#AmericaIsBeautiful, In Any Language

It’s really interesting to consume pop culture in the absence of TV. That’s right, we cut the cord a couple of years ago. Words I never thought would leave my mouth – for I have always loved my color teevee…..But we (the husband who treasures the “kill your television” paperweight I gave him, and the rest of us with a wifi connection) don’t seem any the more deprived for it. Kinda hard to be between YouTube, Netflix, Amazon instant video, the Internet in general. (I submit that these days, if you can’t follow along with water cooler talk, you might really be willfully living under a rock. Not judging, an observation.)

That said, it is interesting to watch the cultural conversations from a remove, and get my water cooler talking points from the next best but hypervocal and hyperfocused lens of the twitterverse or my facebook feed. This morning’s takeaway – there was a game last night! The Seahawks pounded the Broncos! Payton Manning’s face! And all of that is less important than that ad – Coke dared to put out a spot featuring “America The Beautiful” in something other than just English and now ‘Murica is mad!

[Read more…]

Do “Much Ado”

(Yes, I sometimes write about things that have nothing to do with work whatsoever. In other news, it’s summer.) 

poster for joss whedon's "much ado about nothing"

Yes, the movie is shot in black and white. No, you won’t notice.

Went to see Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” last night. I highly recommend it – even, and perhaps especially if you weren’t an English major. I thought Ken Branagh brought the Bard to life 20 years ago with an energy and speed that was a refreshing change. But this is MUCH better (although nothing scares me to death, to this day, more than Branagh’s “Dead Again”*).

Although, as a lit. major, I can’t help but think what I did the first time around: [Read more…]

Digital Literature: Faster, Better, Cheaper, Poorer….

kid reading an ipad

Shh, I’m reading. (image by Gunjan Karun)

I finally have an iPad!

Yes, that took a while. Because although I live at the intersection of communications and digital everything, I also happen to be on a budget and think gadgets (including, and sometimes especially my beloved Apple products) cost way too darn much. But as it turns out, I’d been enrolled in one of those credit card rewards programs, and I had no idea. Which means I’d racked up the points for years. Which means I had enough to get an iPad. So I did. And there was much rejoicing in the land!

There was also the rediscovery of why, although I am agnostic and will use whatever technology both works and fits the budget, Apple continues to induce that gasp-inducing reaction with great design. The iPad came out of the box fully charged, and in fact, came on when I accidentally hit the power button while trying to get the packaging off. First I was surprised. Then I was set up. Took me a whole 5 minutes. It was an object lesson in how to win my dollars and loyalty: Make. It. Easy.

Then I tried to use the iPad for the purpose for which it is most intended in my house – reading books. Specifically, from the library.  That took longer. [Read more…]

“Software Bug” is the new “Dog ate my homework.”

Mote Marine Lab Distance Learning

They eventually grow up, no?

On the heels of my weekend ramblation about content and privacy comes this piece in the NYT about digital content in the college classroom.

Bottom line, your professor can now tell if you’ve done your reading.

Really? I can’t help but think this an awful development.

Yes, this is going to be very valuable for textbook authors and teachers who think they’re more interesting than they’ve been led to believe. And if the entire class never looks at chapter 3, that’s probably telling.

But honestly, the bigger point is this – it’s not the professor’s job to check on you in college. It’s your job as a student to figure out who you are, set your own goals, do your own work, and oh yeah, be on top of your reading. And good educators – whether they’re teaching in person or online – probably communicate and check in with students, and don’t need analytics to tell them when a chapter, or a whole class, is falling flat.

Then again, I didn’t go to college understanding I was watched all the time because I’m older than dirt in Internet years. So what do I know?

A Ramblation: On “Linear Television,” Disappearing Books, And Privacy

I was going to write a post on food insecurity upon Ken Mueller‘s suggestion. Then life – and under the weatherness – intervened and between things, I found myself sucked into a fascinating discussion on Ken’s Facebook feed this weekend about print newspapers, paywalls, and content. I’m not going to write about those particular things because a) he’d do it better as someone with wider experience in newsrooms and production, and b) I experience that whole subject more as a consumer, for whom it’s sort of a done deal.

Zenith

We are a one-TV house. And come fall, we may well be a no-cable house.

Meanwhile, I think the parallel, but somewhat more interesting conversation to me—because I might just cut the cord this summer—is the one happening about “linear television” watching

If you know me, you know that I adore TV. [Read more…]

Documenting The Steubenville Rape Case

1302_lets-teachWarning: The links in this post about the Steubenville rape case are not for the faint of heart. But this post by Alexandra Goddard should be required reading for everyone. Not just parents, teenagers, and athletes. It should be read by absolutely everyone who considers himself human, by anyone remotely interested in being a good citizen and living in a safe, just, and kind society. All of us.

Three things jump out at me in this post:  [Read more…]

The Bible As Literature: Read It To Improve Your Writing, If Nothing Else

It’s not often that this blog intersects with conversations about religion and education policy. But as a communications professional, someone who trades in words, words, words …..here we are, thanks to this recent op-ed by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. Basically, they’re saying what educated people, writers, and readers know the world over, and I agree: You cannot be ignorant of the Bible. I’m not saying we should all be Bible scholars. I’m saying it’s not useful to be unaware of the literature or its influence.


Seeing Colbert switch fluidly from mock-pundit to serious social justice
      advocate is made that much more powerful at roughly :29 when he references
“the least of my brothers.” See Lisa Moraes’ full write-up of the event. [Read more…]

Augmented Reality: “Yo, Heads Up!”

club1

“Erm, hello? I’m up here.”

I spent yesterday at xPotomac – thank you, Shonali Burke, for telling me about it! – where there was a lot to love. I made new friends, I learned a ton, (I didn’t get lost – yay!), but the part I loved the most was easily the discussion on augmented reality. AKA Google Glasses, “wearable computing,” and similar devices. I’m going to thumbnail it here because there was just SO much ground covered between presentation, lightning round, and post-chat into lunch. But basically, a lot of us are ready to look up from our devices, we’re ready to stop looking like we’re metal detectors, we’re ready interact with each other rather than to each other. [Read more…]

Of Cookies and Kings

Two great stories that I think every communications professional needs to read this week:

The Superbowl Orea Insta-Ad

oreo-superbowl-blackout-adYou didn’t have to be in the US or a sportsfan to see and smile at this one. But for anyone who thinks it was effortless or even right-place-right-time, think again. There’s a good write up by the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi on how it came about. But this is the really important part:  [Read more…]

Where Ya At?

Volunteer Corn

Lots of stories to tell. Now to write about them all! (photo courtesy of mrsdkrebs)

It’s a fair question. The short answer is, I’ve been writing for my living. More often than not at Razoo’s Inspiring Generosity. Where they like me, they really really like me!

Of course, this means that I now have two come up with two posts a month – less time for dawdling, pedaldpedalpedal!

And so, I am (shamelessly) reaching out. Is there a great cause you think could use more eyeballs? People doing awesome things to improve their communities or make a difference? If there is a story of social good that you want to see get light of day, tell me – I’d love to write about it.

This week, I’m looking forward to writing up my notes on Street Sense, and if I make that deadline with time to spare (hah!) an app that might make a difference to the homeless. And yes, that is because I tend to think that stories about poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity get less and less attention – even though all three are more pervasive than ever. Talk to me. Let’s change that*.

Thank you!

*Of course, if you could also point me towards a magic wand that’ll help me make more hours in the day, that’ll also be greatly appreciated.