Pros and Cons of WordPress

Word Press offers many uses for new businesses looking to have their own spot on the internet. From the easy start up to the wide varieties of blog layouts, Word Press is a great platform for any one, from beginner to expert in website designing. From my experience with Word Press, I have come across some pros as well as cons with using the website.

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Some of my favorite features of Word Press, as stated before, is the easy start up and variety of layouts. I really like the minimalist style of my blog, which happened to be one of the first layouts I could choose. Besides blog layouts, they also have a good amount of layouts that display the blog but have a more professional website feel that you can customize easily. For those looking to track the stats of their website, the Stats tab on the My Site dashboard gives you the option of tracking the stats for the website in general, once you get to the individual blog post tab, you can individually track stats.

Another great feature of Word Press is the ability to share your blog via Facebook and other social networks with the simple click of a button. Just add your account to your dashboard and you will be able to promote to your followers easily. The main theme of Word Press is the ease of use.

Unfortunately, there are some cons with with Word Press. One of the main ones that, may be beneficial to some people, is that unless you know HTML or CSS, you are restricted to their layouts, which most are premium, meaning you have to pay.

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Another con is the lack of plans offered. From what I’ve experienced, there is a basic plan and a Business plan, which is quite pricey. Plug-ins are also only available to those who have the Business plan. A reoccurring issue that I have also run into, which may just be on my end, is a problem with publishing my posts. Rather than posting them right away to the blog, they are normally scheduled for a later time, even when I press the “publish now” button.

Although Word Press started off for just blog use, it has turned into so much more than that. I can absolutely see it being used for enterprise purposes. With the tools they supply, any one can create a successful webpage with engaging content.

Looking Forward

Tuesday of last week resulted in our second to last class of this semester. Throughout the past several weeks I have enjoyed learning about digital communications – past, present and future. It was interesting to hear my classmates’ thoughts as well as the interesting topics discussed in class. This past week’s class was all about the future of communications which happens to be a topic that offers so much as well as a lot of speculation as to where technology may lead us all, I wanted to specifically talk about three items, TV, Drones and Artificial Intelligence and where I may see them in the future.

Television

As I discussed in class, I am interested to see where the future of television may lie. In my own opinion, I can see cable companies “debundling” packages. And the future has already started…television packages will become pay for what you want. For example, I wonder when the last time it was that I watched anything on the GOLF Channel, why am I paying for something I don’t watch? Why do I have to click through hundreds of unused channels and pay for them when I don’t even so much stop to take a look? Cable companies will for sure turn to pay what you watch type packages. This will create much more competition amongst channels to have premium shows and create content that people will want to pay for. Will it break down so much that we only pay for the shows we want to watch? Will I have to pay $15 so I can watch The Walking Dead for a whole season?

I could also see all channels becoming HD. I am a current Comcast customer but why do I have repeat, premium HD Channels as well as non-HD. Most TV’s made today have HD Capabilities, what is the point of even offering the non-HD Channels?

Drones

To be honest, Drones creep me out. I love the idea of propelling a small helicopter through the air and taking scenic pictures, but it goes too far when flying over people’s houses and eliminating their privacy. Laws need to be created to regulate so-called “hobby-ists” usage as well as those used for Journalism. As of right now, Drones cross a line, but who’s to say where that line is?

I think it is a curious idea that Amazon and Domino’s are experimenting with deliveries using Drones, but as a classmate said, I like seeing the sky. With millions of orders coming through daily, the sky could become littered with the little flying objects. Safety could become a huge concern, with so many drones flying around, delivering packages. I would rather not have debris from a drone crash landing on my home and starting a fire. It’s a clever idea, but I would prefer if it did not catch on.

Artificial Intelligence

As the years have passed, the idea of creating artificial intelligence has never seemed to go away. Scientists have been working on and moving forward with AI for quite some time, getting closer to creating what one may recognize as intelligence similar to that of human. Is it really possible though, for AI to exist? To become successful?

Artificial Intelligence, like Drones, creeps me out. I do not like the thought of something so unnatural, and complex existing. I believe that one day we will become close to AI similar to that of a human, but I do not see that coming any time in the near future. I think robots will continue to improve, even becoming something that is a societal norm, will they have a conscious similar to that of a human? Only time will tell but I would prefer to not have a disaster similar to that of I-Robot.

Digital Communications holds so much potential and it will be exciting to see where the future leads us and how our industries change and evolve.

Here’s to the future!

Advertising and Public Relations

Vacations are some of the best of times, but what I’m finding, while in Graduate School, is that they have a habit of completely messing with my flow of school work…I am regrettably posting my reflection from last week’s class much later than I intended to. Regardless, let’s get started.

This past week’s class spoke a lot about how Advertising and Public Relations have changed since their beginnings. It also gave me a chance to see which track would be more suitable to go into for myself as I still have not completely decided what I would like to go in to. I originally thought I wanted to go into Advertising as that is the field in which my job lies but in undergrad I always thought I wanted to do Public Relations.

Class gave me the chance to see that Advertising is a never-ending expansion of platforms to advertise on, from smart phones to tablets to computers, who knows what may pop up in the future for an advertisement to cover. With this new technology leads to pinpointing exactly what audience companies are looking to target which will result in lead conversion, brand awareness and revenue. With new devices and easier audience targeting, advertising will only grow.

Advertising on webpages has never been a bother to me. It is always something that I choose to ignore or skim over. In the beginning of internet advertising, back when I used AOL as my browser of choice and before there were guidelines, ads were all over the place; in my opinion, pop-up ads of all shapes and sizes may have been the worst. The introduction of guidelines have made them much more bearable and in some cases fun to interact with, for example, my choice of ad for this week’s class…the Fast and Furious internet ad from YouTube was quite enjoyable to explore.

Recently, something that I find to be interesting is Apple’s move to block mobile advertisements. Users who upgrade to the iPhone 9.0 software, while using safari will not see mobile ads. This is interesting because if many other browsers decide to do this, Apple or otherwise, will advertising have to look to new ways to display their messages online? Will paid sponsored content be blocked as well, considering this is a form of advertising? This small change that Apple has started may change the way we view ads on the internet. I am interested to see if this will become a trend and how the advertising industry will respond.

In regards to new media, I am also interested in seeing how Public Relations will develop with much of it becoming damage control with companies, celebrities and people who have become “viral” making mistakes that can easily be exchanged on social networks. Going back the idea of “privacy” on the internet, public relations tends to clean up the mess of those who do not have the idea of privacy or someone who may have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Going into damage control or general releases, PR people have many great choices on how to get out an apology or positive press release into the world. With new media, public relations can include photos or videos with their press releases to really get their message across which will lead to a bigger impact. With new technologies being developed, Public Relations will be able to make more of a difference in getting their message out in an organized manner and respond to the public in more effective ways.

At the conclusion of class and as of now, I still do not know which way I would like to go in regards of my track. BUT, I do see a lot of potential in both fields. With new technology appearing yearly and developing in real time, it will be exciting to be part of the development of new ways to connect with the public and send out an effective message, whether that be to gain revenue and brand awareness or to clean up someone’s social media mistake.

Are Newspapers Dying?

Journalism has gone through many forms throughout the past. From the creation of the printing press to journalism’s merge with Digital Technology, there is no short of topic about the slow change. But now that people can get their news from online sources, is there really a need for journalism? Or is the idea of Citizen Journalism something that may take over.

One question that really strikes me is, Do people really care where their news source comes from? Would people be just as happy hearing about a fatal car crash from their friends’ tweets than a credible news source such as their local Newspaper? All that really seems to matter is who gets the information out first. If majority of people are getting their information based on a citizen observer, is there really a need for the Newspaper? In my opinion, yes. Although many times someone may get the first update from an undependable source, the reporters job is to get the details that are most up-to-date and correct. A citizen may dramatize the news, add four additional fatalities to a single fatality crash all for the viewership of their post. The news has always been a trusted source. Just because a newspaper may not have people reading their physical paper, they can still keep up with the other mediums by posting about a story on Twitter, Facebook, their website and much more.

Personally, I do care where my news is coming from. I would much rather hear about a story through CNN, the New York Times or even my local paper over a local citizen’s story of the incident. Reporters are paid to make sure they get the correct facts and go about it in a professional manner. Perhaps I respect these sources more because I’ve grown up reading the newspaper but I feel that this may also be a general opinion.

This leads to another topic of Newspapers and their potential to die. At the beginning of class, I came in believing that yes, Newspapers are dying, and they may be in their print form. But after I now believe, as an online resource, they are not. Newspapers will always exist through some sort of Digital Media, whether it be the Internet, Smart Phone, Tablet, Computer, etc. People love knowing what is going on in their community, newspapers just need to adapt to the time and the viewership.

One great example of changes with the times are apps. Apps lead to many interesting platforms for reading materials, my favorite being that of Amazon’s Kindle. But many magazines, as well as Newspapers have created their own apps for their readers’ enjoyment. These apps normally provide content that one may find in the print edition as well as special features such as behind-the-scenes for photo shoots or special tips for “app users only”. I think these tools will help companies who use them only grow their viewership and readers. I personally do not use any apps for magazines or newspapers but I think the concept is wonderful.

From my own work environment, it will be interesting to see how my Newspaper grows with the time. Already equipped with a website that draws a good amount of readers, being able to grow into other forms of media may only benefit us more. Only time will tell. My hope is that our readers will grow with us as well.

Lions and Tigers and Big Data, Oh My!

I don’t know if there is anything as terrifying and convenient as Big Data. The fact that it can so easily track all of your internet habits and tailor your whole experience to you is probably one of the most helpful and scary things ever. First of all, I just want to mention that this is another way that we are all becoming lazy and too dependent on the internet. I appreciate that as a society we look for ways to make life more efficient and easier but I always have premonitions of America as overweight chair hogs. Will we really need to go anywhere other than our homes? With online delivery services for groceries, clothes, home decor and tools for socialization, school, work, will it even be necessary to leave our homes?

On the flip side, I love using Amazon to discover a new book based on what I have read previously. Before, I may just browse the site for hours looking for something based on reviews and story synopsis’. Now I can easily make a pick based on Amazon’s recommendation and I would say eight out of ten times it’s something I really enjoy. The extra time spent looking through the website is now used for something else.

Although Big Data has it’s pro’s…it is sort of terrifying to think that the Internet can so efficiently track all of our data, from one site to the next, where we live, what spots we frequent, what we ordered last time we were on our favorite coffee website. How will this data be used? Will our health insurance premiums go up because we choose to buy a bag of chips over an apple? Will we be targeted for commercials about Drunk Driving if Big Data sees we made a trip to the liquor store? These are just a few ways that Big Data may go too far, or may possibly be saving grace to some people.

When we had our pairings in class it was extremely interesting to see how Big Data has changed certain things from how they were. The trend I saw was that it made life easier. A great example was Finances in that you used to have to go to the bank to do transfers, report a card missing, address changes and deposit a check. Now, you can use one simple application in the comfort of your home.

Health and Fitness was another great example of how Big Data has made life easier… Much of my online prescriptions are done through an online delivery service that my Doctor sends all of my prescriptions to. This service notifies me when something needs to be filled and keeps a database of all of the prescriptions I’ve used in the past. For health, new technologies such as the FitBit or even Map My Run are great for tracking health information such as sleep patterns, how much activity you have logged throughout the day or what you have eaten. Before, you may have a good journal and may not know what your sleep pattern is.

Again, Big Data is extremely convenient and also terrifying. I love that it makes life easier but I do not know if I want something so meticulously tracking all of my information. With almost everything having some sort of technology to track, is it even possible to escape Big Data if you wanted to?

Ethical Issues

This week has been an especially rough week for me in my personal life and to be honest concentrating hasn’t exactly been something I have been able to do. When trying to reflect on this week’s class, my mind has been cloudy, so please excuse me if everything is just all over the place.

Ethical Issues are the name of the game this week and what I gathered from some of the cases are people do not use common sense when using the internet. As I stressed in class about the Twitter Joke Case, if you do not want something to be shared on the Internet, then don’t post it. Don’t share it! Especially on social media, where we are meant to be social and share our ideas with our peers! Another example of this is with the Snapchat case regarding whether or not Snapchat has a data base of photos or if they are actually deleted. My thoughts again, if you do not feel comfortable having the whole world see your photo, why would you send someone it in the first place? End Rant.

Although people may not make the greatest decisions when using the internet (aka anyone who has ever signed up for Ashley Madison), the internet still remains a wonderful, free place where our thoughts can be shared. In regards to Lauren’s article, having a governance over the internet would not be, in my opinion, the greatest idea. The internet is meant to be free and open and having people reside over what is okay and not okay takes the fun out of such a large network of ideas, people and pages. It is amazing what you can learn from exploring into the great depths of space and if one day a governing body said that that wasn’t okay, how would we ever learn about, for example, another country and their political problems?

Perhaps a fun past time of some of my classmates and friends is trolling. Earlier in the day on Tuesday I had read an article, similar to Marissa’s, about the Target Troll. Unfortunately I had not read the entire article and thought that Target actually responded to people in the manner that the person did. (My favorite was, “Name…I think you’re hungry, have a snickers bar, they’re located up front by the cash registers.”) After learning about the full article, it made sense that it was not actually Target; I mean that would be a nightmare, even if it was just funny, sarcastic comments. Although I think the Target troll was all in good fun, trolling, in itself is not the nicest thing to do.

According to Urban Dictionary, the top definition of trolling is:

“Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it’s the internet and, hey, you can.”

As this definition so bluntly put it, trolling is being a prick on the internet. But even if someone is not acting in a favorable manner, it would be extremely hard to regulate any type of ban on trolling as there is unlimited content on the internet to troll. Who would regulate it? If it was that big of an issue, many jobs could be created to keep a handle on it, but is that really necessary? Is trolling just another version of free speech? In my opinion, trolling is just something to be tolerated and is just another feature of sharing your opinions on the internet.

Finally, I just wanted to touch on my own article which talked about a Facebook Research Experiment which did not notify the participants and spoke a little about whether or not it was ethical. I found that it was hard to make my own decision on the topic. I can definitely see the advantages, having unknowing participants would give researchers the truest results, but on the other hand, it is unfair to the participant. The unwilling participant.

Any study, done in the real world or on social media should  follow the same standards, but would it be more beneficial to use social media as a tool to get the truest results on unknowing people? This is an ethical issue that even I am having a hard time taking a side…

Have a good weekend and good luck on the Midterm Everyone!! 🙂

Exposed: Digital Consumption Diary

To follow up on my post from last week’s embarrassing dive into my social media habits, this week I dive into my embarrassing iPhone usage. Although I hate to admit it, over the past couple of months, I have gotten extremely attached to the thing. I also realized, after speaking to a friend, that I don’t really need any other technology (with the exception of my work computer) to entertain me.

In my Digital Consumption Diary I found that I really only use my television (for background noise) and iPhone and the day I chose to record didn’t even remotely reflect my actual habits. I decided to record my habits on a Sunday when I am sitting in a lifeguard stand on the beach…where we’re not exactly supposed to use our phones…and I still managed to rack up time from the hours of 9am to 5:30pm. During the week, I am 100% on it more. I am always glancing at it during work or scrolling through an app; it is my cure for boredom (After I typed that line I actually just looked at my phone).

It was comforting to know that my classmates also seem to struggle with keeping off their phones and I’m sure our patterns are very similar to others.

One medium that stuck out to me as being lost is the traditional radio. Today, many people would rather listen to a music streaming service such as Pandora or Spotify or even their XM Radio. Personally, I enjoy the music feature on the iPhone (go figure). It will be interesting to find out what the future holds for traditional radio…

In other news, while going through my work email today I stumbled across an email from my local County College putting together a conference for college students and the community on using social media to promote businesses. I actually chuckled thinking back to class this week and our Breakout Groups forming agendas for a conference on the Digital Divide.

I thought that each group had a well thought out agenda that would be extremely beneficial to those who attend. I was particularly interested in Breakout group 2 as their agenda really focused on closing the gap in the digital divide. It really tackles how to close the divide and offers a great forum for ideas. I also really enjoyed the titles of Breakout Group 4 and thought they did an excellent job addressing the digital divide as well, in fact all groups did an excellent job.

Last week I tweeted an article that spoke about the Digital Divide in Cuba and how people without internet access were receiving files once a week to download and view on their computer so they could stay up to date on current events, music, etc. I thought this was an interesting solution to the problem, especially to those living far away from any internet service.

If interested, follow the link below!

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33816655