Brittany Mascio's Weblog


Oh the times, they are a’changing
December 9, 2010, 11:10 pm
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In elementary school, we knew we were “old” when we moved up to Computers. Computers could have easily been named the best class in the world.

Yes, I mean the world.

It was a class where you avoided dysentery on  the Oregon Trail and ‘Jump Start’ed your way to 3rd grade. That was how our public school introduced us to the new technology. We knew using new technology was motivational for us – especially if it meant games.

Nowadays, it’s no different. The business professionals and tech gurus are no longer the only ones attached to the newest technology. At my internship I have been able to see the most interesting iPads users – users who can barely read and write. They’re kindergarteners. It takes 2nd grade ‘Computers’ to a new level.

Much like I did in the past, these kindergartners are  making use of new technology as an interactive tool to learn. With multi-touch technology and a screen that displays easy-to-read text, the iPads are said to be easy for young students because they touch the screen instead of focusing on writing, typing or using a mouse. Understanding the limited coordination  of a 5-year-old, I’d assume this could jump start the learning process right away. They may not know how to write their name with a pencil, but by George they could do it on a touch-pad. Kill a few less trees and set kids off on the right path to learning, sounds about right with me.

Only thing is, they’re in kindergarten. All this advancement in technology at such an early age may be a little too much for me. Although we may be helping them learn with the best technology out there, this could be scaring when it comes to any of the “old school” conventional ways of interacting, especially on an interpersonal level.

At the ripe old age of 21, I start to feel like a dinosaur when I talk about how rough it was to dial-up to get on the Internet. I already feel like I’ve been skyrocketed out of the youthful age of technology when I run into a fourth grader texting her fingers off while we’re doing a Girl Scout activity. My eleven-year-old cousin has a Facebook, he’s constantly chatting but won’t say a peep to anyone. He takes the strong silent type to true irony. Again, maybe I just wasn’t that cool at 11, but AIM was about the most digital technology I needed to connect with my friends. I can only imagine where this surge of new technology can lead us.

We’re already so connected as it is – I’d only hope this doesn’t pull us so far into the current of constant communication that we can never get out. Let’s hope these youngsters learn a thing or two about “real” life learning along the way. It may save us in the long run… or, we might just die of dysentery.



Put a Bow on it – We’re All Wrapped Up
December 9, 2010, 5:59 pm
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I’ve had my wordpress account for a solid two years now. I’ve blogged for class and that’s about it. I wrote blogging off as an electronic diary – an evolving Xanga. I’ve never really thought much into blogging on my own; however, after this experience I feel I’m up for it.

Although subject matter may be a challenge at times and understanding blogs are not merely a reflection piece from your diary (although, some are) can be a difficult concept for some,  blogging can serve a great purpose for aspiring writers. As we set to graduate, this small device will be the saving grace of our skills. Through blogging, we will have a commitment to ourselves and our readers to keep up with our work with the writing we are capable of doing. It will keep us fresh and we can continue to hone in our skills and develop our own conventions and create our voice.

As we read about an American little boy and Mr. Rogers, John McCann and surgery, and a violinist and soldier, we focused on style and creating a character. We used these articles to help us find our voice. We learned about synthesizing reporting and story telling. Through reading these articles and reflecting, I challenged myself to think beyond the story itself and look into the technique – the layering of scenes, the tone of voice, the sentence structures. By looking deeper at these conventions, I hoped to gain some perspective on how I could incorporate these tactics in my own writing.

I took some risks – started strong and hit a wall. When I took bigger risks than those I was used to, it was uncomfortable.  I wanted to stretch myself to try new techniques, paint more elaborate pictures and stand out. When I failed, it was a blow. It became difficult for me to emulate not only the writers we had studied but even emulating my normal writing. It became a struggle for me to get back to square one. At times, I felt I had lost my groove. I was looking for a muse. I learned to challenge myself but more importantly I learned that when you get kicked off a horse, don’t just lay on the ground. I learned to push through being discouraged. If it can’t be perfect, try harder. Look at it from another angle. Or simply start over. It’s no walk in the park and I know I questioned my ability, but you have to keep trying, keep working on your craft.

That’s where  blogs come into play. There are limitless topics – and you have the freedom to express your opinion. You can work on your risks and challenge yourself. You’ll become a better writer simply because you tried something. And, when you’re ready to show the world what you’ve got, you already can. Your blog can serve as your portfolio. Just like Angela created Lofty Living, take what you know and show the world. A blog can be more than simply another from of social media – it can be a compilation of developing talents.

P.S. For a comparative analysis of growth of a writer, feel free to enjoy my Xanga. Not only will you see proof of my love for Creighton Basketball but you will also be able to see how much I have grown as a writer since I was 15.



Skype Me In
December 9, 2010, 5:58 pm
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Skype continues to blow my mind. Communication has changed so much so that it is difficult to think how we used to communicate.

David has spent the last five months in Spain. Madrid’s quite a long way from Des Moines, Iowa. He has traveled most of the European world, met wonderful people and experienced a new culture all the while fitting as much studying in as possible. Well, at least that’s the convincing story he shares with his parents.

The honeymoon stage of Spain wore off a little prematurely and soon David’s family noticed his homesickness. Although he was blogging about his experiences abroad, it’s safe to say, Skype may have been his saving grace.

Conversations occurred at odd hours but David could make his way back to his home in Des Moines every week. He could talk to his parents as close to face-to-face as possible, while being miles a part. He scheduled talk times and made Skype his main form of communication.

It’s remarkable how technology allows us to communicate across borders and visually be with one another. We can bring not only our voice but our physical expressions to each other – while sitting on our respective couches miles a part.

Skype is used in the classroom for long distance students at universities across the country. Even, Oprah‘s no stranger to this technology. Check out anything newscast nowadays, someone may be Skyped in. This communications technology connects our world and advances globalization. Domestically, we can chat with one another – or utilize our experts from across the country to provide input on presentations, board meetings and specifically news reports and interviews. Internationally, technology like Skype has allowed other countries to provide a depth and greater understanding to world reports and help us to understand the world. With new technology, globalized media is capable of doing just that, more so than ever before.



Zuckerberg who?
December 9, 2010, 2:28 am
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From time to time,  I fall into a habit. As switch from Facebook to email, and from Pandora Radio to Urban Dictionary, I often find I need to be more productive with my Internet usage. So, my solution became stumbling. And, normally I seem to stumble around anyway – on the Mall going to class, walking up stairs, etc. However, when I StumbledUpon, this relatively new social media tool, my philanthropic side perked up and fell in love.

Jumo is a non-profit social media tool specifically used for good. The company seeks to change the world. They want real change and informed communities. They seek more than changing profile pictures to “support” causes – their solutions count for something. It’s not a site that goes against anything its competitors are doing, it is simply being more active and intentional with its purpose. Besides, Jumo is founded and directed by Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook.

Jumo lets users find, follow and support those causes in their own community and in regions around the world. It connects organizations with individuals who are willing to help.

Similar to Facebook’s fan pages, users “follow” an issue or project because they’re interested in the cause or interested in learning more. When users “follow” issues and organizations, they receive the latest news and information on how to get active and do something, instead of adding it to a list of things users simply “like.”

Jumo is invested in long-term commitment and all donations are directed through Network for Good.

Jumo finds the issues and organizations that lack resources and need support.  Jumo seeks to inform users with the latest news and updates to keep users active. Jumo users then support their issue or project with their time, money and skills, specifically their technology skills.

Jumo gives a meaning to social media. It’s more than tagging pictures, it’s more than updating your status and it’s more than “supporting” a cause page. Jumo seeks to use social media as a tool to provoke change and seek to inform those who care how to get involved and do something. For as much as our generation is locked in, this is the best use of social media that I think can really last.



Good Old Grandpa Stone

There’s a lot I could say about Clifton.

For one, he’s my grandfather. Born in 1934 and has since lived most of his life straddling the East coast. A true man, conservative and patriot. He fits the description of just about any grandfather in America – former war vet, retired and living in Florida. Typically, you can find Mr. Cliff sporting a neon yellow vest, standing on a crosswalk. It’s no Abbey Road but he gets his job done as an elementary school crossing guard.

Behind the grandpa mold, he’s far more unconventional.

When he tells you something is lousy, you believe him. And well, “lousy” was his initially response to Apple’s iPad. Most would think a man of his age would make a comment like that because it’s new technology or it’s  ruining the way we interact with one another, maybe some sly remark along the lines of, “back in my day, we actually did work.” But, no, that’s not Grandpa Stone.

Most don’t believe me when I tell them about my tech savvy grandpa.

Contrary to my grandmother, my grandfather knows how to work a computer and work it well. He’s constantly checking weather updates, adding to his 39 friends on his Facebook and looking up new Apps. He tries to invigorate his trend among his community. Of his 39 friends on Facebook eight of them are friends of his from bingo group and he communicates regularly with an email thread to old Navy buds.

He is the man with the iPod, the MacBook, the Facebook and I won’t be surprised when he gets a Twitter. He is always up-to-date on the newest Apple products and he is constantly locked in. Every time, he sees me on ESPN for a Creighton’s Men’s Basketball game, he’ll shoot me a text:  “LOOKING GOOD OUT THERE. U KEEP CHEERING.” The message will be in all capital letters, but I’ll get it.

He’s truly an anomaly for his generation. Some may ask why he does this, and there is no other reason than simply just because he wants to. He said that he never wants to be “too old” to keep up. And at this rate, I don’t think he ever will be.

These old kids nowadays, I tell ya.



lofty living
December 6, 2010, 7:54 am
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I went to elementary school in a small town in New Mexico. A small Air Force Base town where folks never stayed for too long. While my family lived there, I met a girl who would grow into some much more than this town could ever offer her. When she moved, she moved big.

Her name is Angela and she now resides in the California Bay Area. She is a recent graduate of California State University. She is a journalist, photographer and a “new media enthusiast.” But, really I see her as an inspiration.

As I set to graduate,I fear losing my skill as a writer. I fear losing a connection to growing media. I fear losing an audience I haven’t yet made. However, as seen by Angela’s blog, not only does she combine her talent but she also remains included in the new media world since finishing her degree. She proves truly that learning and applying your skills and knowledge will never fade.

Her professional blog incorporates her passion for fashion and skill as a writer and photographer. As a working, growing professional in a competitive market, Angela is creating an online presence for herself while building a great portfolio. She’s branding her name and work. I am also impressed to see her take on the world from a coastal point of view. Trends reach Nebraska about the time when they are passe elsewhere. So, as a journalist, it is important for me to be informed of the techniques and trends of the industry and my potential co-workers.

Angela has been blogging under Lofty Living since January of 2009 with readers connecting with the site on Digg, stumbleupon, Facebook and Twitter.



It’s what you heard.

It’s about that time of year when I fight the urge to listen to Christmas music.

I know it’s socially acceptable but we’re on the eve of dead week and I just can’t let myself get in that kind of cheer quite yet. So, as an appropriate alternative I seek music blogs and free-streaming radio sites. Currently, I am hooked on We Are Hunted.

 

This handy music blog relies more on the music and less on the written word. This blog allows users to discover new music and get ahead of the curve. Both reasons are reasons enough to have me hooked. However, this site utilizes the digital world to provide its users the quality music they deserve. The market research extends to scope other music blogs, Facebook/Twitter trending posts and message boards and forums. Using input from these digital countdowns, We Are Hunted exposes the most up-to-date music or what they call the top 99 most popular emerging songs.

Youtube, Myspace video, Spotify, boxee and tumblr are all sites that incorporate and promote We Are Hunted. This music blog encourages feedback and creates an online community with comments. The site also indicates to users the most popular artists and charts. More importantly, this site allows users to view the most shared music. The affiliated social media allows users to share this information anywhere. The most active users are listed as well as the top bloggers. Apps are available for We Are Hunted now on Twitter, Myspace and iPhone and many more.