Sunday, April 24, 2011

7 Billion- How the Typical is Changing (Revision)

I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time. I came to understand it emotionally one stinking hot night in Delhi a couple of years ago… The temperature was well over 100, and the air was a haze of dust and smoke. The streets seemed alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping. People visiting, arguing, and screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window, begging. People defecating and urinating. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People, people, people, people.—Paul Ehrlich

I first posted on this topic on March 5, 2011 and out of all of my blog posts thus far I was most interested by the contents on which that particular post focused. In a world of 7 billion people we all have ideals of what the "typical" person looks like, acts like, partakes in and this is all shaped through our experiences and how we our brought up.

On the contrary, at least in my case, the way we view the "typical" is a far-fetched dream. National Geographic has embarked on an adventure to discover and explore what the World's typical will be like by the year 2030. National Geographic and their current interest in the 7 billion has served to open up the eyes, and even shock people about how the world really functions and looks like.

My sister introduced me to this content and I found it intriguing. She recieved this video through her email and between the two of us it has circulated quite a bit. So here it is, see for yourself if you get as hooked as I did...

The perception of the world that many of us hold is drastically different from the way that it actually is and since the world's population is continually changing and growing we need to keep our minds open to the "typical" what it is progressing towards. The cushy life that I have led in the United States has shielded me from the things in this world that aren't particularly pleasant or has persuaded me to believe that, for example most people in the world have bank accounts. I think this is why National Geographic put so much interest into this topic, to open people up to the reality of the world around them.

Social networking is intertwined into this year-long story by National Geographic in the sense that they both allow for an opportunity to bridge the gap between people and to lessen stereotypes and misconceptions among people. The use of social networking sites is allowing people from all countries and walks of life to connect with one another and help them to understand the differences that exist between them. The connections that people are making through these sites present them with opportunities to overcome stereotypes and to support one another in confrontations that exist independent of you and you friends, for instance with the revolution in Egypt.

The National Geographic story is still progressing, and although you need a subscription to view all of the articles (which sadly I cannot put my college student finances into) you can check out the website and filter through the photos by Randy Olson. This story is going to have an effect on people just as social networking has. I truly believe that something this insightful will make a difference in the lives of people around the world, especially through the help of social networking (like this blog)!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"The Human Network"

The thing that I would like to focus on from this week's readings is Brian Solis' chapter on the "Human Network". According to Solis, "the Human Network is representative of the connections that link us to one another across multiple social networks". This concept made me reflect on a video that we watched and discussed in my social media for PR class last week concerning How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer.

Basically what this video discussed is that anyone in the world can be connected to anyone else in the world in a matter of six steps. A mere six connections can bring two complete strangers together.

The human network is a little more specific though because it refers specifically to social networking online, rather than the direct person to person networking. This concept is inspiring because it shows how one thing can be spread throughout the Internet through connections. A very simple example of this in my mind is how a newspaper may tweet some information, multiple people will RT or comment, some that RT may link it to Facebook, people will comment it there and so on.

This concept stood out to me as something in particular that I could easily relate to and see happen (not that the other ideas in the book aren't accessible)!

From Gaming Friends to Facebook Friends

I am not a big video game kind of person (and when I say that I'm not "big" I mean the only videos games I've ever played are Tetris or Dr. Mario), but when I saw an article about a new video game is going to use Facebook friends in the game it caught my attention. The article said that 'Uncharted 3' will put your Facebook friends in the game and the concept behind it is that gamers connect with each other and then sometimes make connections with one another and the gaming company is working to get Facebook friends that play involved with each other. 

I have friends that play video games non-stop and they all have their headsets and talk to others playing at the same time through them. I think that the gaming company including Facebook in this process is only going to further progress the conversation, which is the goal of the company. The thing I'm not sure about and wouldn't want to assert is that gamers are going to like that Facebook is going to be on their game- anyone out there with feedback?

Once again, social networking is spreading everywhere! This article primarily interested me because it shows how limitless social networking is and how it fits into and compliments various forums. Social networking is enhancing experiences and building communities left and right. In reference to the video game the company is hoping to further intensify the gaming community by bringing Facebook into the arena.

PLN: Where's the Future?

The future of resumes and the workforce is turning towards the web. Many employers are hiring Online now and this trend is only going to increase in coming years. Paper resumes are going to be something of the past and our job searches are going to be done primarily through websites. Ari Herzog describes "How Employers are Hiring Online" and how paper resumes are going to be a part of the past.

Even today it is becoming obvious how the whole system of hiring is changing through the use of social networking sites. Twitter and LinkedIn are great examples of this. For the purposes of my PLN I have gathered various "experts" on digital resumes and since a number of those come from twitter I have been exposed to multiple accounts that aim to help people get hired as well as some that are using Twitter accounts as a means of getting hired. The dynamic of the workforce is changing and it is moving Online. LinkedIn allows for people looking for jobs to connect with people in the industry and create communities. The growth of searching for jobs and hiring via the Internet is inevitable and thus having an effective digital resume to put yourself out there and  get the attention of employers is pertinent.

An important note to consider as well is that videos are also an emerging form of resume, and although I can't currently see this resonating into all professions it is definitely something to consider. The issue with video resumes though is that they can appear unprofessional if they are not produced well.

Our digital footprint is going to weigh heavily on our ability to get hired and so in addition to producing a an effective digital resume here are a few things to look out for since the future of hiring and getting hired is Online-"Your Digital Footprint, Your Future"

This is the conclusion to my PLN project and so here is my finished product! The research that I conducted to back up the structure and information that I included in my digital resume made the process move along much smoother and I am confident that when I put this resume out there I will be seen as professional and will grab the attention of employers. I kept it simple and clear as suggested, and hope that it will provide me with the greatest advantage.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

PLN: Who's Looking at you?

One concern when creating a digital resume is whether or not the employers you're aiming for are even reviewing digital resumes. How many employers are interacting Online and are shifting their interests to digital resumes? Well, their are a number of companies hiring Online and you can easily locate these on websites like CareerBuilderMonsterIndeedSimplyHiredHotJobs, or Google. These sites are not only good places to post your digital resume, but they also allow to see what  employers are out there looking for applicants. In addition they also allow for the forming off communities which can come in handy when you are in the job market.

While the possibilities may seem endless, not every employer is Online and therefore is not checking sites where digital resumes can be submitted. A good way of overcoming this obstacle in order to have your digital resume  seen by those employers is to network, as suggested by Susan Ireland. Here's a little video posted by AARP that basically explains the in's and out's of networking (excuse the sponsor message!)

There is always a way to optimize your digital resume so that it is seen by the particular employer/company you are hoping to be hired by. A huge number of companies are shifting to using digital resumes if they don't solely use digital resumes, it is a safe assumption that your digital resume would only serve as a bonus.

My digital resume is formatted as a magnet resume meaning that it is a resume for all my prospective jobs rather than for one in particular and thus doing both networking and posting it on various resume sites would prove helpful. As I progress on creating my digital resume I am realizing how incredibly helpful the research I have conducted is. There are many fields of the digital resume that would have been a struggle for me to complete to my greatest advantage and since I have taken into consideration comments from a number of resume experts my experience is moving along smoothly. I suggest to anyone embarking on creating a digital resume to do their research!

Friday, April 15, 2011

PLN: All the Filling

Now that I have the structure of my digital resume down, the next step is to enter my information. I think it is safe to say that this is a crucial component to the digital resume. You're putting your information out there for employers and needless to say the information you include and how you present it can either aide your job search or make you a laughing stock

Ideally, we all want our resume to embody our accomplishments, skills, and potential to fulfill the job qualifications but many times we are lost on how to portray ourselves. @DeborahWheatman recommends providing a personal branding statement that gives a "snapshot" of who you are.  In a post she compares the information that you put in your resume to a restaurant menu in the sense that if you see Fish on a menu as opposed to a more elaborate description like "Flame-broiled Atlantic Salmon marinated in tangy pepper sauce, served with a side of fluffy truffle-infused rice pilaf, grilled mixed vegetables, and fresh baked garlic bread" you're obviously going to be drawn more to the latter. This is such an accessible way of generating thought about a personal branding statement and how effective it can be in getting you and your message across to an employer! A personal branding statement provides you with an assertive stance to employers and is something that would be incredibly beneficial in a digital resume. As a side note if you need help with your personal branding statement a good person to reference is @DanSchwabelManaging Partner at Millennial Branding, personal branding expert, #1 international bestselling author of Me 2.0, speaker, & BusinessWeek columnist.

In addition to a personal branding statement, I think it is beneficial to mention a comment that I received on my last PLN post from Dan.Eliot. His comment brought to my attention the importance of a resume cover letter addressed to the specific hiring manager of the company you are applying to. The recommendation is that if you are aiming and directing your resume to a specific employer as opposed to a broad base you should look up the hiring manager and address them specifically. This can really aide you in receiving attention from that particular employer.

Overall, you want to include the things that one would in a paper resume, but also take into account some of the things mentioned above. You want to portray yourself in the best light, while still remaining truthful because Online or not, lying on a resume is not going to get you far. Transparency is key and incorporating these things into a digital resume will help make it the best it can be!

I am slowly but surely progressing on my own digital resume and the things that I have included in this post are not just for outsider use but I am also applying them to my own process of creating an effective digital resume. As I input my information I will be keeping these things in mind and will include them in my digital resume as I move forward. This process is one that I am learning about as I move along (hence Personal Learning Network) and I am very excited as I get closer and closer to the finished product!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"The Era of Now": Affecting Types of Social Media

This week I am focusing on chapters 12 through 18 of Engage! by Brian Solis. The section that I found particularly interesting regarded the concept of information finding you rather than you having to go and fetch it yourself. Solis brings in the concept that "The era of 'now' is fueling new media," and by this he is asserting that because we are being more and more conditioned to expect instantaneous news or information, social media sites are becoming more equipped to give it to us. It only makes sense that social media/networking sites would be the place to go for such "now" information. Solis' idea of the "statusphere" makes this "now" information structure between people and social media more concrete because it allows for people to post information as they see fit as often as they might like and in addition it is available to everyone-there is a WARNING label associated with this though and that is by all mean not everything posted is going to be relevant or even true. Overall though the concept is in place that information is at our hands and is only going to become more so.

While I was reading this I was reminded of an article that I posted about earlier this week concerning the Department of Homeland Security and their steps to make alert systems more accessible to the general public. Through various types of social media information is readily available at our fingertips. The Department of Homeland Security, if you didn't read the post (which you should), is eliminating their color-coded security alert system which I'm sure we are all aware of when it comes to flying and are implementing a system that alerts people via posts on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition, in class we've discussed that concept pretty thoroughly when it comes to PR. Basically social media allows for companies to collect data on itself or clients without having to go out and search for it. Sites like Google Reader or Yahoo Pipes will do all the work and all you have to do is sit back and wait for the information to flow in. The "now" era has provided us with the capability to get information with ease and this is only going to continue to progress in the future.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How Types of Social Media are Aiding Homeland Security

According to a post on PCWorld by Ian Paul the Department of Homeland Security is doing away with it's current color-oriented terror alert system and taking up with social networking site to alert the public about threat levels. As the article mentions this can take place as soon as April 27th. Basically what this would entail is two levels of threat- elevated and imminent that would be distributed through posts on Facebook or Twitter. The point of this change is to ensure that the public is informed when threats appear. Ever since September 11 I think everyone can agree that the level of paranoia amongst the American people has spiked considerably and this change makes it more convenient and accessible for all people to be aware of any potential threats to the United States. Secretary Napolitano stated that the old way of alerting the public with colors would be dismissed and "In its place, we will implement a new system that's built on a clear and simple premise: When a threat develops that could impact you -- the public -- we will tell you."

Now if it wasn't clear enough even the government is jumping on to the social networking bandwagon. There is such a growing presence of people Online that it only makes sense that distributors of crucial information would be moving their main efforts to the Internet. I think the goal of the Department of Homeland Security has always been to reach the people to whom the alerts concern and the fact that they are throwing out an old system and coming up with a more interactive one shows their commitment to keeping the public informed. This new system will give them new capabilities in getting warning alerts across and I think will ultimately aid the way that they are viewed in the American peoples minds.

PLN: What's Your Structure?

Although it may not necessarily be time to throw out your paper resume, the digital resume is something you might turn to in this age of technology and social networking. Throughout the semester I have been collecting data from a number of sources (Twitter, Delicious, & RSS Feeds from blogs on GoogleReader) and have accumulated quite a bit of data for my PLN project. The focus of my personal learning project is on digital resumes. The dynamic of the workforce is changing and since I will soon be joining this ever-changing community I thought it would be not only interesting but also helpful to my own future career to be well versed in how to build an online/digital resume. This is the first of four blogs related to this project and they will serve as a how-to as I make my own digital resume, as well as answer particular questions that I found necessary to answer in order to understand the process of creating a digital resume.

The first focus regarding digital resumes that needs to be addressed is what the structure of a resume needs to be like. I wanted to know what type of organization would attract future employers and ultimately benefit me the most. So before I started I decided to filter through Delicious and GoogleReader for some crucial information that revealed how the digital resume differs from a paper resume in a number of ways and therefore requires a different approach when setting it up. One article which I was particularly surprised by was Resume, Meet Technology: Making Your Resume Format Machine-Friendly. This article discussed that attaching a photo to one's digital resume could "Choke" ATS which is a a software program that companies use as an "Applicant Tracking System". Basically what this asserts is that because digital resumes run through software systems before getting to employers, as opposed to going directly to the hands of humans, you have to be very conscious of what you are putting in your digital resume as to avoid being filtered out before even being seen by an employer.

In addition there are factors to a digital resume that are shared with a paper resume and that is how you present yourself. In How to Write a Killer Resume multiple objectives for the content that you put into your digital resume are presented. These include some basic things that everyone writing a digital or in that matter a paper resume need to know. Some of these things may seem repetitive, but I think it is important for everyone to have a thorough understanding of what information needs to be included and how to present it to your greatest advantage. One point made in the article is to include facts about yourself rather than adjectives. I found this point particularly helpful because typically when you are asked to describe yourself you say you are achievement-oriented, work well with others, etc. The article suggests that you will come out more attractive as well as transparent to employers reviewing your digital resume.

Another critical element when looking into the format of a digital resume is to decide between two typical structures. According to @SusanIreland, in her blog post What Resume Format Should I Use?, there are two formats commonly used for resumes and it is important to establish which one to use; chronological or chronological-with-skills headings. In another post by Ireland, she discusses the need for both magnet and grabber resumes. This generally refers to having a general resume as well as a resume dedicated to any specific job that you might want to pursue. I found these posts as helpful to keep in mind when creating a digital resume.

The research conducted on how a digital resume should be structure has made it clear that there is no one exact way to construct a digital resume, but that there are various aspects that need to be incorporated into a digital resume in order to set it up effectively for future employers. Keeping this in mind I began to mold my own digital resume using which was a highly bookmarked site on Delicious. The website takes you step by step through the process of setting up a digital resume and keeping the structural elements I have learned in mind I am on my way to a professional and effective digital resume! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nasty Turns in Teaching

Everyone is aware of the crisis that teachers are facing with extreme budget cuts and early today I came across an article that just made me feel so disappointed in what is happening in schools and most importantly the effect that it is having on the minds and spirits of kids out there.

A first grade teacher in New Jersey was put on administrative leave for allegedly putting a status on Facebook calling her students "Future Criminals" and comparing herself to a prison warden. This particular teacher wasn't originally a teacher and was placed there in order to keep her job showing how inefficient the education children are getting is with the budget cuts and job losses that are occurring.

 The key point to this article lies within the fact that Facebook got this woman in trouble. We have all heard how employers look at our social networking sites to check up on what we're doing but what about just the general public getting involved?

Parents were the ones that reported and complained about the teacher's postings, and this just goes to show how sensitive the information that we put on Facebook is. What we put out there about ourselves is not as private as we might think. At the beginning of the semester @corinnew did basic Google searches on everyone in the class and we were all shocked to see how much information she found. 

Privacy is a big part of this, but we also need to be cautious of what we post/comment. If you're putting things on your social networking site that you would hesitate to tell your employer, or in the teachers case her students' parents, I would recommend not posting it.

Need Help Getting Noticed?

Week 11 readings were chapters 6-12 of Engage by Brian Solis. The chapters all discuss different variants of social media and how it is effectively used for instance with micro-blogs or syndicating a network. The chapter that I would really like to focus on for this particular blog post is chapter 9 and social media optimization to be more precise.

Social media optimization (SMO) is something that hits home. As an individual not necessarily new to social media but new to the blogging world SMO is something that is proving to a new challenge. In class we have discussed the concept of search engine optimization and Solis explains SMO in terms of it being "The New SEO". Solis refers to social media optimization as "the deliberate acts of aligning keywords with social objects to improve the association of your content with the individuals performing the search within a specific social network as well as traditional searches and also real-time/social search engines". In more laymen terms I would characterize SMO as basically working in tags, keywords, titles, etc  strategically so that your blog/webpage shows up high in search results.

The way that you describe, title, tag, link, and provide the content of your blog or webpage is crucial in getting noticed. I think if you want to master SMO you need to view as a strategy through and through. You need to constantly be keeping up with cleverly arranging your content so that it works to your advantage and I for one will be doing my best to actively work my blog so that I come up on searches.