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 Mashable.com:

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 www.stedwards.edu