10 Tips for Bloggers

My overall experience with blogging over the course of this class has been a positive and enjoyable experience. It was interesting to write for an audience, instead of just a teacher or for yourself. I thought it was great practice for doing any type of professional writing. Here are a few quick tips for people interested in blogging help:

 

  1. Keep a schedule! Getting content out in a timely and consistent fashion will draw readers back.
  2. Good Grammar. Grammar and spelling are very important to having a credible blog. Especially if you are looking to have a more professional touch.
  3. Research. It is important to research topics and stories you plan to write on to find relevant events that people will be interested.
  4. Get your facts straight. Having the right information is key, nothing is worse than being called out on for pulling facts out of your butt.
  5. Tone. Pick a tone and be consistent with it. Ensure that you chose either a more professional or laid back tone.
  6. Stay up to date. Make sure you are writing about more current events, especially if you are looking to attract a large audience.
  7. Find your interests. It is very easy to write about things you are passionate about or interested in.
  8. Layout. Have a very clean and easy to navigate blog layout. It will make things easy for your readers.
  9. Steer clear of controversial topics; it is not worth the trouble.

10. Have Fun! Look for fun, find it, and have it.

Sony Strikes Back: PlayStation 4

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            The next generation of the video game console war kicked off on November 15, with the release of Sony’s PlayStation 4. Within the first 24 hours of release, there already were over a million units sold in North America alone. Sony has a one-week head start on Microsoft, whose Xbox One console is poised for release on the 22nd of November.

For Sony, this new generation of video game consoles is a critical chance for the company to regain lost ground from the previous generation. It is no secret that the Microsoft Xbox 360 blasted Sony’s PlayStation 3 on all fronts. The Xbox 360 had a better and more reliable online service, as well as a better selection of games and console exclusives. Microsoft was prepared for the massive boom of online multiplayer games, and Sony was left to fall behind and lick its wounds.

This is a new generation, however, and Sony is already poised to conquer the living rooms of gamers. Microsoft has already slipped up in a big way, especially in their handling of public relations with their consumers. They initially unveiled a bevy of what was seen to be anti-consumer features that gave a lot of control to developers. This was met with a mass outcry from consumers who felt betrayed by the company. These features have been cancelled since, but the damage was already done. This is also coupled with a $500 price tag (compared to the $400 PS4) have put Sony in a very advantageous position that should have the company licking its chops.

PR and the Dangers of Social Media

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           As some of my posts have discussed before, social media has reinvented many aspects of society and business. This is especially evident in the field of Public Relations. When social media is discussed in regards to PR, it is usually painted in a very helpful and positive light. This is true in many cases, allowing many PR professionals to distribute directed message to a very wide set of publics. It is also an avenue for a business to receive instant feedback from customers.

Social media, however, tends to many times rear its uglier head. With the further integration of the Internet with everyday life, and the blazing fast speed of the acquisition of information it provides; a social phenomenon has emerged. This concept is known as an “instant outrage culture.” People unknowingly are more prone to initial outrage, as a breaking story is reported so fast that information is many times misinterpreted before more concrete details emerge. Social media provides the perfect breeding ground for a PR firestorm to emerge. It allows customers to instantly spread stories of terrible experiences, prompting others to share the story with thousands instantaneously. A perfect example is the McDonald’s Twitter fiasco.

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            In January of 2012, McDonalds purchased a promoted tweet on Twitter and attempted to get #McDStories trending on the social media site. They concept was to have users tweet positive and memorable experiences with the fast food chain. What ensued was a hijacking of the hashtag with Twitter users discussing the chain’s unsanitary practices, poor conditions, and unhealthy products. McDonalds had no way of bringing the hashtag back under control, as once it was released into the Twitter-sphere, it was in the hands of Tweeters.

This is a prime example of how social media can be disastrous for PR professionals and the companies who employ them. Social media is an untamable beast, and PR professionals must be constantly weary of that fact. Messages constructed for the public must be evaluated intensively to ensure an error in message meaning is avoided.

Songza – Good Music Makes Good Times

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           For many people, music is an essential part of life. Whether people are at work, at the gym, doing homework, relaxing, or getting a party going, music plays an integral role in enriching these activities. In the past few years, the concept of online music streaming has gathered an extensive fan base. Websites such as Pandora Radio and Spotify have massive followings that have popularized music streaming over the web. The success of these sites has given way to the development of online streaming apps for smartphones. One such app is Songza.

            I came across the Songza app while browsing the top free apps in the Apple application store. I decided to give it a shot, even though online streaming wasn’t exactly my preferred way of listening to music. Upon downloading the app, I was instantly impressed with the inviting and simple layout as well as the streamlined “Apple-influenced” look and feel.

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         Opening the app, it tells you the date and time of day, as well as six different moods or activities that correspond with that time. Within each of these selections are six different genres that relate to the activity. Then, within each genre, there are three different musical styles of said genre. For example, a common search can go like this: Friday evening, Pregaming with friends, Kick-ass Indie Rock, 21st century kids ( A panorama of indie rock bands that came into the spotlight of the early years of the 21st Century). Not only can you get recommendations for activities and time of day, you can search for playlists of certain bands or styles, such as Rolling Stones Radio, or Emotive Alternative Rock. There are also searchable themes such as 90s One-Hit wonders, Songs in Apple Commercials, and Skins UK: Songs from the hit show. Along with many other internet radio sites and apps, there is the ability to give a like or dislike that allows the app to customize the songs that are generated for you, allowing the app to make educated guesses as to what you prefer to hear.

            Like I said earlier, I am not the biggest fan of Internet radio. This app however, has begun to change that. One of the most important aspects of the app for me is how specific the playlists can get. I cannot get the perfect blend of Tool, A Perfect Circle, Stabbing Westward, Chevelle, and Nirvana all in the same playlist on Pandora Radio. I also feel as though the up and down votes really play into the playlist creation better than other sites. Overall I would highly recommend Songza to anyone who is a fan of not only Internet radio, but also music in general. It has an intuitive and easy to navigate layout and excellent selection of music that caters to anyone’s preference. I would give it an 8.5/10.

Old School/New School

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Technology, especially in regard to communications, is constantly changing. Just over the past seven years, cell phones have evolved in ways we could have never imagined. Imagine how we feel when the iPhone evolves in seven years, and then imagine how people who have seen communication technology has evolved over the past 65 years.

For this blog posting, I interviewed my Grandma Mary Margaret Poynton. She was born in 1943. Over the years she witnessed the transition from radio to television, the advent of color TV and the evolution of the Internet. When I asked her what the wildest change was, she said that it was the concept of color TV. She remembers that transition more so than the transition from radio to TV. To her color TV was the pinnacle of modern technological innovation. I can barely remember a time when TVs were not either massive nearly room sized boxes or slim flat screens mounted on walls. It is hard for me to imagine my young cousins growing up with smart phones and Nintendo DS handheld gaming devices when I remember black and white Gameboys and flip phones. To them, smartphones are normalcy; and that is a very surreal thought to me. I can only imagine what my Grandmother thinks about what was normalcy for me when I was growing up.

Recently, my Grandmother was given a home PC as a gift from our family. Now she spent many years as a secretary for a major Heart research center, so she is familiar with email, the Internet, and computer usage; but she never had a PC for recreational use. What she has really become interested in is Facebook. It allows her to find family members friends that she has maybe lost contact with and see pictures of their kids. She also loves to follow my every move on Facebook, commenting things that rarely make sense but I don’t mind because my Grandma is pretty cool herself.

Age of the Smartphone

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We are living in the middle of the smartphone craze. In only a few short years, smartphones have become a phenomenon that has revolutionized not only the cellphone market, but also how we as consumers use cellphones. A decade ago, a cellphone’s only functionality was to make and receive calls. Today, cellphones have become the equivalent of having an entire computer in the palm of your hand. The market for smartphones is massive, with companies pouring vast amounts of money into development and advertising. The two leading smartphone brands are Apple’s iPhone line and Motorola’s Droid.

Recently, both brands have released their latest devices. Apple released the iPhone 5s and 5c. Motorola has released the Droid Maxx, Mini, and Ultra. Consumer Reports recently released the customer ratings on the new phones. The iPhone models edged out the Droid models by a slight margin. Even though the Droid models had bigger screens and battery life that was twice as long. This is a testament to Apple’s PR and marketing departments. Apple knows how to sell a product. It is no secret that Droid phones are less expensive and offers more for your money than iPhones; yet Apple products still are able to best Droids in ratings.

Apple accomplishes this with a very aggressive marketing campaign that creates a very trendy and accessible brand. IPhones have become the “killer app” to have amongst consumers, because their marketing department wants it to be. It may be true that Droid offers many more features than iPhones, but the Apple advertising juggernaut has shown to always prevail.