Final Post?

I started this blog as a project for a class – English 121, Introduction to Professional Communication- at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I believe writing a weekly blog has caused me to become a more thoughtful writer. The exercise has prompted me to be ever watchful for interesting topics and to look for ways to tie in multimedia. It has also caused me to become better informed on topics related to social media and professional communication, which is something I have found useful beyond my school life.

I am not new to writing for a public audience, having worked in radio for over twenty-five years and posted news stories online for that last 10 of those, but I have not tried anything like this blog for a long time. The two closest experiences I had to blogging would be briefly writing a college newspaper column back when I was 21 and daily journaling in my high school composition class. The difference is: in my daily journal, I did not have to find topics that were of interest to anyone else and when I wrote my column, I didn’t really know how (of course, there was no Google to search for inspiration back then).

I enjoyed working to develop a lighter, entertaining style that is different from what I have used in my work. I also grew more adept at seeking out supplemental material to engage readers – pictures, videos, links to related articles, etc.. This is one of the things I came back to school to learn: how to use the flexibility of today’s communication technology to its fullest. I had made four or five posts (starting with “Why I’m Following Alex Trebek’s Mustache”) before I started including photos and videos. When I got to the topic of comparing the CB radio craze of the 1970s with today’s social media, it was great to be able to include a youtube clip of the song “Convoy” to help set the scene. Since what I wanted to learn about most was social media and the web, that was what I decided to focus on for most of my blog posts. The need for weekly content forced me to constantly look for interesting topics. This is a good practice for any writer and had the side benefit of exposing me to more material than I would have encountered in my regular classwork.

Beyond my school life, this constant exercise in gathering material, examining it, and commenting on it has resulted in my becoming better informed. It has even made me a better conversationalist. In searching for topics that I thought people would take interest in and find useful, I have also found myself prepared with extemporaneous material whenever the topics of social media and new journalism come up in conversation. “How entertaining this must make me at parties!” I think to myself. Reading and writing help people to learn and form opinions. Following and commenting on current trends helped me to feel that I was staying current myself.   As a middle-aged person adapting to changes in the workplace, this made me more confident about my future in the communication industry. I am not old enough to coast until retirement, but the gray hair in my beard may make an employer wonder if I would be the best person to oversee communication strategies that include social media and other emerging approaches. I know people who are older than me who are more technically savvy so I do not believe age alone qualifies or disqualifies a person for a job. I do believe, though, that a person has to keep investing energy in learning new approaches and how to use new technologies.   This was the topic of another of my blog posts, “Keeping Up – Tougher Than it Used to Be.”

I decided to create this blog under an alias to prevent any confusion with my professional online presence. I am not sure if “Baxter Berkely” will post again, but he might, if he has something to say. Maybe he’ll write a book someday so the other me doesn’t have to worry about paparazzi when the book is a best seller (do paparazzi stalk authors? I’ve never seen weekly photos of what Stephen King is wearing). I will most likely take what I have learned here and apply it in my professional life under my real name. This weekly exercise has encouraged me to collect topics and think them over, to look for ways to present them in an up-to-date fashion, and to continue to look forward to “what’s next” in the ever-changing world of professional communication.

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Tips for men to become more attractive – (only one of these sounds like hard work)

All right.  Obviously I got suckered into clicking on this while reading about something important.  But here you go.

http://www.businessinsider.com/tips-attractive-guy-2014-4

It says right in the headline – it’s scientific!

Be careful, gentlemen.  Following all of these tips from Business Insider may make you too attractive to women.  Try a couple at a time to be safe.

In case you don’t want to take notes while watching the video, here are the highlights.

1. wear red (easy!)

2. grow stubble (easy for many!)

3. don’t smile (easy!)

4. stand up straight (I forget this one)

5. be sweaty (requires at least some effort)

6. have big muscles (lots of work. try only if all other approaches fail)

To be fair, there is also a video on what supposedly makes women attractive, but I neither want nor need to know the science behind that.

Keeping up – tougher than it used to be!

Wikimedia commons.  The advertising scales are tipping toward digital media.

Wikimedia commons. The advertising scales are tipping toward digital media.

You can no longer coast very long in a media job (or any job, really) without learning new skills.  In radio, it wasn’t that big of a leap to move from cueing up vinyl records to cds in the later 1980s.  Learning digital editing over cutting tape with a razor blade around ten years later took a little longer to get used to (but it was much easier once you took the time to learn it).  Now every year or two we have a major overhaul in how we produce and distribute online content.  I’m sure this process will only speed up in the couple of decades before I can think about retiring.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s exciting.  But you might as well take the phrase “This is how we’ve always done it,” and throw it in the trash can (sorry, I don’t think we can even recycle it).

Business insider reports the UK will become the first country where half of the advertising revenue is spent on digital media.  Having worked almost my entire adult life in traditional media, this jumps out at me, though it is not a shock.

I had already been in radio for a few years when I first heard of the “worldwide web.”  I remember struggling with raw HTML (no editors) starting to build a radio station website (I left the job before finishing).  I remember general managers asking “Why do we need this?”  Most websites didn’t do much back then, but the answer was “so we won’t get left behind.”

A big factor in the UK forging ahead in digital advertising is the fact that Brits embraced shopping via mobile phone.  This is another area where some broadcast companies got the jump on everyone else, who are now left to play catch-up (trust me, I get asked all the time why the stations I work for are not on iheartradio.  The answer is that it is owned by our largest competitor).

A lot of people have the impression that traditional media has been left behind, but the truth is, many in print and broadcast started working years ago to migrate online.  There’s a lot more competition online, because your competitors are not limited by the number of broadcast licenses available, but traditional media folks are among those pioneering new media approaches.  People may not realize that by now, many of us spend as much time producing an online product as we do our on-air product. The article also mentions how a growing percentage of newspaper revenues are now from online advertising.  My radio company also starting making that a major priority a number of years ago. As internet connectivity becomes available in more places, it may be true that you won’t receive programming in the same way, but even if the traditional transmitters go away, we’ll still be here.  But we won’t be sitting around with our feet up.

Packers in New “Pitch Perfect” Movie?

I’m not sure what to think about this.  Several members of the Green Bay Packers, including Clay Matthews, appear in “Pitch Perfect 2”.  I am not making this up.  It’s all right here on packers.com.

Don’t get me wrong.  I loved “Pitch Perfect.”  I live in a house full of girls.  It’s the kind of thing we watch here (and don’t tell anyone, but I was briefly a member of an a capella group when I first went to college many years ago.  I still have my red converse high tops). But how on earth did this happen?  Offensive lineman David Bakhtiari tweeted Alexis Knapp, one of the stars of the first movie, and suggested it.  Turns out Bakhtiari and his big, tough, offensive lineman buddies are big fans of “Pitch Perfect.”  Do they sing and dance?  Apparently so.  We’ll see how well next May, when the movie comes out.

In the meantime, I think Katy Perry could make a little room for them in her upcoming Superbowl halftime show.

The mighty, musical green and gold show up at about 1:08 in the trailer.

Are you watching me as I do homework in my bathrobe?

Reuters

So does this story freak you out a little?  4,500 hacked U.S. webcams are being streamed on a Russian website.  Read the full story here on businessinsider.com.

I remember when we first brought a webcam into the house.  My daughter wanted to skype with her boyfriend (who lived in another city) and ordered a cheapie camera to attach to our ancient desktop computer.  I looked at it suspiciously.  I felt like I was being watched.  It was disturbing enough to know that there have been people right in the area where I live who were videotaped without their knowledge.  It happened in a clothing store changing room, a photograpy studio changing room, and a college dorm shower.  But in those cases, some creepoid had to either hide a camera or sneak in with a cell phone.  Now the camera is right in front of me, staring me in the face.  Am I going to be one of those people who stumbles across video of themselves online some day?

I’ll tell you right now, Russian hackers, I am not doing anything worth watching (I decided a while ago that watching Netflix while in the bathtub was both unsafe and pathetic).  You might as well leave my camera alone.

Those who are at the highest risk are those who have left factory passwords in place on their cameras, (like 1234).  I have never attempted to use my camera online, so I didn’t even know there was a password, if it’s activated, or how to change it.  I guess I’d better figure that out.  I doubt anyone would ever want to watch me sit and write blog posts with my hair sticking up like a baby orangutan’s, but then again, you never know what people are into.

zooborns.com

How much do you really want to know about me?

Hubspot

Hubspot

I hear two conflicting comments about relationships in our modern world. It’s either “we don’t know our neighbors anymore,” or “we know way too much about each other.”

Contradictory as it seems, I find it to be true. I have lived in my neighborhood for 16 years now. I used to know everyone down my block and at least a couple houses in each direction on the next blocks. I have found that I have stopped making an effort to get to know new people who move in. On the other hand, despite the fact that I have not seen them for decades, I now way more than I ever wanted to know about the sex lives and relationships of a couple of my old high school classmates thanks to their “oversharing” on Facebook. (Strangely, I only had one neighbor who was ever a Facebook friend – maybe we don’t want to know what’s going on next door!)

The blog site ThoughtCatalog has this funny-but-true list of “6 Facebook Statuses that Need to Stop Right Now.” A couple of those that jumped out at me were “The cliffhanger,” in which the poster puts up a cryptic, but serious-sounding message, leaving friends to wonder if they’re supposed to ask, call, rush over, call 911, or what. Another is “the shocker.” For example: “going to the ER,” inciting a similar panic. I also witnessed the very sad outcome of a premature Facebook share. A friend of mine was in a serious car accident (which turned out to be fatal), and another friend, after hearing about it, posted an update on Facebook. Unfortunately, that is how the victim’s son (in another state) learned of the tragedy, while sitting in a restaurant.

Clearly, some things should not be communicated via social media.

On the other hand, is it a good thing that people use social media to get things out in the open that they used to feel the need to hide? Dorie Clark has a thought-provoking article on the Huffington Post business blog that offers some things to think about when deciding how much to share.