exploring life through stories and writing

Wordle: bad relationship (joy)

Social media does more than connect friends

We all know the basic functions of social media. It is to be social with your friends. You can post pictures from your weekend trip and tweet what you are doing that day to keep your friends and followers in the know. Surgeons at the Houston’s Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital used social media to live-tweet an open heart surgery to help teach other surgeons and answer questions regarding the procedure.

It is amazing what we can now do with social media from our computers and now with smart phones to spread images, text, and video to instruct and inform others. Not only were those who followed the live-stream of tweets learning from the information, but the event was translated for other countries such as India and China so that they could also be a part of the experience.

I think sometimes it is easy to forget to think outside the box in terms of social media tools and know that there is so much more that can be done. This live tweeted surgery can open a whole new world in medicine and other professions alike.

What would I do?

After reading an article on mashable on contestants who purged themselves of social media for two weeks, I wondered how I would react in a similar situation.

Social media is involved in almost everything I do in life. When I am on the go I have my Twitter and Facebook that allow me to get instant updates right to my phone, so I never miss a notification. I use my google account to make googledocs for the various organizations that I am involved with on campus for sign-ups and other group oriented tasks.

What would it be like to take this all away? How would I pass the free time at work if I wasn’t pinning on Pinterest or commenting on a friends photo? I’m afraid to admit that it would be hard to just pick up a regular magazine, or book, or a crossword puzzle, without thinking about social media in the back of my mind. Not that I don’t enjoy reading a book or a magazine, but social media has been so ingrained in my life as a way to connect with friends, family, and co-workers, that I know there would be a serious void if it was taken out of the equation.


The videos below are of a man who decided to give up using Facebook for lent.

Day 1.

Day 2.

One week.


Spring is in the air

With the amazing weather that has entered the mid-atlantic early this year, I’m starting to notice that I don’t spend nearly enough time outside enjoying it. I should be outside getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Instead, I am inside a slave to technology: my laptop, ipod, TV, smartphone. Although these are tools that help me finish my work everyday, I feel that I need to take a step back and appreciate Spring.

Things that make me think about Spring

Rita’s Italian Ice. Ice. Custard. Happiness


Cherry Blossoms in D.C.

Fresh strawberries and salad




Reading outside

Briggs chapter 9

It is a no-brainer to state that with the ever growing technology at our fingertips comes the problem ofof never-ending data. The Internet changed teh way that we communicate with each other, and now we can take this communication on the go with us on our mobile phones. There is no escaping it!

Don’t fear, because there are a few solutions to help filter through all of that information to make sure that you are getting everything out of what you receive.

Organize your email

  • Take the time to organize your inbox using filters to get rid of spam and folders to organize messages from different people

  • Limit the time that you are on your email account and check in every 2-4 hours. Don’t be a slave to the machine
  • If you can answer the email in two minutes or less, respond, if not, file it away until you have a less stressful time to answer more in depth


Find  the right personal productivity tools

  • Find the right product for you that will complete as many tasks as possibe. For mac users, the iCal is a great tool for scheduling your day and adding to-do tasks. It is also free!

  • Always remember to keep back-up copies of your most important files on another disk. This can be a jump drive for smaller things an external hardrive for bigger files.
  • Google is a great place to start looking for free options for a mac or PC user as it offers features for contacts, email, documents, calendars and file sharing.

Briggs chapter 8

Shooting video is not unlike planning to write a printed story. You need to first know your five W’s and then plan on what footage will tell the story most effectively. This includes a combination of live action, stills, and voice overs.

There are two basic forms of video that you can utilize are a full-documentary video or a breaking news story. With a breaking news story you don’t have as much time to figure out what your story will be. For example you wouldn’t be able to know when an accident is happening to get live-action footage but you can report to the scene and get reactions from witnesses and police.


This is a visual sketch of the story that you want to tell that helps you to better organize your thoughts. This will help you decide what the focus of the story will be. It is important to know what you want your main idea to be before you start shooting any footage. This will help in choosing your A-roll (interviews and demonstration sequences) and B-roll (environmental footage that helps explain the main idea).

Here is a more in-depth video on creating a storyboard:

Mix your shots

Focus your attention on collection sequences of wide, medium, and up-close shots of your topic.

  • Wide-angle shots: give viewers a sense of the environment
  • Medium shots: in between wide-angle and close-up shots
  • Close-up shots: zooming in on who is talking or the subject matter that is being talked about. Zoom in first on the object before recording


Now, more than ever, the world is connected into one global community. We have the ability to communicate with those in other cities, states, countries and continents. Now, more than ever, we can make a difference in the world using social media.

The grassroots organization Invisible Children, that started nearly a decade ago, just launched their newest campaign employing social media like never before to get their message heard by anyone and everyone that will listen. This organization is committed to seeing through the capturing of Joseph Kony, a Ugandan warlord who has abducted at least 10,000 children and forced them to become child soldiers.

Below is a video that was released by Invisible Children that has gone viral on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Joseph Kony and Invisible Children are now currently trending on Twitter worldwide.

This year, Invisible Children is showing how much of an impact social media can have on a cause. If enough people share the video, and tweet about the cause, the more awareness will be made about the issue, and in turn, the more people will go to the website to pledge to help save these children and catch Joseph Kony.

The video, which runs approximately 30 minutes, has had almost 2,000,000 views already on YouTube since its release yesterday at noon. To learn more about the cause I urge you to visit the website and spread the word through your own social media outlet. The world is connected now through the Internet. The more people who are connected, the more of chance there are to stop injustices.



Where in the world is Alliegator

View Places I’ve Visited in a larger map

Briggs chapter 11

You could spend hours researching, interviewing and writing the perfect article. But how do you know that when you publish it that anyone is going to read it? How can you be sure that you are reaching the right audience?

Millions of people use the Internet everyday, how do you know who is interested in what you are publishing or what type of stories people prefer and how to attract these people you your website.

Use Web analytics software

  • Software that tracks Web site traffic
  • Some popular services include Omniture, Hitbox and Google Analytics

Well what is it that are really trying to track?

  1. Pageviews
  • The total of Web pages viewed in a  given time period
  • How content is ranked in terms of popularity

2.  Visits and unique visitors compared

  • Visits are the number of times everyone accesses a Web site
  • No matter how many times you visit a site compared to someone else, you only represent two  visitors with many visits

3.   Engagement and referrers

  • The amount of time spent on the website by each user- are they spending enough time to acutally read content or just passing through?
  • It also helps to learn where the traffic on your site is coming from (another site or from a search engine)


Traffic data helps to determine which projects are working and which ones should be reassessed. Just because a story isn’t getting the attention that you thought it deserved, it isn’t time to hit the delete button yet. This is an opportunity to morph the story into something that will help readers more attracted to it. Using analytics programs can help a new organization to manage projects and help improve them in the future.


Conversation 101

News. The word, when alone, seems cold, harsh, and unwelcoming. These are the straight facts that the reporter is telling you and you better listen. Well, not anymore. News has revolved into more of a conversation among the writers and readers.

“Being social with users is easier than ever before, and the more social a journalist is with people. the more sources a journalist can mine” said Jay Rosen, a professor at New York University.

There are several ways that a journalist can open the conversation to the public.

Conversing through comments

  • Allows an open forum to discuss different news issues
  • Results can sometimes be ugly or hateful comments
  • Allows the conversation to change from one consumer to the next


Conversing through social networking

  • Social networks are important tools for online communities
  • Adults make up the bulk of online users
  • Everyone else is communicating and connecting through social networking and it is important for reporters to do the same
  • It would be to the detriment of a news organization to not utilize a social networking site


Social media tips for journalists- provided by Kelly McBride

  • Use social networking sites and become familiar with them
  • Be mindful that you represent more than yourself; think of the larger company that your name is associated with
  • Presume that tweets, status updates, or other content will go further in terms of reach than you intended them to go
  • Ask your boss to follow you on Twitter because it is a good accountability measure