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Dear You,

I came across an interesting blog post noted on Twitter earlier today with recommendations for college grads hoping to enter the workforce.

I thought it would be useful to pass along – from David Griner, a social media strategist for Luckie & Companie. Thanks to Heather Huhuman for the tweet. Check it out, here.

Clean it up!

MissFits

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Dear  You,

Kenneth Knight, multimedia coordinator for the Tampa Tribune, spoke to our editing class today about his position and experiences, giving a sobering dose of reality to graduating journalism hopefuls about the economy and the state of the news industry.

Knight, with a background in broadcast media from Alabama, if I remember correctly, worked at the Tribune in varying capacities over the past decade and a half or so, working in print, online and multimedia.

Having a firm handle on writing skills is definitely a must, Knight said, but graduating students should have working knowledge and even specialize in new media tools and social networking, too. With layoffs happening every day – literally, college grads need a skill set that will separate them from the competition, which include recently laid off, seasoned journos.

The economy is pushing news organizations to cut staff left and right, requiring more of those who are employed. This means that you’ve got to be skilled at more than writing out of necessity. News organizations are pooling resources to create a seamless product across various platforms. Pick up that extra multimedia class now while you can. It may make all the difference in what you can offer an employer and what they can offer you.

I guess news isn’t for everyone, though, because when I heard a possible starting salary of $25,000, my jaw dropped. College students in the first or second year – think about the industry you’re entering, and realize that there’s a good chance you probably won’t get rich doing it.

Journalism is one of those things you’ve got to love, and if you do, it’ll be well worth it.

MissFits

Dear You,

Thought this Webinar by Lindsay Olson, a PR and marketing recruiter,  might be helpful, per my last post. It addresses the good and bad of social networking, things to look out for and things to avoid. Check it out here and find out more about how to clean up YourSpace on the Internet.

Doesn’t hurt to take a look.

MissFits

And P.S. – Share with friends. They’ll thank you later.

Dear You,

Exploring the Twittterworld, I came across an interesting diagram relating social media to the human anatomy. For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, here’s a quick rundown. Twitter is a messaging service, that allows users to tell others what they’re doing over multiple networks and devices. It’s a social networking tool that’s asks one question, “What are you doing?”  to which users must post an answer, called a “tweet,”  of 140 characters or less. It’s kind of like an AIM status, except anyone on Twitter can see it. Tweeters can follow each other and respond to tweets or even message each other directly.

Anyhoo, back to the diagram, which I give full credit to Hutch Carpenter, a senior product manager at Connectbeam. (Find out more about him here.) When you use social media, what do you use it for? Keeping up with friends? Chatting? Business? You’ll see an incomplete list below of where to go to get what you want from social media below.

Where are you on this list? What do you use social media for?

Enjoy,

MissFits

 

Social Media and You

Ideas, opinion, information:

  • FriendFeed
  • Twitter

Share photos, videos

  • Flickr
  • SmugMug
  • Zoomr
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • FriendFeed

Music you like:

  • Last.fm

Chit chat

  • Twitter

What are you feeling?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

What are you doing?

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • FriendFeed
  • Upcoming

What are you eating?

  • Twitter

Where are you?

  • Brightkite
  • Twitter deas, opinion, information:
  • FriendFeed
  • Twitter

Share photos, videos

  • Flickr
  • SmugMug
  • Zoomr
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • FriendFeed

Music you like:

  • Last.fm

Chit chat

  • Twitter

What are you feeling?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

What are you doing?

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • FriendFeed
  • Upcoming

What are you eating?

  • Twitter

Where are you?

  • Brightkite
  • Twitter

Dear You,

I wrote about professionalism on the Internet a bit ago – reiterating that it’s important that we, as young professionals, don’t let the marvels of new technology get the best of us. Having Web presence is important and critical in some industries, but it’s important to keep it all in perspective and make sure that we put our best foot, or face, forward.

That being said, I found an interesting article about the good and bad in Facebook, tweeted on Twitter earlier today. Read it here.

This article does a great job of putting social media in perspective. Start thinking about Facebook as an interactive, in-depth resume, that almost anyone can access – your parents, employers, family members, spouses.

Your contact information, people you associate with, organizations you’ve been involved in and pictures of you and those closest to you are visible to anyone who can access your profile. What image do you portray? Are you a professional during the day and a party girl doing keg stands at night?

Think twice when posting information on Facebook. Be aware that once your info is out there – IT’S OUT THERE! Keep tabs on your friends, their notes on your wall, their statuses and pictures you may be tagged in. Facebook is a great utility, but when used inappropriately, it can and will work against you.

Find out how someone lost a job over an innocent tweet here. Discretion, people! Let’s use a little common sense, please. Ladies wouldn’t wear an immodest blouse to dinner with grandparents, so why post pictures on the Internet to the world that you wouldn’t want granny to see?

This post title talks about Facebook, but I’m cautioning you about all types of social media.

Think before you ink!

MissFits

Dear You,

I’ve been reading the work of a few literary journalists – Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote, Lillian Ross, for one of my classes, and I decided to take a shot at some literary journalism of my own. I recounted an interview that I saw of Guitar Red, a homeless blues guitarist in Atlanta, Georgia, a few weeks ago. Guitar Red has a record deal! Don’t I wish I could be so lucky! His managers called up their University of Florida interns to come up for the weekend to record a show, a music video and interviews with some of the artists, and I got to tag along.

Since the opportunity was so unique, I figured it might be a good time to take a stab at literary journalism – telling a story/painting a picture completely based on facts. One of the literary journalists I’m reading now, Carlos Frias, wrote a book – Take Me With You, recounting his first trip to Cuba when Castro stepped down. He was sent on assignment by the Palm Beach Post, but the 5-part series he wrote turned into a book, a very good book, at that!

 I felt like I was there with him, walking the streets of Cuba, eating an “everything pizza,” because his writing was so colorful and detailed. I have no idea how to capture such a real picture in my writing. Carlos has also written a piece on our Tebow, right after the Championship win, which also seemed too real! His language is so AHH! It’s awesome!

As I started to write my own piece, I started thinking about these questions. How do you define literary journalism? How do you keep journalists accountable and make sure that they are accurate in their reporting? It’s an interesting phenomenon.

If I describe an event from my point of view or perspective, then it is the truth – it’s my truth, but I guess it could be different from someone standing on the other side of the room who saw a little more or a little less than what I did. Maybe if someone knows the background story to an event, the truth would be even more different for him/her. This new wave of modern journalism has such potential, but must really be approached with caution because there’s so much wiggle room.

Here goes, I tried.

MissFits

A Portrait of Guitar Red

Shrimp tails flower the grass in a park in Decatur, Georgia.

            An apparently homeless man sits on top of a picnic table with a wide, gap-toothed smile and a guitar, strumming its strings for the world to hear. The container of half-eaten shrimp sits next to him. With an old, worn scarf for a shoulder strap, college interns and his manager for an audience, Guitar Red plays.

            Some passersby stop to listen from a distance; others keep walking, looking back over their shoulders to get another look at the homeless man and the camera crew filming him.

            Red sits atop the table, playing soulfully for his audience, looking directly into the camera and speaking to his manager, Ben Rowell, who directed the interview. Rowell and his wife, Kim, own the record label Backspace Records and produce Red’s music.

“Gui-tar Red, that’s what they call me!” he yells, laughing into the camera. His laugh comes from deep within his belly, and it echoes throughout the entire park. It’s contagious.

You can’t help but smile at the older-looking man, clad in a red-checkered flannel shirt, blue pants, socks that ride half-way up his leg and worn shoes. He looks happy and at home holding his guitar, like a child snuggles a comfort blanket.

Every now and then, Red’s boisterous laugh and booming voice quiets, and he just plays, rocking back and forth, back and forth, to the rhythm of his songs.

“I wrote this one for my family,” Red says. Closing his eyes, he starts silently, rocking, playing a soulful, sobering blues melody. “Each string on the guitar is for my family, so I think of ‘em when I play,” he whispers, reminiscing, tears in his eyes. His family is all gone now.

            “I got my stuff to work on,” Red screams through his tears. “But cain’t nobody say that Guitar Red ain’t a good person.” Pushing his glasses up his nose bridge, Red strikes the chords on his instrument to a more jovial tune.

            Tears gone, he grins, laughing again.

Dear You,

I will admit – I do use Facebook, and I do have a MySpace account, as I’m sure you do, too. Right? They’re both great for keeping in touch with old friends and family members and getting the 411 on people you know, but I am concerned that these social networking tools are getting out of hand and can harm aspiring professionals if they’re not careful. CORRECTION: Aspiring professionals can harm themselves with these social networking tools if they’re not careful.

Yes, there are a few basic rules for safely using the Internet that would, of course, be applied while using these sites, but I think that users are more dangerous to themselves than cybersphere. Most people – I’ll stop using “young” because any and everyone uses these things now, are probably unaware of how many people can access their social network profiles. And we all know that some of the things up on Facebook aren’t things we’d want to pull up in front of our parents or grandparents, let alone let a potential employer . And that’s just it! Employers CAN, DO and WILL see the profiles of potential candidates.

It’s not uncommon for organizations to do research on potential candidates using these social networking sites. I mean, what better way to get to know someone you are considering hiring than by checking out the place they spend a whole bunch of time. Let’s be honest – we all probably spend way too much time on Facebook writing on each others walls from our Blackberrys and letting the world know what we’re doing in our statuses.

It stinks for people who have incriminating pictures and colorful language strewn about their pages, but I must admit, it’s a smart move for employers because it’s 1. cheap, actually FREE 2. anonymous and 3. relatively easy to do.

Honestly, why not err on the side of caution here, people? Or, better yet, why not err at all? We know what the right thing to do is! I don’t know how many classes and seminars I’ve been to that politely remind people to be mindful of the images and persona they portray of themselves on the Internet. When submitting an application for an leadership organization, I was asked to bring a print out of my Facebook profile.

A few rules of thumb for maintaining professionalism on the Internet.
1. If you wouldn’t want your parents/grandparents to see it, don’t post it.
2. Ask, “What would my professor/mentor/etc. think if they saw this picture?”
3. Consider the first impression you’re leaving on people who have never met you before.
4. Be careful of who you “befriend.” There are crazies out there, and spammers, too.
5. Erase friends crazy, inappropriate and offensive comments from your walls, or consider deleting them altogether if it’s too much to manage.
6. Don’t post pictures of you doing illegal activities.
7. Be considerate and do not purposefully offend others with ignorant pictures, posts, etc.

Some of this, to me at least, seems pretty basic to Internet safety, but even more so to social networking safety. I’m not saying you have to be Simple Sally, by any means, express yourself, but do consider what your Internet image says about you as a person and professional. Click here to find out more about how to use Facebook professionally.

It’s a small world after all…

MissFits

Dear You,

We were talking about careers in journalism in my Mass Media class and this question was posed: “Do we really need journalists anymore since anyone can write ‘news’ on the Internet?”

I guess that would depend on your definition of news and your ability to decipher credible information from an eccentric rant. Now more than ever it is crucial for journalists to recognize and live up to the responsibility they have as conduits of truth for the public. The average Joe Schmoe’t going to know how to correctly interview subjects, properly use AP style, site appropriately or distinguish between hard news and editorializing. As great as citizen journalism is, I think it’s important that professionals do their job.

As we get more and more dependent on online journalism for it’s ease of access, I think that there is something about having an actual newspaper in hand that people won’t easily let go of. The world is becoming digitized, and I think people will want to hold on to the age-old custom  of reading a paper, not a computer screen, to get news.

There’s something to say for online journalism, don’t get me wrong. It’s amazing, convenient and useful to have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips, but there will always be room for print and a NEED for real journalists.

Don’t start excavating yet!

MissFits

Dear You,

As of yesterday, there’s been a HUGE change in America. We’ve got a new president,  and while we might not all agree with his policies, appointments or personal agenda, he is our Commander in Chief, our leader, “the man.”

President Barack Obama has brought hope, life and a new era to people all over the world. He’s an inspiration to some young people and a sight for the sore eyes of some of the “older.”

 I can’t help but be inspired. How great is it to mean so much to so many people? How much of a responsibility is it to be “Change in America?”

I can’t say I envy our President, but I can say that I am moved to bring about change in my own life. It’s not about how many people you think you influence, or the difference that others see you making. It’s about the intentions of your heart and your willingness to give that are important.

In reality, you don’t have to give, say or intentionally do anything. It could just be your demeanor, your steadfast diligence, your dedication to the truth, your willingness to do the right thing if only because it’s right…

I’ve learned that you can’t “fake it ’til you make it,” and still stay true to yourself. Sometimes you have to step out on a limb, your own limb, all by yourself and take time to examine all that’s going on in and around you. Take time to find out what you believe in and what you will and won’t stand for. Prioritize your life.

We’ve got a new president, and some big changes have and are about to be made. Now’s as good a time as any to clean out your closet and make some changes of you own. It will take some time, and it might hurt, but it will be worth it.

Try it. You might like it.

MissFits

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The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE.

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