Monday, March 14, 2011

The choice between Facebook and Twitter

For some reason, I've totally shifted over most of my attention from Facebook to Twitter in 2011. Maybe it's the immediacy. Maybe it's the connections with all crazy sports figures. Maybe it's just more pleasing to the eye.

But for whatever reason, I gravitate more towards Twitter now. And while I still check in on Facebook multiple times per day, I go to Twitter a lot more. And with that, I find myself choosing posting stuff between the two. How do I go about making that chioce? How do most people?

I think the defining factor between making a tweet and posting a status update is who my intended audience is. If I'm making an inside joke with my close friends (all of whom are on Twitter), I think I go there to tweet about it.

However, if it's more of a general comment, maybe I'll take that idea to Facebook as a status update because it can relate to more people.

But other than that, I really think there's no method to my madness. It just depends on whatever service I'm currently on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blog Prompt #4: Music Industry in Flux

It's crazy to think that it's been more than a decade since we've been talking about the downfall of the music industry. And yet, it's still here.

Despite the complaining from industry executives and some artists, the rest of the industry has embraced the technology and accepted its place as the most popular form of consumption.

In the New York Times article, I love what author Fredric Dannen says: "Consumers of recorded music will always embrace the format that provides the greatest convenience. No other factor — certainly not high fidelity — will move consumers substantially to change their listening and buying habits." So if music executives still try to hold on to the fact that the CD exists and hope for a comeback, I think we can put those thoughts to rest. It's the MP3's time, and it has been for quite a while.

I remember as far back as 1999 having an MP3 player. Granted, it was a crappy Rio 800, but I thought I was the coolest kid in the world at the time. When others were carrying around seemingly bulky portable CD players, I had some of my favorite songs on this thing that, at the time, was microscopic. I embraced it back then, and many others have followed suit.

On the downside, I think the MP3 revolution has added too much fluidity to the way we get our music. In the 1990's, I knew how I would get it-- go down to a Borders or something and pick up the CD for a price that was just about the same everywhere I went. These days, you can get the same record on iTunes, download individual songs, pay whatever you want with these guys, or just find the means to illegally pirate it. Some enjoy the choices, but I think it makes it too hard to market new music because there are just so many ways to get it.

Also, I think music is much more disposable these days. No longer do most people have a CD rack to hold their collection, but rather it's stored on a hard drive. There's something to be said about the satisfying feeling of picking up an LP or CD, playing it, and thumbing through the liner notes or thinking about the album art which is physically in your hands. I miss that.

But it's the convenience factor that really drives the MP3. Even with the things about the format that bum me out (along with the obvious pirating troubles), I still use it. Record executives need to understand that the war is over and the MP3 has won. The next five to ten years in the industry will look differently depending on if they accept this. By taking advantage of the digitalization, the music industry can hopefully get back on its feet.

There will always be music. As there will always be print journalism, which is having similar troubles. But what changes is how we get this stuff, and hopefully both industries embrace their new online home.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bizarre viral hit leads to bizarre news reporting

By now, most have seen the bizarre video of L.A. CBS-affiliate reporter Serene Branson's Grammy report outside of the Staples Center over the weekend (fun remix here).

Apparently, "health-related problems" caused the gibberish. So it's very possible that a minor stroke was to blame. I laughed the first couple of times watching this, but then I realized that this was probably a serious problem for the reporter. I think this is a very similar situation to most that see the video: laugh at first, then feel bad for laughing. But the Today Show took it to a whole other level with their report on the subject.

Matt Lauer & Co. took five whole minutes out of their programming block to craft a report on Branson's report. Folks, we've gone meta.

Personally, I find it really odd that a national news show would take this much time, put in that much effort, and exude such a serious tone over a viral web video. They had a couple of neurologists give their two cents on the matter, along with a fancy CGI-animation of how the brain is affected by what they think affected Branson.

My favorite part? The new broadcast news staple of showing YouTube comments on-air, with a shot of the computer screen and someone tapping away on the keyboard. Seriously, can't we think of a new way to show a YouTube comment on television?

No one should spend this much time on something of such little importance. And it's also bad reporting-- until Branson goes to the doctor to have anything confirmed, the Today Show is just spouting hearsay and possibilities of what it could be.

But most broadcast news is like this. Call me an idealist, but I would love to see better journalism when I turn on my television.

Monday, February 7, 2011

When I was your age, I didn't even have an iPod! Get off my lawn!

Working at NCTV17, I sometimes do stories at area middle schools. The scary thing is the amount of kids that have cell phones. The scarier thing is that their allowed to play around with them while in the hallways.

I remember just a few years ago when I went to high school at Glenbard West-- we weren't even allowed to listen to our iPod's in the hallway. So kids are allowed to get away with more at an earlier age.

Kids have more distractions as each new year passes, and I think that's where parents get a little weirded out. And with more of these distractions, the harder it is to effectively parent a child.

A growing problem like cell phones for middle school-aged children has a couple of consequences. For one, it gives them unfiltered access to the Internet, a place where a lot of objectionable material lies. Secondly, it gives the child the appearance of more responsibility. Kids want to grow up so fast, and when a parent breaks down and gets their kid a cell phone, it possibly lets them think that they are more grown up than they actually are.

Still though, are either of these consequences that big of a deal? I think regardless of how early the current generation starts to get hooked on the easy access of technology, they will eventually get there. So why not start earlier? Why not give these middle schoolers more chances to become accustomed to the technology that will eventually dictate their lives?

I think it's normal to see the "moral panic" in the majority opinion. People are afraid of change, and this is no different. But I think this is change that could be beneficial.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Modern Athlete and the Internet

One of the greatest advantages to having the Internet at our fingertips at all times of the day is the ability to stay in touch with friends and family. And now with the advent of Twitter, everyday people have a legitimate way of contacting with their favorite celebrities and athletes.

For example, because of Twitter, I'm now very close friends with Kanye West and Conan O'Brien. Well, not really. But it's fun to think so because I send them a tweet every now and then.

That communication goes both ways. Now these celebrities and athletes have an unfiltered form of getting their message out.

This past weekend during the much-vaunted NFC Championship game between the Packers and Bears, Jay Cutler suffered a grade-II tear of his MCL and while he tried to play with the injury for the first offensive series of the 3rd quarter, the medical staff advised him to sit out the rest of the game. According to head coach Lovie Smith, Cutler wanted to come back. But he didn't. And while the hopes of the 2010 Bears seemed to get more and more desperate with Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie under center, Cutler sat on the bench, occasionally going on a stationary bike, but mostly looking despondent with the patented Cutler Face (see: above).

Fans were upset. He didn't look hurt, so why wasn't he coming back in? Without knowing the full extent of his injuries, people went on Twitter to blast Cutler, hoping that he somehow would see the outpouring of hate and get his ass back in the game.

But what made this situation interesting was that among the people blasting Cutler were current NFL players. Darnell Dockett. Derrick Brooks. Maurice Jones-Drew (incidentally, with his team's playoff fate dependent on winning their final two games of the regular season, sat out with injury).

How often do athletes cry foul when the media jumps on them without fully knowing the facts? Too often. And here we are with the Cutler situation-- with the ability for athletes to play faux-journalists with Twitter, they do the exact same thing. Talk about a double-standard.

Jones-Drew has since cited his tweet as a "joke." Whatever. If you have a tool like Twitter and choose to use it like that, beware of the consequences.

The Internet has give a voice to fans and players alike. And what pisses off players is being practiced by the players themselves. Score one for sports journalists.

(And as a quick aside, I too jumped down Cutler's throat. But it wasn't for not coming back. It was for being a terrible leader for the team. If you're one of four Bears to wear a "C" captaincy patch on your jersey, you better act like a leader. Pouting on the sidelines with ZERO energy is not the way to help your team if you can't do it on the field. Regardless of the fallout that comes from this, Cutler will never be looked at the same way.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hi, my name is Justin and I'm addicted to Google

Do I have a Google problem? No way. I could totally live without Google.

Except when I jump on computer and peruse the web via Google Chrome.

Except when I head to YouTube for a stupid video.

Except when I go to work and need a number for a PR lady and use Google web search.

Except when I need directions to their office for an on-camera interview and use Google Maps.

Except when start fooling around on Google Earth and lose an hour of my life.

Except when I start to write "reccommendation," and go use Google's instant search results to find out it's actually "recommendation."

Except when I'm using Blogger to write this at this very minute.

Okay. Well maybe I couldn't actually live without Google. It would drastically change my everyday life. This is so sad. But at least I'm not the only one.

Nearly every site I visit features a "search" function that allows the user to search within the site. It's Google-branded. Of course. My friend just bought a new phone. It's super fast and features all kinds of snazzy features, and on the back it says, "Powered by Google." Of course. Just now, I was thinking of other anecdotal evidence of Google permeating our culture's everyday life. I instinctually open up a new tab for some research and type in Of course.

It could be worse, though. As we talked about in class, some people don't really use browser bookmarks, instead choosing to just type in "facebook" into Google and going from there. At I use bookmarks. So unlike my Dad, I don't go to Google to type in "aol" to get to my AOL webmail. C'mon Dad-- really? You should be the one making this blog post.

Also, I have an iPhone. No Android for me.

So yes, everything in the world revolves around Google and if it falls, it would cause mass hysteria and bring about the worst parts of the Bible. Maybe that's what 2012 is all about.

Hi, my name is Justin and I'm addicted to Google.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blog Prompt #1 (Bruce Schneier)

I found the evolution of Schneier's blog to be interesting. I almost found it analogous to the evolution of the newspapers, who have been doing things in a certain style for so long, and had to transition their style, even just a tiny bit, for online distribution. Schneier started his monthly email newsletter and had so much time to perfectly craft his intended message. But he had to transition his style, even just a tiny bit, for a more blog-like style. That includes more immediacy, shorter posts, and probably more interaction with readers (i.e.- comments).

In the end, the advent of his blog changed the way he writes. Of course, he still writes some longer, essay-like blog posts that are similar to the way he used to write his monthly newsletter, but I really do think that if one gets used to micro-sized blog updates (that include only a link and some additional thoughts), it changes the way one writes. More shorthand. Shorter sentences.

Kind of like this.

Also interesting-- the brick wall that a blogger has to put up against unnecessary negative comments. I think constructive criticism is good for anyone putting their work out there in the public forum, but I suppose bloggers (or more to the point, popular bloggers) can get their fair amount of abuse and stupid comments from the naive or uneducated. But Schneier just ignores the abuse. He tells new bloggers to "just do it." Don't worry about being interesting or too boring-- just do it. What I get from this is just to do something that you're proud of and feel is interesting. Not everyone is going to view a situation in the same light. But that's the beauty of blogging and the internet in general-- everyone has access and everyone has their own opinion.