Author Archive

TweetDeck enhances social networking experience

December 6th, 2009 No comments

I came late to the use of TweetDeck – I played with other applications before taking the plunge into this interface. Those applications were easier to immerse myself in because of the limited capacity they shared – simple, straightforward, one use applications (i.e. twitpic). TweetDeck is in a class of its own. It is a far more interactive, multifaceted application.

TweetDeck was slightly more daunting than other, simpler, applications because it requires two downloads – an additional Adobe program that hosts the TweetDeck platform as well as TweetDeck itself, which resides in the program system of your computer. I am often hesitant to install or download anything on my computer. I pushed that hesitation aside and took the plunge. Now TweetDeck has the capacity to run anytime I tell it to. The tiny yellow bird icon appears in the toolbar of my computer. By clicking that icon or the larger version which appears on my desktop, I can launch TweetDeck. It was easy to download and launch, but there was still a learning curve.

tweetdeck main page

At first use, I didn’t feel TweetDeck was user friendly. Also, having become accustomed to the continuous updates and changes that occur on my Twitter homepage, I thought TweetDeck might hold me back from real time interaction. I later found out that the real time interaction, while following so many people, caused me to miss some tweets that were directed to me. So, habit and hesitation held me back from exploring TweetDeck to great disadvantage. It’s unfortunate that I was unsure of myself with this application and therefore didn’t explore all the nuances of what it can do until recently.

my TweetDeck page

TweetDeck defaults to four columns – all friends, mentions (where you are mentioned in a tweet), direct messages, and TweetDeck recommends. Each column has something valuable to offer. The all friends column is a real time Twitter homepage type section where every tweet by the people you follow appears – so you never lose touch with what is occurring in Twitter-space. The mentions column covers all messages where your ID/name is mentioned – I found messages to me that were initially missed on the regular Twitter homepage. The mentions column has been invaluable in keeping touch with conversations that include me. The direct message column shows all the direct messages I have received – I don’t have to click a separate area to see them as I would have to do on the Twitter homepage (those messages have totaled to 106 as of today). Finally, the TweetDeck recommends column shows members who may have something in common with you – I have followed 3 people based on the TweetDeck recommendations after looking at those members’ profiles and their last few comments.

There are other things that TweetDeck can do that the Twitter homepage cannot do. A few of those capabilities are useless to me (i.e. the facebook and myspace functions – I don’t have a page on either site). However, I did find something even more interesting – the search function. If you click the magnifying glass in the upper left area of the TweetDeck platform, you can put in a word, term, or hashtag and it will automatically add a column with the results (tweets) related to that search. For example, I put in #wecf09 and it opened a column with all the tweets with that hashtag. I also put in the search term “collaborative essay” and TweetDeck created another column with tweets on that topic. So what do you do if you are finished with your search and want to eliminate a column? Simply click the “x” at the top of that column to close it. One other TweetDeck action that deserves serious mention – TweetDeck automatically shortens lengthy URLs. Where you might have to go to a separate link shortening application to plug in a URL on the Twitter homepage, TweetDeck saves you that step by shortening the URL for you.

TweetDeck, if anything, has made Twitter as a whole, more user friendly. I had enjoyed the use of Twitter on the simple Twitter platform and find it even more enjoyable using TweetDeck. Though I still revert to the simple Twitter homepage when I am at a computer that does not have TweetDeck installed, I am more apt to use TweetDeck on my own computer. I believe Twitter is a valuable networking tool that has enhanced my social networking experience.

A bibliophile nears a compromise with technology

November 26th, 2009 No comments

I have books all over my house – some are in large designated bookcases, some are tucked away in inconspicuous places out of sight. I have collectible books that are first printings of first editions (well defined in a paper written for another class – not all books that say first edition on the inside are true first editions). Most are books I have read and loved, some are books that I found interesting and plan to read. This scenario probably fits the description of many households of other bibliophiles.

This morning I clicked on a link in a tweet by Debbie Ridpath Ohi that took me to an enlightening article about ebook readers on Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020:

Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020

The article contains a fairly detailed discussion about ebook readers, starting with the Kindle. I took a trip on a link provided in the article to see the Barnes & Noble version of their ebook reader, the Nook.

Barnes & Noble Nook

I read a comparison of the features of the Nook vs. the Kindle on Barnes & Noble’s site that showed the features – of course in the Barnes & Noble comparison, Nook came out on top. However, the comparison does show indisputable proof that the Nook is a probably a better product than the Kindle.

So all of this set me to thinking, should I get rid of my books and get and use an ebook reading device? Well, yes and no. It’s easier to address the yes answer first: it would free up a massive amount of space in my house and lighten the load of overburdened bookcases. Also, carrying an ebook reader would allow me to have the availability of a book to read at any time of day, anywhere, without carrying a book that may be less portable. Now to the no answer: would I get rid of all my books? No. There will always be a place in my home for well loved books that I have read multiple times, as well as the collectible books that I would never part with. Another issue is cost. What if you download a book that you discover you don’t like? The money you’ve spent on the download is wasted money in this scenario. I wondered, does the yes outweigh the no? After all, you can borrow a book from the library or look at a book at Barnes & Noble and confidently decide if a book is worth reading before making a purchase of the ebook. Another discovery: the Barnes & Noble site gives links to download the ereader to an iphone, blackberry, or to your computer. More to think about …

So, I feel I am nearing a compromise. Perhaps it would be worth considering an ebook reader instead of maintaining my massive book collection. Still, it is hard for a person like me to let go of the feel of a book in my hands. This is a subject that clearly requires more research…

Older people go out to the movies less? Or, do we just lack patience?

November 21st, 2009 No comments

It was interesting to discuss Chuck Tryon’s Reinventing Cinema. Of particular interest: Tryon’s assertion that as people get older they don’t go to the movies as often. I agree with that. However, the reasons are less related to age, than with the fact that movie DVDs come out shortly after a movie closes in the theater, DVD prices are low, and the high definition televisions and DVD players are more common.

Or, is it because as we get older we become less patient?


The video is funny, but also full of such truth. Then again, cells phones in theaters are a galactic nuisance:

 And then of course there is always the delight of movie theater food:


Viral Marketing

November 13th, 2009 No comments

Found Bill Wasik‘s And Then There’s This pretty fascinating. Given the PR and marketing classes and work that I have done, I was particularly interest in the concept of viral marketing.

We have all seen short films on TV in the past – many are created to market an upcoming show and I see from Wasick’s book and my own research that many viral marketing short films have been created to promote different products. I found the following Wired article discussing how viral marketing across many mediums is a proven method. I particularly remember seeing the BMW short film featuring Clive Owen that is pictured in the article Organized Chaos: Viral Marketing, Meet Social Media.

Organized Chaos: Viral Marketing, Meet Social Media

 This viral marketing by BMW using Clive Owen appeals to women due to his raw sex appeal; it also appeals to men due to the action content. There were several short films made by BMW films that, when linked together, do produce a somewhat cohesive story, but viewed alone, enhance the product. This is an example of viral marketing done well.

 Below is just one of the films in the multipart series:


While the above was a serious BMW film, the one below is a more comedic variation that probably never appeared on TV like the other one did due to some adult language. It features both Clive Owen and Madonna

While the above viral marketing ads did not make me want to run out and buy a BMW, they did interest me enough to go searching for all of the BMW viral marketing films. So, in one sense this form of marketing was successful due to the fact that watching one, made me want to watch more.


Some thoughts on YouTube & Remixing

November 13th, 2009 No comments

Since I am assigned with writing the section on YouTube and Remixing – something I have never done and know little to nothing about – I began researching the topic to bring this completely new information to the essay.

Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, appears in two notable YouTube videos. The video not only shows Lessig talking about remixing and culture, but also shows some remixed videos. It’s a pretty fascinating exploration of the topic.


Here is an even more fascinating series of YouTube videos by LiberalViewer discussing his struggle over fair use with Viacom and how the situation was resolved with the assistance of the ACLU. It sounds pretty stress producing.

Part 1

Part 2

A cool app for making your twitter background

November 8th, 2009 2 comments

When you Google “free twitter backgrounds” you get tons of results – not all of them, however, go to truly free sites. Then I found

free twitter designer

In a few simple steps on this site I was able to take a photograph that I took and create a new twitter background. Here’s my twitter page now:

my twitter page

This was an awesome, easy to use twitter app

Categories: Twitter, Twitter apps Tags:

Basic organization for essay

November 8th, 2009 No comments

Having re-read, again, the collaborative essay I noted that there are portions that appear to be more book review, but by and large most of the text is not (in a good way). The problem that the essay suffers from most is organization – the problem was a result of us each writing about one book.

In the following basic outline, all relevant ideas from all the texts utilized, should be intertwined. For example, in discussion history, all relevant historical discussion should occur in the same section with representational portions from each text.

Here is the way I think this should be organized:

  1. Utilize Anthony’s intro – it was well organized and represented a broad spectrum of what was to come
  2. History of Rhetoric and technology/media literacy – it is essential to know where we came from so that we can understand where we are headed
  3. How media literacy has grown and changed with technology – we need to know where we are going
  4. End with social networking and beyond

Discussion points – Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture

November 3rd, 2009 No comments

Given that we were asked to read Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture entirely on the computer, it is appropriate that discussion notes should also be posted and read entirely on the computer as well.

According to Jenkins, participatory culture allows “artistic expression and civic engagement,” gives support for sharing with others, includes “mentorship … [for] … novices,” contributions of participants are meaningful, and connect people socially. (Jenkins, 7)

Jenkins also states that young people already are part of participatory culture through affiliations with online communities, expression through creative work using media, already utilize collaborative problem solving by working with others, and circulation by sharing of media (Jenkins, 8 )

The above can be affected by what Jenkins refers to as:

  • the participation gap – unequal access to technology (Jenkins, 3, 12)
  • the transparency problem – students’ potential lack of knowledge regarding the media itself (Jenkins, 3, 14)
  • the ethics challenge – the “breakdown of tradition forms” and students’ growth in media use and participation (Jenkins, 3, 16)

Personal note/direct observation – world of warcraft participants can create their own maps and societies and invite others to join them – this is a clear example of a young person experimenting with participatory culture

Jenkins says there are certain skills that young people utilize in participatory culture (Jenkins mentions both middle/secondary school as well as young college students) – those skills need to be nurtured and by educators and utilized to help students’ growth – the following terms define Jenkins’ theories – definitions can be found in the texzt on pages 4 and 56:

  • Play
  • Performance
  • Simulation
  • Appropriation
  • Multitasking
  • Distributed Cognition
  • Collective Intelligence
  • Judgment
  • Transmedia Navigation
  • Networking
  • Negotiation

We can define and discuss our understanding of the terms from Jenkins text noted above.

A Short Twitter Exploration

November 1st, 2009 No comments

One of the requirements for the class was to join and post messages on Twitter. This is not something I would normally consider – sometimes new challenges help to stretch your mind. Although, it isn’t really so much of a stretch since it seems to just be a more sophisticated version of text messaging. It is the more sophisticated aspect that makes it special, however. Though it is a platform similar to regular text messaging, you can connect and communicate with a much larger audience than you could with simple singular text messaging in the cell phone world.

While utilizing twitter, it’s easy to forget that you are using a fairly sophisticated networking tool. The twitter site says that twitter is privately funded. The idea grew out of a desire for Jack Dorsey to be able to keep track of what his friends were up to.

When you go to the about page for twitter, you learn a lot more of the specifics about the company and where it is headed.

twitter about us

There were a lot of results when I did a Google search. One of particular interest was a page full of free twitter backgrounds. Though I managed to put up a picture of one of dogs on my twitter page, I found the image is unstable (probably due to size) and it periodically disappears leaving just a brown screen. Though twitter does provide a few backgrounds, I didn’t want to use any of them. This twitter backgrounds page may provide a solution. Additionally, I have seen interesting backgrounds employed by some posters and wondered where they came from. One of the free backgrounds sites is called Of course, if you would like to you can also have a custom designed background for $99 – probably most useful in situations where twitter is used in a business environment.

twitter backgrounds

There are endless options for free twitter backgrounds there – 77 pages of them to be exact.

I only covered a small portion of the twitter information I found. The twitter world is a much larger one to explore than one might initially think.

Now I’m off to explore some backgrounds. Go see the results on my twitter home page.

Categories: Twitter Tags:

Textbook cost and author royalties

October 25th, 2009 3 comments

A classmate claimed that the reason that textbooks are so expensive is because of the royalties paid to authors. That classmate further stated that maybe if there was no copyright and authors weren’t being paid royalties, that textbook prices would be much lower. I knew immediately that this was faulty reasoning. So, I left class planning to do some research on the subject. Here is some of what I found:

According to Cyndi Allison in her article Sticker Shock, “Texts today include color, illustrations, photos, and other reference materials such as page tabs, which make textbooks more expensive to produce than straight words on paper.” She also states that “Manufacturing costs top out as the biggest portion of your text receipt at around 30 percent with marketing running second at over 15 percent.” That is 45 percent total – that does not include the cost of shipping the heavy textbooks or the cut by the store that sells the book.

In Where Your Money Goes by Ryne Dittmer of Iowa State, the author breaks down the percentages of the total book cost of and who gets what. Dittmer says the highest percentage, 39.2 percent, goes to Publishers and their cost of production where only 7 percent of the total serves as income for the publisher. Dittmer further points out the author’s income – likely split among several authors – at just 11.7 percent.

Still not convinced? Here is a graphic by the NACS Foundation that appeared on the BYU website in a section titled Why Are Textbooks So Expensive – it shows a clear breakdown of where all the money goes:

Note: this graphic can only be found on the BYU site, the original on NCAS can only be accessed by registered members

Note: this graphic can only be found on the BYU site, the original on NACS web site can only be accessed by registered members

…. and here is a sometimes humorous discourse on textbook prices found on YouTube  – it has some good, solid insight from a textbook author as well


Categories: random thoughts Tags: