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Growing Up Digital

Submitted by jlbeam4 on Tue, 11/01/2011 - 02:51 pm

"The bottom line is this: If you understand the Net Generation, you will understand the future. If you're a baby boomer or GenXer: This is your field guide," so says Don Tapscott in his 2009 publication, Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. This book is one of three textbooks for my Media Arts & Studies 555 course, The Internet and Social Change. Tapscott recognizes how my generation--the Net Generation--is a unique and powerful social shift that is manifesting itself in nearly all aspects of life. The book is divided into chapters that analyze and compare the Net Generation and the Baby Boomers in terms of their cognitive processes, educational structures, the work force, the marketplace, the family unit, and more. The more I read it, the more I find myself agreeing with Tapscott. His argument is based on what he names "Eight Generation Net Norms".

One of the most evident similarities bewteen my life and the book comes from the chapter regarding the workforce. Employers geared towards retaining the Net Generation are vastly different from traditional work models. Net Geners want their opinions to be heard and valued. At A&S, I feel great about my contributions to the College, and I know that my collegues value my input. Technology is central to my workflow. I use it to communicate and collaborate with dozens of people simulataneously, as Tapscott says "Work has become more cognitively complex, more team-based, more depednet on social skills and...depends less on geography and more on technological competence." My job is very fluid and flexible, adapting to new technologies and new problems as they arise. In this way, I'm kept on my toes. To work at A&S is to take part in an open, two-way dialog. We use emails, blogs, social media sites, and other digital media applications to engage one another and help share the stories of A&S. The skills I am learning now are life-long skills that will help me in my future professional life. These are all things covered in Tapscott's book. It's a great place to work and I am very fortunate to have this position.

Grown Up Digital is a great read and I reccommend it to practically everyone. We, the Net Generation, are the first generation bigger than previous generations, we've grown up along side the Internet, we can multitask and adapt to new environments. We are young, we are educated, and we are confident. Look out!

Mix n Mash

Submitted by jlbeam4 on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 02:19 pm

My two current internet obsessions are Mashable and Turntable.


According to their website, "Mashable is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology. Mashable reports on the importance of digital innovation and how it empowers and inspires people around the world." Besides the insanely cool and relevant articles, I really like their use of "infographics." Instead of traditional black text on white background articles, These infographics sort of take graphs and charts and mash them up with traditional articles. I think it's a great way to get your information across in a simple and quick manner. These days, no one spends more than a few seconds on a webpage, so getting their attention is paramount. 

Here are some of my favorites: How are people using Twitter?; The Rise of the Mobile Workforce; Social Network Wars. is like a social media website for streaming and sharing music with your friends. pretty hip.

Missouri Outlaws Student-Teacher Facebook Friendship

Submitted by jlbeam4 on Wed, 08/03/2011 - 09:20 am

I just read this article, entitled, "Missouri Outlaws Student-Teacher Facebook Friendship." Again, it seems like these discussions about social media effects and applications seem to gravitate towards me. But, I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts. As new technologies develop, new laws sprout up governing the use of such technologies. Don't believe me? Is sexting inappropriate? Would making it illegal be an infringement of privacy? What about spam? Shouldn't it be protected under the 1st ammendment? What if the one doing the spamming resides outside the United States? I had the pleasure of exploring these topics a few semesters ago in my Media Law & Regulation class. Neat stuff, right?

Anyways, back to the article at hand. The new law will make it illegal for teachers to be "friends" with students on Facebook, Twitter, etc. My gut reaction is to be opposed to the law, in a handful of ways. The article points out that this law may be preventing students from getting help in one of the only ways they can. Children spend an increasing amount of time on the Internet and form social connections with others using email, chat, etc. Missouri legislators argue that the bill is intended to protect children from predatory teachers. What about students' relationships with their sports coaches or religious leaders? Is the problem predatory teachers? Or maybe is it parents who don't inform their kids on proper Internet behavior and what to watch for?

Fingerpointing aside, This is a step backwards. All signs are pointing towards social media's full integration into society, and yes, this means academia and educational institutions, too. Facebook can be a powerful tool, when used correctly. Again, I urge you to look at the Facebook page for A&S Wired Residential College. One can see an established relationship and means of communication and conversation between student, staff and faculty. Wired, the new A&S residential college, will have "[u]biquitous technology, the seamless integration of socialization and education, and the building of meaningful relationships with peers and faculty [that] will form the cornerstones of this education experience." This is a complete 180-degree turn from this new Missouri law. Social media has the potential to be utilized for course curriculum, alternative learning, and meaningful conversation.

What do you think?





Another blog about Facebook? ugh.

Submitted by jlbeam4 on Wed, 07/20/2011 - 03:35 pm

Yes....this is probably another blogpost that rants and raves about Facebook, but hear me out. Some of what I do here at the College of Arts & Sciences involves managing social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Flickr. With that, I have come to see social media's constantly growing potential and powers as it spreads like wildfire all over the Internet. Think about it. While many of us complain about the woes of Facebook and the tendency for us to become distracted and even consumed by it, I believe it to have unlimited potential for evolving forms of social interaction. It's already changing social ettiquete. Remember a few years ago when your professor might have said "...and I am on Facebook." and you thought that was weird? It's becoming commonplace and almost expected now. Consuming news media has shifted from reading a physical newspaper, to reading an online version, and now, many people stay informed by subscribing to various Twitter profiles and receiving updates via their twitter feed. With a 140-character limit, these sources are going to have to learn how to cut to the chase. What started as an exclusive college-only social network has turned into the newest and most popular form of advertising for a number of businesses. 

The most eye-opening aspect of social networks, to me, is their potential to be conversation-starters and a collaborative means of communication. It's the coming together of people from various backgrounds and demographics; young, old, student, professional, institutional, American, Iranian, etc. Take a look at the Facebook page for the A&S Wired Residential College. Right there you have a collaborative, engaging conversation between UK faculty, staff, and students. Media within the websites are the work projects of A&S staff, and students are using it as a way to get to know their dormmates before move-in. Without this social network as a central hub, this same type of conversation and display would have possibly never happened. And sure, you can just say, "it's a few comments here and there, or someone just pressed the 'like' button, what does that really mean?" To me it signifies that social interactions and our forms of communicating are changing. The fact that people, some of whom have never physically met in person, are willingly conversing back and forth, professors, students, and staff members indicates some unity fostered by digital communications. The Internet is something truly democratic, and it's tearing down geographic, economic, political, racial, religious, gender, and other social barriers with every tweet.

It seems like many of my blog posts and comments are all media & social interaction themed. It's something I don't consciously do, but somehow it happens to find me. I'm anxious to see how these social media sites develop over the course of the semester.


Lexington's Local Music Scene

Submitted by jlbeam4 on Fri, 07/08/2011 - 11:57 am

I've lived in Lexington my entire life. If there's one thing that has always seemed to ring true through the years about this town it's this: There are so many musicians in this town. With that, some of them decide to publicize their talents, form groups and play for crowds all around town, but you also have those who haven't quite reached the stage or who have been played long under the radar.  Lexington is home to an amazing independent, volunteer-run radio station, a premiere indie music blog, and countless talenteed musicians. Once you start looking, you'll come to find that Lexington's actually a pretty happenin' place, musically speaking.

Last night, I came from work, made a bite to eat and almost settled down into my normal evening routine. I felt bored though, anxious even. There must be something to do, I thought. I found out there was a local bluegrass band playing down at Al's Bar. It made my night. Where else can you guy to hear a bluegrass version of Talking Head's "This Must Be the Place" while munching on delicious sweet potato fries?


Local music, to me, is a part of the local art community, and it needs support. Art and music; these things spawn conversation, collaboration, creativity, and so much more. The potential for these things to affect the soul is immeasurable. I gurantee you there's a local lexington band out there to fit your favorite style of music, all you have to do is find it. There's also a ton of cool places to see the shows, too. And no, you don't always have to be 21 to enter. Bigger venue's like Buster's and Cosmic Charlies have 18+ shows frequently, and there are also a number of places like Pop's Resale, CD Central, and Common Grounds who regularly host local artists.

So, this weekend, I encourage to seek out some local music, if you're looking for something to do. I'm sure the band would dig it, and who knows, you might too.


Submitted by jlbeam4 on Mon, 06/20/2011 - 04:57 pm

Bonding experiences come in many forms. Maybe it's going on a father-son trip or the relationship accumulated with a friend over the years. For me, the result is something I can't quite put into words, but I know it's the there. A certain feeling of mutual closeness through shared experiences and feelings. This weekend, I spent several hours in a recording studio with many people; some friends, some practically strangers. Music's ability to bond one another proved to be very powerful. 

I came to the recording sessions nervous, apprehensive. I had little knowledge of the songs and wanted to give off a good impression to fellow musicians. When the tape started rolling, I took a deep breath and began to play. The first take was breathtaking. "I felt like I just got a massage," I told the others as we walked back into the booth. It was such a peace, meditative, almost spiritual experience. We did another take, I felt even calmer. Nearing tranquility, I also felt more connected with the musicians. Although we were in separate rooms recording at the same time, we continued to grow closer. We ended up sticking with the 3rd take, and by then it was as if I had always been friends with the rest of the group. Every one of us really cared for the music we were creating and for each other. I think that channeling these feelings and energies really brings people together. This strange meditative, zen-like euphoria lingered for the next few hours. I felt blessed to take part in such an awesome experience.


Similarly, the next day, I had friends over for a pot-luck dinner. Some I had known for years, and others I was less close with. There's something about cooking and sharing a meal together that brings people closer to one another. For me, food is one of the simplest joys there are. We shared conversations and laughter, and it was just an easier way to feel more connected with people that I didn't consider myself close with.


And I think these feelings and experiences are open to anyone through any means. It's about doing what you love, doing it with care, and then sharing the experience with others. 

Baby Steps

Submitted by jlbeam4 on Thu, 06/09/2011 - 09:29 am

I walk to work. Everyday. I realize that not everyone has this opportunity, and even when presented with it, often times it is not the most logical or efficient means of commuting. Fortunately for me, walking to work is the best way to commute. Stepping out my door, I stick in my ear buds and within 15 minutes or so, I'm at the office. Walking to work gives me a chance to clear my mind and commute peacefully, not having to deal with rush hour traffic. With the morning sun shining down on me, I know it's going to be a good day - and I haven't even had my first cup of coffee.

Granada, SpainI was extremely fortunate to be able to spend the Fall 2010 semsester studying abroad in Granada, Spain. Like much of the rest of western Europe, the citizens of Granada took full advantage of the public transportation system. In Granada this means taking the bus, for they have no subway or rail system. Aside from being the most beautiful city I've ever seen, Granada is also relatively small. I could walk from one end to the city to the other in about an hour and a half. Due to spatial and economic reasons, many Granadinos don't have a car (and you thought our gas prices were high!). Naturally, they are forced to walk or ride a bike or take the bus everywhere. Can you imagine the majority of Americans doing the same?


I don't want to turn this conversation into one of those "Europe vs. America" discussions. I just think it's important for people to consider something more than they already know. Consider that your car is not the only means of transportation. I think it's important for everyone's physical and mental well-being, the community, and the environment as a whole. The city of Granada is designed very differently than Lexington. Space and resources were scarce. People and places were in such close proximity that I could walk to class, the grocery, restaurants, the bullring, and the hospital without any trouble. The locals there told me that my walk to class (30-40 minutes) was "very close." Things are different here, believe me, I understand.

Also, I'm not saying that the solution is to sell your car and start hiking it to work everyday. Like I said, for many of us, driving is often the more efficient solution.

No Impact Man BookBut perhaps undertaking huge changes in smaller bits can help us acheive our goals more realistically and happily. Baby steps has been the mantra of many people for all kinds of things. Thanks to UK's Common Reading Experience, No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planent, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process, I realize that that big changes need to be broken up into smaller parts. For me, this means that to be healthy and environmentally conscious, among other things, I will walk to work and take the stairs as much as possible. I work in POT, and I consult with coworks on several different floors. Why take the elevator? It's not that much quicker, and a brisk climb up 5-6 flights of stairs is a great way to energize yourself during the middle of the day.



Song of the Day - "Wooden Ships" by Crosby, Stills, & Nash