Creative Blog

Issues important to discern and creatively explore!

Building your “Tribe” through Digital Literacy

As I sit here in my ENGL 304 Business Writing Class at Clemson…I watch the Team (well students) take their first test. It is 43 multiple choice answers with a discussion answer. I am thinking about how I tried to make this more of a team exercise. Well…I tried something different (at-least to me).

I had already pre-written the test and took all the questions and framed them into study questions. After doing so, I uploaded the study questions onto Google Docs where all of the class documents live. I then invited all of the team members in the class to look at the document giving them access as editors.

When we came into the class previous from the test, we had a collaborative study session. I asked them to divide into groups where each group handled one chapter from the book. I then asked them for one of the group members to use their laptops to access the study guide I invited them into, then work together to answer the questions in Google Docs with the ability to use their book and each others knowledge.

This is what is cool about Google Docs, it allows multiple individuals to access a document from different geographic locations and edit the document in real time. Each member that is online working in the document can watch other editors write in the document. This is a powerful collaborative learning tool.

As each member of each group in the class was looking for answers and updating the document, they were not only collaborating online but also verbally within a group but also between groups. Then after the class was over, they had one document that they could refer to as a study guide for the test. Over the next day, I noticed that different individuals were going into the document, refining the answers, and updating information.

WOW – DIGITAL LITERACY! Using technology to collaborate and educate not only themselves but each other. I was inspired by their buy-in. They all came into class empowered to take the test.

Now, here is the bigger picture. I love this part…they were building relationships with their team members. They were breaking down barriers and working with other people in the class they normally would not associate and building trust, building relationships. Imagine if one day these team members, these students might actually do business together outside of the educational setting. Imagine if two students in this class came together one day and were leaders in a community. These team members are our tomorrow. They will be deciding how my children (and their children) will be effected by healthcare, the economy, etc., etc., etc. Digital Literacy, Collaboration, Open Source Technology – it Empowers Our Tomorrow!

Empowering our tomorrow!

I was asked to speak to the Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity this past Wednesday and was I amazed by the turnout.

Last Spring I spoke to the group and there were only about 15 students that attended the meeting. But when I showed up on Wednesday night, I was overwhelmed by the turnout. I would say close to 60 students were in attendance to one of many Delta Sigma Pi recruiting events.

These aspiring, young entrepreneurs were dressed to impress. Not only did they have their business digs on…they had their conversation caps ready. The conversation for the night was networking, entrepreneurship, and leaving a lasting legacy.

They are our future. These students are the ones that will take care of my children. They will be the business leaders of tomorrow making decisions about my “Social Security”, my healthcare, my children’s tomorrow. Education is more than just education…it is about EMPOWERING our tomorrow. Empowering them to make their mark and create a lasting legacy.

I was thinking about legacy and what it means to leave your footprint. I gradated from Clemson twice, first in 1997 with a BS in Mathematics and then in 2003 with a MA in Professional Communications. As I was walking to my Business Writing Class…I found this…my name in the sidewalk here on Clemson’s Campus.

trust & technology – a story about AT&T

Did you ever think what it takes to turn on a light in your house? You walk into a room, flip the light switch and magically the light in the center of the room comes on…WOW. Think about the centuries of innovation and the many miles of connectivity from the house to the grid. How does this happen? How long did it take for us to trust the fact that flipping a switch in a wall will turn a light on about the room.

This morning, I woke up and walked to the front porch where the wife was on the phone with her sister in Charleston. I noticed she was irritated and as soon as I open the front glass door…I learned every quickly. Her cell phone conversation had stopped, and started over and over because of some dropped calls.

It was time to get on the phone with AT&T. So I went to get my iPhone and noticed that my visual voicemail was not working. I dialed the phone number for AT&T and after navigating thru the menu system, I am speaking with a very nice lady. I was actually thinking, this lady has a nice pleasant voice…then halfway thru explaining my issue, the phone call dropped. BLAH

Now it is time to go grab the land line to call AT&T. Note…we just added this land line a month ago after being completely dependent on mobile service for three years. So I call the 1800 number and reached another nice, pleasant voice with AT&T. Pleasant helpful voices are nice. After explaining my issue…I was off to be transferred to a technical support representative.

****I realize this is a timeline of events…I will get to the point of this post****

My new technical support friend told me of some Voice Network Issues in SC & NC. He also told me that they (AT&T) are in the process of upgrading the 3G service in Clemson and Anderson, to expand the service beyond the Clemson area. He also explained that the voice service works off of a completely different tower than the data service. WOW. It take multiple towers to provide one phone multiple services in just one location, we have not even began to talk about moving from one location to the next.

As my AT&T technical friend was sifting thru my account, where our phones are connected, and diagnosing our tower issues…he made a statement that made me think. He told me that we really TRUST technology to do what it is supposed to do, that when we flip the light switch we TRUST that it will turn on. We do not think about the technology necessary to turn that light on to brighten a room. Think about the amount of TRUST we have when we dial a phone call while driving down the road on a cell phone. The technology to connect that one phone, in a car, while driving down the road at 65 mph to someone in a completely different zip-code. We really TRUST technology.

Has our TRUST continuum for technology shortened each time we accept a new technology? Or do we even realize that we might not trust a technology…we merely do not recognize a technology is not working and check later when it is back up and running again. How long did it take for us as a society to trust that electricity is going to provide the energy necessary to luminate a room. How long did it take for us as a society to trust cell phone calling as a technology as motorola made the first successful call in the late 60’s. How long did it take for us to trust that we could connect to the Internet via a mobile device? Is there really a situation that makes us distrust a service provider like AT&T, that makes us switch providers to experience the same issues with the next provider because the technology is just technology.

HMM…well, I know this: I may pay a lot of money each month to AT&T to provide a service, but I am still amazed that I can talk to my mom while driving down the road at 85 mph in SC and she is driving down the road at 85 mph in another state. Technology is kind of cool.

Digital Literacy – A New World Order

I met with a very cool guy this afternoon as he was working with our group to do some updates on his site: – his name is Bill Sheskey of Sheskey Learning Solutions.

We started talking about social media, finding new ways to build a tribe/ecosystem around your “cause”. What I found it that he is just as passionate about how we empower and educate “our future” with the skills necessary to be competitive in tomorrow’s workforce…to become the leaders of our tomorrow.

It is more than just writing a book report, a paper, or even a proposal. It has become, how do we use digital literacy to tell stories through visual communication, digital communication, sounds, etc.

I had a breakfast meeting this morning with Dr. Victor Vitanza who heads up the PhD Program at Clemson for Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. He was talking about some of the PhD Candidates are creating dissertations that bring writing, art, video, and design in one paradigm to illustrate points and build a argument.

I teach a Business Writing Class at Clemson (ENGL 304) and I teach it from an entrepreneurial spin using digital communication tools. The new professional that will come out of the K-12 and collegiate education tracks are embarking on a whole new journey with a set of skills that are far more advanced when it comes to communication.

I think about my sister-in-law who is a student at the College of Charleston, and I sit and watch here multi-task in-front of her laptop. She is surfing the web, watching video on YouTube, listening to music, updating Facebook, while writing a paper for class. The new student is a multitasking student with digital skills that far surpass where I was when I was her age.

Has digital literacy brought to the surface attention span issues that were normally suppressed before this brave new Internet World? What does this mean…or are we having to evolve with the communication strategies of tomorrow?

It is the new world order…how can we continue to empower our students for tomorrows careers, today? How can we continue to reform our educational system to push digital literacy to the next frontier? I don’t know…I guess I am asking myself?

Video and Online Rich Media is GROWING FAST!

“Video is a rapidly growing space. I think this year will see hockey-stick growth in IPTV for several reasons. Broadband Internet and 3G mobile networks are expanding rapidly around the world, especially in emerging markets like China, India, Latin America, and the Middle East.
– Kalell Isaza Tuzman of (2/11/09)

“The Internet remains a place of continuing innovation, with users finding new ways to integrate online usage into their daily lives,” said Charles Buchwalter, SVP of research and analytics at Nielsen Online. “In recent years, the Internet has changed dramatically as people seek more personalized relationships online,” said Buchwalter. “In particular, time spent on social networks and video sites has increased astronomically.”
– Gavin O’Malley of (4/24/09)

The number of U.S. consumers who frequent online video destinations has climbed 339% since 2003, while time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000% over the same period. In the last year alone, unique viewers of online video grew 10%, while the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27%, and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.
– Gavin O’Malley of (4/24/09)

Average Online Video Viewer Watches 5 Hours A Month.
Notable findings about online video viewership from February 2009 include:

* 75.5% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video
* The average online video viewer watched 312 minutes of video (more than 5 hours)
* 98.8 million viewers watched 5.3 billion videos on (53.8 videos per viewer)
* 41.2 million viewers watched 384 million videos on (8.5 videos per viewer)
* The duration of the average online video was 3.5 minutes.
– Jack Loechner of (4/1/09)

Many companies are looking in so many different arenas to invest their marketing, training, and operational dollars…especially when trying to reach so many different audiences. Groups I work with are obviously going to find ways to sell our services when it comes to delivering rich media online (whether public or private), but consider this statement:

The number of U.S. consumers who frequent online video destinations has climbed 339% since 2003, while time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000% over the same period. In the last year alone, unique viewers of online video grew 10%, while the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27%, and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.
– Gavin O’Malley of (4/24/09)

WOW…that is all I have to say is WOW. Consumers of information are looking to rich media like video and the multitude of messages it provides when surfing, researching, goofing off…but bottomline, consumers are watching video.

So what does that mean for those trying to reach those audiences…video may be one of the solutions but not the complete package. It doesn’t mean that you should go out and overload your online properties with video, but identify your audiences and provide the rich media that makes sense.

“The Internet remains a place of continuing innovation, with users finding new ways to integrate online usage into their daily lives,” said Charles Buchwalter, SVP of research and analytics at Nielsen Online. “In recent years, the Internet has changed dramatically as people seek more personalized relationships online,” said Buchwalter. “In particular, time spent on social networks and video sites has increased astronomically.”
– Gavin O’Malley of (4/24/09)

Video innovation is is going to contiually grow in ways beyond imagination, especially with the advent of Interactive Television and the convergence of mediums (broadband video and high definition television delivery). But other innovations is finding new ways to deliver this content to audiences. Social Media outlets are the new distribution point of information whether simple mundane thoughts or marketing campaigns. I am using Social Media properties in-coordination with web-based properties to deliver content in an expedient and efficient fashion.

Twitter is a distribution point as a workflow delivering targeted video messages to audiences that can work in coordination with email distribution and online properties. Imagine you are hosting an event and you want to send a personal video message as an invitation to a group of audiences. You know you have an email distribution list and this list can be tracked when the message is delivered. But what if this not the only audience you want to reach in a geographical area. What if you have built a following on Twitter with that was based on geography…now you have a targeted group of followers who might want to know about your event. And now with places like (LOVE IT), you can track clicks that are direct links to your video message.

“There are 87% more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883% more time devoted to those sites. In the last year alone, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73%, while in February, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time. ”
– Gavin O’Malley of (4/24/09)

Let’s look at some numbers from online video viewership from February 2009:
* 75.5% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video
* The average online video viewer watched 312 minutes of video (more than 5 hours)
* The duration of the average online video was 3.5 minutes.
– Jack Loechner of (4/1/09)

What does that tell you…well it tells me that companies that are utilizing targeted messaging using rich media have many audience(s) to reach…so you better do it in less than 3.5 minutes. What do I mean targeted video messaging….well, know your audience, know your purpose, and keep it simple and straight to the point.

Online video “users” are multi-taskers; they have email open, two or three windows open surfing the web, chatting (using some program like iChat, AIM, Jabber, etc.)…so your message better be targeted and capture the attention of the users. It is now beyond the hip concept of just shoot something and put it up because people will watch. YouTube has transformed that landscape like cable television has done to network television…provided a plethora video of people just putting some video out there just because they can. It is now about quality and targeted messaging…Efficient and Effective messages.

Bottomline…rich media (video) is a widely growing area for marketers and organizations to display thier message. But it is time to start thinking: What is your message? Who is your audience? How are you going to deliver your message? How are you going to track that messages’ effectiveness? Should it be professionally produced, Do you want it to be public or private? Who is going to help you with your message?

Final Cut or Avid Media Composer…which one will I choose???

I get the question all the time, what do you use to edit video for your projects. That is actually a good question, one that is constantly discussed in our office. The quick and dirty answer is we use Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer on a Mac OS platform. Both are considered industry standard Non-Linear Editors or NLE’s.

Now what does that mean to the average customer, well it depends on your knowledge and experience. But from a final product standpoint, you will not see a difference in the final product. It is purely an individual editor’s preference. But this is how I try to help people understand…from my perspective.

I produce most web based video content using Final Cut Pro Studio. This is for many reasons, but mainly for workflow. I am extremely fluent with this software and their are many times that one person might be working on a project and a few months down the road, need to re-open the project for some reason. Another computer might need access to the project, so I can open from any of our Mac Computers.

Another reason for FInal Cut Pro Studio is that it integrates well with our web delivery workflow. It works in a Quicktime based file format; so when ever we encode (dump video into the software), Final Cut creates a native Quicktime that can viewed without the use of Final Cut software. That might be confusing to some…but makes life easy.

Final Cut Studio Pro is extremely intuitive so that a novice video editor can jump in and figure out how to use the software…especially if you have any video editing background.

Now…I am a trained/certified Avid Video Editor. I have been using Avid products since 1995 from the early days of the Avid NewsCutter Software. I started my career editing video using two video decks (essentially two Beta Decks side-by-side), editing from one tape to the next. This is considered editing in a Linear Method. Avid’s software (in my humble opinion) was design for those experienced editing using a Linear Method. I edit video using that mentality…and Avid Software fits me well.

Most experienced television video editors & producers have knowledge of Avid Software, so when I work with higher end production using workflow to deliver Standard Definition/High Definition content for television distribution…I use Avid Media Composer. It has all the 3D graphic editors and animation built into the system and works well with High Definition content. If I was to do the same with Final Cut Studio Pro, I would have to use After Effects and other 3rd Party Applications to execute what I can do in Avid Media Composer.

So, this discussion has some bottom-line thoughts.

1) Both Final Cut Studio Pro and Avid Media Composer software are professional grade video editing software.

2) It all depends of the Video Editing Professional and the project, this helps me decide which software I will use to best meet the demands of the workflow and final delivery of the project.

3) Both deliver a high quality final product, whether it is for the web, television, or other video delivery method.

4) I just like having gadgets….the more I have, the more fun it is for me to do our job!

Using Online Video To Promote Your Business

Ever thought about using online video to promote, raise awareness, or distribute a message that is important to a target audience? Well, the experts think you should embrace online video as a professional means to spread your targeted message to your targeted audience.

Video Sharing Market
The market is huge and continually growing. 14.3 billion videos were viewed online in December, 2008 and increased by 13% in February 2009.

“For both startups and Fortune 100 companies, getting on board with online and mobile video is increasingly key to attracting and engaging a fickle audience. The next generation of big-time consumers (those under 18) are already more likely to be watching video on a computer or mobile phone than they are on a traditional television set.”

“Deliver content consistently. There should be a predictable pattern to retain and grow your audience. Sign up for long-term deals, so your audience doesn’t find that you dropped their favorite video content from your site.”

“For both startups and Fortune 100 companies, getting on board with online and mobile video is increasingly key to attracting and engaging a fickle audience. The next generation of big-time consumers (those under 18) are already more likely to be watching video on a computer or mobile phone than they are on a traditional television set.”

Know, engage, and interact with your audience. Understanding exactly who you are targeting with your video content and what their needs are in terms of information or entertainment will help you make a compelling proposition to potential advertisers and ultimately sell ads, especially if you cover a niche topic.

Record year for video content consumption
“How could it not?! Video consumption continues to grow at an astonishing rate. As of October 2008, 13.5 billion videos were watched online. That is a 45% rise on the number watched in October 2007. The availability of super high speed broadband along with more HD video content will drive more people to consume more video online.”

Video monetization becomes reality
“Professionally-produced content, targeted to specific audiences, will see a burst of excitement as advertisers will see this as a safe bet to put their money on. In response to the influx of advertising dollars, video publishers will need scalable platforms with a wide range of performance metrics.”

“The good news is top notch content should eventually stand out from the marginal stuff. And the vast majority of Web content would probably fall into the marginal category, if that. So it’s important to put some extra time and effort into consistently creating good stuff — the kind of content that will turn heads, lead to conversations, and eventually build long lasting relationships. And that’s really not so bad after all, now that I think about it.”

Sources:, Clemson University’s Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurship, and Technology

Bobby’s Road Trip Blog: Wrap Up

So this little Road Trip has come to a close and man this crew has had a blast.

We are not only colleagues, managers, and just plain Road Trip GRUNTS; but we act like siblings, crotchety old poops, and dedicated football fans after a huge win. We are THE Road Trip Support Staff…musical accompaniment is playing (I am thinking something like the Superman theme song???) So here is your chance to get to know a few of us…enjoy!

Now everyone knows the WCNC-TV Road Trip Show Hosts. You have Chris, Sonya, Terri, Chuck, and Mike. Chris and Sonya would trade off every now and then…that’s what we call, “Big Time”! But they have been with us all the way through, starting back at Halloween in Baxter…they made us laugh, cry, and even made the support staff scream. But we know it’s not their fault, they just claim they have to keep us on our toes! A little, aside…we just make fun of them when they walk out the door to head home, WHILE WE CLEAN UP! Anchors…it’s a tough life! Well, it’s time to meet the staff that makes the Road Trip happen, the GRUNTS! We earn our half dollar.

Well, the “Visionary”…her name is Allison Andrews and her “official” title is Special Projects Manager. I guess they had to give her a big title for being a creative genius! Oh, by the way…she has to approve this before it hits the web, so I am trying to take care of a little brown-nosing business! Anyways, she is the visionary of each and every stop. She writes, plans, and creates her little playhouse show each day from scratch. She is also the one who thinks up the impossible and hopes that it can be technically achieved! And when it does, you see this smile on her face that makes you think she just got served her favorite ice-cream!

The “Implementer”…that is Steve Kiser and his official title is Engineering Supervisor. This guy is the gadget man who can’t stop moving even though the work has been complete. It is his job to implement and achieve the Allison Andrews un-achievable! From wireless cameras to mobile, digital transmission…he finds a way to provide the exact technical support necessary to make the show seamless! His only downfall, he loves him some UNC! Oh, by the way…he thinks he is a Photojournalist????

“Whose your daddy” Jim Alvarez is the one that makes this ship run…he should know how since he is News Operations Manager. He is the budge tman, drill sergeant who believes in the big picture…the Big T Truth – WCNC-TV’s rise to prominence! His leadership keeps us moving forward and provides the appropriate perspective whether the set has proper lighting or the RV is stocked with Oatmeal Crème Pies! In his former life, he was a News Photojournalist in the major metropolis of Miami – for close to 25 years! He knows the drill and keeps the drill running…plus, he feeds us really good, “Whose your daddy???”

“Oh Voice of Reason” Mariano Archdeacon is the man with the plan…our trusty Director…he is actually the Production Manager, but Director by trade. Yep, he is the one tells us which camera is going to show what and who. There is actually more to the “Oh Voice of Reason” name for Mariano, he implements the visual imagery of Allison by making sure each camera shoots every shot according to the plan. We have an afternoon meeting with the crew before the show (around 3pm everyday). This is where he directs all the Photojournalists and Talent how they will visually appear. And then during the show, he talks to the Photojournalists over headsets during each segment while implementing the plan. His voice is always clam, concise, and precise ensuring the vision is television magic…hence, “Oh Voice of Reason”!

“Ms. All-Purpose Player” Jodi Winterton, you think is our Audio Technician extraordinaire; yeah, she fooled us all on this Road Trip! She is like a package deal…and if they had a draft for television personnel, she would be the one that would probably fall in middle of the second round with her un-assuming skills. But once you signed her, you would realize you better pony up some cash at the end of her contract. She can step in as a director and switch the show, tackle any engineering challenge, and pick up a camera and make movie magic! Yep, she out performed all of us this month, turning managers’ heads forcing them to give a “Come to Jesus” talk to the rest of the crew! You over-achiever Jodi! Go Ahead, Girl…hold out for negotiations!

Alright “Slick” Rick Grinstead…your praise is a comin! This guy just made my life easy during the month of November! As most of you know, Allison has this hang-up for trying to see how many places I can get to in less than a minute, with a twenty-five pound camera on my shoulder! Well, Rick made that easy! He is a Maintenance Engineer by profession but he sure knows how to problem solve and jump in as a team player. He was always there pulling the cable that connected me to the truck as I was running from one place to the next. He was always fixing cable connections on my camera with only thirty seconds to air-time! And when I was on the other side of the earth, he would grab my Digital SLR (Canon D20) and help me take pictures of the crew for my Blogs! And even though he is a Gamecock…I think I will shake his hand at the end of the day! Thanks Rick for making this month FUN!!!

Mr. Bob “The Oak” VanTieghem is the MAN. Why do I call him “The Oak”; well, it’s because he is the most dependable…and can always hold a shot off the shoulder that is solid as an oak! I mean, he can shoot a mile down the road and not even give the appearance that he is off of his tripod! And outside of holding a steady shot…he is the so dependable! You know that if by chance you walked out the door and left some weird gizmo that is…ohhh so important…you just wait ‘til Bob can find his bag of tricks! He has the “hook-up”!!! And if you need to find your way somewhere in the Tarheel State, “The Oak” has got you covered, because one of his duties is driving our satellite truck, and he has taken it through every nook and cranny in this state! As we call him…BVT, thanks for making sure…well, we were always covered!

And for you “Mr. Ironman” Steve Reynolds, I have lost ten pounds this Road Trip! Yep, he has kept me on task with my new diet! He is an Emmy Award Winning Photojournalist and a creative genius…but he is also the silent voice that has reinforced my conscience when it comes to getting back in shape! Even though I am a long…LONG WAYS from where I need to be, he has helped me with my final objective: REMOVE THE LARD! And for you Oklahoma fans…he loves him some Sooners! Yep, he has challenged (and opened up a CAN) on me when it comes to a match-up between Clemson and Oklahoma on his PlayStation! What he doesn’t remember is that Clemson beat Barry Switzer and his Oklahoma crew in the 1989 Citrus Bowl – Switzer’s last game! I am ready for a re-match Mr. Ironman!

How shall I introduce ole Dan, to me he is “Dan the Man”! Yep, Dan Crawford is not a fulltime employee of WCNC-TV but was hired for the month of November to help us where ever we saw fit! Poor Dan wasn’t sure where he was going to fit into a crew that already had developed a persona…but after a week, he was sure making our lives easier! This man can light a set with the best of them! What you don’t realize is that during the month of November, the light changes dramatically, calling for many different lighting techniques! From the use of “white 56K” light to “tungsten yellow” he knew exactly what it would take to get the job done! And he was always one step ahead, lighting and re-lighting…and I would fine myself saying, “Dan…You’re the MAN!” Well, Dan…hats off to ya, thanks for all your help!

So this is the time that I put a little plug in for those who would come out to either help when they had time or when we needed extra help! I give you the “12th Man Award”…here’s to you Jen Schnabel, Ken Carty, Bob Kachmarick, and Christopher Hayes! Yep, they added that little extra pizzazz that only these kindred soles possess!

Well, this will be the last Road Trip Blog for 2005. Bobby “Bloggy” Rettew has attempted to bring a different perspective to this month long trip. We have taken this show on the three times over the last two years and have met a lot of nice people. It is my hope that you the viewer have enjoyed our little tour of the area.

From Bloggy Rettew….thanks for everything!

Originally posted: