May the most (social media) savvy candidate win! #18

The online dialogue between candidates and voters will become the basis for upcoming 2012 election.  Political social media campaigns will officially replace the traditional, one-way conversation with a two-way conversation, in which both audiences can exchange their thoughts and views.  But, this seems pretty obvious given the astounding success that the Obama campaign had with social media.

Statistics reveal that 93 percent of Internet users expect future politicians to have a presence online and even a higher percentage expect them to be on several of the top 100 websites.  This statistic proves that people want to see politicians promoting themselves online.  My prediction is that 2012, all of the candidates will be social media savvy and running elaborate online campaign.  I’m pretty clueless at this point, but if I had to guess I’d say that mobile, wikis and video will be key social media factors in the upcoming race.  In fact, 2012 election widget are already arising online.  These widgets include banners, scrolling widgets powered by feedzilla, and plenty of iphone applications.  Some of these widgets are just simple banner embeds, but other are relevant sources of political news that will provide candidate-related information as the campaign approaches.

Aside from these predictions, it’s very difficult to predict what will be key to winning the 2012 election.  It will be interesting to see how social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter evolve and handle new social media.  Given the evolution of social media in the past few years, I would say that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will be standard, obvious tools utilized in every campaign.  I think we should prepare for new and improved social media options in the near future.



Add a comment December 10, 2009
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Video Game Addiction: Fact or fiction? Peer Response #3

Antonella’s December 2nd, 2009 post entitled, Game OverDOSE, got me thinking about how the success of the video game industry is ruining people’s “real-life.”  I can recall one too many stories from friends complaining that their boyfriend/girlfriend is more dedicated to their PS3 or Nintendo Wii than the relationship.  While it sounds absurd, it’s a real problem and I find it difficult to ignore the issue.  I think this topic raises some really important questions, including whether or not the gaming industry should respond to the controversial growing addictions?  And, whether video game addiction is fact or fiction?

But, before I could answer these questions I needed to do a little research on whether or not there was a firm link.  What I found was a lot of research working toward establishing a solid connection, such as a 2007 study conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine that found evidence of video games having addictive characteristics.  While I think many researchers are on the right path, there is no diagnosis of video game addition to date.  I would like to point out, however, that there has a been a proposal to include video game addiction in the upcoming version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  I will admit that I am not 100 percent convinced that video game addiction should be considered a disorder, but I definitely feel that excessive video game playing can be very detrimental to relationships.

As for the gaming industry, as long as there is no factual evidence linking video games to addiction and disorders, there’s not much they can do.  Are they supposed to put disclaimers on their games? Or restrictions?  Some countries have taken matters into their own hands, including the People’s Republic of China, which attempted to exert online gaming restrictions.  The restrictions lasted for a mere two years until it was “relaxed.”  Other countries, including the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands have introduced video game addiction clinics and prevention programs. As we can see, this issue is not being taken lightly.  Unfortunately, until we have solid evidence, I don’t think the industry will be joining or acknowledging the discussion anytime soon.  So, what do you think:  Is video game addiction fact or fiction and what role should the industry play?

Add a comment December 8, 2009
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What’s in store for Social Media? A brief 2010 forecast. Peer Response #2

I wanted to follow-up on Kendra’s post about what’s to come for social media in 2010.  One of my previous posts discussed the role of Augmented Reality and how we should plan to see a lot more of it in the upcoming years.  As previously mentioned, New York-based ABI Research reported that revenue associated with AR will grow to $732 million by 2014.  Last year, AR revenue was at $8.3 million.  That’s a momentous jump.  While AR is definitely one of the top emerging trends, I’d like to visit a few others that we can expect to explode in 2010.  What we do know as of right now is that social media will continue to expand, while becoming more exclusive and mobile. Check these out:

1.) Corporations will continue to leverage social media: In the upcoming years, we can definitley expect to see more and more companies scaling social initiatives beyond the standard communications routes.  Best Buy is a great example of a corporation using Twelpforce to leverage hundreds of employees who provide customer support and help on Twitter.  Staff is also managed through a custom built system that monitors who participates.  Many companies have already joined this growing trend, as they look to cut costs and serve customers more effectively via social technology.

2.)  Mobile lunch breaks: Smartphone sales are expected to rise to 300 million in the next four years.  At the same time, the amount of companies that continue to ban social networks at work continues to rise.  According to a recent study, 54% of companies ban Facebook and Twitter at work.  With these two factors in mind, it’s been predicted that we will see a rise in the number of employees taking “Social media lunch breaks,” on their mobile devices.  If employees are disconnected from social networks in the office, they will certainly be looking for ways to fulfill their social media addictions via their smartphones during work and lunch breaks.  Maybe mobile phones breaks will replace the traditional cigarette break?

3.)  Learning in a Virtual World will increase: We can expect to see more and more social networks moving to the virtual world space.  Additionally, more institutions, including Universities, will join this space to create virtual campuses, online classes and virtual teaching environment.  The government sector will also adopt virtual worlds as pilot programs, just as the military has with America’s Army, a virtual web-based environment.

Of course, 2010 has a lot more in store for the ever-expanding world of social media.  Many industries will continue to leverage and migrate toward social media platforms as a way to cut costs and serve employees and staff more effectively.  People will continue to adopt new mobile technologies and professional and personal social networking will become more integrated.  Finally, the virtual world will spread across many sectors offering a new way of conducting business and creating relationships.


Add a comment December 8, 2009
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A New Year’s Resolution Worth Sticking To: Peer Response #1

Shana and Alicja’s posts on New Year’s Resolutions really got my wheels turning.  To tell you the truth, I haven’t really thought about what I want to accomplish come January 1st, 2010. I’ve been so wrapped up in the madness that is 2009 that I totally forgot about setting resolutions for myself.  But, before I can actually set these so-called “resolutions,” I think I need to come to terms with the fact that  it’s going to be 2010.  I’m still in denial!

Anyways, after really sitting down and pondering what I’d like to accomplish, I realize that the standard, typical New Year’s Resolutions aren’t really cutting it for me.  Of course, I’d love to work out more, tighten the budget, and get good grades.  But, this year I’d really like to focus on being a better person.  What I mean by this is being more involved in my community and participating in volunteer opportunities in the DC area.  I’ve done my fair-share of volunteering gigs, but it was always tied to work or an event.  While the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment was always wonderful, I want to volunteer solo and have no strings attached.  I want to volunteer because it’s the right thing to do and making other people happy is what makes me feel whole as a person. I find that it’s way too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day nonsense and drama, and at the end of the day you’re left feeling like you haven’t made an impact on another human being’s life.  I know a few people that have recently become involved in some volunteer initiatives for the first time and the change in their attitude is unbelievable.  I’m talking stressed out, self-absorbed people who finally decided to give something back to the community and it has changed their life.  A few hours of helping those in need can flip someone’s perspective upside down…almost immediately.

I’ve already signed up to volunteer at a local soup kitchen for the holidays and am researching opportunities at local women’s shelters to be a life skill volunteer.  Every little bit helps, and I really hope to make an impact on another person’s life even if just for a few hours. Helping another person and seeing a smile on their face is the greatest satisfaction ever.  Now, this is one New Year’s Resolution I can stick with… Happy New Year!


1 comment December 7, 2009
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Get it together, Tiger!!! Personal Blog #3

As we all know, the latest scandal with golfer Tiger Woods has left a lot of fans very disappointed. I happen to be one of those fans.  I grew up with Tiger as one of my greatest role models when I started golfing in eighth grade.  As a young girl being introduced to the game of golf, I found Tiger’s talent, youth, and determination inspirational.  I truly attribute his presence and success to my passion and love for golf.  It’s hard not to admit that Tiger’s charming, squeaky-clean image was also very captivating and certainly positioned him as an icon and role model to many golfers around the world.  I suppose this is why I find the recently published scandals to be so disgraceful and disappointing. Right now, Tiger has been linked to six woman who are claiming alleged affairs and flings. This is just outrageous!!  I am baffled…
Apparently, the first affair can be traced back to early 2007 and leads up to the recent car crash occurring on November 27th, 2009.  The tabloids are still having a field day with this situation as new allegations and alleged “pay-offs” continue to surface.  Do a search for Tiger and every other hit is a recently published story about further claims.  On Wikipedia, his car accident and alleged affairs is the third category under background and family.  Tiger’s been hit hard and rightfully so, but I guess I don’t really know how to respond as a fan. I think a lot of fans are in the same boat and are struggling to look beyond the initial shock.  I will admit that I give him credit for finally coming out and acknowledging his “personal sins” and expressing regret.  We are all human afterall, but I guess I’m trying to hold on to the Tiger I always respected and thought I knew..I’m finding that pretty hard to do right now.


Add a comment December 6, 2009
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A Gem in la Côte d’Azur: Personal Blog #2

One of my undeniable hobbies is travel, and this past October I had the unforgettable opportunity to take a trip to the Cote de Azur in France. It doesn’t really matter where I’m traveling to, I just love the experience of seeing new places and meeting new people.  I’ve always had a fascination with culture and I feel that the more interaction and exposure you have to varying cultures, the more perspective you receive in life.  On this past trip to the French Riviera, however, I had the chance to visit one of the oldest and most unique villages I have ever seen in my life, Eze, France.

Imagine this:  A 9th century village that winds around and within the steep Mount Bastide, which is more than 500 meters above sea level.  No vehicles are permitted inside the village, as the pathways are just wide enough for donkey carts.  You enter the village on the paved hillside and climb the narrow stone pathways higher and higher until you reach the very top.  At the top you reach the summit where the Le Jardin Exotique offers a full view of the entire village below it, as well as a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean sea.  At this point, you are almost 1500 feet above the sea and have a 360-degree view of all that surrounds you.  I remember having to pinch myself because it truly seemed unreal; the beauty was one-of-a-kind.
While this moment was magical,it was the trip to the top of the village that really amazed and overwhelmed me. I say overwhelmed because not only is the  journey arduous, confusing, and ridiculously steep, but the life and culture that bustles within the mountain appears untouched; you can picture exactly what it must have been like during its prime in the middle ages.  We took our sweet time soaking in every ounce and detail of the village, ranging from the stone, moss and terracotta tile roofs with heavy wooden doors and secret passage ways.  Every corner is adorned with flowing flower vines, lush greenery and cacti.  The tiny shops and craft boutiques, which are hidden in tiny caves dug within the rocky hillside, are advertised with hand painted wooden signs and lanterns.  Even the smells are ancient and the scent of fresh-baked French bread flows throughout the village.  I also can’t forget the village church, Eglise Notre Dame de l’Assomption, which was built in the 1700’s and is absolutely magnificent.  

As you can see, I could write about my experience in Eze for hours if I had the time…I’m thankful that I got to visit this sacred little village and hope to make it back some day soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep the memories fresh in my mind.

Au revoir et salut!

Reine des abeilles

Add a comment December 5, 2009
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The Future of Augmented Reality: Personal blog #3

A few weeks ago in class we were introduced to the amazing and growing technology of augmented reality (AR). Augmented Reality combines real and virtual worlds in a 3D, real-time environment.  Sounds complicated, right? Essentially, AR is a live view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery.  The merging of these elements creates a mixed reality, also known as augmented reality.  It’s pretty amazing,in fact, I just tried it on the GE website.  I tested both the wind turbine and the solar energy by printing out the provided solar panel marker and then twisting and turning it in front of my webcam.  Within moments, a digital hologram came to life! It’s fascinating…

What’s even more exciting is that with layar, the worlds first augmented reality browser, people can now access augmented reality on their mobile browsers.  See this example that we watched in class where the phone displays real-time digital information on top of the real-world locations it sees through its camera.  Layar is currently available on Apple Inc’s iPhone 3gs and Google Inc’s Android-based mobile phones.

Advanced augmented reality is definitely a growing trend, which is currently being applied to many industries and areas of study,including architecture, sightseeing, industrial, navigation, advertising, and emergency and military services to name a few.  While the future of AR is definitely growing, it is also very expensive and dominated more so by major industries that have the resources to utilize the technology.  If the costs can be reduced, then I think we can expect AR to become a lot more widespread and used in many day-to-day aspects of life.  Soon enough, everything online will become a physical experience.To further confirm this reality, New York-based ABI Research reports that revenue associated with AR will grow to $732 million by 2014.  Last year, AR revenue was at $8.3 million.  I will be sure to stay tapped into the progress and emergence of AP and am excited see where it takes our society.


Add a comment December 5, 2009
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Exploring Ethiopia’s Blogosphere…

Exploring Ethiopia’s blogosphere on Global Voices was quite eye-opening.  It seemed to consist of a variety of different blogging issues, some uplifting and many incredibly sad.  Issues surrounding global health, development, politics, international adoption and children, human rights, and identity seemed to  be the overarching themes, but there are also more local and personalized stories.

The most recent posting taking place on November 19th, 2009 is a post about World Toilet Day awareness and the 2.5 billion people who do not have access to toilets and sanitation.  Other bloggers share stories about cyberactivism from families raising awareness about the lives of children in Ethiopia and the serious need for clean water.  One family created a site dedicated to this project.

As I continued to dig through older posts (2006), I continued to find varying topics, many which discussed politics, health, and culture in Ethiopia.  Many of these blog entries touch upon Ethiopian bloggers and their unsympathetic feelings toward the ruling government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the teetering democracy.  Smaller-scale entries included the story of a young, suicidal boy without arms, which led to the Boy Without Arms Campaign.  Here is an example of a local story that caught the eye of Ethiopian bloggers and sparked a national campaign.

In all, I found that Ethiopia’s blogosphere is not afraid to discuss and explore the critical issues facing the country and does a good job at writing emotionally-charged entries.  Many of the bloggers work to communicate a cause and create a strong call to action.  It’s great to see that this blogosphere community is facilitating a conversation with its dedicated followers, while creating a sense of awareness for their country.

Add a comment December 2, 2009

A New-Found Appreciation for Wikipedia Contributors!

I decided to make my life difficult by creating a new Wikipedia page for our social media project.  After doing a little research and parusing through Wikipedia, I realized that my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, did not have a page for the girls’ golf team.  I was shocked that no one had taken the time to create a page and decided that an old, dedicated team mate (myself) should take the matter into their own hands!  I studied and revisited the Wikipedia tutorial for a few days, did my due diligence, and then jumped right into it.  I never underestimated the difficulty involved in creating a Wikipedia page, but I also didn’t think I was going to have hundreds of edits!  I found myself going back and forth between my new page and the tutorials to make sure I had the correct codes, and still managed to re-do the references a dozen times.  While I found myself getting pretty frustrated and discouraged throughout the process, the pride I felt upon completion was definitely worth it.  It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s not too shabby for a novice.  Two things I would like to follow-up on and/or master:
1.) REFERENCES:  I could definitely use some more training on the different citation codes for varying sources.
2.) UPLOADING and PLACING IMAGES:  I did not find the tutorial helpful and ended up using a basic code just to right justify an MHC school logo.  Better than nothing!
These were the two greatest challenges for me, but I would also like to continue working with wikitext to master the codes and not have to continually reference the tutorial.  This project has certainly created a new-found respect and appreciation for every single Wikipedia contributor.  It’s no easy task, and I give huge props to the extensive Wikipedia pages and dedicated volunteers that we all take for granted.  This project has furthered my interest in related crowdsourcing projects and I hope to make another contribution sometime in the near future (with my new skills, of course!)  Thank you fellow Wiki contributors!

Add a comment December 2, 2009

Wikipedia: Thank you Jimbo Wales!

In recent weeks, I’ve given the concept of Wikipedia some good thought.  But, to be honest, I hadn’t questioned the authenticity and trustworthiness of Wikipedia until the controversial topic was introduced in last week’s class.  I’ve been using Wikipedia for years now and I’ve had minimal issue with it.  Yes, I have found questionable information and felt the need to do fact checking on my own, but that doesn’t mean that Wikipedia isn’t a great starting point.  But, this is precisely why I’ve never had an issue with Wikipedia- because I use it as a starting point and not as a primary source for research material!  As far as I’m concerned, the main issue with Wikipedia is the users themselves and the lack of knowledge surrounding the intended role of Wikipedia.
We all know that Wikipedia has been a target for good reasons.  It definitely has inaccurate   information and is vulnerable to vandalism and unverified information.  But, at the same time, where is the role and responsibility of the user during all of this?  In my eyes, the accountability lands directly in the lap of each and every Wikipedia user.  Of course, contributors are also held responsible for the information they add, but I think more emphasis and onus should be put on the consumer.  As of right now,  Wikipedia provides a general disclaimer in big black letters that states, “WIKIPEDIA MAKES NO GUARANTEE OF VALIDITY.” Check it out people!   To this end, I do not feel that using verified “experts” to make contributions will make much of a difference.  In fact, a study by the scientific journal Nature found that the errors and misleading statements between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica were not so different.  In all, Wikipedia contained 162 errors and Britannica had 123.

So, in terms of accuracy,what more can Wikipedia really do?  Not a whole lot.  If I had one piece of advice for founder Jimmy Wales and his team, it would be to possibly beef-up their content editing team.  I don’t think it would hurt for them to do a bit more scanning and patrolling.  But, then again, too much control really ruins the entire point of crowdsourcing and an open-access encyclopedia.  For me, exerting more restriction and control is a slap in the face to the intended originality of Wikipedia.  Moral of the story, if you’re going to use Wikipedia do your due diligence people!


1 comment November 18, 2009

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