Creativity

I’m not sure exactly who said this but, creativity is not creating something new but finding new ways to do something old. This is especially true in new media.

It can be argued that new media is nothing more than old media, done in a new way. Hulu is television + technology. Blogs are journalism + technology. E-mail is literally mail + technology. In new media, technology is the key driver to fostering “creativity.”

One interesting way technology in new media has played a part in creating something interesting is with mashups in music. The New Yorker defines mashups as “new uses for current digital technology, a new iteration of the cause-and-effect relationship behind almost every change in pop-music aesthetics: the gear changes, and then the music does.” One of the most popular mashups is “The Grey Album” by Danger Mouse, which is a blend of “The Black Album” by Jay-Z and “White Album” by the Beatles.

Businesses have benefited greatly by this stir of creativity. One way is through crowdsourcing. New media, such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter and websites have allowed the common consumer to open up and express their ideas on how to improve businesses, and businesses listen. For example, according to a NY Times article, “‘Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ‘ said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. and author of the book ‘Democratizing Innovation.'” Did you know that Retweets and Lists came from user ideas?

What exciting, creative things have you done with New Media?

Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

Since about 1995, virtual worlds have been replicating real life interactions in the digital space. These real-time, three-dimensional experiences that can be used in many ways such as health, business, social, etc. In this post we will explore the different ways virtual worlds are used today and how it may be used in the future.

 

Virtual Worlds for Personal Use

When you first think of virtual worlds, personal use is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Many people use virtual worlds as a way to enhance their social life. When you create a virtual world avatar, you can then allow that avatar to go to bars, beaches, museums, etc., all within your computer! For example, MTV created a virtual world called VLES (virtual lower east side) which is, as the name suggests, a virtual replica of New York’s Lower East Side, where you can go to many of the same shops and bars that are there in real life! According to the New York Times, “In the fall of 2006 MTV started Virtual Laguna Beach, a 3-D world meant to simulate the Southern Californian beach community of its semi-reality show ‘Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County’; in short order it added virtual worlds based on its shows ‘The Hills,’ ‘Pimp My Ride,’ ‘The Real World: Sydney’ and ‘Kaya.’”

 

Virtual Worlds in Health

There are many people in the world who cannot have a normal social life due to their medical conditions. This has lead to the creation of many virtual world communities made specifically for people with certain illnesses to interact and simulate a normal social life, as well as learn more about their condition. For example, David Savill of Gloucester, England created a virtual world in Second Life called Naughty Auties, “to serve those with autism spectrum disorders and their friends and family.” Dr. Fred Volkmar, a professor in Yale University’s Child Study Center, said, “Although not much research is yet available, there is clearly considerable potential in use of new technologies for fostering social skills.”

Another example of virtual worlds being used in healthcare are virtual hospitals. Of course real patients don’t use this to get treated (not yet at least), but they are being used to train healthcare professionals on how to handle certain situations. According to the Wall Street Journal, “dozens of hospitals, medical schools and health foundations have staked out space in the online community Second Life, where participants can build their own virtual clinics and stage just about any training drill they can imagine.”

 

Virtual Worlds in the Workplace

Virtual worlds enable you to chat, give interactive training sessions and conferences, and also to collaborate. Of course it would be easy to translate these benefits into the workplace. In a CNN.com article it states that, “more than 1,400 organizations — including large companies, educational institutions, government agencies and even the U.S. military — use Second Life to hold meetings, conduct training and prototype new technologies more efficiently.” It allows employees from all over the world to come together in one place without ever leaving their countries or cities.

There are many other ways to use virtual worlds besides the ones listed such as gaming, education and commerce. In the future, virtual worlds will become more popular and more big companies will start to explore it in order to create a more dynamic experience for consumers. Colleges may start hosting online courses via this medium and you may be able to see a doctor for health information this way. With the rise of two-way communication in marketing, community building, etc., I can envision big brands like Apple or Macy’s exploring virtual world options.

Can you think of any other ways to use virtual worlds?

Do you have any experiences to share?

Social Networking Sites – A Comparison

Will Facebook dominate forever? Is Twitter pointless? Will Myspace ever make a comeback? Is Pinterest just a phase?
In this post I will be giving my impressions of these 4 social networking sites, what I think they are good for and the differences among them.
Let’s start with the obvious leader in the category, Facebook:
Visual: Facebook is easy on the eyes. The advertising isn’t overwhelming and everything is organized in a neat way from groups to events and birthdays.
Uses: Facebook is a great multi-use platform, allowing for games, chat, picture sharing, etc. Business pages are also great as well. It allows for an experience with your favorite brands that include videos, pictures, conversation, etc. in a way no other social networking site provides.
Cons: I personally think the user experience SUCKS. Why? Facebook informs you of TOO many things. For example, if I’m friends with someone, I learn about everything they like (even if it’s spam), every friend they make, etc. However, Facebook has been improving on this by allowing you to distinguish close friends from acquaintances and so on. However, many people have so many friends that you don’t want to take the time out to label each one.
My Favorite Thing About Facebook: It’s the best way to keep in touch with friends and family!
Yes, Myspace is still around 🙂 :
Visual: Myspace is a little cluttered for my taste. There’s a lot of stuff going on at once.
Uses: Myspace’s niche is music. Although it has the ability to be used for business, connecting with friends, etc., music and entertainment are its point of differentiation.
Cons: From my experience with Myspace, it seems that every person who comes across you, tries to add you as a friend. Also, the way many people use it seems more like a dating site (eek!).
My Favorite Thing About Myspace: Browsing new artists for interesting music.
Twitter for the minimalist:
Visual: Twitter is simple and extremely easy to navigate.
Uses: Twitter is a microblogging site, which means you can only post short updates (140 characters or less). Many people use it for connecting with friends as well as brands and people they find interesting. It’s also frequently used for sharing information and articles.
Cons: Sometimes the 140 character limit is seen as a con, but I think it’s a way to keep things to the point. It’s also hard to avoid spam on Twitter as well. One reason for this is the over-emphasis on follower count.
My Favorite Thing About Twitter: Connecting with and following people who are already successful in the career field I’m interested in.
Pinterest is all about the aesthetics:
Visual: As you may have heard, super-simple web design is popular nowadays and Pinterest has perfected it! It’s extremely pleasing to look at and gives the feel of window shopping.
Uses: To bookmark, share and browse things you find interesting visually, from interior design to cute animals. Some people and businesses also use it to drive traffic to their websites though sharing the visuals from their posts.
Cons: Sometimes pins become popular but original links get lost. Also, there are the issues of copyright violation.
My Favorite Thing About Pinterest: I love the easy re-pinning option and the organization of boards.
What’s your favorite social networking site?

Blog About Twitter – Do class discussions work here?

On Twitter, the microblogging service, many people interact and have interesting conversations. But how can you have an interesting conversation in 140 characters? How does it compare to forums or in-person discussions?
This week my New Media class had a Twitter discussion on our assigned readings for the week. Overall, I think this method works fine, as long as you set some guidelines. But before I go into why I think Twitter discussions work, let’s compare them to other ways of class communication:
One way we communicate in class is through a forum on a platform called Blackboard. As you probably know, forums are easy to use when everyone won’t be online at the same time. You can easily go back and read other’s discussion on whatever topic is presented. It is organized in a way that is very understandable, making it easy to know who is replying to what and when they did so. You can also elaborate on your thoughts without the character limit.
Another way classes communicate is through in-person discussion. Although this may seem like the ultimate form of communication, there are the issues of not being available at the same time as others and the expectation of an immediate response. When you work online, it’s easier to go back over what other people are saying. You can also re-read or take the time to think about the topic of discussion in ways that you can’t do in person without an awkward silence.
Now back to Twitter:
When you discuss something on Twitter, if you click on the original post you can see the replies under it. Also, if you use a hashtag for your topic, you can click the hashtag to see what people are saying about it. Some see the 140 character limit as a hinderance. However, I see it as a way to force people to be concise and get to the point in one sentence, eliminating unnecessary information. Sometimes however, some of the conversation seems to get lost in the waves if there are a lot of people discussing the topic. Not everyone will be replying to the same original message and some people forget to include the hashtag.
There are many pros and cons to every form of communication. Finding what works best for your time, topic and audience is the key.

Social Networking – An Overview

Social networking has changed society in many ways, for the good, for the “bad” and for many people. In this post, you will learn about interesting ways social networking has been used, its benefits, the “dark side” and how it will evolve in the future.
Social Networking in Business
Social networking has provided an outlet for businesses of all sizes to directly connect with the users of their product or service. As of today, Coca Cola’s Facebook page has 52,260,637 likes! On this page, and many other business pages, users have a place to come together and rave about how great the product is, participate in contests and polls, learn more about the brand, and much more! However, sometimes social networking isn’t 100 percent positive for businesses. Social networking allows negative feelings a user may have toward your brand to spread farther and faster than ever before! When using social networking for branding, keep this example in mind: United Breaks Guitars.
Social Networking in Politics
Much like social networking for business, when used in politics it can be a great way to connect with supporters, provide information about platforms and spread your message farther than ever before! The best example of this is Obama’s success during his first run for president. In a New York Times’s article about his use of social media it states, “by bolting together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans.”
Social Networking for Employers and Job Seekers
Social networking has made it possible for job seekers to make themselves easily searchable for potential employment. This is revolutionary for employers as well. Instead of screening sometimes thousands of applicants you can simply find high quality candidates with a simple keyword search on many social networking sites. Perhaps the most common of these sites are LinkedIn. According to NPR, LinkedIn has “a network of 8 million professionals spread across the world.”
Social Networking for Personal Use
Of course, many people use social networking to simply keep in touch with their friends and family, to share their personal thoughts, to upload pictures, etc. However, this can be where the “dark side” kicks in. Privacy on social networking sites is a huge issue today. According to the Chronicle, researchers say that “over all, our data show that far from being nonchalant and unconcerned about privacy matters, the majority of young adult users of Facebook are engaged with managing their privacy settings on the site at least to some extent.” This is probably because people are getting fired, or not getting hired because of what they choose to share on personal profiles. Should employers be able to base their recruiting on this information? Should they even be able to see it?
Social networking has many uses beyond the ones I’ve mentioned. It is a segment of the internet that grows rapidly everyday. Location based marketing through social networks is something, I believe, will continue to grow as marketers find more innovative ways to use it. Also, social networking may soon be a huge part of our shopping experience. Imagine being able to go shopping with your friends through a social network!
Do you have any predictions for the future of social networking?
Let me know!
-BB

Blog vs Wiki

Blogs and wikis are both extremely revolutionary and useful tools in new media today. Both have been used personally, by businesses and in many other ways to provide information on various topics and to allow for easier collaboration among colleagues.

One of the main differences between blogs and wikis resides in the structure. According to How Can We Measure the Influence of the Blogosphere? by Kathy E. Gill, posts are primarily in reverse chronological order and time stamped. Also, old content remains accessible. When you create a wiki however, it’s more like one big research paper, with links to different sections or pages that have information on a set topic.

Wikis are more often collaborative, allowing users to edit information to each section almost instantly. According to More on How to Build Your Own Wikipedia, it states that “each team member could contribute and access up-to-date information.” In a blog however, normally a post is written by one person and new information by other people are on a separate post with a new timestamp.

While normally blogs are made by a person or business to be read by the public, according to the wikipedia on wikis, “Many wiki communities are private, particularly within enterprises. They are often used as internal documentation for in-house systems and applications.” Blogs have a more journalistic feel, with that journalist’s opinion sometimes inserted into the writing, wikis have a more objective feel.

Even though wikis are more collaborative by nature, blogs can also be collaborative. There are many group blogs out there, written by more than one author. Blogs also allow readers to comment, allowing colleagues, mentors or the general public to weigh in on what you are writing, sharing a new point of view.

Some interesting ways to use wikis are event planning, collaborative note taking (convenient way to share notes with classmates!), writing business plans and project planning.

The internet has made it easier and more efficient to work together. Technology like blogs and wikis have created the ultimate opportunity to create synergy between departments, managers in different areas of the world, and employees in general. Blogs especially, have provided an outlet for 2-way communication between the public and companies. They have given consumers a voice and has allowed companies to better connect with them.

-BB

New Media Project – Social Media Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Hello All!

One theme in new media that I am very passionate about is social media and I want to dig deeper into the topic. For my New Media class, I’ll be doing a paper entitled, “Social Media Marketing vs Traditional Marketing.” Throughout the paper I will be discussing the differences and similarities between them, the pros and cons of the two methods of marketing and how they work together. I will also be including real-life examples, from major companies to small businesses, to explain my points in the paper and to demonstrate best practices.

Stay tuned!

-BB