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A look into the growing trend towards online tv channels

By Lory Martinez

YOUTUBE TV

Youtube, a site whose content varies from cat videos to educational how-to clips, will now be charging for subscriptions to some of the most exclusive channels it hosts .

This is in light of the current popularity of online streaming streaming sites such as HuluPlus and Projectfreetv.

I mean, as a college student, I might have a shared television set in my suite’s common area, but when I think about how much it’s actually used for watching TV shows, it’s kind of useless.  My suitemates and I use our TV as an external display for our laptops. I know others who use their Xboxes to stream Netflix. Even Netflix has added its own series of straight-to-online shows such as “House of Cards,” to join the growing trend toward instant web content.

It seems to be a very different world for programming these days. Gone are the days when you had to be home at exactly 8 p.m. each night to catch your favorite shows in prime-time.  Now that users can access so much of  that same content online, they don’t need their tv sets as much.

But when you can see your favorite shows and videos online, where does the revenue come from?

Enter Youtube subscriptions which allow creators of content from exclusive youtube channels of live networks like National Geographic  to expand thier audience online, at a small price.

Only time will tell if this well end up being better or worse for content creators, who could benefit or suffer from the fees to be put in place.

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A look into Generation Y and its affinity for web start-ups and iced coffee

by Lory Martinez

The Startup Guys, complete with smart-phones and energy drinks.

Popular comedy site, College Humor, on the Web Start up Culture:

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6507690/hardly-working-start-up-guys

This parody isn’t too far from the truth. Generation Y ( 18-29 -year-olds), or as they’ve come to be called, “20-somethings,” are growing up and driving the internet economy.  As such, it isn’t too uncommon to hear about a youth fresh out of college joining or even starting a  brand-new social media or technology company.

In fact, there are so many startups these days, it’s hard to keep up. Some immediately gain popularity, like Facebook and Pintrest but, all too often, others die down as quickly as it takes for a user to close out their browser.

It’s easy to make fun of these 20-somethings who have made a name for themselves through websites that range from Kloff, the app for pet-lovers to Triggermail, a personalized email site for  e-commerce. But the truth is, with all their fancy offices and user-friendly interfaces, they are a major part of the media business.

Unconventional office space: check.

Dreams that their grandparents would never have imagined having at all are now possible. In that sense, generation Y is proof positive that if given the chance, young people can create just about anything.

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A look into online profiles and how much they affect employers’ decisions in choosing new hires.

by Lory Martinez

Spring Cleaning your online presence

This week we’ve done a number of stories on online profiles. And now, as graduation and the real world fast approach, it’s time to clean up,( If you haven’t already) that online persona.  Warning: A virtual suit and tie may be required.

According to a recent study, up to 37 percent of employers check social networking sites before even considering an employee for an interview. Up to 90 percent  of employers are hiring through social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and even, Facebook.

In my recent interview with avid social media enthusiast, Jessie Rubin, we both noted that social media is who we are. As the generation that both created and produced the social media boom, we are indeed defined by our presence on the internet.  Ten years ago, email and instant messaging had only just begun to flourish, slowly collecting a kind of cyberhistory that has evolved and expanded into the myriad of platforms we use to communicate and express ourselves today.

Remember AOL instant messenger? Myspace? Remember the days of funny email addresses we made up for those accounts?

Aol Screenames circa 2002: chatingchuck, and any cat variations thereof

Now as kids grow up in this  “living yearbook” world, they have to be careful, because, in the same way an embarrassing photo from high school can come back to haunt our parents once they are found in the attic somewhere, our  “YOLO” moments can come back to bite us. And those are way easier to find.

So here are a few tips I’ve collected throughout my own years of experience with social media. Special thanks to those who have given me this professional advice and much more over the years.

How to clean up the digital you:

  • Check your privacy settings on all social platforms. Make sure you have to approve things before anyone can post them in association with you. We all ignore those emails from Facebook about updated privacy settings, but be sure to at least check your own settings
  • Google + is a useful tool. Even though a lot of people say it will never become popular in terms of social networking, you can at least help employers easily find you via Google search, and with a comprehensive profile, you can even direct them to your work.
  • Get a LinkedIn, if you don’t already have one. Even if all your connections are classmates, they will soon have jobs in the real world, just like you, and can help you later on.
  • Look through your photos you’re tagged in, make sure the photos represent the best version of you, the one that would make an employer think, “Yeah, I would definitely trust him/her with important tasks.”
  • Have a fancy profile photo or two. You should have a photo in a nice outfit  for your  job search profiles including Google + and LinkedIn. Keep it casual and fun for your other profiles, but maybe leave the beer can out, at your discretion.
  • Opinions are opinions are opinions. Yes, your opinion matters. Yes, it’s just as valid as any other. But be weary of ranting in public. The internet is vast like the ocean but it can also be as tiny as a small puritan town. Don’t be Hester Prynne. Gossip travels fast and so do viral posts, so make sure you don’t end up like this guy.
  • Don’t over-do it. Don’t go deleting your entire profile history and consider starting from scratch. Starting over is fine, but if there are no photos, or posts of you from before last week, it will be as if you never existed before last week. Don’t lose yourself, or your “digital” self in the process. It’s about cleaning up what’s there, not replacing it entirely. As the saying goes, “Work with what you’ve got.”

That’s about it folks. Have fun Spring Cleaning!

University of Maryland to Offer Four Free Cour...

University of Maryland to Offer Four Free Courses Through Coursera (Photo credit: University of Maryland Press Releases)

A look into learning in 2013

By Alex Baer

Lenny Scaletta once famously asked, “What’s a mook?” To the fellas of Mean Streets, a “mook” is a loser or a schlub. But for many of us in 2013, “MOOCs” could be a saving grace.

What’s a “MOOC”, you ask? It stands for Massively Open Online Course, and is the newest addition to the e-learning community. In addition to providing assignments, readings, and videos, as in traditional distance education, MOOCs also offer open forums for interaction between students. Unlike online courses offered through a university, MOOCs are free, and open to anyone with Internet access.

Within the past year, MOOCs have skyrocketed in popularity. Coursera, whose founding happened just over a year ago, has over 3 million students, up from 1.7 million in November. Offering courses from over 30 universities from across the nation, including Duke, Columbia, and Princeton- Coursera’s clout grows stronger with each passing “semester”. My personal favorite is Canine Theriogenology for Dog Enthusiasts.

The SUNY system is also unveiling a new e-learning system. Dubbed “Open SUNY,” all online courses within the State University of New York system will be available to all of SUNY’s 468,000 students. Open SUNY is a drastically different system compared to its contemporaries, as it is not only built upon an existing public higher education network, it is also held to the same standards of that institution.

There are many benefits to a MOOC; as it is online, time zones and physical distances lose importance, learning happens in an informal environment, and you don’t need a degree. However, completion rates are usually incredibly low. Many courses see a sharp decline in student participation within the first week. Duke University knows this problem firsthand. In their first offered MOOC, “Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach,” almost 13,000 students registered. Just over half of those who registered watched at least one video, and only 346 students even attempted the final exam.

Not only do MOOCs suffer from the more frivolous types of academics, their very nature is proving to be a bit of a detriment. Although the Internet is the great equalizer of our day, making all users into potential MOOC students, it could also mask those who may not be completely ready for the level of work. As Coursera relies on students to grade one another, the grade you get from the single Mom in Portland might not be the same grade you would have gotten from that 17-year-old from Arlington.

In addition to MOOCs, there are other styles of e-learning. For instance, MIT, Harvard, Yale, and other prestigious universities have posted entire lecture series and entire courses in video lecture format on their channels, with no fee or membership needed, in everything from Boat Design to Game Theory to Robotics. Khan Academy is also a big name in the e-learning circuit, and has over 4,000 video lectures on everything from cosmology to healthcare.

The biggest drawback to MOOCs and the e-learning movement as a whole, is the lack of interaction. Services like Coursera have gone to great lengths to promote peer to peer activity, especially with respect to group discussions, but the convenience of online learning is also its Achilles heel. Despite your most valiant prayers and efforts, you can’t turn off and walk away from that Molecular Genetics lab, or your “dull-as-dishwater” Macroeconomics lecture.

MOOCs are easy come, easy go. You can sign up for as many as you please, but for the moment, your commitment is entirely up to you. This argument could also be said for traditional, brick-and-mortar post-secondary schools, but the repercussions are much heavier on that end. Free to sign up also means free to drop.

But whether you’re eagerly awaiting high school graduation, want to brush up on your organic chemistry, or just want to learn about the world around you, it’s just as easy as the click of a mouse. For an old-timer who remembers that phrase ending in “…opening up a book,” it’s a sobering reminder of the world we live in. But it is also a triumphant celebration of the drive to learn that burns within us all.

 A look into how The Media Review does Spring Break ( Part 2)

by Lory Martinez

For those of you regular listeners and readers,  you may have noticed that The Media Review was not on air this week. We are on vacation. I spent mine in my hometown of NYC and couldn’t resist leaving a little something for you guys during our short break.

I’ve always loved  Strand Bookstore. As an English major, I’ve even written an ode to the four story building that houses eight miles of books. (It wasn’t very good). It’s one of my favorite places in New York and I stopped by one night and caught the end of a poetry reading.

Yusef Komunyakaa, former winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and  Dan Chelotti, a famed McSweeney’s author read from their published works during the first of three readings organized by Strandbooks in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Poetry Society Chapbook Fellowship. The two sat down for a question and answer session with the audience for an hour after the reading.

Ever the ambitious journalist, I came up with a multitude of questions to ask the poets during the conference, one of which included an inquiry into their opinions on online publishing! Check it out:

Start at 54:37 for my question on Online Publishing.

Strand Bookstore in Union Square hosts events in its Rare Book Room every week.  So do check those out. They are a wonderful gift to the literary community online and in print.