The blogging lifestyle…

As this blog was created to discuss emerging media and the impact it has on the world around us, I am not completely sold on the idea of spending countless hours discussing these implications.  There are many researchers who have given us reasons why we should keep up with a personal or company-related blog.  For some, blogging has changed lives and intellectual outlook.  For others, it is too much to keep up with.

Here are some of the benefits that I’ve experienced by keeping a blog:

  • Keeping up with current events, technology, and social networking.
  • Learning some of the features such as embedding videos and pictures.
  • Realization of how prominent social networking and blog are in today’s society.

On the flip side, here are my aggravations and dislikes about blogging:

  • Time consuming – I’m interested in finding a full time job where I have time to blog throughout the day!
  • Frustrating for those who have little interest in blogging.
  • Blogging has become more of a chore rather than an intellectual challenge.

Don’t get me wrong – I have enjoyed blogging and will continue to read other people’s blogs.  I think it’s interesting to see things from another point of view.  Blogging has helped me become more open-minded and sensitive towards other people’s views.  One of the most interesting topics for me to write about is entertainment.  I’ve been able to see how emerging media is part of our everyday lives.  I can honestly say that I watch television shows and commercials with a new perspective.  I can now say I know what Twitter is.  I can see how much new media will continue to effect my life.  And for me, this has been the ultimate reward of my blogging experience.

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Realtors using social networking to boost sales

Across the nation, realtors are using social networking to make connections with potential house buyers.  In an industry that is rising out of the recession, real estate agents are becoming creative in their communications efforts.  Realtors are streaming through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in addition to their own Internet sites.  Some are calling it Real Estate 2.0.  Others, like myself, are more hesitant. 

In an industry that is based on customer service, this is a risk for that many are willing to take.   While many think that this is a great approach to improving connections, doesn’t this sound like it’s taking away from the personal experience that you need with your realtor?  A realtor in California was featured on The Today Show and found his approach using social networking very effective.  He uses e-mail phone, and even Twitter to help close the deal. 

As a potential first-time home buyer, I’ve found that buying a home is a life-changing decision.  When I first began to contact local realtors, I began talking on the phone and using e-mail to find out more information on houses that we were interested in.  Although I have accounts established on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, they are by no means my primary contact methods.  I use my e-mail account to receive bill notifications and other important messages but would rather use the phone to communicate with my realtor. 

I can see where those frequent to social networking site could find this approach appealing.  But in a world where social networking is frowned upon at work, who has the time or energy to check all your social sites for updates on a potential house?  I’ll stick with the phone system to communicate with my realtor.  After all, aren’t we all attached to our cell phone?

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Fake account on MySpace leads to death of 13-year-old

Back to the harm of social networking sites.  In recent posts, I’ve discussed how I feel about the juvenile behavior of social networkers.  But when a 13-year-old commits suicide because of harrasment online (a.k.a. cyber bullying),  something’s gotta give.  In 2006, Lori Drew of St. Louis, Missouri created a fake MySpace account claiming to be “Josh Evans.”  From there, she proceeded to interact with her 13-year-old neighbor, Megan Meier. 

Drew has admitted to creating this fake account with her daughter and then 18-year-old employee Ashley Grills.  Several people contributed to running the faked account, including Drew.  Many witnesses have testified that Drew confronted Meier about spreading rumors abot Drew’s daughter.  “Josh” also gathered information from the online interactions that were later used to humiliate her and tell her that “the world would be better without you.” 

Drew has been charged on three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress, and one count of criminal conspiracy.  She faces up to a $300,000 fine and up to three years behind bars.  The case is now being held in the California court system because of MySpace headquarters being located in the state. 

So, should Drew be locked behind bars or serve the recommended one year probation and pay a small fine?  Many professionals see this case as an opportunity to address the serious implications that are seen within social networking.   I’ve seen several stories recently that are focused on suicides caused by harmless social networking gone bad.  What surprises me the most would have to be the access that is given to minors.  My 13-year-old neice has a MySpace account and has access to things she probably shouldn’t.  What’s even more scary is the fact that adults are willing to go to extreme measures on social networking sites such as MySpace. 

Lori Drew is responsible for the death of Megan Meier.  Lock her up and show America that we  need to be more responsible on these networking sites.

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AirTrans adds WiFi to entire fleet of planes

In a recent segment on The Today Show, AirTrans has publicly released it’s plans to enable their entire fleet of planes with wireless internet. The transformation should be complete by the end of summer. After researching the customer service of the company, AirTrans has found that customers want to be connected to the Internet more so than to be able to talk on their cell phones.

Each plane will be wired through connective devices weighing about 150 pounds. Customers will be connected to the 3G network and be able to surf the Internet, e-mail, and text message during their flight. Testing this service, a Today Show reporter was able to experience the Internet on a flight 39,000 feet over Maine.

AirTrans believes that this project will be a new source of revenue in a cutthroat industry. Other Airlines planning to enable their planes with WiFi include Delta, American, Virgin America, Jet Blue, SouthWest, and Alaska. In such a competitive industry, these companies have realized that they have to offer this service to “stay in the game.”

As a consumer who does not fly much, I don’t know how I feel about this technological addition to airplanes. I’m sometimes bothered by those who are attached to their BlackBerry or laptop in public places. I understand that many buisness  people today need these services to stay connected to corporate offices, clients, and co-workers.  But, how much is enough?   Recently, I stood in line to renew season football tickets at West Virginia University.  All three customers in front of me were on their cell phones – either talking or texting/e-mailing.  When one customer got to the ticket window, he continued to talk on his phone for several seconds before actually responding to the ticket salesperson.  While I was on my lunch break and pressed for time, I became quite irritated with the lack of courtesy of the customers in front of me. 

Back to wireless internet available on planes.  Has anyone thought about how this may disturb other guests on the plane?  What about sound and video regulations?  I personally would be appalled if the passenger beside me chose to watch  a YouTube video or listen to music without headphones.  And what about the sound generated by the gentle “tapping” of keys when typing an e-mail?  In most of the instances where I’ve travelled via airplane, it’s been for personal travel.  Therefore, I enjoy my time on the plane and try to relax.  Maybe I’ll steer clear of AirTrans when I book my vacation flight this summer.

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Kia Soul Hamsters, iPod and all

The new Kia Soul has found a way to attract customers.  Using a plethora of hamsters, the “coolest” hamsters roll up in a Kia Soul while others are left spinning on their hamster wheels. 

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The Kia Soul is the new compact, four-door, wagon type vehicle.  The vehicle has the “space shuttle” look, as I like to call it.  Comparable to the Scion xB, the car fits four hamsters (or people) comfortably. 

What caught my attention (yes, I see things through a marketing perspective) was the connectivity of the iPod, Bluetooth capability, and a step towards a technology-savvy hamster.  I mean, customer.  While many cars are iPod compatible, this may be the first ad that I’ve seen where the iPod is actually featured and used. 

While I will be in the market for a new car soon, the technological advancements of vehicles today is something that I’ll be looking at.  I definitely don’t need any “fully loaded” expensive car, but I would like to have some of the popular features such as GPS, iPod connectivity, and maybe even a remote car starter.  The Kia Soul has many affordable luxuries such as leather interior (even on the dashboard) but may not be the car for me.  Kia has created this car as a “fashion accessory” for a the style-conscious individual.  The Soul gives consumers a glamorous look with a little bit of fun and play.

Kia has done an excellent job at marketing their new product, and the featured songs on the commercials are a hit everywhere!  After “googling” to find more information on the Kia Soul, some of the most popular search results brought up sites on the commercials and songs used in the commercials.  Kia has even won some awards from the controversial PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) group for not using/harming real animals. 

Per the PETA Media Center:

Kia’s new ad is hitting on all four cylinders with PETA because creative alternatives to the use of live animals in advertising spare real animals from experiencing the confusion, fear, and risk of injury  that go along with being on a film set. Animals used in the entertainment industry are often subjected to rigorous and abusive handling and training methods–including electric shocks–to force them to perform tricks that are confusing and even frightening to them. Kia has pulled in front of the competition by recognizing that consumers are increasingly concerned about what happens to animals onscreen as well as off.

“Animals used as ‘actors’ are invariably scared and confused and deprived of everything that’s normal, natural, and important to them,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Kia’s animatronic hamster ad is a winner.”

From a marketing point of view, Kia has done an excellent job creating an ethical and attractive campaign.  Keep up the good work – I can’t wait to see the Kia hamster commercial again!

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Desperate Housewives don’t know how to “Twitter”

On Sunday night’s episode of “Desperate Housewives on” ABC, Lynette Scavo’s husband Tom went on a job interview after being a stay-at-home dad while Lynette worked outside the home.  After arriving home from the interview, he realized that he was not up-to-date with the world of marketing.  As renown marketers on the television series, Tom and Lynette have always been competitive yet complimentary to each other.  In the interview, Tom was asked if he had ever used Twitter as part of a marketing campaign.  As a middle-aged man looking for a job in the ever-changing marketing world, Tom was surprised to find that he had no idea what Twitter was. 

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Much like myself, Tom felt like he was not current on his marketing technologies.  I chucked to myself as I watched the show.  Simply put, I have no idea how to “twitter” either.  I’ve established an account, tried to update my “followers” on my current status, and also tried to follow others. 

Remember the do-it-yourself book series “for Dummies”?  I would like to find the latest copy of “Twittering for Dummies.”  I’m not a huge fan of social networking and have found that Twitter is much more complicated and less fun than Facebook or MySpace.  Better yet, my “friends” on Twitter are also friends on MySpace and Facebook!  Why should I tell someone three different times?  Do I really need to spend my day updating my friends as to what I’m doing at that exact moment?  Honestly, there’s not enough time in my day for me to check up on my friends and acquaintances.  And I haven’t found the time yet to sit down and figure out just what the heck “twittering” can do for me.

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Jon and Kate Plus Eight – Minus Jon?

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Much to my disappointment, Jon and Kate Gosselin have fallen into the celebrity status.  Five years ago, we started watching this cute, interracial couple on their journey with two sets of multiples – twins and sextuplets.  Today, we love to watch their television show on TLC, “Jon and Kate Plus Eight.”  More recently, Jon Gosselin has been accused of having an affair with 23-year old Deanna Hummel. 

According to US Weekly magazine, there is proof that the affair is legitimate.  There’s even a video that supposedly shows Jon Gosselin leaving the Hummel residence early one morning.  (Visit www.usweekly.com for the video clip).  All this “insider” information is coming from Hummel’s roommate and brother.  Hmm… sounds kind of fishy. 

Nonetheless, if Jon is not having an affair, let’s make it perfectly clear that he has executed poor judgement for the sake of his family.  Kate has been interviewed by Today Show host Meredith Vieira as well as Larry King for CNN.  The interviews are kind of confusing for viewers, though.  So, Jon didn’t cheat on Kate, but they are handling things privately and haven’t told the kids?  Kate says Jon has not been able to handle the media well.  Jon has made several statements saying he has not cheated on Kate and that he’s sorry for what he’s put the family through.  Let’s be serious – with eight children at home, Jon shouldn’t be at the bar until 2 a.m.  And if he’s not handling the constant public attention, then maybe he should stay home. 

As a proclaimed Christian household, the Gosselin’s have suffered from bad press and the “celebrity” mishaps.  Many across America have passed judgement on Kate for exposing her family on national television.  And if you read her book, “Multiple Blessings,” you will find that at one point, they weren’t even sure how they were going to pay their bills.  I am not a mother but will stick up for Kate in saying that she just wants what’s best for her family.  Maybe she’s a little irritable and nags at Jon on their show.  But with eight little ones running around, would you be doing any better?

Season Five is set to air this month on TLC.  I will continue to keep this family in my thoughts and prayers and hope things can be resolved internally before the entire world is exposed to their private life.

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