Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Power of Facebook

Forget TV, print, and radio (ok, not completely). But social media is where it's at.

If you're like me, you've ditched the part of Facebook that is keeping tabs on your frenemies, rolling your eyes at status updates you'd rather not read, and not worrying about having an impossibly high "friend" count. I've recently deleted a large amount of "friends" and photos in efforts to turn my Facebook into more of a communication tool. I'm also going through a faze of de-cluttering my social media pages.

I started thinking that I was on the right track doing this after I came across a post on my Twitter feed that directed me to a website page that talked about the power of Facebook as a marketing tool. To me, this means using Facebook professionally and tastefully. Using Facebook as a marketing tool for businesses is nothing new, but using it as a self-marketing (or self-branding) tool is pretty much the same idea. We all know that having a strong presence online, and strong brand, is important.

Check out this website page to find out some interesting Facebook facts and how the site can help your marketing goals.

Friday, December 16, 2011

China and Google

I came across an interesting story in the Winnipeg Free Press (WFP) Twitter feed a couple days ago. The article was about how China is proposing to ban movie content that harms national honour, incites ethnic hatred, spreads superstition, and portrays obscenity, violence or terror. So pretty much every topic American movies have a hay-day with.

The end of the WFP article reads: “The proposal is part of an overall tightening of cultural industries that are fueling more independent viewpoints, particularly social media and hugely popular microblogs where citizens often vent anger and frustration.”

I have to be honest that I don’t know much about how Chinese government is run, or U.S. government for that matter. But, it’s obvious this ban would tighten control over what people in China see which sounds pretty scary. Growing up and living in North America, I feel like I have ample freedom to say almost whatever I want and wherever I want, especially with free outlets like Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Because of this, I find the proposed tightening of social media in China concerning.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t see the strong correlation between movie content and social media. Social media allows people to express their thoughts and opinions freely. Sure, movies often contain contentious material, but they’re also meant to be recognized as a form of entertainment. You can choose to ignore movie content that you don’t agree with just like to can choose to not reply to a Facebook posting or follow someone on Twitter.

So is there really a correlation between the two?

I was watching Erin Burnett’s OutFront on CNN last night. Burnett was interviewing Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt. Their discussion moved to China. Burnett asked Schmidt if the engineers in China and India were better than the ones in America.

“They certainly have some of the best in the world. We try to hire them. We would rather have those Chinese engineers working for us in America producing great products and benefits for America,” says Schmidt.

You’d think this push for an “American innovation” hierarchy would have the U.S. government waiting with open arms as people escape the presumed censorship they face in places like China. Wrong, says Schmidt.

“Our government takes the smartest people in the world and brings them to America, gives them PhDs and then kicks them out to go found great companies outside of America. This is madness,” he says.

There are Chinese equivalents for American firms like Facebook, Twitter and Google. All of which are successful.

Google has 60 offices in 30 different countries. Schmidt says that Chinese censorship laws make it difficult for American companies to enter and operate in China. After five years of attempting to change this, he explains how Google had to move to the “other China”: Hong Kong.

“You’re subject to these horrendous censorship laws. There is a ‘Great Fire Wall’ that blocks content they don’t like between Hong Kong and the mainland forcing them to do the censorship. We just could not abide by their rules,” he says.

Schmidt says China hasn’t been able to do what the U.S. has done because of such censorship laws.

“China is the world’s manufacturer, but they do not yet have all the advanced society functions they need: independent judiciary, political dynamics, creativity, advanced universities…to do what we’ve been able to do in the U.S,” he says.

Schmidt explained how innovators create millions of jobs in America, and how the U.S. needs to welcome engineers from their own and other countries. Burnett asked Schmidt if he thought the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs will be born in the U.S. or China, or somewhere else.

He says, “The next one of those people will be born in America and will be a successful American entrepreneur because it’s not just the person, it’s the system they’re part of.”

To my interpretation, the WFP article and this Google story on OutFront are strongly related. If China hasn’t been able to do what the U.S. has done in terms of innovation due to strict censorship laws, is the proposed ban going to be a really bad move for China? And if these censorship laws move on to stricter censorship laws, is Google going to have any opportunity in China whatsoever?


You can check out some of the Twitter discussion between Burnett and Scmidt by following the hashtag #OutFront. Also, if you want to watch the OutFront interview click here.

Friendly reminder for my friendly readers: This blog is simply meant as a media discussion. I blog about things I read or watch in the news. This blog is not meant to create ridiculous controversy; its main purpose is to pose questions and ideas related to media. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Romeo and Juliet

I went to see an actual play at an actual theatre this past Thursday. I know, right?

I've always been a fan of the play Romeo and Juliet and know the story very well. I've read this Shakespeare play three times on my own accord (nerd alert). Needless to say I was pretty excited when a school assignment lead me straight into Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's doors to watch the classic tragedy of the two star-crossed lovers.

I was totally impressed with Gareth Potter who played Romeo's friend, Mercutio. He was so obscene and provacative that he had the audience out-right laughing. It's refreshing to know that what some may stereotype as a dry art can actually make you laugh in your seat.

The show runs until December 17. Those of you who are interested in going to see Rom & Jul can check out the website for it and find out how you can get tickets. There are also some really interesting shows coming up and I recommend you check them out!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winnipeg Jets win!

This one’s for you, hockey lovers…

I went to the Jets game on Saturday! Woo!

The Jets outskated and outscored the Philadelphia Flyers when they whooped them 6-4! It was a very exciting game and was the first Jets game I’ve ever been to.

Normally I cheer for the Flyers, but the Jets are our home team so I had to switch my allegiance and cheer for them. No questions asked!

It was super exciting to be part of the crowd cheering every time the Jets scored. The best part was being a part of everyone literally jumping out of their seats when the final buzzer rang and we had won. The energy in the stands was insane.

Here are some pictures from the game!

Go Jets Go!  

First face off

The game begins!

 Jets win!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rolling, Background, Action!

This past Wednesday was my first ever experience being on a movie set. Granted, I was just an extra in a scene of 40 others but it was still super cool!

The director, Sean Garrity, came to my class two weeks prior to tell us about his life as a director. I was so intrigued by the presentation that when he asked if any of us would like to sign up as an extra for his film, I immediately took the opportunity to write my name down.

I was able to see some camera work in action which was what I was most interested in. It amazed me how many takes were needed to get the shot just right.

I brought my best friend along for the fun. We laughed the ENTIRE night and had such a good time despite being a little tired.

As extras, we were part of an exterior street party scene. The dress code was “bright, biker, and sexy.” With our coloured tights and leather boots and jackets, I’d say we looked pretty much in character.

We had to dance on a sidewalk in Osborne and the weather got a little chilly, but when you’re dancing for about 6 hours (to no music), you manage to stay warm.

The movie is titled “My Awkward Sexual Adenture”. Julijette Inc. gives the sypnosis of the film:

To win back his unsatisfied ex-girlfriend, conservative accountant Jordan Abrams enlists the help of Julia – an uninhibited exotic dancer – to guide him on his quest for sexual experience, leading him into a world of strip clubs, sensual massage parlors, cross-dressing and S & M.

Learn more about Director Sean Garrity and Producer/Actor Jonas Chernick!

Here’s a picture of two men we met from the set. They were really friendly and featured a lot in the scene. I’m pretty sure they’d win best costume if there was an award to give. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Everyone Has a Story

Before taking my journalism class, I thought what I was reading in the newspaper was "articles." Nothing more. But they're not just that. They're stories.

The stories that I write for journalism class should not be misunderstood: they are not fictional, they are based on fact. The meaning-making is what makes them stories.

When you're preparing to write a story, the interviewing process can be challenging, especially if the person you're interviewing isn't much of a talker. This has happened to me on more that one occasion.

The important thing to remember though? Everyone has a story. Sometimes it just takes a while to find it.

Steve Hartman has been a CBS news correspondent since 1998. He proves the notion that "everyone has a story". Hartman has an interesting process of finding an interviewee: he tosses a dart at a map of the United States and then finds a person to interview by randomly choosing a name from a phone book.

Here's a link for an example of one such story:

Hartman tears down the wall of silence between reporter and interviewee and shows how "even a quiet man can speak for a nation."