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All posts for the month January, 2012

Response to –Is Twitter for Everybody?–

Published January 30, 2012 by jcrosland

Is Twitter truly for everyone? Probably not. One article (read it here at businessesgrow.com) examines the purpose of being a “Tweeter.” The author, Mark W. Schaefer of  The Tao of Twitter, relays a personal anecdote involving a fellow customer and “brilliant management consultant.” Several reasons are bullet-pointed. For example, Twitter would be perfect for the customer because he is:

  • Small business-owner
  • Enormous, global market potential (needs a lot of awareness)
  • Small marketing budget
  • Selling differentiated personal services
  • No time to blog, develop extensive content, etc.

    Who else feels like this?

  • Tech-savvy
  • Is a charming, bright person with engaging personality.

And yet, we learn that the customer refused to incorporate Twitter into his life. When questioned, the customer answered:

“I’m not sure why really.  I guess the idle chatter (which is mostly what I seem to see when I log on)  just doesn’t make any sense to me. There’s obviously some self-imposed barrier that I can’t or just don’t want to cross.  You were kind enough to introduce me to Twitter, and I appreciated that.  There’s the old expression about leading a horse to water.  Guess I’m just not that thirsty for Twitter water… at least yet.”

So apparently the customer isn’t completed turned off by the social networking tool.  He’s simply not interested…yet. It’s the “idle chatter” that serves as a road block.  Based upon personal experience, I can comfortably say that this man speaks the truth. Until last Friday, Twitter was an Internet phenomenon that I’d heard so much about but never gave a darn about to try. Quite frankly, I had no need for Twitter. If creating an account wasn’t a course requirement, then I would have happily carried on with life Twitter-less.

Twenty seconds after signing-up, I logged in and searched around the site, testing the unfamiliar coded waters. And quite frankly, I was disappointed. You see, unless you truly care about what your favorite company or must-see celeb is doing every second of every day, Twitter is…dull. I “followed” a few groups here and there, but I felt no glowing sense of belonging. In fact, I felt the exact opposite. I felt more alienated than before because my tweets were lost in a flood of mundane opinions.

The author makes a strong case for Twitter-business interactions, stating that  “Even if your customers aren’t there in force, it is still an incredibly powerful way to learn, connect with thought leaders, and identify new business opportunities.” I agree with him. Twitter can allow for quick feedback and effective information gathering via the tweets of customers and potential business partners. However, I am not a businesswoman. I have no interest in starting a company of my own. Furthermore, I’m too apathetic to fully enjoy what Twitter offers. Following people, posting tweets–it’s all a distraction from life beyond the screen. I don’t care about BK’s new fries or what Tebow said on ESPN. I prefer being surprised the old-fashioned way, and then complaining about it to a person, face-to-face. I feel that Twitter distances people, encouraging them to communicate electronically instead of publicly.

Think about it. There will be an entire generation of folks incapable of holding a conversation without a keyboard.

Scary, ain’t it?

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Lancaster central school district faces financial crisis for the 2012-13 school year

Published January 26, 2012 by jcrosland

(Adapted from The Buffalo News)

The Lancaster central school district expects an increase in state funding for 2012-13. However, said-aid is not enough to cover for the  lost $1.7 million loss federal stimulus grant, according to district officials.

State aid will rise by $536,523, or 2 percent, says the district. This, unfortunately, leaves the district with a $1.2 million shortfall that school officials are grappling with as they compose the 2012-13 budget.

“Great news? No. Good news, yes. Any increase, considering the last couple of years, is great,” said Jamie Philips, assistant superintendent of business and support services at Monday’s School Board meeting at John A. Sciole Elementary School.

Last week, the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo revealed a plan to boost school funding by approximately 4 percent. The reality is that most local districts will never see that much funding.

Lancaster expected to see an 8.6 percent increase in state aid, the second-highest increase in Erie or Niagara counties.

According to Philips, though, the state’s projection included a figure for reimbursement of district transportation expenses that the district will never receive.

For example, Lancaster was projected to receive $6.4 million in transportation aid. Only $5 million will be given to the district.

In the end, the definitive figure depends on how much the district spends. Furthermore, not all of the district’s spending is reimbursable.

The large picture: other school districts across the state face a 2 percent cap on increases in the property-tax levy. In order to exceed said-cap,  the levy must earn a 60 percent voter’s approval from residents.

Lancaster school officials commence sorting through the funding requests of various district departments next month.

“We have an awesome task in front of us,” said Superintendent Edward J. Myszka.

The “FLCL” of Internet News Sites

Published January 24, 2012 by jcrosland

Blink.

A pause.

A snort of bemusement.

The Onion (subtitle: “America’s Finest News Source”) is an informative, yet baffling online arrangement of  journalistic fact and fiction. Lies are entwined with truth, with a heavy dose of nonsense thrown in for good measure.

Example: “Wooden Fruit Hoping To Become Real Fruit One Day.”

Wait. That’s more nonsense than anything. Let’s find another (and by “another,” I mean better) example.

Example #2: “Tebow’s Defeat Restores Nation’s Faith In God.”

Tebow was defeated? That’s news…I guess.

Between the witty humor and improbable stories, The Onion does a decent job of maintaining the appearance of being a real Internet news site. The page layout reflects the style of, say, mashable.com or some other reputable online news source. Sub-sections, advertisements, an updated news feed, pictures, etc. completed the elaborate hoax. For the briefest of moments, I knew no better despite possessing a passing familiarity with the site. The writing (what little there is) leaves me wanting more; a one-line gag (i.e. “Paula Deen Has Diabetes”) is only as good as its punch.

Lovers of satire, get thee to The Onion!

Bias: A Threat to the Future of Curation?

Published January 20, 2012 by jcrosland

Josh Sternberg’s article “Why Curation Is Important to the Future of Journalism” (which can be read here at mashable.com) is a great overview of field of curation, its purpose, and its potential future. Sternberg argues that the art of journalism isn’t dead; it has merely shifted and changed shape in order to adapt to the means by which people acquire news in modern times. The line between journalist and curator has blurred.  Sternberg insists that curators have, in effect, become journalists themselves, and that “many curators believe they should be held to the same standards as journalists.” He goes on to discuss trustworthiness, sources of information, and how curation will become more refined with the advent of new tools and technology.

One point that raised a few questions is that Sternberg states that curators can be “passionate” about the content they research and present. I feel that this “passion,” if taken to the extreme, could be harmful to the further development of curation. After all, if a curator expects to be treated as a journalist, then s/he must maintain a neutral stance toward the content s/he reports. Otherwise, s/he runs the risk of posting information that is one-sided, thus creating bias regarding whatever topic s/he is reporting.

Additionally, should there be a limit to this “passion?” Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the discipline of the curator, and whether s/he is willing to use his or her reporting prowess responsibly.

I’m not saying that curators should be made subject to strict censorship codes. Censorship is deplorable when misused and wielded recklessly. However, if curators want to be treated akin to their journalists counterparts and establish work forces, then they must be prepared to sacrifice the liberties that are inherent to their field (i.e. covering a story outside of their “beat”).

 

Ice Breaker

Published January 18, 2012 by jcrosland

I’m taking this class as a minor requirement. Also, it fit into my schedule quite nicely. I’m not sure what I should get out of this class other than how to write for the web. Maybe I’ll have an answer by the end of the semester; maybe I’ll graduate wondering “Why?” I hope it’s the former. A course on Web writing sounded interesting. It could be useful in the future, given my chosen (and by chosen, I mean uncertain) career path as a fiction writer. Who knows? A blog could be useful. Free advertisement, reader response, etc.

Hello world!

Published January 18, 2012 by jcrosland

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.