Sunday, December 4, 2011

People Power

Download The True Story of the Internet: People Power shows how Youtube, Digg and other companies came up with ideas and websites that have almost replaced traditional media. Napster paved the way as well as programs like Winamp for music lovers and it really gave people more options on how their get music.

I did not realize how fast the record stores were cleared out by Napster when it first began and when the lawyers took it to Dr Dre and then Metallica caught wind of it. Lars Ulrich went to confront them at Napster headquarters and I did not know the crowd was so harsh on them by breaking Metallica CD's. This definitely changed Metallica's (warning: link is explicit with language but funny) image during that time and it proved they were just in it for their own greedy reasons, not the actual thrill of making popular music.

These pioneers of the internet risked a lot and put a lot out on the line when they decided to start these companies, but they did not realize this because most of it was just ideas that stumbled into a big company. I did not know Google was so influential in keeping Youtube around, but I guess it makes sense because they have great funding that they are able to give Youtube. Television and entertainment companies are so afraid of Youtube because people obviously want to watch what they want, which is not always what these companies can offer.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Download - The True Story Of The Internet "People Power"

The turn on the 21st century brought about a new role for the internet; peer-to-peer file sharing, a.k.a. P2P. P2P came around in the late 90s abd required users to scour the internet looking for the files they desired, usually music files in the form of MP3s. This was a long process that required time, patience and a knack for navigating the internet.

That all changed when Shawn Fanning, a Northeastern student, created Napster. Napster was the first P2P file sharing program that allowed users from around the world to connect to each other and share the music that they had with others for free.

However, this made the big record labels pretty upset, and eventually a lawsuit against Napster was filed. The lawsuit from the record industry claimed that Napster was allowing for people to steal songs that belonged to the artists and record labels, and they wanted Napster shut down immediately. The world watched as the 9th Circuit Court ordered Napster to close its doors and labels the file sharing of copyrighted files illegal.

Even though the record labels won the battle over Napster, their profits are still falling and P2P file sharing is still widely used. New programs such as Limewire, Kazaa and Vuze have all succeeded each other to prove to the world that people and programmers don't care too much for what the 9th Circuit Court and the record label industry says.

My take on the matter is that in order to steal something, you must take something owned by another without permission. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stealing as: to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice.

Since P2P file sharing is the process of copy bits of information and giving them to another person; no one has had anything stolen. The first person to share the song presumably purchased it legally and then gave a copy of it to someone else. Nothing was stolen, no one is short a product - actually a new product has been created.

The person who created the new file is the sharer or more perniciously, the computer - not the record label, nor the artists and record shop. The record labels got mad because people were tired of buying way overpriced CD's that you couldn't return when you found out the rest of the songs on the album were no good. They lost in the game of business and the internet and the people won; the court simply sided with big business (as usual). But again, despite the record labels and court decisions, file sharing is still on the rise and the music industry profits are still on the decline.

The information above was taken from Download - The True Story Of The Internet "People Power," and also from personal experience.

The Internet & People Power

The internet is increasingly all about people power. Young revolutionaries have paved the way for anyone to be a backpack journalist or an at-home producer. John Heilemann makes us aware of this in the documentary he hosts called 'Download: The True Story of the Internet'. The segment 'People Power' made me more aware of things I had heard much about earlier in the Internet's history. The other videos on how certain browsers and websites came to be were very interesting as well.
In most cases these revolutionaries didn't have to be up there with the rocket scientists, no. They just had to attend an ivy league school, have an idea that could change the course of the internet and tons of time to execute it. Shawn Fanning who created Napster said he just wanted his friends to have an easier way to download music. Before Napster came along they would have to skip their classes just to get the tracks they wanted. I don't think I ever had Napster due to all of the controversies when I was first introduced to the idea of music downloading, but I do remember having WinAmp, LimeWire, etc. After seeing all of those fail I am incredibly thankful for Macs and torrentz in general. Shawn Fanning will continue to be a legacy in the realm of music downloading, but he had a string of bad luck. Although downloading music for free can hurt the artists I still download music in hopes that I will be able to contribute to the artist by purchasing merchansdise or attending shows, but nobody wants to purchase an album and have it turn out to be a bunch of crap.
Also sites like YouTube and Digg gave people the power to not only be heard, but seen. There are so many outlets in which we have the freedom to express ourselves on the internet, through Google especially (ahem, as I write this blog post through yet another Google owned site.)

People Power

People Power is one of those videos that makes you stop and think about things that you already thought you knew about, but now it's time to think again. Confusing, yes. Interesting, definitely.

The video surrounded different web services: Napster, facebook, MySpace, and some of our other created-in-a-dorm-room Silicon Valley friends, and how they gave the power to the people.

When we think of the Internet, we don't (or at least I don't...) think about how it's "run by no one, but shaped by everyone." I just see it as a portal to communicate with others, I always have.

I received my first computer at age six. It was slow, I it ran Windows 95, and we had TISD dial-up Internet. I thought it was the bee's knees. I used it for forums, online games, and mIRC where I would talk to people about movies and TV shows. I've since added IM, e-mail, MySpace, facebook, and now research to my Internet repertoire. Unfortunately, I wasn't a part of the Napster revolution.

The video focused a lot on Napster, Shawn Fanning's thought-to-be ingenious creation. John Heilemann, in between his head bobs, awkward body language, and unnecessary cloans of himself, dives into the story behind the man who created one of the biggest controversies in modern media. If there's one thing I've learned after taking history at Texas State, it's that you can't blame people in the past--they didn't know any better. How was Fanning supposed to know that this amazing file sharing program was extremely illegal? He just wanted what every other kid in college wanted (and still wants, by the way) cheap and/or free access to great music. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to find the tunes you loved on the radio-- and the station never seems to tag the song and artist after the good music. Do I understand why Napster was illegal... yes. Would I use it now if it weren't... um, yes. Luckily, more innovative programs like Spotify, and LastFM have come along to fill the void in a more legal fashion.

After Napster, Heilemann split his focus between MySpace and Facebook--two similar websites with two very different missions. Both gave the power to the people, meaning it was up to you to mold your site to your liking.

We take all of these phenomana for granted. How did we get information before the Internet; how did we communicate quickly and over distances before social media and text messaging; what will the next pioneers create for use to use? I have no idea. Probably won't know until I see it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Download: The True Story of the Internet

The single most important part of the video for me was the development of Mosaic and the Web. Jim Clark and the Illinois students had no idea of the power they were constructing. They were not looking for profit at the beginning and I believe this is what made a difference. I don't think they would have been as creative had they searched for ways to get rich first. Until Jim Clark showed up, profit did not cross their minds. They were just working hard at something they were passionate about.

The dealings of Microsoft and Bill Gates didn't surprise me. Microsoft proved they used to/are very good at distorting the truth, buying companies out and lying. I must admit that I can see the resemblance between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and how they looked for perfection and did not accept anything less. Nevertheless, the ruthless approach in managing their companies have proved them right.

I can clearly imagine them sitting around the pizza parlor and I almost wish I was there myself. I agree with Jacqueline though, do I have to go to an Ivy League school to come up with a revolutionary idea? The start of Mosaic reminded me of The Social Network.

People Power

I thought this video was really interesting. I'd definitely like to watch the others after the semester is over. The most interesting part was the rise and fall of Napster. I barely remember when Napster started in middle school. I didn't use it, but I think my brothers did. I sort of remember when Napster had to shut down in the early 2000s. It was great to watch how Fanning programmed everything and built an empire. Too bad it was shut down, but at least it's part of Rhapsody.

I enjoyed learning about digg's history and how the website worked. I've never visited the site, but now I understand it works similar to reddit or pinterest. After perusing the site, I noticed there's a wide array of news stories, it the site wants to appeal to all types of people. I just may be digging some stuff really soon. As in after finals.


Power to the People: An Informative Documentary

     Because of the Power to the People portion of the larger documentary, Download: The True Story of the Internet, I now have a better understanding of how popular social networking tools such as Napster, Youtube, and Facebook, came to be. I enjoyed how the video opened with John Heilemann speaking about how "The deepest human impulse, the most profound desire and need, is communication."
     I certainly agree. As humans, we are social creatures and therefore we want to communicate with each other. The interviews with social technology innovators such as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Chad Hurley, responsible for YouTube, and Shawn Fanning, creator of Napster, and Jay Adelson , CEO of Digg. Until I viewed this video, I had never heard of the news site called Digg.
     Now, I am encouraged to check this site out because the news posted has been discovered by fellow internet users like me. It amazed me to learn that one of the most helpful and controversial companies, Napster, was started by an 18-year-old. I always thought that Sean Fanning was much older. This instance proves that young people can make a difference if they combine their creativity with hard work
Personally, I wish that music could be free. But after hearing that the movie business, music business, and book business would go out of business if free sharing continued, I fully understood why companies must charge for music and other products.
     Essentially, this portion of the documentary aided me in my further appreciation for modern social technology.

Monday, November 28, 2011

People Power

People Power, the last section of the documentary Download: The True Story of the Internet, discusses how YouTube, Napster, Digg, Facebook and other innovations have created the 2 way participatory democratic media we have today. In the video John Heileman calls it "Our Media" meaning the power of big media to decide when and where we communicate and for how much has been given to the people. The TV industry is accesible to everyone because of Youtube and people can broadcast themselves. The mission is to change the world through web enabled people power.

For example, Digg showed that a blog can be on the same plane as the New York Times and it is up to the people to decide. Facebook maps out relationships people have because we care about what are friends are doing.

The movie touched on how people take for granted the huge changes the web has made in our daily lives. I know I especially take for granted how easy the web has made it to access music at any time. I really liked the example that the documentary used. It explained that in the past people would listen to a song on the radio, go look for a record store and dig through the shelves to find the song they liked. You would have to purchase the entire CD then listen to the one song you liked on your CD player and soon find out the rest of the CD was crap. Many people like myself didn't question this. Thats just the way we expected it to be. However, as we all know now this is no longer necessary.

Tunes were later put together with the PC and web. This was the beginning of the music revolution. Mp3 compressed data and people began distributing and accessing mP3 online. After this came the idea of CD burners. IBM thought people wouldn't use this but they were very wrong. I remember almost all of my friends burning CDs all through high school and many still today.

Napster enabled peer to peer using and sharing of music. Napster was the fastest spreading software everywhere. It turned users to active and not passive audiences while creating genuine web communities. I can remember this idea of sharing music being very controversial but I really didn't understand why.

The Recording Industry told Sean Fanning, the creator of Napster, that the trading of these copyrighted songs was illegal. It was like stealing thousands of CDs from the shelves. Napster was taken down however, it broke the distribtion monopoly of the recording industry.

I found it interesting that artists such as Dr. Dre and Metallica were so upset by this music sharing. I had no idea the Metallica drummer confronted Napster and made it such a huge deal with presss everywhere. Metallica brought a documented list of all their fans sharing their music and demanded that they be banned from using Napster. I never realized that this bothered artists so much. I knew that they weren't a fan of it and would rather have their fans buy their CDs however, I thought that with all the money they make, this wasn't a big issue for them.

Although Napster had to be shut down, this did not stop music sharing. It encouraged start ups like iTunes and YouTube. Today, YouTube is my main source for listening to music and I would be lost without it. However, I am not too scared that YouTube will have to be shut down like Napster since Google bought it. For YouTube, the posting and sharing of copyright material is not a big threat to big media. It is now the idea that people can entertain themselves and rather watch themselves on video.

People Power

Download: The True Story of the Internet is a video series that seeks to share the story of the internet and all of the features of the web that have come to be common place. From the Google search engine to the social media phenomena that is Facebook, the video takes an in depth look into the pioneers of the internetas we know it.

The video series as a whole is fascinating, but the final segment, People Power, is especially interesting, as it deals with web 2.0 technology and the companies that made it possible. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Digg use technology and innovation to give users an interactive online experience that was unprecedented at the time the companies started. These sites, and many others like them, truly empower the everyday internet user and give them channels to express their own unique voice.

I generally take for granted the abilities that I have because of this innovation. I am able to communicate with my friends across the country, share bookmarked websites that I am interested in, and post home-made videos. These things make life easier and vastly more entertaining, and it feels as if they are a necessary part of everyday life. However, after watching the video series, I've come to realize the long, and often difficult, process that innovators like Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook and Sean Parker of Napster had to go through in order to lay the foundation for all of the things that I use casually.

These men had brilliant ideas, that were not always received as such, that shaped the way we use and think about the internet and its capabilities. I can only hope that others will continue this trend of innovation, perhaps even people that I personally know.

People Power

The video Download: The True Story of the Internet shows it wasn't too long ago that none of these social media's existed. It was news stories and music singles that were getting chosen for us. We didn't get to decide what was the most important news story or what song was the best off the album.
That has changed since the emergence of sites like Digg have been giving people the power. Napster was also the first music site that allowed producers and other higher ups to show which song was most popular of a band before the record came out.
The thing I liked learning most about this video was Digg. I had heard of it before, but never really checked it out. I've always tried to make it a point to know what's going on in the news and a site that allows me to see what is the most popular with other people is something that interests me very much.
Innovators such as Chad Hurley, Shawn Fanning, and Mark Zuckerberg have changed the whole landscape and future of the Internet, television, and how to market products. It is a new younger generation that did not get much respect because of their youth but have since taken over the playing field. That gives me confidence knowing that I shouldn't be underestimated just because of my age and that I can do whatever I was just as long as I work hard for it.

Broadcast Yourself

Host John Heilemann gave us further insight on an additional segment for Download: The True Story of the Internet. People Power reflects on the power of the Internet and how social media has become a revolutionary. It emphasizes how extraordinary online communities are/have become over the years and how sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Napster surfaced. I enjoyed the interviews with various CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Chad Hurley( YouTube) and Shawn Fanning (Napster). I really liked Chad Hurley's philosophy behind the development of YouTube and how he believes everyone, "has the opportunity to be heard, have the power," with a platform such as YouTube. I knew YouTube was bought by Google for quite a bit of money but I had no clue it was a $1.65 billion dollar purchase (amazing). I also liked the comment of Digg's goal being "on the same plain as the New York Times and it's up to the people to decide the power".
For those who have seen The Social Network, you got to see a fictional portrayal of the other co-founder of Napster, Shawn Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) but I really enjoyed hearing what Shawn Fanning had to say. I remember when Napster first came out and I remember seeing the MTV News segment of Metallica first filing a lawsuit with the company. I thought it was interesting hearing Shawn Fanning's recollection of that day and how he was such a fan of the band.It's extraordinary to me to think that was only a couple of years ago and to see the P2P downloading "phenomenon" that has developed since. It's also fascinating to me to see a simple idea explode such as Napster and Facebook and it gives someone like me, a soon-to-be college graduate, inspiration for the future. These entrepreneurs are perfect examples of how drive, ambition and a focus can get you far on the web. Communication is "constantly changing"and I'm excited to see what the future brings.

No One Friend Should Have All That Power

While watching the "Power People" section of Download: The True Story of the Internet, I couldn't help but notice a trend in the usage of the verbs "participate," "create," "communicate" and "interact." I think these words stood out to me because I always think of the Internet as being very "me-centered." The Internet helps me release my message. The Internet helps me find the information I want to use.

Physically, I usually release and find information when I am alone at my computer (e.g., while I type this very sentence). Technologically, however, the information I find and the platforms I release my messages on were all developed by a greater online community. John Heilemann, host of the documentary, described how these online communities have developed over time by giving a voice to the common man.

Shawn Fanning gave rise to the peer-to-peer network architecture with his invention, Naptser. Napster created one of the first web communities that encouraged social interaction between its users (Side Note: I think the video did an excellent job of depicting Metallica during the Napster trial). The creators of YouTube added to this idea by allowing their users to actually generate their own content, and users on sites like Digg rated the content and spurred its popularity. The founders of YouTube and Digg gave a voice to the masses; knowing average people were more likely to trust the opinions of their peers than corporations. Thus, the "Medium of the Little Man" was born.

Primarily social sites like Myspace and Facebook gave a voice to the opinions the common man really cares about: Our friends. The "social graph" concept is built around the relationships we share with those friends. It is now easier for us to share our content with complete strangers and friends alike through these different networks (Side Note: It was kind of strange to finally hear Tom Anderson speak after seeing that goofy default Myspace picture so many times. Extra Side Note: I kept hoping the video would tie Sean Parker in; so I could compare him to Justin Timberlake).

Although some networks are built around making money, altruistic sites like Craigslist and Wikipedia simply believe in setting communication free. Regardless of what their motives are, these sites have all contributed to evening the playing field for the common man and allowing him to be an author in the book of our rapidly-changing digital world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

People Power 2.0

People Power, hosted by John Heilemann, is one video within a series, Download: The True Story of the Internet, highlighting the power that people have in the new age of the web 2.0.

I found this video fascinating, and actually ended up watching the three other videos in the series. I have always been curious about how people have these mammoth ideas like Facebook, YouTube, Napster, and how they come to be. The video did a great job of showing the path from the need to the development of the idea. I really enjoyed the Napster portion of the video, considering that was a story I was familiar with in middle school, and hadn't heard much about since. I like that the had Shawn Fanning speak for himself, and that the video didn't just rehash the story of Napster.

I think the more important concept of the video though, was the power that the Internet has put in the hands of consumers to produce content that they want to see. You no longer have to wait for a site to be built that has hundreds of classified ads on it, or is an online dating profile or a way to share music, you can just create it.

The video introduced the work of people who came up with ideas like YouTube and Digg and sites that are huge in popularity and legal implications. This video has helped me to understand that with great power comes great (legal) responsibility, and some of the struggles that these companies have faced over the years.
I was surprised to hear that giants like YouTube almost didn't happen due to issues with copyright and that the were "stealing" content. The CEO of YouTube, Chad Hurley, said that if they didn't have the backing of Google that they would not have been able to continue with YouTube, due to legal implications! Can you imagine a world without YouTube??? I can't.

I liked this video because I felt like it supported the idea that, to have a good idea, doesn't require tons of money, or a huge team of people, it just requires that you are a college kid, working out of a dorm room at Stanford University. Kidding, but seriously, do all good ideas come from Stanford? Really, though, its about AMBITION people, Ambition. Stand behind your idea, make it meaningful and people will want it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Amanda and I are going to do our final project on the Texas State University Common Experience: the first amendment. We plan on interviewing students and faculty about their understanding of the Common Experience, and their personal feelings on freedom of speech on campus. Do students feel that their voice can be heard on campus? We plan to find out.

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaption by Jonathan Hennessey uses visuals to depict the constitution and freedom of speech. We also want to see how students and faculty reacted to the inclusion of a graphic novel as the theme for the Common Experience.

San Marcos Open Mic Nights (Multimedia Project)

Brianne Richardson and I will be exploring the world of San Marcos' open mic nights. Specifically, we will try to conduct our interviews as a look into the psyche of the participants: How do they find the courage to do what they do? Where does their material come from? What is their creative process like? Why do they do open mics? What is the atmosphere like? How does performing in front of strangers differ from performing in front of people you know? We would like to answer all of these questions and more for our site.

We hope to cover poetry, stand-up comedy and live music. We will shoot most of our interviews and performances at venues around San Marcos like Cheatham Street and Sean Patrick's.

The Untold Story of the Houseless: Austin, TX

There are thousands of houseless people in Austin, I say houseless because a cardboard box can be a home, what they need are houses. Anyways, among these many thousands of down-trodden souls are many thousands of stories that are rarely heard by anyone who might actually be reading this blog. The most of these stories that we hear are told in sound bites on cardboard signs; "god bless you," "anything helps," and the occasional, "why lie, I need a beer sign."

In this web series documentary, we will explore the world of the houseless and shine light onto their stories. From the streets of Austin we will lend an ear and a lens to capture what these men and women have to share. From Army vets to hippies and the mother and father who have lost their jobs, we will let these people tell their story and you are invited to be a part of this experience.

Produced by Chris Blackmon and Matt Wood

Sights and Sounds of Christmas!

Nicole and I have chosen to highlight the Sights and Sounds of Christmas festival for our multimedia project. Sights and Sounds encourages volunteerism, supports local business and has many attractions for the growing family demographic in the San Marcos area. We feel it would be an great opportunity for a project because not only does it do the things listed above, but the festival also increases commerce and brings visitors from all over the state of Texas to the area. We think it will be a fun and interesting project that we could take in several directions. Look forward to hearing your thoughts in class!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When the levee breaks. (working title)

Sam and I are doing our final project on students who are devoted to music and performing but opted not to pursue a music major. Students often are superb musicians and have never had music theory homework, performed at recitals or even visited the music building. They might all have different reasons for pursuing another degree, but they all share the same passion: music. Our project will help share their backgrounds, stories and performances, and how they fight to keep music waters in.


Multimedia Final Project

Kelli and I have decided to focus our final project on Austin Farmers Markets. We chose this topic because we wanted to inform others of why farmers markets are beneficial and why it's beneficial to buy organic, local foods. Some sources we would interview would definitely be local customers and hopefully some farmers so we can have both perspectives that will hopefully all tie together for our story. Our 5 pages will probably be Home, About Farmers Markets, Why shop local, Events and Foods in Season. The video of the marathon runners is definitely inspiration of how a topic should naturally tell a story without having to be breaking news so hopefully the footage we gather about the Austin Farmers Markets will do the same.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Communication Careers at Tech Companies:Gowalla, HomeAway and Google

A panel of three tech professionals from Gowalla, HomeAway and Google spoke to Texas State students on Wednesday about the important role technology and networking play in creating startup companies. Start up is you on the line. There is no money to back you up like in companies like Google or other established companies. You can certainly take a risk but certain risks are harder because you can't fail. You must also be flexible when starting up a company and be willing to pull 15 hour days while working on 5 projects at the same time. In other words, it is hard work.

The panels' general advice to Texas State students preparing for a career in a start up company is to make connections because it is all about who you know. You can network by getting involved in Austin communities and online communities. You should start social accounts for the company on a business level rather than personal facebooks and twitter accounts. Students were told to also attend networking events, join the social media club and go to things like Austin Tech Happy Hour. The representative from google told us that it is extremely important to express our personality in our interviews and resumes so we can spice it up.

I learned that the best way to network as a public relations major is to know what your talking about when networking with professionals and say something smart. The panel emphasized to know who your talking to, do your research and ask good questions. This will show professionals that you are prepared, well informed and familiar with them. Professionals really appreciate it when you say something thoughtful or ask a thoughtful question. The representative from HomeAway strongly advised not to put that you are a "social media guru" on your resume because you are not an expert. She said that is one of the fastest ways to get your resume thrown out. The panel also emphasized posting interesting things on twitter and cleaning up your facebook. All companies hiring you will see your twitter account and facebook and form an impression on you. For example, you don't want to have pictures doing a keg stand. They advised starting a facebook page on a hobby so you will know the back ends of pages.

In addition to giving students advise the panel talk about their companies. I learned that the Gowalla social application allows people to share their stories at places and sites for free. The google representative talked about Google Places. She said 1 and 5 searches on google are location placed searches. For example, many people search things like "pizza in San Marcos, Texas. Google Places gives you recommendations based on what you search in the past as well as your best friends recommendations.

Crisis management was also a topic of discussion on Wednesday. The panel advised mass communication students to manage situations as close to immediately as they can, address the problem and be aware of the conversations on your social accounts. The best thing to do is acknowledge and apologize. Don't think you don't have a problem because as long as you have one unhappy customer you have a problem.

In closing, the Google representative said that a mass communications' career in technology is 24/7. She experiences community manger burnout. She is constantly checking her social media like e-mail and twitter but it is the life you have to live. Competition from other companies is good because it allows you to expand your ideas in order to make them better and keeps you passionate about your work.

Burnie Burns talks Red vs. Blue

Burnie Burns is a Texas State graduate who studied computer science. When he graduated, filmmakers such as Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino were gaining popularity and he himself became interested in the world of filmmaking. Burns began as a review writer for a website called and always had a fascination with the video games. He decided to combine his two loves of gaming and filmmaking before youtube was even in existence. His creation, Red vs. Blue, gained popularity before the makers of the video game Halo had seen what he had done. Burns mentioned that he was a little nervous when Microsoft contacted him, but was gladly surprised when they were pleased with what he had done and wanted to partner with him. Burns got in the door with his popular "webisode" at the right time. At Texas State Mass Comm Week he discussed what all goes into creating his show as well as the direction of YouTube and other webisodes. It was certainly a success story of a Texas State grad.

Communication Careers at Tech Companies Lecture

I enjoyed this panel thoroughly. I found it very informational because they showed steps on how they were able to secure jobs in a competitive market. It was also comforting that the panel discussed things like networking and other tools I have been learning while in school that will help me to hopefully succeed in the future. It was cool that coming from Texas State, they were able to relate with the students in the audience and give us sound advice that will definitely help us in our future in the real world. They also recommended to join school clubs that will help your resume and will help you network. This will undoubtedly translate into job situations and ultimately help you to get a jump start on your career. I really enjoyed this session and found it very beneficial to me. This was a cool website I had never seen before: gowalla.

Mass Comm Week: How to Get Your Foot in the Door at a Tech Company After Graduation

Three professionals from the tech industry spoke at Mass Comm Week at Texas State University on Thursday, October 19th, concerning the importance of networking and staying up-to-date on current technology in order to insure a job after graduation. Adrew Waldrup, a culture evangelist from Gowalla, Jennifer Stattford from HomeAway and Whitney Francis, a community manager at Google, sat on a panel and engaged the audience in an informative and very relevant discussion about of success in the tech industry.

Networking was a key skill that the panelists stressed. Waldrup, a graduate of Texas State, explained that perseverance is key when it comes to landing a job. He told the story of how he "stalked" a person at Gowalla in order to get his job. He obviously wasn't saying to be a creeper and look through the window of your prospective employer, but rather to maintain contact with the people who would be hiring you.

The panelists also said, and to some degree, reassured the audience of young people, that they don't need to know how to program a computer in order to be successful in the tech industry - basic HTML will do. The technology that is a key necessity is knowing how to use a wide range of social media; from Facebook to Twitter, and all the other similar programs out there.

Overall, the presentation gave a great deal of information that may students, especially those who have little to no professional experience, will be able to use after graduation to land them their dream job (or at least a job that will pay the bills).

On a side note; a good resource for getting "linked in" to a professional network is to try out If you're unaware of this site, it is like Facebook, but for professionals. Check it out and see if you can find people who are in the organizations that you are interested in working for and start a relationship with them - but don't forget to make a real-life relationship as well.

Communication Careers at Tech Companies Session

The panel session for communication careers at tech companies was highly informative and helpful for individuals looking to go into the communications field. The panelists were happy to share information about the industry, give advice to students looking to go into the same field, and talk about their personal experiences.
First off, the session put my mind at ease about several things in the communications and tech industry. The panelists made it very clear that an extensive knowledge of technology was not required to work for technology companies in the communications department. Being a technologically-challenged individual, this news certainly made me feel better about job prospects. They also mentioned that not everyone in the communications department had to work with social media, and that often the company had a few individuals dedicated to this task. I am terrible with social media, and while I do recognize a working knowledge is helpful, this lifted quite a burden off of my shoulders.
The panelists were filled with great advice about getting jobs and working. From the discussion I found that networking is very important, but researching companies (but not to the point of being creepy) is even more imperative.
All of the advice and information from this session should be helpful in the future as I am searching for a job and developing my skills.

Burnie Burns Session

Of all of the sessions that I have attended during Mass Comm week, this was my favorite. I must confess to being quite a geek, and loving video games, so this session was right up my alley. I am not a devoted fan of Red vs Blue, but I am a familiar with many of the other online entertainment sources that Burnie mentioned throughout the interview. It was exciting to hear him talk about Penny Arcade, and my personal favorite, Smosh.
Past the geek appeal, the interview was fabulous. Burnie is very personable and witty, and his ability to connect with the crowd made the interview interesting. I learned quite a bit about Burnie and Rooster Teeth throughout the session and I have come to greatly respect him and the company for all that they have accomplished. He is truly a pioneer of online entertainment and he has given me a lot to think about as far as how adaptable and relevant the internet is in the business world.
While Rooster Teeth is not a typical company, and the business practices are often unconventional, I took a lot from the interview about being successful. Rooster Teeth exhibits the importance of innovative thinking and resourcefulness. The company uses video game software that is already developed and ready to make their Red vs Blue videos. This concept was created and perfected by the company, and it is very popular despite them not developing their own methods of animating.
Burnie also reinforced the idea that work should not be a chore but rather a passion. He stressed that he enjoys what he does and his success is a side effect of this rather than a focus. He surrounds himself with others that enjoy the same line of work, that he often finds on the internet. This way of working inspires hope that we might all end up doing something that we love, while still succeeding in all that we do.

Communication Careers at Tech Companies

Andrew Waldrup, Culture Evangelist at Gowalla; Whitney Francis, Community Manager at Google and Jennifer Stafford of HomeAway spoke at a panel about communication careers at technology companies this past Wednesday, Oct. 19.

All three panelists were from different backgrounds and provided excellent insight into the communication industry. This insight consisted of what we should know as students, what to expect from a start-up company's schedule and the importance of location-based services.

I think the most interesting part of the panel was the aspects that related to how students can make themselves more marketable. They said that students do not have to know everything about coding and that a basic knowledge of HTML would suffice. The panelists also said to join clubs like PRSSA and Social Media Club.

According to the panel, knowledge of Search Engine Optimization and social media is an imperative skill for this industry. The panel encouraged students to attend SEO meetups around the area.

Two other pieces of advice the panel gave to students were to always apologize during crisis management and to learn how to use Radian6.

Jennifer Stafford said that you should expect to "wear many hats" when you work at a start-up company. She said that hours are difficult and having a flexible schedule is a must.

The future of location-based services is extremely important to the industry. According to Whitney Francis, one-in-five searches in Google are location-based. Andrew Waldrup said Gowalla is against gamification because the company wants long-term sustainability. It seems like social location services will continue to exist because the companies are always seeking and capitalizing on innovation.

Burnie Burns Interview

Burnie Burns was a computer science student at the University of Texas and had an interest in movie making. He previously worked for a company called Drunkgamers where they reviewed video games and the goal was to "get drunk and play video games". His company Rooster Teeth formed and the Red vs. Blue series emerged which uses the Halo videogame engine. The first Red vs. Blue video received 3,000 hits and by the end of the week, it had received 250,000 hits. It progressed to about one million hits and today, they release one video per game on Mondays which includes interactiom, using characters from the actual video games, writing the script and recording the dialogue. Burnie said young filmmakers can do what he does at home with all the accessible, available software out there. His videos are a hybrid model for animation and he found most the artists who work for him online. He is an actor in many of the episodes and writes the majority of the scripts. He commends YouTube for being such a great platform for videos and says he would not be as successful as he is today without it. The Angry Birds video Rooster Teeth created is hilarious and has received global attention from countries such as London, Australia and Canada. He has had to re-edit many videos for Flash and says web video for the future will more than likely have a mobile platform due to smart phones. He is currently hiring mainly artists and animators and his Red vs. Blue dvds are available at Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Communication Careers At Tech Companies

This particular lecture was also held in Alkek 250 this past Wednesday at 3:30. The following three key speakers were there:  Andrew Waldrup, Culture Evangelist from Gowalla; Whitney Francis, Community Manager from Google; and Jennifer Stafford from HomeAway. I enjoyed this panel discussion.
One of the fascinating things I found out was that Andrew Waldrup graduated from Texas State University. It was nice to learn how he had acquired his job at Gowalla after he graduated. Basically, through perseverance and what he called a little “stalking” (not actual stalking), he was able to get an interview and then was hired on.
When the three panelists spoke on the topic of technological knowledge, it was comforting to know that you do not have to be a technological guru to work in the Mass Communication/Social Media field.  They did say it was important to know the basics such as html coding. I have learned this in Web Design & Publishing Class!
I also learned the difference between a start-up company and an already established company. Essentially, a start-up company does not have any money and an established company, such as Google, has plenty of money. However, joining a start-up company was not discouraged by the panelists
One of the best pieces of advice I received was concerning networking. I learned it is imperative to make sure you are up to date on what other people’s/companies product’s are before you do networking with them.
Overall, this discussion was beneficial, and I’m glad I attended.

Burnie Burns Interview

I can vividly remember my friends and I watching the entire first season of Red vs. Blue in one night in high school (we were incredibly popular). I remember thinking, "Who makes this? How are these people so naturally funny? What is the creative process behind this like? How much more Mountain Dew can I drink tonight before it becomes a problem?"

With the exception of the last one, all of my questions were answered last Monday, Oct. 17. The interview with Burnie Burns, Rooster Teeth's creator, was an incredibly interesting insight into what a creative, intelligent and funny person can accomplish if they are passionate about what they do.

Setting out to become an independent filmmaker of sorts, Burns cited Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi as one of his main inspirations. This is important to note because it demonstrates just how passionate Burns is about his work. Fellow Texan Robert Rodriguez used insane methods to ensure his movie was on budget. In fact, Rodriguez even sold his own body for medical experiments to fund his movie.

Another interesting thing about Burns is that he knows his medium extremely well. During his interview, he kept mentioning how the Internet has brought down "mountains" for filmmakers like himself. He said 250 people seeing your work in a room used to be awesome. Now, however, if only 250 watch your video online, something has gone terribly wrong.

Burns demonstrated how businesses can work in the Information Age if the leaders are knowledgeable about their platform and who they need to collaborate with. Rooster Teeth has had several offers to move to television, but Burns knows his product is best fit online.

Burns also surrounds himself with witty and Internet-savvy people who are passionate about what they do to ensure the best product possible. These people create music, design scene backgrounds and provide voice talent for his company.

In summary, it is refreshing to know that intelligent, humorous and creative people still have the opportunity to create their own business model and see their ideas all the way through with people that inspire them.

Burnie Burns: Great Lecture

Before entering the doors of Alkek 250, I did not know what to expect. Honestly, I have never heard of Burnie Burns. However, through the course of this particular Mass Comm lecture, I gained new insight and knowledge of such topics as Rooster Teeth Productions and Burn’s contributions that encouraged the creation of Youtube.
While Burns was speaking, he had such a passion in his voice for his career choice. He candidly spoke of the highs and lows within his career field. Despite the obstacles he faced from time to time, he never relinquished his drive to achieve his goals.
From the lecture and my own research, I have learned that Rooster Teeth is basically a production company that hires people who write scripts and then uses videogame animation, also known as machinima, to act out the parts.
As a child, I hardly played video games. In fact, I have never owned a video game system. However, I found this type of animation fascinating. I could tell that many laborious efforts go into creating animation such as this.
Burns mainly spoke on one his series that he is particularly proud of called Red vs. Blue. He showed two different clips in the lecture. In the first clip, the characters were mainly standing around and speaking to one another. However, when Burns showed the second clip of one of the newer series in season 6, there was a noticeable increase of action. Burns said the reason the tone of the episodes changed is because it is important to always present the public with new concepts to keep them interested.
Some comical movie commercials that Burns had created were shown that made the entire audience laugh. My favorite was “Angry Birds”. I enjoyed how they took characters from an animated video game and transformed them into real actors.
For those who would like a career with Burns, I learned his company hires artists and animators.
Burns gave several pieces of valuable advice. My two favorite pieces are the following:
#1 In reference to episodes, Burns said “We don’t put the first episode of anything out until we have 6 in the bag.” He said this is important because you have to be able to tell people on the internet when to expect the next episode—you can’t leave them waiting.
#2 He said that if there is something you really like, a lot of people might really like it too. Basically he meant to explore certain topics i.e. Youtube videos you find fascinating and share them with the public. You just might make money off of it.
In essence, I enjoyed the lecture and left Alkek 250 with more knowledge than I had entered with.

Design and Journalism

The panel on design and journalism was very informative and gave me a sense of hope. Most of the people on the panel were former students of Cindy's who had not had any more formal education on web design than this class! It gave me hope that with practice and more time I might actually be a decent web designer.

They offered tips on how to be successful like know your medium and make contracts! Making contracts was a very good one because being new grads, we might not think about the contract and end up having so many different edits and responsibilities because we did not clearly state from the beginning what exactly our "job" would entail. They posted a few websites that could be helpful such as Mashable which has social media and web design tips.

I left this panel with a sense of hope and feeling less discouraged about my current "banana yellow" website.

Burnie Burns Interview

I found the interview with Burnie Burns to be very informational and at a lot of times humorous when he was describing the thought process behind his various web publications. It's cool to know that such a successful online producer lives right up there in Austin and hearing his story as to how he got to where he is now is very inspirational. I had vaguely heard of Red vs. Blue or any of his stuff, but I thought it was all very good content and I enjoyed the humor he was able to bring to Halo. I think the part I enjoyed most was when the first guy asked a question, which was more of a story about how awesome Burnie was, and Burnie said that he must be a PR student for obvious reasons. Overall, it was a great time listening to his information and one of my favorite events of Mass Comm week that I attended. I read up more on Burnie on Wikipedia and found a lot of good information on there. I guess if he's on Wikipedia, then he has to be kind of a big deal.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Burnie Burns

Burnie Burns came to Texas State to talk to students about his success at his production company Rooster Teeth and his online web series Red vs. Blue. Burns was pretty interesting. I had only heard of Red vs. Blue through word of mouth, but never had checked it out. The first footage I saw was at Mass Comm week and thought it was pretty funny. Burns himself was a funny guy. He kept the crowd interested with video clips and jokes. The clip he showed of one of his employees playing and not succeeding at a video game was hilarious. This was my second time experiencing Mass Comm week, but this interview turned out to be my favorite.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Comm careers at Tech Companies

Whitney Francis, Andrew Waldrup and Jennifer Stafford had a panel discussion about how to land a communications career in the technology industry. They gave tips on how and where to network (big ass social happy hour, anyone?) and important qualities to have as an applicant at a company. They discussed the importance of being familiar with forms of social media and how one can use it to promote a company. Waldrup, from Gowalla, addressed the issue of the app's two-star rating. He talked about how the changes to the app are useful and they probably won't be changing the app to the old one. This led the panel to discuss crisis management and the best ways to go about approaching the issue (acknowledge and apologize...very important, PR people!). At the end Waldrup tossed out some Gowalla goodies, and I'm the proud owner of a new t-shirt.

This panel benefitted me greatly because they gave out some great advice to future graduates like me. I know to continue to keep my Facebook and twitter looking good, and I know what skills I need to acquire and maintain in the next seven weeks.

Burnie Burns Interview

I'd never heard of Burnie Burns until Monday, and now I'm a fan of his work. He created a web series called Red vs. Blue using Halo characters and original dialogue. Later, he was able to start his own machinima companies, Rooster Teeth Productions. He talked about how he landed a partnership with Microsoft and the future of web video. He showed some hilarious clips: Angry Birds: The Movie and a clip of his friend playing Crackdown 2 Orbs...seriously, the funniest video I've seen since honey badger.

I enjoyed hearing about how Burns was able to build his own company and how successful it's become throughout the years. He has some great visions about technology and has big dreams for himself and Rooster Teeth Productions.

Communication Careers In Tech

Communication Careers at tech companies in Austin was a panel for Mass Communication week and was held in the Alkek teaching theatre Wednesday October 20, 2011. It featured several speakers from tech companies such as Andrew Waldrup, Culture Evangelist from Gowalla; Whitney Francis, Community Manager from Google; and Jennifer Stafford from HomeAway.

I was disappointed with the content of this lecture. I felt like the only thing they talked about was social media. I understand the benefits of using social media a little better now, but I wish the efforts to obtain the jobs the panel had and their accomplishments were highlighted more effectively.

I felt the grad student that interviewed the panel seemed really bored and under prepared, and it was a lot of information about social media-which had already been covered in other sessions. His questions didn’t really cover any areas other than that of social media and how the panel uses it in their jobs. Also, the set up with him standing behind the panel was awkward, because the speakers would answer his questions and then turn around and look at him like-“what’s next?” There was nothing compelling about this “loose interview” style and I found myself getting bored with what they were talking about.

Also, I will take this time to put in my two cents about requiring students to attend Mass Comm Week events. My question is- why are we doing this? Even bigger question- why are we offering incentives like extra credit for students to attend Mass Comm Week Events? I know we want to have packed rooms for these panels, I get that, and speakers should be talking to a packed room, because their work is important- and we can learn a lot from them. That alone should make people want to attend the events. My problem is with those that are required to come to the event showing up just because they have to be there and being disrespectful audience members. I had to tell several people in front of me to SHUT UP so that I could hear what was going on, and one girl even was so rude as to answer a phone call during the lecture! I was disgusted. Maybe it wasn’t the most interesting material in the world that was being discussed; however, if you want to talk to your stupid friends you should do it on your own time and not be disrespecting the speakers. Mass Comm Week has now incorporated live video feed for most Mass Comm Week events, so I guess I am just not understanding why we are requesting the presence of people who don’t want or care to be there.

So this is my one wish for Mass Comm Week next year, for the sake of other students who want to get through a lecture without having to shush people, professors please consider making Mass Comm Week event attendance optional for your classes.

That is really all I have to say about the panel. It was my least favorite of all the events I attended, and I feel that it had to do with the venue, the disrespectful audience and lack of preparedness by the host and less with the speakers. Cindy might be spread a little thin, but I hope that next year she interviews all the speakers.

Burnie Burns:The Viral Video Legend

Burnie Burns, one of the founders of Rooster Teeth Productions, was invited to come speak during Mass Communication Week this year.

Burns is most notably famous for his Red vs. Blue series and his contributions to machinima, both of which I had never heard of before this week. I did some research on Burns and his production company, Rooster Teeth Productions before the interview, but I did wonder what I would get out of this lecture, considering I have never played a Halo or heard of this guy. Let me just tell you-I severely underestimated the value of this lecture.

Before we get started- a brief overview of Burns line of work.

Red vs. Blue is a web series based around the video game Halo and was created by Burns and his crew. Although the Internet was in its early stages during the creation of Red vs. Blue, once the series was on the web, it gained popularity quickly. The machinima production Red vs. Blue now has over 1 billion views worldwide since its conception in 2003. The series was the first of its kind to use video game characters to tell a narrative story, and machinima technology to give the story visual components. Since then Burns has gone on to produce, write and create many other projects.

The Red vs. Blue series has become successful in the web world, but Burns and his crew did experience obstacles along the way first and largest of which became how to get the videos out where people could see them.

This, for me, was one of the most interesting parts of the interview. When Burns began talking about the inability to find a web host to get the episodes of Red vs. Blue onto the web, I began to call my whole Internet existence into question (kind of an exaggeration, but partially true). Whenever I make a video I want my friends to see, I just hop on YouTube, upload it and wait to see how many hits it gets. But when was the last time anyone thought about a world without YouTube? However, this was Burns reality.

Then a student came to the mic and said something that put everything into perspective regarding host sites in general.

The student thanked Burns for his contributions to the viral world and told him how much he enjoyed Red vs. Blue, and then he said, ‘ thank you also Mr. Burns for creating material that ultimately created YouTube.’ My first thought was, this guy did not create YouTube, what is this kid talking about? However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that the student was right.

He wasn’t saying that Burns had created YouTube in the literal sense, but more so saying that because of series like Red vs. Blue there came a need for hosting sites like YouTube- because of what Burns was creating there was a need for sites like this- sites that are not connecting billions of people to billions of other people’s music, blogs and lives really. Who knows, without the creation of these sites, Burns career may have turned out a lot differently.

One of my other favorite parts of the interview was when Burns began talking about how he hires people, and then show the audience a video of a guy he hired playing a video game and cursing at the screen because he was terrible at it. It was hilarious, and I think he won the award for most “F bombs” dropped in a single interview.

I was thankful that I got to hear the Burnie Burns interview, because I didn’t realize this at the time, but he’s kind of a big deal. During the interview, Cindy Royal mentioned that there were 900 people watching the live stream and I saw that the interview got up to 8900 hits on the web after the fact. Crazy!

Burns was charming and intelligent and I found his words applicable and insightful. His use of media and persistence of excellence in his projects definitely made me a fan.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Burnie Burns

Burnie Burns is the founder of Rooster Teeth Productions. He spoke to Texas State students about machinima and his web video series Red Vs. Blue. Machinima is created by taking animation from video games and putting a voice track over it. In other words, Burnie Burns makes shows for video games. Burns takes concepts from video games and creates stories that are as real life as possible. He makes shows that he would want to watch and use.

Red Vs. Blue is a hybrid model machinima animation. The artists that worked on Red Vs. Blue were people that they found online doing things for fun or as their hobby. Burnie Burns plays as an actor in most of his michinima productions by doing the voices for some of his game characters. Other actors also contribute to the voices, making the productions a team effort. Burns writes the scripts for all his games and takes suggestions from the rest of his team as well.

The Red Vs. Blue script is very serial because you know all the characters and what is going on. The stories are told over a period of time and has seasons just like shows such as Gossip Girl. Burns interacts with the audience to see what they are liking and not liking. He plans to make 10 seasons of these animated shows and has had 1 billion hits so far. He is now a licensed partner with microsoft.

He also told us that there are 728 million views on youtube and that there are 36 hours of video uploaded to youtube every hour. My favorite part of his interview was when he showed us the youtube video of "crackdown 2 orbs." He found a polish man on youtube who recorded his voice while playing this video game. The youtube video consisted of the man cursing while playing the video game. It was hilarious so he hired him and paid him to keep making these videos.

Burns said he hires people that are good artists, animators, and people with experience in web video production. When asked where he sees web video going he said mobile. The advise he gave to students was to put your work out there on the Internet because you never know what people are going to like and how many hits your going to get. You have to make something great and at the same time get attention for it by marketing through facebook, twitter and other social media.