Remember when you were in elementary school and decided to sit next to a random classmate and instantly regretted it? He/she disliked you for no reason. You tried smiling and offering your pencil sharpener. You were generally nice; because you didn’t want any hard feelings. But he/she wouldn’t give in to societal pressures of being friendly and exchanging stationery. Not without second thoughts. That bellicose rhetoric brat!
United States might just have a classmate problem with North Korea. The problem is they don’t even sit together. South Korea IS the student who just has to face it. But that’s OK. At least South Korea has had so many threats, cut ties, even history of war, and general North Korean hatred. South Korea has Samsung for crying out loud!
These days, North Korea propaganda machine threatens United States like it’s nobody’s business. Perhaps democracy and drone attacks are not the only reasons why U.S. attracts the evil eye. I believe dictators generally don’t like United States.
North Korea’s propaganda machine trash talked the other day calling United States a “boiled pumpkin” and such insults. Guess what! The comment did well for the propaganda’s press release distribution yesterday. All major American newspapers and analysts thought it was…erm, more bark than bite. Ouch? No way! Hurray for trying out the assault weapon from the tried and tested Public Relations stunts 101!
Respect propaganda. Because you never know. With N. Korea, that’s the only way to, you know, KNOW. Kwangmyong, an intranet network and a operating system called Red Star, unfortunately, won’t work anywhere else in the world. To tone down the buzz, it’s North Korea’s exclusive computer system and (free?) internet with email (called Pigeon), internal search engine and is accessible to all citizens. No internet. Like, no internet at all. Because there is no such thing as a ranting microblog or Like-able social network (unlike China’s). With China, all we need to do is learn Mandarin (there’s Google Translate, always). We’d gleefully continue to imagine North Korean journalists and rocket launches to be like this. Come on, how’d you know what’s happening in North Korea? Not you, Spy. You, generally curious people like me. Propoganda is good. It reveals intentions. For generally curious (and later worried about nuke attacks) people like us, this is a blessing in a press release. Bless that Mr. Cao de Benós!
Oh, you ask who Cao de Benós? Mr. Alejandro Cao de Benós, a Spaniard, is the only N Korean in N Korea. Unless you count this one (fictional: 30 Rock) exception. Earlier a man called Micheal Harrold wrote speeches for Kim Jong Un (the dad). Benós is the brain behind the fancy videos and the coolest special effects to scare the hell out of the world. He majored in a subject most journalists would call, ‘The Dark Side‘. Benós manages to do everything under the enlightened guidance of PR 101 and the coolest North Korean in the world . He blogs too . Pyongyang’s propaganda machine under Benós’ expertise sure manages to grab media attention (PR 101) by flinging newer, bolder insults. Not sure what else he must do because his client still remains less popular than the Kardashians.
I read news each morning to stay on top of my elephantine RSS feeds before more news stresses me out. Like, every morning, one article about Kim Jong Un or some sassy N. Korean insult makes me want to write this blog. N. Korean propaganda amuses me because it is not only over-the-top and insulting its own intelligence at times, it makes me believe that propaganda is all bad, with no purpose at all. It isn’t. How out of line of me to mock the PR team of the little dark nation! And check out how propaganda changes color within national borders. Definitely cute, Mr. Jong!
Illustration by 南都周刊
And nobody wants to read about your anguish anymore.
For the past few days, my Facebook friends, Twitter acquaintances and familiar photo-journalists have been expressing a mild outrage over the snowstorm that happened yesterday. OK, it was after some meteorological device logged ‘Spring’ in its system and likewise, on each of our mobile app and Twitter feed. So what? Having been through zero snow winter last year, most of my classmates (#GraduateSchool) must be thankful to you know, see, the snow. And move over the ironical coincidence that all this is happened DURING the Spring break. Seriously, nobody promised you Spring. Not even the groundhog handler who’s taking the blame for the misread signals from the little creature Phil. The animal has been charged light-heartedly by a legislator for predicting an early Spring.
Last year at this time of the year, I was Chicago-ing the Devon Street eateries for samosa (OMG, SAMOSA) and sweets. Before that the Midwest weather did scare me a bit with its sudden rain-today-gone-tomorrow costing me $50 worth of jackets. But that didn’t outrage me unlike you guys. Of course, you don’t expect snow in Spring break. But relax. Even Al Gore won’t care.
P.S.: Read every word CAPITALIZED as if you are very, very angry. Only, you are not. It’s just for the effect. But you get it.
Because the winter just got done with (did it?) and we’re all losing weight (I am, I promise). Because we want to wear those shorts we bought during Thanksgiving break at craz-ay discounts. Because I want Spring to come along and bring along wonderful nose allergies and skin rashes. Because then, I wouldn’t look fatter than I already do in my oversized coats and furry snow hats. Because, no freaking body likes to wear four layers in late March, says my alter-ego.
Oh, shut-up! Because somebody promised it’s going to get all Spring-y doesn’t mean you spam my Twitter feed.
Darn it, I want summer.
Photo courtesy: Mizzou Facebook page
It’s midterm time at the graduate school. After 16 alarm snoozes, I woke up to revise “stuff”. I’m not sure how encouraging this blog post would be in making me get all chatty in class. That really helps when one has a presentation due. Imagine conflict management and think of memes, videos and cows. Cows, yes. I chose ‘lean beef trimmings’ as my topic of presentation. The class I’m talking about: Strategic Conflict Management by Dr. Glen Cameron.
I worked ALL weekend and came up with some serious mistakes committed by Beef Products Inc. Continuing to explain the crisis ‘along the continuum’ is what’s freaking me out. I’m great at slideshow animations. Fortunately, I don’t have much of that. “Serious” and “midterm” is what’s keeping me down. Those terms really create a Monday-ish aura on pretty survivable times like Saturday afternoons. I’ll wrap up the presentation in 20 minutes and sip on my hot cocoa till the next student (a PhD candidate at that) begins her love affair with crisis.
Did I tell you how we love crisis at the j-school? I tweet like a machine when folks go nuts over crisis communication. All these folks, most of them S Koreans, discuss research papers and come up with the coolest anecdotes I want to tweet about. It wouldn’t be surprising to say I’m the only one who types incessantly in class when some one’s rattling off the fundamentals of the Contingency theory in Public Relations. Trust me, I’m in the coolest class I’ve ever been in.
Just yesterday, Dr. Cameron, the professor who co-authored a paper on Contingency theory invited the class to a dessert party. In addition to tasting one of the best apple and pear pies I’ve ever laid hands on, I saw a fascinating side of Columbia. This ,coming from someone who judged the city from the dark corridors of University Place Apartments, is huge. And huge were the two freshly plucked pears I brought home from Dr. Cameron’s pear tree. After that, I’m kinda prepared to go all bonkers over pink slime today. Bring on the cows.
I just attended a webinar conduted by the School of Public Health, University of Albany, NY. Here’s what I thought was most interesting. Comments are disabled. But you can write to me at email@example.com.
Social Media: Changing Communication and Interventions in Public Health
Thursday, July 19, 2012
8:00am – 9:00 a.m. CT
- Jennifer Manganello, PhD, MPH
University at Albany School of Public Health
- John LaDuca, Director of Digital Communications
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Long Island City, NY
- CDC Toolkit for social media was highly recommended.
- Issues like differences between social networking and social media were explained. Manganello said, “Social networking is only a subset of social media.” (Thank God.)
- mHealth tools can be used to explore how to reach population demographics without computers. Texting and mobile versions of social networks are some of the tools in addition to more specialized tools like anti-smoking, iBP (blood pressure checking app) etc.
- LaDuca said, “Traditional media is shrinking. We have to reach our audiences in the best way we can.” He works for NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene and has introduced Facebook (multiple pages), Twitter (official Dept. a/c and a more personal Dept. Head), Tumblr, FourSquare.
- Twitter is more valuable and effective compared to other SM tools especially in website referrals, brand value and broadcast options.
- NYC Dept.’s strategy for SM: “To reach diverse audiences using diverse tools, establish brand awareness and authority in matters pertaining to NYC health matters.” (Interesting and spot on).
- Reinforcing the 2nd point above, reaching people without computers is still possible via SM if the one tries to reach the social circle of those folks. (I thought of HCRC’s TeleHealth when I heard this).
- One of the greatest examples discussed really well was the page on Asthma Education using Pinterest. Studies show conversion rates soaring when users saw pictures of the stories published on blogs, websites etc. (Cool science photos for Mizzou’s SciXchange?)
- Another example worth noting for health communication: Foursquare to encourage blood drives, HIV testing, hospital visits etc.
A PDF version of the webinar slideshow can be viewed here: http://www.albany.edu/sph/cphce/phl_0712.pdf
Disclaimer: Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. ~Cyril Connolly. Thereby, you have been given the hint about what lies ahead in this blog post.
Interesting times rolling this summer! It’s 3 AM on a lazy Sunday morning. I read a few million articles this morning. If you follow me on Twitter, you’d probably not have a doubt about that estimation. I’m an avid Science reader. I read about a few Science stuff today that was clearly fascinating– like a new solar system recently discovered (it’s called the GJ676A). Then were was something about environment friendly Coca Cola plastic bags (or such claims). And kill me if I don’t mention about Higgs Boson when we meet. I read a few hundred articles about it and I yet admit, I’m no nerd. On that note, watch this video for explanation.
Back to my blog’s focus: me.
Science reminds me of first half of 2010. I was in India then. Clearly happy about being THE 2011-12 Smith Patterson Fellow at Mizzou! In a nutshell, I was going to be a science writer, focusing on health communication from the point of view of a Public Relations professional. Missouri School of Journalism’s website had a press release about the fellowship with my photo and all. I was already writing about serious science stuff. But I wrote awful press releases. In fall, there were moments when my grammar in English was questioned. I did improve soon.
I learnt so much. Among the many advices I seriously followed was, “Do not take edits personally.” Edits, here, meant comments made on one’s writing. Such a valuable advice for survival in journalism and writing business.
Speaking of survival, I made few but good friends in my 11 months at Columbia. I’m clearly not the friendly kind but I was surprised how first impressions matter. I had my dental braces on, a decision I don’t regret. You know who’s really a friend when you’re not the most charming smile-r in graduate school. Pronunciations, the American way, can be tricky! Ha ha, fun times learning ‘asthma’ was actually pronounced as ‘azma’ and ‘aluminium’ was ‘aluminum’.
Then came some sunshine! Ironically, I’m referring to snow here! Snow fell but little. That made it so much better. A little of everything, just as I liked it! I was officially a student of Strategic Communication. I interviewed late Prof. Joye Patterson. I danced to Zumba, wore skirt and literally waltzed my way to better grades. I’ve made some really caring friends. I appreciate America’s Midwest, trains and accent more than ever (or at least the preceding fall). I made some useful contributions too! As a part of PR class, I drafted a PR plan for Habitat for Humanity’s Columbia, MO chapter. I was kind of in a soup for having missed one deadline (Just. One. Deadline.) and made it up by doing the whole project on my own. 98 points out of 100 was my compensation for a few sleepless nights. Later I heard the plan would go in to action soon.
I will be back in school (ah, the dreaded ‘fall’) in less than 5 weeks from now. What’s nice? I’m going back to Science! I’ll be a GRA for SciXchange. This position is somewhat like that of a Mumbai Editor (Youth Ki Awaaz)’s. I hope I do full justice to whatever comes my way. The summer has been kind to me. I’m happy with my current internship position (not typing the name of the organization here as I’m trying to keep off SEO filters). Sincerity to work is all what Americans expect of me. I’m so glad to be here.
On that note, happy Sunday to us!
|FYI, computing and caffeine are friends.|
Nothing beats learning. Except learning something new.
As a student of Chartered Accountancy (and Bachelor of Commerce) in India, I attended a month long “IT Training” in 2009. The training components focused on application softwares relevant for accounting and auditing. In addition, knowledge of Electronic Spread Sheet, Data base Management System, Web-technology and System Security and Maintenance was imparted on special computers with preloaded software and games (read: Road Rash was still cool then). Religiously I would note down ‘commands’ for those ‘oh-so-rare’ computer softwares. All I needed was some at-home weekend practice. I am now a journalist who studies and practices strategic communication, everyday. I use a MacBook Pro and most of the App Store is kind to me. Well, almost.
Take the example of Final Cut Pro, the video editing software for the Apple nerds. It costs $299.99 and I’m in no mood for sarcastic oh-whys. I downloaded the free version a few times and felt like a fool. I’m no advocate of free software. I remember writing my fall graduate papers in OpenOffice when its Microsoft big brother gave up on my computer. Good thing that open source philosophy is up and running efficiently all over the world (read this to support that). My graduate school has access to most software and I’m glad it does. THAT could be a nice way of looking at it for students who manage to stay on campus during summer months. Gotta thank Apple for the free trial of Final Cut Pro. The 30-day trial of most essential software is only a temporary solution. But it helps a bit.
I realized something when I was revamping my personal website for skills- web skills, technical skills, design skills, writing skills and what-not skills. It is not enough anymore to just ‘know’ some skills and fill up that ‘strictly one-page resume’ with technical proficiency and all that fancy goodness. The upgrade of the working definition of ‘computer basics’ is long overdue. It’s important we include skills beyond MS Office, email and Facebook. Computer literacy must evolve. Wikipedia is kind enough to logically organize basic, intermediate and advanced computer literacy. While computer literacy was often focused primarily on technology based definitions, concepts and skills, information literacy is much more oriented toward a higher-level set of concepts and abilities. (Higntte, Margavio, & Margavio, 2009). The best (and the cheapest) thing to do is hang on to those trial versions and learn! (Also, reading and tweeting are great.)
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt. I can guess why they call it a ‘trial’ version.
Higntte, M., Margavio, T. M., & Margavio, G. W. (2009). INFORMATION LITERACY ASSESSMENT: MOVING BEYOND COMPUTER LITERACY. College Student Journal , 43(3), 812-821.
- Framing, Agenda-Setting and Priming: The Evolution of Three Media Effects Models by Dietram A Scheufele and David Tawskbury
- Stepping Back From The Gate: Online Newspaper Editors And The Co-Production Of Content In Campaign 2004 by Jane B Singer
- Framing The News by Capella and Jamieson
- The Agenda-Setting Function Of The Press by Maxwell McCombs
The readings of the week show the causal mechanisms in news media. Be it online news, a tweet or an opinion set out by press—there are three basic steps that are common to all media (from review of Iyengar and Kinder: News that matters http://www.brucesabin.com/news_that_matters.html)
- Priming: Affects what you’ll have at the top of your head when you make a judgment.
- Framing: media tells you how to think about something. Is it an indigenous rights issue, or an environmentalist story?
- Agenda-setting effects: There’s a “lead story” effect. If you see prominent place given to unemployment stores (early, long stories in a broadcast), you pay more attention to it.