Archive for January, 2010

Texas Social Media Awards

I was honored, humbled and overwhelmed this week when my nomination for a Texas Social Media Award met with so many sweet and thoughtful comments. I know that one of my students nominated me, and for that I am very grateful. The fact that I could post a tweet and a Facebook status and send a couple emails and get that kind of huge and sincere response really demonstrates the immediate power of social media. And, I am lucky to have so many amazing students, colleagues, friends and consumers of the media I create. Blessed and touched, truly.

The  Texas Social Media Award site was opened for nominations  late last year. Anyone could make a nomination, and you could even nominate yourself. Then, the Statesman posted the list of nominees and requested comments from the community. This is really a great project that the Statesman is sponsoring, and Rob Quigley who launched the competition, is a perfect example of someone who uses social media to great effect. He’ll be judging the competition, so he can’t compete in it, along with Addie Broyles, Statesman food writer and blogger, and Michelle Greer, last year’s winner.

I spent a few hours today browsing around the TX Social Media site. I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn about some of the cool things that others are doing with social media around Texas. I was blown away by the talent we have here in our fair state. First of all, I was delighted to see Texas State University represented so well. Dara Quackenbush, also on the faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Josh Shepherd, a current graduate student and blogger at www.thebacklineshow.com and Scott Thomas and Maira Garcia (Scott’s a student, Maira just graduated and is working for NOWCastSA), who started the citizen journalism Web talk show www.thepeoplesmedia.tv, all received nominations. And, Yvonne Taylor was nominated for starting the Texas State Facebook fan page. Please check out their work.

The next thing I noticed was that some people came out of the gate very quickly in terms of quality and quantity of comments, some of which I had not been previously familiar. I think this shows a nominee’s ability to quickly engage their social network and also indicates how avid or loyal their followers are.  Ashley Cass, who also just happens to be a TX State grad, was nominated for her work with Birds Barbershop, a really hip new salon, and you can see from the comments about her that she has taken the social media presence for that organization to a new level, mixing personal, fun, important and professional in her communications with constituents.

Brian Cuban, who spoke at our Mass Comm Week, hosts a blog called The Cuban Revolution. Sure, he’s the brother of Mark, but he covers lots of interesting issues across a wide range of topics.

And, someone who I had not been familiar with before, but now follow, is Indiana Adams. She hosts the AdoredAustin blog. She blogs about fashion, decor and life in Austin, which I think is great, because there are so many cool things to say about our great city. Other Austin blogger nominees include Lyssa Myska Allen, hosting ThisisLifeinAustin.com and Ryan Loyd for his AustinCitySphere.com news/blog/podcast site.

There are, of course, multiple business/PR nominees. One that stands out is Jenna Oltersdorf of Snackbox PR. And, it was also great to see so many companies focused on non-profits in the mix. Social media is a fantastic way to engage those who share passions for causes. Check out David Neff, who works tirelessly, engaging a variety of social media tools to support non-profits. I have several former students who work for Convio, a company does Web consulting for non-profits, and they have demonstrated to me how important these techniques are to the success of the organizations they support.

Some other great personal blogs are Lydia Fielder‘s Understand Blue and Korey Coleman‘s film community at Spill.com. There are more than 150 nominees, and I’m sure I have missed some amazing ones, but these are just a few that I think are special.

If you care to comment about any of my social media activities, of course, I’d love it and you can find my nomination page here.  I try to mix practice and teaching by doing my onthatnote.com music blog and interview show, as well as this tech blog and my Twitter and Facebook updates, and any of my other projects.

Here’s part of my interview with the delightful Rhett Miller of Old 97’s, as a sample of what I do at onthatnote.com. Click the Sessions tab there to watch more.

But, whether you comment on me or not, you should really use this opportunity to familiarize yourself with the broad range of social media activities going on in our state. It’s a great mix of personal, professional, fun, serious and interesting! Maybe it will inspire you.

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Social Media at Work

One of the things I love about academia is the breaks we get between semesters. After a busy semester, that builds to a frenzied finish, it’s great to take a few weeks to refresh and recharge. It’s time you can dedicate to learning new things, doing research or working on new courses. Or sleeping. I always have bigger plans for my breaks than I actually accomplish. I had high hopes for this winter break, did about half of them. There’s always the weekends, right?

I did go through the Lynda.com Ruby on Rails training, and I will attend a RoR class next week. I definitely needed to do the pre-work, because I don’t want to be the one non-programmer in the room holding everyone up with important questions like “I’m lost.” Which is not a question at all. I didn’t get to work on making iPhone apps nor did I get much done with research. But, hey… there are still a few days left. Right?

Anyway, one of the things I’ve been working on is this new course Social Media at Work. Take a look at cindyroyal.com/social. Looks like I’m going to have a lot of non-Mass Comm majors. It’s a reasonably large lecture class, will have about 50 students. I’m used to my tiny lab classes. But, I’m excited about the topic. And the fact that the classroom has windows. I don’t think I’ve EVER taught in a classroom with windows.

My plan is to expose the students to some of the readings that have been influential to me: Chris Anderson, Jeff Jarvis, Lessig, Shirky, Jenkins. We’ll watch several videos, because I really feel that some of this is best coming directly from the source, those that did the work. Download: The True Story of the Internet has some great sections, and I plan to show Rip!: A Remix Manifesto, the documentary about the artist Girl Talk. I also saw Welcome to Macintosh on CNBC last week, and thought that might be a good intro to the Mac v. PC discussion. And, even though it is 10 years old now, I’ll show that History Channel video The Internet: Behind the Web, unless someone has a more current history video to recommend. I still think it is great, the history doesn’t necessarily change and I love that it shows the old computers. It’s always funny when students say things like “I thought the people who invented the Internet were dead.”

Another video I saw last week on CNBC was Planet of the Apps. If I can get my hands on it (or drag out my VCR to copy it – I retired it last year), I’ll show that too. While I was watching it, I probably downloaded 10 apps for my iPhone, as they talked about each one. Nice promo for the few they featured. What about the 80,000 others?

I really want to approach this class in a spirit of innovation. Give them some general things to think about in terms of the role of technology in communication and seek feedback as to how they would implement these tools in their professions. I don’t see a lot of recipes these days, but I do see people using social media tools in unique and innovative ways that work for them. I also just want students to gain a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm about the future of media.

Course development is always interesting. You start with nothing, a blank canvas. It can be pretty overwhelming. But then you start filling in the blanks, one topic leads to another, and so do the readings… and the projects… I know I spent more time procrastinating and stressing about the course, than actually working on it. I usually start with making the Web site. I fill in the blanks on the course outline page, and then eventually things start taking shape. Then I make a paper syllabus that will be outdated the minute I hand it out. But, we have to provide a paper syllabus…

So, I would love your feedback. Take a look at the site and let me know if you have any recommendations for topics or resources. I’m using the book Journalism Next, but just as a road map and supplement to other readings. We’ll blog, tweet, make videos… and take exams. Not exactly sure how I’ll handle those yet.

Here we go. Have a great spring semester!

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