was canceled due to high winds. The tailgate included, music, vendors, and tons of food. Everyone was there including our unofficial school mascot, Pax. His unavailing was a huge success; students, faculty, and alumni alike were all enthusiastic about his attendance. The tailgate was the opener for a great game! The St. Edward's hilltoppers men's basketball game against UT Permain Basin was a nail bitter. With the support of the huge crowd, the toppers beat out UT by a single shot. It seemed the school had a glow about it for the rest of the evening. After the game, our Mr. & Mrs. SEU were crowned. Fireworks capped off this fairytale weekend. Everyone joined together as fireworks lit the Austin Skyline. It definitely a weekend to remember and hold close.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ask Lynda

This week I spent a lot of time working on my personal learning project for my social media class. The personal learning project was designed to provide students with the opportunity to tailor an assignment to their own learning needs and course related interests. During the brainstorming process, I was given the opportunity to work with CHIQ and create a digital media kit for the website.

As I began researching how to make a digital media kit, I discovered that it required me to know how to navigate Adobe InDesign (CS4). Prior to this project I had never used a CS4 (Creative Suite) before. The situation became immediately overwhelming. I had never taken on the responsibility of working with an actual company to make a real product. I was terrified that I would fail. Luckily for me Chiq spokesperson, Christina Hall, was very willing to help me learn. She gave me the web address to a site where I could learn all the CS4 programs and much, much, more. This site is provides training videos on a variety of software from Access to Garageband to InDesign. You can search for what your looking for by subject, vendor, software or author. Users have access to over 42,000 video tutorials with anytime access. Lynda is not a free service, but it is completely worth it if you want to learn a program from top to bottom fast. Lynda provides updates on the latest software and videos.

Not only does Lynda provide thousands of useful tutorials, but the tutorials are easy to navigate and follow. Take InDesign for example. The InDesign "essential training" videos are broken down into sections:

These section are broken down into several videos. Lynda provides how long each video is and how big each file is. It also lets you know which videos you have already viewed just in case you leave the site and come back later to continue your lessons.

Along with each video you can access a description (overview), exercise files, so that you can follow along with each video, and a transcription.

I will not only use Lynda's help for this project and product but for future projects and products. Learning this material could help me in my future career. Learning all the CS4 software could give me an advantage in the work place.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Myspace: Reaching an End or a New Beginning?

I don't talk a lot about Myspace. I haven't held an account with Myspace since spring 2008. When I graduated high school in May 2007, I was reaching an end and starting a new beginning. Myspace seemed like a high school trend. I wanted new friends, a new network and a fresh start. Facebook soon after become the new social media must have. I deleted my Myspace account, along with my photos and my friends and created a Facebook account. I started a new life at a university, made new friends and took new photos. Facebook seemed like a more mature, organized, and user friendly way to network on the internet. Unfortunately for Myspace, this was the case for many users. Either users made a clean break like I did or slowly became less and less obsessed.

Today, I have very few friends who utilize Myspace. It seems to be a dying trend. so how is Myspace dealing with the retention of  users? Are they going to turn things around?

As Myspace's president steps out, Co-Presidents Jason Hirschhorn and Mike Jones step up:

As Hirschhorn (pictured, right) describes it, MySpace’s trajectory moving forward is about the “pillars of broadcasting, discovery, self-expression, and making content a part of all those experiences.” He spoke to quality, usability and engineering as major focal points: “We want as many people here to be people who build, and who create, and who have top-notch engineering talent.”
Myspace is looking to go back to it's roots and figure out at what point strayed from it's goal. They believe it's not only about the content or only about the social networking, it's about both. It's about pop culture. it's about what's new, what's hot and what's not. it wants to be the center of pop culture news, music, etc. 

So what about Facebook?

At Myspace, they don't see it as a "winner take all" scenario. They believe there is amply room for more than one dominating social networking site online. Think of Myspace as a phone service, like AT&T. There are many phone service networks in existence, more than a few dominate and thrive. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are just a few. People choose different services for different reasons. Myspace and Facebook are just two of those services. People will choose them for different reasons. They all co-exist and are successful.

Myspace plans on making user profile's more structured (like facebook) but still give them the freedom to customize their ow look. They will also add some new tools. Users will be able to follow stats on how many people view their profile, listen to their streams, watches their videos, etc. Users will also be able to earn badges. Further, Myspace will keep track of hot trends overall, the most popular music, videos, and topics. Like Facebook, Myspace will be able to recommend friends, music, etc. to users. Apps and games will also undergo future changes. According to

Currently in testing now is a change to the former status update tool into an explicit publishing tool, allowing users to simply add videos, photos, links, and other types of content. Within the next month we should expect to see a new feature that allows cross-posting to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg via a simple dropdown. “Why not? Publish once, go everywhere. If you increase publishing, you increase engagement,” said Hirschhorn of the upcoming feature.

Users should have to wait too much longer before see all these new changes. Myspace is taking swift action in improving the user experience.

I  commend Myspace for staying strong. Although I dont plan on becoming a user of Myspace in the future, I recognize the changes they are making and the effort they are putting behind the site. I can see a possible comeback in the distant future. First you make changes, and then you have to pull your users back in. 

so demise or survival for Myspace?

Google Coming to Austin!

I just heard the news in class today! Google is coming to Austin! According to the Austin Business Journal, Google is looking for "30,000 square feet [of] downtown [space] for a [new] software engineering satellite office". This is great news!

Everyone has been up in arms lately regarding the economy. When will we recover? Graduation is only a short 13 months away for me and as a soon to be graduate here in Austin, I have been told it's going to be tough to find a job. I believe it.  I have been told to keep my connections open and continue networking because it's going to be all about "who you know".

Everyone has been suffering lately. You can see the evidence all over. Even the City of Austin itself  had to go through some serious budget cuts this year. One of the city's most iconic events, The Trail Of Lights, was cut short due to funding. Yes, Austin has felt the sting of the recession.

Luckily, for Austin natives, Google has decided to open a new office in Austin. This Austin based satellite office will employ more than 100 people. This is a great economic stimulus for the city. Google will generate jobs and therefore income. The more income generated in Austin, the more spending locally. This is also a great opportunity for those looking for employment after graduating one of the many universities in and around Austin.

Austin seems like the perfect place for a new office too. "Google is known for its youthful work-as-play culture, with employees navigating hallways on scooters and offices equipped with candy dispensers, pool tables and video games." Sounds like it would fit in perfectly. Austin is known for its creative, playful, and colorful atmosphere. We welcome innovative thinking. Further Google has quite the talent pool to choose from with the University of Texas & St. Edward's University just down the street.

What an honor to have Google choose Austin as it's next big step! It really says something about our great city when such a tremendous company chooses to move in. It helps keep Austin fresh, new, innovative, and creative. I'm sure Google will feel right at home in the liberating Austin atmosphere. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Podcasting: Tips & Tricks

Now that I have posted my first podcast I ever worked on, I want to share some personal tips on podcasting. 

My first personal Tip #1: I f you have the option to use either Audacity or Garage Band, use Garage Band. Garage Band was much more well behaved than Audacity. It was more user friendly and it was more fun to use. 

Personal Tip #2: When you are recording your podcast material, make sure there is no background noise. Background noise is annoying and an extra burden on you later. Take the time to find a quite place to work. It is well worth the payoff to do it right the first time. Editing can be very time consuming for us rookies. 

Personal Tip #3: Get close enough to the microphone that the recording is of good quality. At the same time, don't get too close! Getting too close to the microphone can create a muffled sound. You also don't want to make your listeners ears bleed. 

Personal Tip #4: Save, Save, Save. Save your files everywhere. Back up your files. Re-doing editing that has already been done can be extremely frustrating...I know. Be aware of when you need to save. 

Personal Tip #5: Add music and sound effects. It makes your podcast much more interesting and engaging to listeners. It's hard to hold someone's attention for an extended amount of time, which brings me to my next tip. 

Personal Tip #6: Be precise. Don't beat around the bush and run off on tangents. Stick to the subject. It's hard to hold someone's attention without a visual aid, don't bore and confuse them. 

Personal Tip #7: Make sure people can hear you. Make sure you post your podcast somewhere people can get to it. Post it to your website or blog. Post a link on your Twitter, facebook, and Myspace. was a pain! If you get to choose between the two, pick

Podcasting is an exciting activity. It is a great feeling to have the freedom to podcast about whatever you want to. It is a liberating feeling that gives you the gift of creativity and a voice. My experience was both interesting and frustrating. I had fun playing with the equipment and learning to do new things. The down side to podcasting is, for sure, the editing. It can be tedious and time consuming. On the other hand, It is sun adding in your own sound effects and music to your podcast. I encourage anyone interested in social media to at least learn how to podcast and try it once. You never know how much you may learn and how much you may enjoy it. I would do it again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St.Edward's University's 125th Anniversary Service Challenge

St. Edward's University is Celebrating it's 125th Anniversary this year! Among many of the events on the agenda to celebrate this exciting year is the Service Challenge. The 125th Anniversary Service Challenge is  asking the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of St. Edward's to dedicate some of their time to service the year 2010. Service is a huge part of the St. Edward's mission. The goal of this challenge is to get as many people to participate in service and log a total of 75,000 hours.  The university reached a total of 63,000 hours last year, and it would be amazing to see the university community come together to go above and beyond last year's numbers. Currently, the university has 177 registered volunteers and about 1,500 hours logged. The university provides an abundance of service opportunities for the community to participate in together, but service outside the university community is encouraged as well. There are hundreds of service opportunities in the Austin community. 

I, myself, am a participant of the 125th Anniversary Challenge. Not only do I participate with the university community in service but I also serve with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Texas and Capital Area Food Bank. I hope to help the University achieve their goal of 75,000 hours. I am participating in this event not only to benefit the university but to also challenge myself and learn more about the university and the Austin community. 

I, Erin Bach, and a classmate, Meghan Anthos, came together to create a podcast on the 125th Anniversary Challenge. We interviewed Pete Erickson, the Senior Assistant Director of Student Life. Pete is on the 125th Anniversary Committee. He is also in charge of the service segment of Student Life. He talked to us a little bit about what the service challenge is and what it's all about. We also interviewed Ashley Ortega, a participant of the Anniversary Challenge. Ashley shares her thought on the challenge and why she has chosen to take part in it. 

Show Notes:

:18 -- Welcome to St. Edward's University 125th Anniversary Podcast Series
:26 -- Introduction
:45 -- Interview with Pete Erickson, Senior Assistant Director of Student Life
3:48 -- Introduction of Interview #2
3:57 -- Interview with Ashley Ortega, Challenge participant
5:09 -- Closing remarks

If you are interested in learning more about the St. Edward's University community please visit

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Citizen Marketers: Fanatics


While reading Citizen Marketers, I came across a section titled "Fanatics". Fanatics are citizen marketers who filter work, analyze the daily or weekly progress of a brand, product, organization, or person and prescribe courses of action. They basically critic brands etc. but also praise them when praise is deserved. These citizen marketers are just "fanatics" who blog etc. as a hobby. In the book, is used as an example. McChronicals is essentially just a blog about McDonalds. I went to the website to explore further. I wanted a hands on, visual example of what a "fanatic" actually is. Upon my venturing the McChronical's site, I learned a lot of new things about McDonalds that I would otherwise not know. For example: Did you know that McDonalds charges you 5 cents extra every time you purchase a water bottle from their establishment? It is a deposit free. Interesting. Why not just buy a cup of water instead? It costs less (nothing) and keeps you from throwing away a plastic bottle. Yes, at McDonalds there is no other option then just throwing away your bottle. They do not provide customers with recycle bins! I also learned that the McDonalds in Iceland recently shut down due to soaring costs. They also have their own Monopoly game board. Yes, that's right! McDonalds Monopoly. You can also follow McDonalds on twitter! You know you want to. It goes on and on. It includes restaurant reviews, customer comments, and how-tos. It was really impressive. This blogger really goes above and beyond. I can only imagine he is a real McDonalds Fanatic (that can't be healthy). I find his cause very noble. I can see how blogs like this can really sway consumers opinions and open their eyes to the inner workings of a company. I think I will continue to read this blog, even though I don't eat at McDonalds ( I don't eat fried food). I find it very interesting. Citizen Marketers really do make a difference.  

A Virtual Map

This morning I decided to track my virtual journey and map my tracks. In other words, I decided to keep track of where one page took me to another and another and so forth. I wanted to explore how and why one page took my to another and beyond. So here it is: This morning I checked my Facebook, just like I do every morning. I browsed around at other users updates and came upon an update by "365 things to do in Austin", a page which updates each day to provide users with an activity they could do that day. When I came upon the update, I decided to go to their page to see what else they had suggested. The page got me thinking, "I really need to come up with some activities to do with my little (Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Austin)". So I went ahead and checked out the previous notes that had been posted on the page. One of the posts had to do with Capital Area Food Bank. I didn't really know much about Capital Area, but I heard of it before, so I clicked it to find out more. I ended up interested in the work done by Capital Area and therefore ended up at their organization's official web site. The web site inspired me and I signed up to volunteer next month! I went from checking my Facebook one minute to volunteering the next. The internet has endless paths for people to venture onto. You never know where you might end up! Other paths I took off of this Facebook page were to the Austin Children's Museum's official web page. I found out that the Museum is free on Sundays from 4pm-5pm! That's something great I can do with my little. I thought it was interesting that I ended up planning day trips left and right with my little for the next couple months.  An innocent visit to Facebook to check if I had any friend requests or event invitations (which I did as well) landed me a volunteer opportunity and a trip to Austin Children's Museum. The internet gives us this great freedom of knowledge to explore and endless resources.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Twitter Helping Hati

We are all aware of the earthquake in Haiti that occurred on January 12, 2010. These days news spreads like wild fire and indeed it did! Almost instantly Twitter updates by the thousands related to Haiti and/or Earthquake were posted after the earthquake with links and photos. Facebook pages filled with blogs about the earthquake and status updated sending Haiti victims prayers. Immediately after the disaster, people were already thinking of great, innovative ways to help in the Haiti relief. Just here on campus, there were bake sales, benefit concerts, and new organizations arising everywhere with hopes of aiding others in the reconstruction and relief of Haiti. This was just a smaller scale of what the world was doing to help. 

Some of you may not know, but Twitter has gone above and beyond to try and help the cause. Not only does twitter allow people to share information, photos, news, and donation links, but they have now made a deal with Digicel to bring free SMS tweets to Haitian citizens. Previous to this deal, the people of Haiti used to be charged a message fee every time they tweeted. This is a new way for people who do not have broadband internet service or smart phone access to still be able to connect to others on the internet. This is a great way to encourage the citizens of Haiti to share their stories and provide the world with updates. I am impressed by twitters move. It is a gift that the people of Haiti can share their stories and receive support in return. It is also a current, up to date report in which users can keep track of the progress in Haiti. Twitter has found yet another way to link the world together via social networking.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Google Buzz

Google just announced Google Buzz on Tuesday; its newest push toward the social media movement!

Google Buzz is a feature of Gmail, so users must be a member of Gmail to be able to have access to Google Buzz. Google Buzz enables users to share statuses, updates, images and videos via Gmail. The Google Buzz features will not only be accessible via your home computer or laptop, but it will also be available on Android iPhone to provide users with "live" updates. Google hopes that Google Buzz will soon become the new Facebook, which is the new-ish Myspace. Some features include: The 40 people users chat with the most via Gmail & Gchat (instant messaging for Gmail users) will be automatically added as friends on Google Buzz. These individual's updates will show up automatically (like Twitter)as a live feed on one's Google buzz. When creating your own status updates, you can choose to make them private or public each individual time.One can also tag people in their status updates (like Twitter). Google Buzz gives people the option to like or dislike (unlike Facebook) statuses and filter out status updates that become frivolousand obnoxious. Google Buzz also recommends new friends to follow (like Facebook). Photos from Flickr and Picasa and videos from YouTube appear as thumbnails in one's Google Buzz. When you click them, they pull up (full size) on your browser. Users can also pull in tweets, from Twitter, (but not Facebook updates) into Google Buzz. Unfortunately, you can't export your Google Buzz updates out to Twitter. based phones as well as the

I personally wouldn't call this" innovative". It just seems like a new Facebook or Myspace, only exclusively for Gmail users. Some news Google, we already have a Facebook and it's available to everyone! We'll see where this goes. It could be a flop in the younger demographic, but a possible winner for business professionals. There are not enough users involved in Google Buzz yet to really foresee what will happen.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Facebook: social or professional?

Should Facebook effect your professional life?
I have been told many times that I should monitor my photos, my information, and even my friends because potential employers might come across my page. I have also been told that employers often judge potential employees by the photos, information, and friends that person may have on their Facebook page.

Is this justified?

Most people use this social tool for their social life. I keep in touch with friends and family, share photos, and stories. I can see how my page may give employers the wrong idea. It is full of my personal photos, and friends. I do have friends on Facebook that have questionable photos and content. Their content is not my own and I will not base who my friends are and are not on their Facebook content

Why should I be judged based on who my friends are? Why should I be judged on the "events" that I partake in? And finally, why should I be judged on what I like and dislike? (by a potential employers) 

What I do on my personal time has nothing to do with what I do on the clock. Have you heard,"keep your personal life at home?" That's what Facebook is, It's my personal life, so no one should involve it with the office. I personally don't have anything too inappropriate on my Facebook. But if for example, someone claims their political or religious party on their Facebook and this effects the decision of a potential employer, they may never know that was the very reason for their unemployment. Sure there are laws that say you can't discriminate for this or that reason. An employer can simply say there were others more qualified than you.

True or False?  

I have not experienced this discrimination, or as far as I am concerned I have not. This is a concern of mine though. I hate the feeling that I have to monitor every move I make on Facebook. I believe that Facebook should be used as a social tool only and not a professional one.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pew Internet & American Life Project

We all leave a trail behind us every time we log onto the internet. This trail is called our "digital footprint". "The more content we contribute to the public or semi-public corners of the Web" the larger our footprint becomes. You probably are not even aware of how large your digital footprint really is. I found it interesting that more than half of the people involved in this study do not worry about the amount of content on them that is available publicly or how personal this content may be. Most people do not think that they are interacting in any risky business when logging on to the Web. I personally am one of those "worried by the wayside" users of the internet. I'm most likely not careful enough when it comes to protecting my personal information. Now that I think about it, I post more intimate details than I think. On my Facebook, I post the city I live in, my birthday, my relationship status, my favorite movies and activities. Someone who logs onto my page could even figure out who my friends and family members are. I, in fact, share a lot of information on the Web. I Googled myself the other day after reading this write-up. My twitter name showed up (erinraelovesyou) second on the search engine list. I wouldn't consider this to be personal information, but I also searched Google images. On the first page, first line, there was a picture of me and my best friend. If it was as easy as a click to receive that much information on me, how easy is it to get other information on me? I'm sure I could type my name into the white pages and find my home address or something of that nature. So with one simple search someone could get a photo of me, my home address, and my twitter account. That is a little scary. Even though I have made all my online social networking pages private to those who are not my "friends", I don't feel like I'm being safe enough. Some of the people I friend are not always good friends. Some people I only know from class, or work. I don't really "know" them. These are things people, and I as well, don't think about when we are enjoying our time networking on the Internet. My conclusion to this is, be careful what you share. You never know who might be searching your name.