Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thoughts on "Reality Advertising"

I recently read this article about "Reality Advertising" on

The idea of this is really interesting to me. I mean, we are in a "reality" age where it seems like the sitcom is long since dead. There are definitely still some good sitcoms on TV, but it seems as though there are so many more reality shows on. On Fox for a whole week (Mon - Fri), 50% of their programming during prime time (8p - 10p) is reality television. So, why wouldn't the smart marketers make their advertising follow this trend?

What is interesting to me is how they are making this "Reality Advertising" work. There are companies that are paying someone to walk around wearing a T-shirt with a company logo on it. I think about cars that have their logo or company information which brings their information out into the public.

I really love this idea. We have become immune to pop up ads, and although it is incredibly disturbing for ads on my Yahoo to mirror what I have been searching for - I have become desensitized to these as well. It brings advertising into a whole new light. These are ideas that are innovative and eye-catching, but all while being non-intrusive. Ingenious.

It is exciting to think about the evolution of this "Social marketing" or "Reality Advertising." What's next? I am sure there are companies out there brewing some bigger ideas and I can't wait to see what those are. It is also interesting to think about how long it will take us to become desensitized to this as well because I am sure it is just a matter of time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, that got me thinking ...

I just read this article from CNN Money about Harvard MBA graduates and essays they've written about what they want from life. The article is titled "Harvard MBAs: Putting goals of corporate domination aside."

This made me think of a couple things. First, there was a student, Chad Hufsey, quoted in this article as saying, "My life going forward is about one thing: living life -- without fear of failure -- to its fullest potential." This is a very interesting thought for me because it is something that I struggle with as well ... as I'm sure many / most of us do. What is interesting to me is that he was able to learn this through his MBA program. Is this something we can teach sooner so that students can take more of a chance with their writing during earlier stages of their learning? It seems like there would be some value to bring out this "fear," talk about it, and face it - maybe even during a first year writing program. Students shouldn't be afraid of writing, they should be able to have a safe platform in which to fail and then be able to reflect upon that failure. There is a lot to be said for the (good) direction failure can take someone.

The second thing I thought about while reading this article was this assumption we have that our business students are only interested in "world domination." Oh, and how a 200-word essay can give us insight into a person. No, I'm not surprised by that, but I'm surprised that they are surprised. It isn't amazing that students who study (ied) business have a past ... or a soul. It isn't amazing that they want share their experiences with others. The impact of bringing a new genre into this Harvard MBA program was rather significant to these graduates and, possibly, their potential employers. And, since I am just starting to delve into Genre Theory, this makes me wonder, is the group of genres that populate a certain community too narrow, and how do we introduce new genres into a particular community?

Hats off to Tony Deifell for creating and introducing Portrait Project. The essays featured are also accompanied by a black and white photograph of the student author to enhance the impact.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"New Media" and its Implications in the Classroom

I just read a blog written by a past professor, Steve Krause, which mentioned that he heard the news about Bin Laden's death via Facebook. It is interesting because I actually saw the news ON the news, oddly enough. I often feel like I come into someone's conversation on Facebook ... I feel like I have missed something and everybody is already in the middle of talking about something important that I should already know about. This time, I was "watching" (using this as a loose term - more like using it as background noise) the Celebrity Apprentice when the announcement came on that President Obama was going to make an announcement ... on a Sunday night. Yeah, it made me a little nervous.

Shortly after the announcement that the President was going to address the public, the news anchor confirmed Bin Laden's death. What is unique to me in this particular situation is that I coincidentally had the TV on and was watching it live - which I rarely due anymore due to my overwhelming love of my DVR and my short snippets of time that I can watch TV. Admittedly, I have something like 95 unwatched items and I have to continually go in and delete things to make more room for things that I will inevitably delete in a week, but I digress.

Anyway, immediately after I heard the news on TV, I logged on the Facebook and watched the trend on Twitterfall. While Krause heard the news on Facebook and then turning on the TV, I did the opposite. I feel like his was a more natural progression and I wonder what I thought I might find from something like Facebook or Twitterfall that I couldn't find on the news. I think I turned to these things for comfort. I didn't really know what the implications of Bin Laden's might be, or if anyone else was thinking about the possibility of retaliation like me, but I wonder what implications or improvements my use of digital media platforms offer when events like these arise.

I also attended CAC today and the use of cell phones as "pencils" came up as well. This made me think about all the times when I grab my cell phone to write notes to myself about anything from small reminder notes, to a detailed draft, to a grocery list (which I love keeping in my phone because I always have it with me). These things really make me think about the use of these things in the classroom. We obviously don't like students using Facebook, Twitter, and cell phones during class, but I wonder how this may become prohibitive to the invention process and not prohibitive to the students' learning.

What are some of the implications of this? What does this mean in creating future assignments when possibly considering these digital mediums? What does this mean for rules and policies in school? What does it mean for our often already overloaded students to encourage MORE information at their fingertips all the time? I'm not sure the answer to any or all of these questions, but it is something for me to definitely continue to consider.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Powering Through PowerPoint

I haven't used this much PowerPoint in years! I find myself wondering if I am slipping right back into the "old ways" of building a presentation in PowerPoint with usinga template and just plugging "important points" into my already predetermined bullets. Ugh, I am already bored myself.

Trying to make the conscious decision to use what we read in Presentation Zen is sitting in the forefront of my mind everytime I place a word on a slide. Although I had a high level of anxiety about the Ignite presentation, developing it ended up being really therapeutic and inventive. Oddly enough, it provided me the same purpose that I hoped my students would get out of the assignment I created for my P3 project. I expected to write my project and have it totally completed before I worked on my Ignite presentation, but it ended up being better to use my Ignite presentation to help continue to develop my project - so the assignment I am creating might actually work!! That is very encouraging, and with how overwhelmed I am right now, I could use all the encouragment I can get.

This new sense of encouragment and empowerment with PowerPoint makes me think that there really is something to using genre as a form of invention. I will mention in my Ignite, as well as in my project, using Google Wonder Wheel to help spark new ideas and give a new insight to a topic. The Google Wonder Wheel is definitely something I will introduce to students to help get them started on brainstorming a project.

I know I shouldn't admit this - especially in writing - but knowing that there are better forms of PowerPoint out there (instead of just literally copying and pasting the paper) kind of drives me a little crazy. It forces me to be more conscious of the words and images I am choosing to put on my PowerPoint. I feel guilty just choosing a template and plugging in bullets.

I was so hesitant about the Ignite at first, but I definitely see the positives of it now. I am nervous to be constrained to 15 second intervals, but I am excited about my slidedeck. Granted, I am saying this BEFORE I have actually delivered my presentation, so my tune may certainly change after tomorrow's presentation...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wait ... it's April WHAT?!

I honestly don't know how it is already April 7th and next week is our last week of classes. I am trying my best to prioritize what needs to get done and do it in power chunks of time. This is something new I am trying for this season's finals. I figure if I give myself 40 minutes chunks of time to power through something, then take 5 minutes to take a break (which could include getting something to drink, checking Facebook, my email, my phone, etc) then get back into something different for the next 40 mins and so on for 3 to 4 hours. So far, so good. When I am pressed for time, I have to get down to business. I don't have time to check this and do that. I have one task at a time to attend to and there are NO disturbances (yeah, right ... only in a perfect world). These power chunks of time may be something that sticks with my thoroughout the rest of my grad career. Phew, I finally figured something out! Which brings me to my "Rewinding the Tape" for 516. As I try to be reflective as possible, one of things that I have been considering lately that I have gained from this class is that there are things that I like, and things that I don't. I know that sounds really simplistic, but I think that is really important. I used to dwell on why I didn't use a certain program, or why Diigo wasn't right for me. But, I have learned to just say to myself, "It just isn't right ... right now." This certainly doesn't mean that I can't go back later and re-evaluate. This lends to me becoming more flexible. This being flexible thing is something that I want to work on in my "summer time" (I say that as if I can just pick it up ... but I am sure going to try) so that I can bring flexibility into the classroom. I think bringing flexibility into the classroom will allow me to utilize technological resources better and allow me to relax a little bit. I have never really been a go-with-the-flow sort of person, I have always had to plan. But, I think now is the time to try.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trying Not to Freak Out ...

With the end of semester looming, I always get a little anxious ... there's always so much to do with so little time. I don't know what happened to this semester. It seems like I was just pouring over my P1 bundle trying to decide if I wanted to use Twitter and trying to decide how many blogs I thought would be acceptable for the semester. More than anything, this semester has caused me to become self-reflective in many of my "homework practices." I put that in quotes, because I still think I am trying to figure out what those are and what works for me. What makes me want to nail this down is not just the next two years of my master's, but beginning to teach in the Fall. When we have more to do than time to do it, it forces us to prioritize. This semester I have been so-so about prioritizing, but I know that when I start teaching, my students will take priority over anything else. But, I have to also remember that they will be in the same spot I am in right now. How do I respect their time, but still expect them to deliver good, quality work? How do I build in all the assignments I have been thinking about over this semester in this class into a single semester for my students in the Fall? I don't. How do I know when some is too little and when enough is enough? I guess that is what the summer is for. But first, finals and my ignite presentation ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My "Invention" Web

Ok, so here is my "invention" web. Although, at the time (probably about 6 months ago or so), I didn't know this was my "invention;" I didn't have the right vocabulary. As I have said before, I tend to get writer's block, and I know that my biggest "block" is myself, so I wanted to see what it was that I thought inspired me. That way, if I ran into a block and felt like I couldn't write, I would have several options to choose from. I hung it near my desk and just recently looked over and though to myself, "What an ironic form of foreshadowing."

What is interesting to me about this brainstorming web is that I am trying to figure out whether I get my "invention" internally, or really as a "social act." There is only one leg that looks "social" to me, but then again, this web was created 6 months ago and I really feel like my needs have changed. I used to think that if I talked to someone else about my ideas and they gave me one, then I would be using their ideas as my own. But, I don't view it in this way anymore. I am valuing the power of speaking to others about thoughts and ideas other than my own. That is, of course, why we do consulting at the Writing Center (instead of just "correcting" or editing someone's paper) and why peer review is so valuable. Plus, I have to consider how incredibly lucky I am to be around such intelligent people and I need to take advantage of that.
If anything, I am really glad I kept this web and was able to go back and look at how I viewed invention (inspiration). It is useful to me to reflect upon how my views are changing - for the better. In fact, I decided to brainstorm a new web to see how things have changed and it looks quite a bit different. I think this one (below) was more conscious than the first one, but I think that's ok. The main differences are: with this most recent one, there are only two main types of invention. There are also a couple of things that I thought were important to mention, but wasn't sure exactly where they belonged, i.e., "the iterative writing process" and "revision," because I believe that both of things might be able to be "social" and "non-social," as I name them.