Slough of Despond 3: Advanced Blogging

18 Oct

Once again, i needed to use my RSS Feeds to write a blog based on an article i’ve read. This time, instead of focusing on Public Relations and the field i would like to enter once i graduate, i chose to concentrate on something of personal interest to me. Fashion.

I came across an article by about: Why the Fashion Industry won’t embrace Ann Romney, and i immediately took interest.

Michelle vs. Ann


“Michelle had stolen the hearts of the fashion industry well before she was first lady”

Since 2007, Michelle Obama has taken the fashion world by storm and has been heralded as the next Jackie Kennedy. Having already stunned the world with her magnificent fashion choices in President Obama’s past presidential campaign wearing designers like Jason Wu and Thakoon Panichgul and J.Crew and H&M Michelle landed herself a glowing Vogueprofile, inspired dozens of fan blogs which profiled her every outfit and counted several big-name industry players, including Anna Wintour as supporters.

Fast forward four years, and Michelle Obama is back on the campaign trail with a new sartorial competitor: Ann Romney, who is the wife of American businessman and politician Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee opposing Obama in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

This article, in short, investigates the Runway to Win campaign, which is a project put together by fashion‘s First Lady, Anna Wintour, and which Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and Derek Lam (just to name a few) are a part of. Wintour is a avid public supporter of the Obamas, and has in past, held $30,000+ per person fundraisers for the commander-in-chief–one at her home and one at Harvey Weinstein’s–which were highly publicized and practically shut down all of downtown Manhattan. In addition to raising tons of money for the DNC, the events drew a star-studded crowd of celebrities and designers.

When you consider all of this, it isnt very hard to realise just why designers arent racing to dress the Romney’s – as it is commonly known that Anna Wintour is not really someone you say ‘no’ to when you’re a designer!!


michelle obama vs. ann romney



16 Oct

The Power of PR

16 Oct

Interpreters House Three required my to sign up to 30 RSS feeds based on my studies, my interests and my peers. With this, I decided to use Google Reader (as it was the only one i had heard of!)

Google Reader is a free, Web-based reader for RSS feeds. You can find feeds on nearly every Web site. RSS feeds offer a simplified view of Web content down to just text, pictures and videos–minus the site’s style and formatting, which can sometimes hinder or befuddle casual reading.

Google reader lets you subscribe to these feeds as easily as typing them into your browser’s address bar, and lets you read them like you’re browsing through e-mail.

I had already completed an Advanced Diploma of Public Relations at RMIT, however prior to studying the Bachelor of Professional Communications, which encompasses Broadcasting, Journalism and Public Relations – I was still uncertain of the direction in which I wanted to go.

Having now completed (almost) 2 years of journalism, broadcasting and PR, I now know with absolute certainty that after I graduate, I very much hope to get into the field of Public Relations and as such, I subscribed to various PR feeds. However, as you may or may not know, in order for any campaign to successfully work together, each field must have a solid understanding of all three types of media – and as such I became immediately interested in a feed which discussed the relationship between journalism and public relations:Relationships Between PR & Journalists Have Changed Forever.

PR-Squared is the blog of a globally recognised Social Media & Public Relations innovator, thinker & lecturer, Todd Defren. The blog itself as been listen as one of the top 50 blogs on AdAge’s Power150.

Defren is a principal at SHIFT Communications, a hybrid PR firm named “New Media Agency of the Year” in 2008 and “Agency of the Year” in 2007.  The $12M company works with clients such as Club Med, Quiznos, Jim Beam Brands, Bing and Wells Fargo.

“…if you’re doing your job right, a reporter will not only see you as a resource, but as an industry peer.  And that makes public relations more valuable, powerful and better in terms of what we can offer our clients….”

Main Points found in the Blog:

  • A mutually beneficial relationship:  Reporters need you as much as you need them. Reporters these days, are being challenged to churn out content FAST and they’re often relying on others to provide insight, quotes, access to spokespeople and in some cases, help educate them on a complicated or new topic.
  • Get connected:  Connect with reporters you meet on LinkedIn.  Even easier, follow them on Twitter or Google+ and subscribe to their feed.  “My best media contacts are people that I’m connected to on LinkedIn and I truly believe that sometimes, because they see my face pop up on their news feed, they remember to reach out with a source request.”
  • Reporters need to network, too:  More than ever, reporters are being measured by their social networks and how many people – hits – they can get to their stories and to then go back and share with their own networks. That is stressful! That being said, reporters know PR pros tend to be outgoing, well-connected individuals, and they may lean on you to broaden their reach.
  • Freelance writers are the way to go!:  And there’s more of them then there were four years ago.  Get in good with a freelancer and you won’t regret it – these are smart, driven and often very KIND people who at any given point could be writing something super niche, for a “smaller” outlet, and then next thing, contributing regularly to a column in a major business publication.  Because of the nature of operating solo and/or remote from the main news hub, freelancers are more likely to reach out with a media request and ask for help.
  • Share News/Information:  You have a reporter friend and they just wrote about your client and you’re PUMPED so you like it, tweet it, send it out to all your friends.  Your reporter friend appreciates this because they want more web traffic to their article and in many cases today, their boss is counting how many hits, RTs, comments, etc. that article receives.



16 Oct

Before this course, I didn’t really know much about #hash tags. I did not know how to use them neither did I know what they were for. To be blatantly honest, I only really began using hash tags when I signed up for Instagram (an app on the i-Phone) – and even then, i used them infrequently!

Instagram Hash Tag

Instagram Hash Tag #electricalsky

But as I continued through my Netmed course, I began to use the hash tag more frequently. I still wasn’t entirely sure if i was using them correctly, but I figured all I had to do was just add in a ‘#’ (hash tag) and write related words to my image. Regardless, I still wasn’t sure were the hash tags were going, or what they were doing. So, I decided to investigate.

And here is what I found along my way:

Hash tags enable people to find you based on what you’ve tagged, through a common topic. Put more simply, if you hash tag #electricalsky for example, and others hash tag #electricalsky too, then anyone can find you through that same hash tag #electricalsky.

Now, enough about #electricalsky. To further clarify hoe hash tags work, I went to the Twitter Help Centre to find out more, and this is what I found:

Using hashtags to categorize Tweets by keyword:

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword..
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Using hashtags correctly:

  • If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.


16 Oct

Where would we be without the internet?

In order to understand its phenomenal developments and assistance to mankind, we must first look at its initial conception…

The internet has a much more vast history than is commonly known among the masses. It began in the sixties and has evolved into the expanse that we are so familiar with today. As Ethan Zuckerman states in a video entitled History of the Internet, the first email was sent in 1965 over a network at MIT. In 1971 the first internet email was sent and in ’73 email was being used as the main source of communication over the internet. Now, fast forward to 1990 and we have the first appearance of the World Wide Web, written by Tim Berners-Lee, which leads us to the internet and web we know today.

In regard to the web we know today, there are several different details that work as a cohesive unit in order to allow the web to function in the manner that it does. First off, in order for a computer to be able to be a part of the Web, it must be running web server software that has the ability to read Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. On the other side we have the software that requests information from these servers. This software in known as browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc. These information requests and responses are handles via the HTTP protocol. Now given all of the information on the web, there must be some way to organize it all in a manner that would allow one to pinpoint exactly what they are looking for. Enter Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs. A URL will allow someone to request a particular file from a server. These files are constructed through a text based language known as Hypertext Markup Language or HTML. This language consists of purely text that is generated by the browser into the interactive pages we see daily.

This was a quick crash course of the history of the internet and how the web works as interpreted as I have just learned it.

Solving Life’s dilemmas, one app at a time

16 Oct

You’ve probably heard everyone talking about ‘apps’ – but what are they? In short, they’re a way to perform almost any task on your phone, and in just a few years they’ve become a phenomenon

“A new game or a new recipe. Something to help you stay on top of world affairs or something to help you stay on top of your finances. For all the incredible things your iPhone already does, there are thousands more, waiting for you at the App Store.” – APPLE

I have had a Blackberry for the past 5 years and have constantly watched i-Phone users with envy. I would more than often, ‘borrow’ the nearest i-Phone to play with the dozens of apps on it to no end. I felt entirely consumed by the flashing lights, and chirpy sounds which would come out of the small hand-held device. I almost felt like i’d been siting on a pokies machine for endless hours.It was at that point that I had decided. I needed an i-Phone. Fast.

So, exactly what is an ‘app’?

Well, strictly speaking the term app is short for the application which refers to any piece of software that works on a software system of sorts.  In 2007, Apple launched an online store where you buy all sorts of these mobile phone applications specifically designed to run on the iPhone. They sexed it up a bit by referring to them as “apps” and the rest is history.

Application Fixation Facts:

There are over 50 million iPhones and iPod Touch units in use today

Total Active Apps (currently available for download): 688,652 
Total Apps Seen in US App Store: 

Most Popular Categories
1 – Games (123918 active)
2 – Education (71138 active)
3 – Entertainment (64439 active)
4 – Lifestyle (58256 active)
5 – Books (52385 active)

Current Average App Price: $1.83
Current Average Game Price: $0.90
Current Average Overall Price: $1.70


The Rise of the E-Book

15 Oct

I love the sensation of turning worn pages between my fingertips as I sit beneath the warm sun. But, the reality is, the e-book phenomenon seems to be taking over.

WhenAmazon’s e-book reading device, the Kindle, was launched in the US in 2007, chief executive Jeff Bezos said the name referred to “a kind of fire” he planned to start in the book world.

Since ’07, E-Books now represent a staggering $969.9 million (USD) of US sales, grasping 16.55% of the total sales of books and as such, E-Books are substantially linked to the decreasing sales of printed books and bookstore closures.

The Book vs. The E-Book

The Book vs. The E-Book

Although the book industry continues to grow, the book itself seems to be losing its role and relevance in modern life. The US National Endowment for the Arts last year released a comprehensive report on changing reading habits among Americans.


  • They’re easily readable. Most readers offer zoom functions, letter resizing, and so forth
  • They’re easily portable. You can carry multiple books on one device.
  • They’re much more environmentally friendly. You don’t have to kill a few trees for each book, and let’s not even talk about the ink. Recycling only goes so far.
  • Note-taking is much more powerful, and the notes you write can be found and referenced quickly and easily. And they don’t have to be permanent.
  • Lighting conditions essentially become meaningless. Many readers incorporate display lighting allowing you to read whenever and whereever you like.


  • Eye strain and RSI. Long periods spent in front of a screen are definitely not healthy!
  • Power: Your average e-book has 4-6 hours of battery life.
  • Nasty software bugs in the reader can cause it to freeze up.


SO, what’s the verdict?

Personally, I mix and match. I have an i-Pad, and read novels, websites, blogs amongst other things. I own more actual books than I do E-Books, and one of the main reasons why i have the i-Pad was to save me from lugging 2 or 3 heavy textbooks to-and-from Uni, where as now, I can simply download them! (That, and they are less than half the price as the actual hardcopy!) Paper books are still, and will always be my favorite though.


Enchanted Ground: Locative Media

15 Oct

Over the past few months, I have been spending a lot of time in the RMIT Editing Suites for my Broadcast Media Radio Project. The Radio Project was based on a local comedy group, called Rue B Tuesdays.

Rue B Tuesdays is a comedy night, which runs for a month with the aim of focusing on particular acts who, although may be well respected by critics and the comedy circuit, aren’t generally known to the public and are thus somewhat hidden from common knowledge. The comedy nights run every Tuesday night at 7:00pm at Rue Bebelons, 267 Little Lonsdale St, for a $5.00 entry fee.

The aim of the Radio Project was to use the comedy night to create a 6-8 minute radio segment, which would be broadcasted on ABC’s 360documentaries. Through this, our Radio Group, A-Squared Productions would most frequently work in Edit Suit 16, 17 and 2. I would spend countless hours in the basement, and as such, decided to use it in completing my Locative Media task in Enchanted Ground Section.


I created a visual tag and attached it to the information board in building 9, level 1:

downstairs to the editing suites

Flipped Lecture Four: A Lecture on Creativity

15 Oct

Much has been said about how creativity works, its secrets, its origins, and what we can do to optimize ourselves for it. In this excerpt from his fantastic 1991 lecture, John Cleese offers a recipe for creativity, delivered with his signature blend of cultural insight and comedic genius.

5 factors that you can arrange to make your lives more creative, as explained by John Cleese, are as follows:

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate thediscomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

Who is John Cleese?

John Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s he became a member of Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely DifferentThe Holy GrailLife of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

In the mid 1970s, Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. Later, he co-starred with Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and former Python colleague Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He also starred in Clockwise, and has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films as Q, two Harry Potter films, and three Shrek films.

Key Ideas I found in this Lecture:

Creativity and Cleese seem to go hand in hand – which is why I personally found this lecture to be really interesting. It isnt often that an audience gets insight into the mind of one of the worlds funniest and yes, creative geniuses. I walked away from this lecture questioning my own level of creativity – but then I realised, that’s just what Cleese’s lecture was about – the fact that everyone is creative, or can be creative & the very reason why people give up on their efforts is because initially they may be disappointed with the result. But, like Cleese suggests, creativity, and more importantly, inspiration for creativity takes effort and time – and of course, Cleese’s 5 steps for creativity!

Flipped Lecture Three: Taking Imagination Seriously

15 Oct

“It’s hard to believe that what I had imagined was now built, permanent and had lost nothing in translation…”


“Janet Echelman found her true voice as an artist when her paints went missing — which forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge. A transporting 10 minutes of pure creativity.”

LINK: Taking Imagination Seriously

Who is Janet Echelman?

Janet Echelman is an American artist, who specialises in public art installations and sculpture. Her public installations reshape urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight. Graduating in honors in visual studies from Harvard University in 1987, Echelman moved to Bali, Indonesia to live and work for 5 years. In 2005, she created her first permanent installation, She Changes, in Porto, Portugal. Today Echelman has constructed net sculpture environments in metropolitan cities all around the world. She collaborates with a range of professionals including aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators. According to Sculpture Magazine, Echelman’s work represents and signifies “a bold new direction for sculpture” and is “one of the truly significant public artworks in recent years.”


Key Ideas I found in this Lecture:

Imagination is everything when you’re a child. To a child, their imagination is real and important – and in some sense, it can define who you are. A child’s imagination is one of the most fundamental life skills which eventually assist in developing a reality, with its only boundary being in your head. This sense of imagination eventually becomes lost when we learn about boundaries, such as social boundaries, financial boundaries and educational boundaries. Upon watching this lecture, i got goosebumps. It was incredibly amazing to see one woman’s imagination created a dream, which in turn became a reality. These days, i find that my own imagination has been somewhat stifled amongst my day-to-day tasks, but after watching this flipped lecture, i feel compelled to tune into it more frequently.


This TED talk by Janet Echelman demonstrates how an artist takes her imagination seriously by working with her it, rather that against it. The end result, her public sculptures are what makes her  imagination real.


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