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.

Advertisements

Search Engine Optimization: Not As Scary As It Sounds

February 14, 2009

search-engine-marketing

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.

mona-lisa


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?


Congrats Colin!

January 17, 2009

Before I really jump into this venture in an organized, scientific manner, I wanted to give a quick congrats and shout-out to my Irish brethren Colin Farrell (we’re not really related, but we could be) for winning Best Actor this year at the Golden Globes for his bleedin’ brilliant role in IN BRUGES.

And for those of you who haven’t yet seen IN BRUGES…get out there and see it/rent it/buy it/live it!!! Having some of everything – comedy (a lot), drama, action, it was probably the coolest movie of 2008. Actually, it IS the coolest movie in a long time. Here’s the toned down trailer: