The End is the Beginning

March 25, 2009

My original plan was to do this presentation in class. When that didn’t work out I decided to post it here accompanied by a voice over explaining the individual slides. I wanted to do it Civil War-style…kinda like in a Ken Burns’ documentary when the soldiers’ letters home are read aloud. But alas, my technological prowess does not work outside the realm of Mac, and because I do not currently have my Mac, I couldn’t add the voice over. However, I think the presentation is pretty self-explanatory. Just in case, though, I’ll provide short descriptions of each slide below.

SLIDE 1: The theme for this presentation is geared around a tribute to my favorite literary greats and combining wisdom of the past to approach the way of the future. The title of the presentation is taken from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. (pictured in right corner: James Joyce)

SLIDE 2: Before taking this class I thought I had a pretty good grasp of new media. It turns out that I didn’t really know all that much.

SLIDE 3: My original plan for the course was to write a blog about the Barack Obama Administration. However, although it was a good idea (I think), the course requirements didn’t lend themselves to it. Therefore, while I kept the name of the blog, it became more of a comment about my NMDL learning experience. (pictured in right corner: John Steinbeck)

SLIDE 4: Taking the NMDL course allowed me to learn the skills necessary to be an effective blogger. The quote is mine because I’ve always believed if someone else has already said it best, there’s no reason to not to use it for yourself…on the other hand, if you can say it best, don’t hesitate to speak your mind (so I did). (pictured in right corner: Super Obama)

SLIDE 5: Having already had some knowledge of new media from prior experience I knew that it was possible to learn by experimenting. The NMDL teaching process does just that…by having us dive in we were able to learn by doing. (pictured in right corner: Ernest Hemingway)

SLIDE 6: Social networking sites like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter aren’t just for everyday socializing but can be used to effectively promote yourself and your organization.

SLIDE 7: Social bookmarking sites allow you to take your favorite sites with you wherever you go and promote stories and sites personally important to you and professionally important to your organization.

SLIDE 8: Search engine optimization and marketing allow you to maximize the endless potential of promoting yourself, your organization, or your product on the Web.

SLIDE 9: For better or for worse (I think for better), Google is continuously developing new ways to expand itself into more areas of new media. Everything from its original intent as a search engine to search engine optimization to document sharing, email, and much much much more.

SLIDE 10: Podcasting is a fantastic way to get your message out in a fun, entertaining, informative, and convenient way. RSS feeds funnel everything one could want into one place.

SLIDE 11: The NMDL is a real weapon in the competitive professional world. The skills learned not only look good on resume, but are more than applicable in today’s fast-paced, technologically evolving marketplace. (pictured in right corner: William Shakespeare)

SLIDE 12: The New Rules of Marketing & PR… by David Meerman Scott and Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, while being the primary texts for the course, are also two guides that can help anyone, from beginners to experts, in the new media world. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

SLIDE 13: While many people may think they won’t understand the finer points of new media, no one should hesitate to get their NMDL. This course should become a fixture at MSU and it should be the NMDL alumni that spread the word. It was definitely one of the best classes I’ve had the opportunity to take.

SLIDE 14: There is no SLIDE 14, I’m just superstitious. NMDL 4 LIFE!


A Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Man

March 6, 2009

James Joyce, from whom I creatively borrowed the title of this blog entry.

What began as a simple blog about the deeds of our 44th President for a class assignment morphed into an exercise of personal digital growth for your humble narrator. Having slipped a bit from its original intent of commenting on Barack Obama, (hence the title of this blog The Obama Comment) this weekly narrative became more geared to class expectations, but opened the door for a truly constructive editorial in the future. The following is a tentative outline for how I plan to tell you all (at least my classmates and instructors…or fellow NMDL passengers as I like to call you (starting now)) the story of how I went from a naive Internet adolescent to a confident digital young man (or man-child):


1) “The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Man Often Go Awry”

To begin with I’ll give a rundown of my original intentions for this blog, how I plan to resume those plans following completion of this course, and why it’s better that I waited anyway.


2) “The Shortest Answer Is Doing The Thing.”

Here I will give an outline of what I knew, what I didn’t know, what I did with this blog, and what it taught me.

Shakespeare, Bill

3) “Why, Then The World’s Mine Oyster. Which I With Sword Will Open.”

I’ll conclude by explaining why I think New Media Drivers License is not only a great course, but why I believe it’s necessary for anyone entering public relations, and the field of communications as a whole. I will also describe how I see what we’ve learned as giving us an advantage upon entering the world of employment and a leg-up on those we with whom we will be competing.


4) “”My Advice Is, Never Do Tomorrow What You Can Do Today. Procrastination Is The Thief Of Time.”

This has nothing to do with my presentation…I just wanted to point out that I finished this week’s assignment ahead of time.

David Meerman Scott: The Sage of New Media

February 27, 2009
photoofdavidmeermanscott_0063Not since the lessons of man were laid down on papyrus has one book so succinctly held the virtues of a way of life. Apologies in advance to anyone offended by that initial statement and comparison (whispers: because I was referring to the Bible), but the scope of importance that David Meerman Scott‘s The New Rules of Marketing & PR spans requires a lofty description. Scott’s New Rules is the go-to guidebook for anyone and everyone in the fields of marketing and public relations. From the undergrad to the company president, this book should not only be required reading for anyone who wants to learn and understand how to use new media to promote their organization, it should be a bedside tome. Scott has succeeded in explaining how to use new media, from blogs to podcasts and site content to viral marketing (and social media and search engine optimization and like a trillion other things), to take your organization into the new and necessary future of marketing and PR. New Rules is a godsend for anyone who wants to know, thinks they know, or doesn’t know a thing about how to effectively use new media.
The Bible of New Media

The Bible of New Media

Following up a masterpiece is never an easy task, just ask J.D. Salinger or Hootie & The Blowfish. Scott, however, seems poised to keep the streak alive with his latest offering entitled World Wide Rave. You may be asking, “What the heck is a World Wide Rave?” Well fear not, my companions, Scott has an answer for you. According to the official World Wide Rave site, a WWW (for shortsies) is “when people around the world are talking about you, your company, and your products. Whether you’re located in San Francisco, Dubai, or Reykjavík, it’s when global communities eagerly link to your stuff on the Web. It’s when online buzz drives buyers to your virtual doorstep. And it’s when tons of fans visit your Web site and your blog because they genuinely want to be there.” Well that sounds positively splendid to me. Who wouldn’t want that? If you’re on the Web, you’re there for a reason, and that’s because you want people to hear what you have to tell them. Learning how to bring the world where you want them sounds like a nice size target audience, no?

The New Testament

The New Testament

I encourage you to get to know Mr. Scott and his work. In fact, if I were you I’d just buy copies of both books right now. I’ve already ordered my copy of World Wide Rave and a second copy of New Rules, because when you refer to Mr. Scott’s wisdom as much as I do, it’s better to have a back-up for when you can no longer read through the highlights, dog-ears, and notes in the margin.

Get Your License to Drive…New Media

February 21, 2009

Turn into New Media

What if during all of that time you spend on Facebook and using “the” Google (thanks, McCain) you were actually developing skills you could use in your career? What if you could actually earn credit by using them and the rest of the Internet even more than you do now? Well wipe the drool from your laptops and dream no longer, my friends (ibid, the Maverick). Michigan State University, always a forerunner in the field of communications, is once again ahead of the game with their latest course offering entitled, “New Media Drivers License.” Taught by leaders of the old and new schools of communications, Dr. Richard Cole and Ingenex CEO Derek Mehraban (sort of like the Butch and Sundance of cool teachers), NMDL takes you on a journey through what you thought you already knew and makes you realize you didn’t know much at all.

NBDL Instructors: Butch Cole & The Ingenex Kid

NMDL Instructors: Butch Cole & The Ingenex Kid

You’ll learn how to use social networks like Facebook and Twitter, search engines like Google and Yahoo, YouTube, blogs, and podcasts to advance yourself academically and professionally. This is one of those classes that you tell your friends that you’re taking and they can’t believe you’re actually getting credit for it. The only difference being you’re actually going to use every single thing you learn from Day 1 in class to your last day on the job…and love every minute of it. So what are you waiting for? Sign on, sign in, and sign up. Then again, if you don’t know how do to that yet, you need much more than a New Media Drivers License.

Search Engine Optimization: Not As Scary As It Sounds

February 14, 2009


When I first heard about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization for long, a few years ago, I thought it was something only the super techie nerds were supposed to how to use and be concerned with…kind of like the finer points of Star Wars. I accepted it as something I knew existed, but needn’t worry myself with because I would never understand it…kind of like stem-cells and my ex-girlfriend (I’m actually starting to understand stem-cells). However, after recently delving a little deeper I realized after breaking it down, it’s not as scary as it sounds.

SEARCH: Well that’s just looking for something. I know how to do that.

ENGINE: Engines are what make things go…know that one too.

OPTIMIZATION: That’s all about getting the most of something with an -ATION at the end…three for three I am.

So when you add it all up, it’s all about getting the most out of the engine that does your searching. To give it a little structure, it’s simply maximizing the likelihood that your site will come up in the results of Google, Yahoo, and the like when people search for related terms. Whether your a small-time blogger or a retail juggernaut, SEO is all about implementing a strategy to make sure when people are looking for something that you happen to offer, it’s you they happen to find. Different SEO tools do different different things, but in the end it’s all about increasing the relevance of your site to search engines like Google through precise, targeted key words, searchable tags, related inbound links, and the structure and content of your actual site. Improve these areas accordingly and the volume and quality of traffic to your site will improve, your page rank will go up, and the process becomes cyclical…this is search engine optimization, and it is here to help.

Now consider that explanation the fun, quick cartoon version to give you lay folk an idea of what search engine optimization is all about…however, for the Mona Lisa of SEO explanations click on the old lady below to see what she’s smiling about.


Let’s Do Some Social Networking (Not for Softball Guy)

February 7, 2009

It’s almost rare these days to meet someone who isn’t on MySpace or Facebook or involved in some sort of online social network. Those that aren’t usually fall into one of three categories:

1) The first are the seniors or Champions Tour members of our society due to the fact that, let’s just face it, lack the now nearly innate skills (computer and social) required to handle the complexities of this new medium. They deserve a pass and special kudos for getting on board. C’mon, you can keep in touch with the grandkiddies!

2) The second group are those members of generations Baby Boom and X due to a number of factors including, but not limited to – jobs, families, apprehension, “don’t get it”, they just don’t have the time, and their kids don’t want them on. I believe that we’ll start to get a lot more converts from this group once they realize it’s not just for kids and twenty-somethings, but can actually help you professionally (we’ll address this later).

3) The third group are those that believe they are just too cool for MyFace or Spacebook or because “that %#@! is just for high school girls”. Everyone has a few friends who are still holding out just to be contrarian or for the attention they get when people ask them why they aren’t on. You can usually recognize this guy (it’s usually a guy) by the fact he’s in a three summer softball leagues, has meetings regarding said leagues in the winter, and is still holding onto that high school dream in hopes that Dave Dombroski will attend that West Michigan Softball Classic and recognize what every one else has somehow missed these last ten years.

What I’m getting at is that unless you have a good excuse, there’s no reason not to be utilizing social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter just to name a few (besides bands and other artists, MySpace really is just for high school girls). Just look at it as another way to get yourself out there, socially and professionally. Instead of breaking down each site and explaining how you can benefit just look at it from the perspective of a company. Let’s face it, when you boil everything down we’re all just our own personal brands. Just like Google, Nike, Apple, Volkswagen, Obama, etc we’re all subject to positive and negative perceptions. If you drink too much and hit on your best friend’s girlfriend, that’s bad PR…you jump in front of oncoming traffic to save a little old lady, your stock as a human being goes up. Everything else is somewhere in between. Social networking is a way to effectively manage your own personal brand identity. Facebook allows you to connect. LinkedIn allows you to promote. Twitter allows you to be heard. Never before have individuals been able to so effectively control the message and therefore who they are…and isn’t that what PR…and life…is all about?

Google AdWords, Thou Art Thy Enemy

January 31, 2009

Well this week I have been attempting to learn Google AdWords, with what I thought were reasonably successful results. Boy was I wrong. It seems so simple and I feel like I really understand the strategy and use of AdWords, but after compiling several campaigns, and subsequently launching them, I have yet to be able to see them…and isn’t that really the point of an ad? For people to see them? I’m starting to get pretty, pretty, pretty (in Larry David voice) pissed off. However, I will not give up, give in, or lose hope. I’ll continue to tinker with this beast until I’m it’s master.

For now, this is what one of my ads would have looked like if you can picture it off to the right of some Google search results:


So you see, the devil is in the details, and that particular detail is actually getting the ad to show up and lead people here, instead of people coming here and then seeing the ad. I’m sure with a little help from my friends I’ll get this figured out though.

I’ll leave you with a funny video of how creepy Dick Cheney was…whatta weirdo.