Business Administration Education Guide

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Surveillance Society

The younger generation is revealing their entire lives on places such as MySpace, Live Journal, Facebook and has advanced the theatre of community. Their sense of privacy is not the same as that of older generations.

As most girls did, I used to write to myself in a diary, which I kept locked with the accompanied key. I wrote down all of my most private thoughts. All of which, I would have been mortified if anyone would have read. Conversely, kids of today has their diary online with computers they were given in elementary school. They instant message their friends and create online profiles at a variety of sites.

Eight year olds can “network” with people all over the world through consumer product sites as Barbie Girls.

Teenagers are revealing their inner most thoughts, anxieties and party life complete with infamous pictures at sites such as MySpace.

Adults from young to senior have stepped into a world of self-documentation focusing on the intimacy, the dullness or the adventures of daily life – just anther individual in a quite or uploaded noisy music track of a busy virtual world.

The caution of us over 30’s who are careful not too reveal too much personal information over the internet isn’t understood by the younger generation of online citizens such as Kitty Ostapowicz whose said in the article “Say Everything”: “Why not? What’s the worst that’s going to happen?"

The worst that can happen is that cyber stalking becomes real life stalking. What could also happen is that your public online life can and has affected people's careers and college education. Human resource managers and university faculty staff members are going online to find the non-application information that will reveal the "truth" or at least the image of the prospective employee or college student. If they don’t like what they see, they will not hire you or accept you into the college of your choice.

There’s a lot of transparency between being known on social networking communities and Hollywood celebrities -- it's about being a public figure and seeking an audience. The problem arises when something we don’t want others to know is published.

Hundreds or even thousands online may see a picture or a video of you, that you thought would only be seen by one or two other people. In 2000 a women named "Susie" was the victim of an uploaded video she took for her than boyfriend. It's believed her than boyfriend's roommate uploaded the tape to the internet where "Susie" was suddenly infamous. Sadly, this has become a trend among the broken hearted. We may say today's boyfriend / girlfriend would never so such a thing to us, but the truth is once feelings are hurt and pride is wounded, people are capable of anything.

There are advantages to manuscripting a life though. Patient blogs are a way for patients to communicate their feelings in a positive way and letting others know that they 're not alone. Their blogs give hope where before there may have been none. When a terminally ill individual or family member passes away, or a friend leaves unexpectedly, the blog or profile remains as a memorial for that person. Allowing family and friends to celebrate and remember the person.

As I grow older I have gone back to the beginning of my earliest public exhibitionist days and sometimes I’m amused at my former self’s writings and other times I reinforce my belief of how much of a nerd I really am. Which gets me thinking about the generation before me. How I would have loved to read about the life and personal adventures of “normal” everyday people in the earlier years.

From reading the adventures of the “new breed" of young women flappers and her bad boy (of that era) boyfriends to the thoughts of someone in 1929 when the stock market crashed and into the fashionable global phenomenon of Talkies in the 1930s…. That was a time to be recorded.

Yes, I know books still exist and I can walk from my desk stiff legs from my car to the door of any Barnes & Nobles. But those books are written mostly about famous or infamous people. While those stories and recollections are indeed fascinating, nothing beats the Girl / Boy Next Door retelling of what s/he thinks is dull.

So when I think about the future of who may be reading my public life, I wonder if they will find it dull or fascinating? Will Google still be popular by then? What will the internet have morphed into?

On a planet that is wired and networked and continues to grow USB cable tentacles stretching into rural villages, privacy is an illusion when you choose to publicize your life. People of all ages need to constantly ask themselves if what they publish is something that they can live with everyone on the planet knowing.

Are you considering how your private information can be used? Are prospective roommates, friends, husbands or wives or employers Googling you right now to piece together the reality of your life as opposed to the tales you’ve spun? Google probably knows more about us than any one person on this planet.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Virb – A Place For Webbies

On the surface, it isn’t obvious why Virb is useful or even fun. It looks like just another social network and it doesn’t do anything revolutionary. However, Virb offers a lot of features that take away the constantly annoying traits that are present at other social networking sites.

Virb is a cleaner sleeker and more personalized neighborhood with a ton of great features that combines easy user customization, Flickr photostream, VirbTunes (aka iTunes plugin), a wide screen video player with a light box effect and a ton of other features that annoy users at other social networking sites. In addition, Virb is busy building new features and functionalities such as a Twitter module.

According to Virb

“ is a music-oriented content and information website that provides a service to musical artists and to record companies on behalf of musical artists” -- the people behind popular music networking service PureVolume. Conversely, Virb is attracting non-music industry users who simply enjoy music but are not involved in the music industry and who doesn’t like some form of music?

The Downers

Virb isn't for the 'newb", "nub" or "n00b (new to social networking / internet). While Virb has fantastic customization features the problem is that most people (including myself) don’t know how to use CSS that well. Until there are a large number of easy to find Virb layouts that users can copy and paste Virb growth will be slower than it could be. Yet, if Virb implements easy to use ‘copy and paste ‘ Virb layouts will the viewers be forced to see “this layout created by XXX” ads? Anther thing to consider is that a business driven user cannot reach a mass audience through Virb alone -- but a business driven user can certainly reach a quality audience.

Here are some the coolest Virb features that I found and believe have the potential to steal MySpace users.

  • Gives you the ability to easily customize your profile and unlike MySpace, if you don’t want to hear today’s Top 40 blazing song or yester year’s classic, Virb has a feature that allows you to turn off the person's customizations while viewing their profile.

  • Virb Rocks: Shows off some of the best designers and designs on Virb

  • Virb Transport: Allows you take any piece of your Virb profile and put it on your own website or other profiles

  • Virb Music Browse: Choose the music you like and choose only the music you want to locate on Virb. When you find a musical artist you like, you can save all the songs in your personal player list on your profile. The top 3 songs you enjoy the most show at the top of your profile -- similar to MySpace Friends.

  • External Blog: Syndicate your external blog and Virb will feed it into their system which will show up in your friends' recent activity, and will be displayed as if it were part of Virb.

While I do consistently use MySpace for writing placement, I have never cared for MySpace and the numerous Spam messages, ‘meat market’ and teenage atmosphere and "it's ok to look" display ads. Virb has much more of a community feel that displays the personal, the artistic and the business aspect of people. It is an all in one social networking site that should pick up more of the technically minded people as the site gains popularity

Virb is what MySpace should have been by now if it actually worked as an online social networking community and not an enormous marketing flea market. I won’t say that Virb will overtake MySpace (yet), but as more of the age 25+ web savvy users get sick of web cam girls, emo attitudes and pyramid messages, people will want a social networking community and not simply a “place for friends’. So if you're looking to connect with webbies, Virb looks like the place to do it.

SierraNightTide: Virb - A Place For Webbies

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Give Animation A Chance Again

By Media Post - email Insider

Though animation fell out of favor years ago, it’s time for email marketers to give the technique another look. That’s the conclusion I came to after nearly a year of collecting and analyzing emails with animation from the largest online retailers in order to write the just-released 2007 Animation in Retail Emails Study.

Already, 34% of the major online retailers tracked by RetailEmail.Blogspot have used animation in at least one email in recent months. Based in part on retailers’ increasing use of animation on their Web sites, we predict a doubling of its adoption rate in email marketing over the next 12 months.

Animation’s appeal is easy to understand. It can be deployed for a wide variety of purposes in emails and, if properly used, can entertain, inform and inspire subscribers in ways that static images and text cannot.

After we’d examined well over 100 retail emails with animation, a number of strategies emerged:

1. Animation packs more into limited real estate by demonstrating an assortment of products or features. This strategy is becoming more attractive as more and more email clients adopt preview panes, limiting the viewing area of emails.

2. Animation draws the eye to less visible screen real estate, such as items below the fold.

3. Animation demonstrates critical product features that drive revenue and increase sales.

4. Animation adds visual interest to emails, particularly around holidays.

5. Animation emphasizes certain messages and key copy elements in emails.

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to misstep with animation. In the study, I critique more than a dozen emails and address numerous pitfalls, but let me leave you with the following tips:

1. Use animated gifs instead of Flash because of email client, support and rendering issues.

2. Animation is a more attractive tool if most of your subscribers have broadband Internet access.

3. Keep image file sizes small (50K or less) in order to minimize hard bounces.

4. Send test creative to email accounts at Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, Gmail, etc. to ensure delivery. Or better yet, use a rendering testing tool.

5. Make sure that the first frame of the animated gif contains useful information in case the subsequent frames are blocked. Avoid fade-ins.

6. Provide a link to the online version of the email, as some subscribers will have problems viewing any images.

7. Make the animation cycle last at least a few times so readers can catch portions they may have missed the first time. And keep the animation at a good pace.

8. Don’t go overboard with animation, as too much can distract the reader.

Should We Fear For Kids "Public" Lives?

The Wall Street Journal:

a quarter of human-resources decision makers had rejected job candidates because of personal information found online.

Parents are more reticent about revealing personal information on the Web, but teenagers and 20somethings seem to have no problem growing up in public. A report claims that nearly one-quarter of human-resources decision makers had rejected job candidates because of personal information found online. One of the most important background checks an employer can do these days is to Google prospective job candidates, and then scour the social-networking universe for their personal profiles.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Where is the money going?

I'm not going to get up on my soap box and shout out how Americans could b saving money due to the high gas prices. Instead, I'm only going to give a couple of links and hope for the best.

What Can I Do To Save Money?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Make Sure Potential Employers Read Your Email

Almost everyone uses email everyday to send a quick note to a friend or confirm weekend plans. But as you move from high school (or a non office position) into the corporate arena, the way you use email has to change. This is indeed one of the places where the little details truly matter. Ignoring capitalization may not be such a big deal for personal emails, but writing work related emails in this style is regarded as someone not meant to be taken seriously.

Email is an invaluable tool of communication with potential employers before the initial in-person interview. It is your chance to prove how well you can communicate in text. So while email can be a great tool in landing the job, it can also show prospective employers that you are an irresponsible, careless job prospect.
Emails are meant to be short and get straight to the point of why you are corresponding. Always use a professional salutation, proofread your email three times, and run spell check before you hit "send."

Do Not

  • Use shorthand like: BCNU (be seeing you), BTW (by the way) or ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing).

  • Type IN ALL CAPS

  • Forget to spell check

  • Send attachments to recipients who wouldn't normally receive email from you unless they specifically ask for a attachment.
  • Spray & Pray - send the same email to multiple employers


  • Include a clear & precise subject line

  • Clearly identify yourself as the sender and why you are writing to them.

  • Send the message only to relevant recipient

  • Make sure all links work properly

  • Set up an auto-reply if you are away – such as on weekends.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Does Duck Tape Really Fix Everything?

I’m clicking on Laughing Squid’s Writers & Publishers web links one by one. With each link I quickly look over it and self-doubt creeps in a little more and a little more and little more. That nagging little girl entity deep down inside of me that has never grown up and has never felt too sure of herself starts questioning my ability to be a Blogger let alone any kind of a ‘comedy of life’ online columnist.

I scan web sites like Infiltration, Annalee Newitz (Techsploitation) and Wikipedia’s biography of Hunter S. Thompson and I wonder if I’m full of unruly bravado boosting potential for a developing project (not only to myself but to others) that maybe, I have no right to do.

Much too often I find myself plagued by the same insecurities that have held me back in the past only to later find out I could have done it. Or I listen to stories from others who did what I wanted to do and I felt even worse for not following my heart and or desire. More than anything, I hate that nagging little girl that whispers I'm not good enough, not smart enough, or not talented enough, that no one wants to hear what I have to say, so why bother? Too often, I listened to those voices.

I’ve been able to lock her inside a small cabin but she never sleeps, she’s always there making un-approving faces at me, reminding me that she hasn’t gone away and doesn’t plan to. I’ve learned to silence her whiney voice most of the time, but she always manages to find an open window where she whispers insecurities. I can't even begin to imagine how many opportunities I have missed because I listened to her. It saddens me to think of where I could be right now if I only I had the courage and confidence to go forth and pursue my destiny with full vigor.

Fortunately I also carry a stronger entity than her -- she has always wanted to be out. She is the one that has held me up and forced me to keep walking in my most trying times. She’s been there all along, for all of my life rumbling rowdily, building and gaining momentum. I didn’t understand her. I thought she was a danger to me, I believed she was the one that needed to be silenced. I believed that she would cause me harm and didn’t want me be happy. Now I know she was the one trying to save me from the true evil of self-doubt.

Insecurities weigh us down or hold us back. Allowing feelings of self-doubt, feelings of not being good enough, feelings like we don't deserve success, or that success is not ours to achieve seems to burden women more than men. A friend and I were talking about this last night, after we climbed a 10,000 foot mountain with nothing but a bottle of water, a small pug dog and an over zealous health …. Ok, it wasn’t 10,000 feet but Runyon Canyon Park felt like it at the time.

Next to guilt, self-doubt is one of the most self-defeating personal emotions to carry. There’s a book named Living the Artist's Life by Paul Dorrell. This is excerpted from chapter eight of the book.

Every living artist I’ve ever worked with, and every deceased artist I’ve ever studied, have all shared one simple trait: each of them has gone through varying levels of self-doubt; each of them, at different times in their lives, has questioned the worth of their talent. No one that I know of has ever been exempt from this. For some, like the poet Sylvia Plath (who was also a talented illustrator), their spells of doubt and depression were mind-numbing, paralyzing, and, in the end, beyond their control. For others, like Picasso, those spells were nothing more than a minor dip on their emotional graph.

I feel that spells of self-doubt occur so that we will reassess our lives, and work. For some, these spells can virtually destroy them if they don’t keep their emotions in check.

I do feel that I have the tools at hand to conquer the demons that have always held me back. I look around me and I see opportunity at every turn.

The days of making excuses for why I can't are over. It's not that I’ve plugged into some super Matrix of overwhelming self-confidence -- I’m still battling the whiney little girl of self-doubt. It is because I no longer want to deny myself the possibilities that are laid out before me under a sunny California sky. There is something great out there for me, and it is my mission to find it, to claim it and make it mine. Anyone have any duck tape I could barrow? There’s a slow whispering leak I need to fix.

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