Archive for the ‘ Communication ’ Category

The Classroom Like The Internet

Before I cap the night off with this entry, allow me to say what a joy it actually was to come up with all these entries. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be stopping here—or at least I’d like to convince myself that. But regardless of, I must say this exercise really allowed me to catch that fire again for blogging. As I had mentioned before, this isn’t something new to me. However, the learnings definitely were. And I must say that 15 posts after the first one, I’d say this was a worthwhile experience.

Looking back at the OC 152 experience, allow me to draw a picture of why this class is a picture of good online practices:

1. Sharing is encouraged.

In the class, we often started by talking about personal experiences. These experiences, when shared, allow the class to take an even bigger interest in the way the lesson relates to them. In the same way, when we are online and encourage sharing—whether of skills, information, or through collaboration—we foster a climate online that allows for great learning.

2. Good practice makes perfect

It isn’t enough to just practice and practice. It’s important to know what you did right, and what you did wrong in order for you to reinforce the good, and get rid of the wrong. I think that’s why it was so important to evaluate our works together as a class. Doing so allowed us to recognize certain blind spots and do what was needed about them.

Likewise, we must recognize the good and the bad practices online. When we are able to make the distinction between the two, it is easier for us to perfect the practice and be better at our craft.

3. Have an open mind.

Some of the things we learned in OC 152 were things I would not have heard about or might have put an interest on had I not taken the class. But opening myself up to ideas such as microblogging and podcasting now makes me think about why it is necessary for me now to open my own Twitter account. Haha. Again, with the inception of new technology, unless I allow myself to explore areas I on the onset would not have an interest in, I would never really appreciate the benefits of such technology. And as mentioned in my previous post, it is only but essential to be relevant now in the field of communication by familiarizing oneself with the digital world.

That’s it for HQ. For now, allow me to take a break from the writing. I’ll see you again soon agents. :)

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Nearing the End

Before I reach my supposed minimum of 15 entries, allow me to say that I really did learn a lot from this class. It feels weird knowing that this semester is now about to end; so is this particular class in OC 152. For this reason, just before we reach the “last” blog entry, I’ll be sharing two of the most valued lessons I picked up from this class:

1. There is an OrCom way.

This year marks what should be my last year in The University. Because of which, I think it’s only safe to say that by now there should be a great sense of what it means to be an OrCom major. However, I must say that this particular class allowed me to really evaluate whether that was such is already true for me. A definite eye opener was during an evaluation of one of our early requirements when we were told “what you did can be done by high school students.” That statement really got me to think of what it means to do things the OrCom way—a way that puts a premium in communication.

I believe that is translated to putting importance in knowing who you’re communicating with, how best to do it, and knowing how best to achieve the end goal. And such a lesson will stick with me not just in the area of social media, but in everything else as well.

2. The world is changing fast; you have to keep up.

There is no doubt that the technology today will eventually be obsolete tomorrow. The same may very well be true for communication practitioners. That is why there’s great reason to start getting yourself ready for the future by familiarizing yourself with what’s going on now. And given the way the field of communication will continue to be influenced by the new social media, the Internet, and every other technology in between, it is not enough for individuals to be skillful. Individuals must also be relevant. That to me, means not just knowing how to speak or write well, but knowing how such is only as important as knowing the skills needed for the message to work online.

I’m proud to say that even though things are now about to end here, I can look forward to the start of other things. And as I look at the future ahead of me, and the field I hope to be a great part of in the few years to come, I find that these two lessons may very well be enough to get me there where I want to be.  :)

How I Met Your Mother (in World of Warcraft)

In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted introduces a girl he had met online to the rest of his friends. Now this girl was no ordinary girl—this girl was hot. Of course, you’d think that Barney would back Ted up with this girl. But instead, he sees this as a warning signal, telling Ted that you never meet a hot girl looking for a date, online. Chances are, this girl is crazy. Haha.

Now as the episode progresses, you eventually find out that Ted met this girl while playing an online game. As for whether the girl is crazy or not, you can just go ahead and judge that for yourself. :)

I’ve personally never tried playing a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG) such as World of Warcraft (the game where Ted and the girl met) or Ragnarok Online. The closest thing I’ve ever played to something like it is online Counter-Strike and Boxhead Multiplayer—which are great and addicting games, by the way. Granted that, still we find that even the gaming industry is continuing to change given the presence of the Internet.

In the past, the most that Internet games have done is to post high scores of online players worldwide. Today, players don’t just see their scores online; players now talk to each other about their scores, discuss the game, share tips in real time, and so much more! Even gaming consoles such as the XBOX Live, Playstation 3, PSP, and the Nintendo Wii allow users to connect to the Internet, and in turn connect with other players.

We find now that even gaming has become a form of social activity that has transcended geographic and social boundaries. Below is a picture posted by Online MBA on April 2010 entitled, Online Gaming Statistics:

Click on the image to read the whole article

Given those statistics, today, just like Ted and the girl, it is no longer rare for players who meet online to eventually decide to meet each other in person.

The role of gaming companies now is to know how best to provide players with an experience that doesn’t just involve the playing of the game but to enrich this experience by exploring more ways in which players can share this experience with each other. On the other hand, the role of online gamers is to know how issues such as ethics and privacy now have greater impact on them. In short, gamers should now no longer just be good players skill-wise but good players ethics-wise as well.

There is no doubt that the gaming industry and community will continue to change as the Internet continues to play a significant role in the way players connect with each other. But for as long as we know how to make the best out of the situation in order to enrich the gaming experience as a social activity, connecting people together will continue to become something fun and entertaining.

Training Log: Good Practices in Online Advertising

Last time we talked about how the Internet is changing the advertising scene. And as promised, in this post we’ll be talking about a few good practices in online advertising. Now allow me to say that I am not an online advertising expert. What I can say however, is that I am an avid “consumer” when it comes to advertisements. Based on my experience and a few things I’ve picked up myself from others, online, and from my OrCom mentors, below are some of the practices I find are most relevant in the online advertising scene:

1. Target an audience, and know where they are online.

Your target audience is looking for you – they just don’t know it yet.” says Wendy Boswell who wrote an online article on Internet Marketing Strategy, entitled Who is Your Target Audience? Now the difference in the field of advertising is that in here, we’re not coming up with a strategy simply to pull our audience in; this time, we’re going directly to them. That’s why it’s important for us to have a targeted audience and know in which communities online we can find them. As mentioned in the previous post, when you know where you can find your audience  online, it is likely for you to know as well the things that engage them to meet in those communities. When we find out what that is, designing and coming up with an advertisement that will cater exactly to the interests of these people will be a lot easier.

2. Engage in conversation.

What separates online advertising from traditional advertising over TV, print, and radio, is that you have the opportunity to interact with your audience. If online advertising were not to take advantage of this, what then would separate it from traditional advertising? Talk to your audience. When they give their feedback, respond right away–and respond in a personal way. We don’t want to be setting up a front that gives the impression that the audience is talking to a robot. Be personal in your response. When your audience knows you care enough not just to simply get their attention but to actually hear what they have to say, you build your credibility to your audience. (Now, I think that means I should also start replying to the comments on this page.)

3. Don’t resort to spam.

Oh, dear me. How I hate spam! Whenever I see spam over YouTube comments, Facebook posts, and others, I quickly ignore the ad. Spamming sure may be effective sometimes, but the message it really sends out is “I’m too lazy to think of a better advertising strategy so why don’t we just flood the Internet and find out who responds.” That’s crazy. On top of that, spamming is almost always associated with malware. Do you really want your brand to be associated with something like that? And didn’t we just talk about building your credibility online?

Now of course, there are other good practices when it comes to online advertising. The list does not end here. But the bottomline is providing your audience a pleasant experience that they would not have had the opportunity of in traditional advertising.

For more information on topics such as this, you can check out some of the links below:

The Google User Experience: Ten principles that contribute to a Googley User Experience

Know Thy Audience Members. (That means thinking like them.)

Wiki: What’s a Quality Score?

The Communication Experiment of the Future

Hello Prometeus!

The video is entitled The Future of Communication. It’s a video I found a couple of years ago, back when I had just gotten started with my OrCom majors. At the time, I had just regarded this video as some freakish depiction of the future of communication. But now with all this study of the new social media, some of the things in this video actually “interest” me. And while I suppose this is one extreme depiction of what the world could be like in a few years given the new technology available to us today, I also think that there are some things in the video that may very well come true in the years to come. What do you think?

(And if by next year “plastic paper” is created, I’d seriously freak out.)

Virtual Birthday Present

I’m posting this mission log a couple of kilometers away from home base.

I’m at a friend’s house and I decided to write today’s entry here. Why, you ask? Well, today is her birthday and everyone has decided to throw her a surprise birthday party tonight. Part of the whole surprise was making her a Facebook group page. This group page was created by her mum who wanted to get greetings from people from all over the world.

Pauline is one of my good friends in church, and we wanted to get as much people to send their greetings out to her before tonight. Aside from the people who are physically here tonight, a couple more people were able to send their greetings in video through Facebook. One of them, Carl, sent his greeting from all over Alaska.

It’s amazing when I think about how new social media is currently changing the way we even celebrate birthdays! Today is Pauline’s 18th birthday and everybody who wanted to be part of it but couldn’t physically go to tonight’s party was still able to “share” in the experience.

I imagine how in the past, people must have read letters instead in events such as this. After the kids opened their presents under the Christmas tree, I imagine their mum pulling out a letter from dad who’s working in Japan. She reads it to them as the final surprise for the night.

Today, I have about twelve cousins living abroad. My titos and titas live in San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto, and San Diego. In the past, the only way for us to get updated with their lives was to wait for their emails and the pictures they’d attach to them. At present, our exchanges involve “Buzzing”, the tagging of photos over Facebook, and video conferencing over Skype.

I must say, being able to stay in touch with them in this way is one of the reasons why I love the Internet. And I’m sure this is the same for many more people who also have loved ones living in places very far away.

Well, here’s to the Internet and the ability to send virtual gifts online. Perhaps the only thing Pauline and I need to figure out now is how to share to Carl that delicious cake we’re now about to eat–which by the way, I must now get back to. :)

Short Mission Logs

In the previous entry, I talked about all the choices we now have when it comes to different ways of communicating.

There is one point that I haven’t mentioned yet but one that my mom and I was able to talk about a few days ago when she was asking me how to start her own blog. But before I talk about that point, allow me to let you in on what we talked about.

Our discussion revolved mainly around blogs, what it is, how to start one, and where to read interesting ones. We got to the topic of making your blogs interesting. I remembered talking to her about how in the past, people tended to write very long blog entries. I myself wrote very long ones when I started. And I talked to her about how now, writing very long blogs is no longer advisable if she wants people (especially those of the younger demographic) to read and follow her posts. She asked why, and I answered her with that point I was talking about earlier.

I told her about how  TV has trained us to have selective attention given the ability we have of simply switching from one channel to another. In the same way, all these choices we have now in communicating over the internet are slowly developing in us “selective attention” to any content online. If we don’t like what we see, we go to another site. If we feel that the website is sloppy, we search for the same content in another website. And with the advent of micro-blogging sites such as Twitter and Plurk, and “The rise of the Friendster status”, this generation is now being “trained” to” say much in as little as possible.”

Today, it is no longer unusual to have a blog post where a picture is attached and a YouTube video is embedded. In this age of communication, your chances of survival lie in the way you produce online content that’s either short, interesting, or better yet, both. About 5 years ago, friends of mine would write about all their angst in the world in a 20-paragaraph blog entry. Today, they’ve learned to condense all that emotion in a 140-character Tweet.

Honestly, as of yet, I have no means of judging whether such a thing is doing this generation good or not. On one side, I think about how “efficient” we’ve become in using words to express ourselves, and yet on another side, it also think about how that takes away from us the appreciation for what might be considered “lenghty” works of art.

Either way, such a phenomenon still allows for some learning and adapting on our side. But for now, let me go back, as I always do, to what our role is given this present situation. I believe that in this age where most information can now be accessed online, our responsibility is to be able to discern first what is of good content, and second, what content was presented in the most interesting way possible. For our ability to do so may very well determine how we also post content of our own.