I really am at sea

2 05 2008

At the helmI know I’ve been conspicuously absent from my blog and Twitter.

Right now, I’m somewhere between San Diego and Hawaii aboard a Military Sealift Command (U.S. Navy) hospital ship. The communications capabilities aboard the ship are great…for anyone who has access to a computer and a telephone. Since I have VERY limited access to both, I can’t update the blog the way I’d like to.

A note of great news is that I just got back from helping my boss optimize the searchability of his blog before he puts it live on line. He will be the first person on this mission to have a personal (read: not public relations speak) blog.

Another note of great news is that the senior public affairs officer (the ship’s public relations director) has asked me to teach the 12-person public affairs team about blogging. He then wants the team to help the Sailors aboard the ship set up their own blogs!

Sorry this post is short, but I’ve had to reboot this computer twice and reconnect to the Internet five times to get this short post up. I’ll try to post again from sea a few more times.


Time for new media

25 04 2008

Even though I’m no longer academically obligated to comment on my classmates blogs, a topic floating through the MPPR 850 world is on my mind. Najja and Paul both have posts about how much time social media takes up.

Since this blog is my fifth new media addiction (1st: MySpace, 2nd: Facebook, 3rd: LinkedIn, 4th: Twitter), I totally agree.

Yesterday evening after my last class of the semester, I was thrilled to go home and have no time obligations past 8:30. I thought that I’d get in bed early and go into work bright eyed today. Uh, yeah…

Three hours later, I was still online doing stuff. The fact that I can’t even remember exactly what I accomplished in that time is indicative of the hold that this addiction has over me.

The good news (and reality) is that these tools that are so addictive also have enormous efficiency benefits. The fact that it’s fun for me to journal my thoughts, stay connected with my classmates and network online means that I will probably do a more effective job at all of them.

Hmm, these tools are starting to sound like my very own MMOG. If you don’t know that acronym, take Garrett‘s class in the summer or fall.

Updating my blogroll

25 04 2008

Since we’re no longer technically classmates, I want to update my blogroll and rename it. If you plan to keep your blog up and running or have a new name for yours, will you please let me know. I want to have a blogroll that’s active so that, as Alan said, we can remain connected.


24 04 2008

I thought a small redesign of my blog was in order; since I am going to continue posting of my own volition, I need to be inspired. If you look closely at the image that heads my blog, you’ll see names of people who inspire me, places I’ve been and things I’ve done.

Chances are, if you’re still reading this blog some of the things in that list won’t surprise you. Hopefully as I continue this blog and develop new conversations with interesting people, that list will grow.

I’m not sure what the focus of my blog is going to be from here on out, but I do hope to have interesting thoughts to share with the world.

Yea for insignificant milestones!

23 04 2008

I crossed the 1,000 reader mark today — our last day of class!

Pretty cool; totally insignificant.

I’d like to thank my family for that. They responded quickly and plentifully to my shameless pitch to them. This morning I was less than 45 views away from 1,000, so I sent out an impersonal blast text to my family requesting (begging really) that they visit my blog.

They did. I made the milestone, as insignificant as it is.

Thanks guys!

My reason for being

23 04 2008

Beckblogic inspired this post. Her loving talk about her family made me realize it was time for me to properly acknowledge mine. If there’s any doubt who the loves of my life are, here’s a picture of all of them.

The Heiss clan -- started by the Futrells

We the Media

21 04 2008

Perhaps it is fortuitous that I overlooked our We the Media blog entry until now — the very end of this course. In the beginning, I would have told you that no matter what bloggers and other social media users produce, they aren’t the media.

Although I read Dan Gillmor‘s book, I was reticent to accept new media; it didn’t have the credibility and credentials of the real thing. I subscribed to the idea that traditional journalists are superior to people who blog because they are more committed.

What I wouldn’t have been able to do was understand how being a part of the process of reporting on life around me has made me feel more connected to, responsible for, and committed to the information I disseminate.

Journalists benefit society by providing information and perspective about new things that are happening and sometimes supplementing that with thoughtful analysis.

Social media tools have put that capability in the hands of us all. We are all journalists. And as hard as that has been for me to accept, it’s one of the things I feel most empowered by now.

This course has shown me how I can amplify my voice to a point where it actually makes a difference in society’s discourse. I can learn, form opinions, share my thoughts, learn some more, and take action — in each step being a participant instead of a passive recipient.

The rules have changed because of social media. Truth and objectivity are no longer trumped up calling cards of the elite class; instead, they are the real lifelong pursuits of all of us.