30 Jul 2014

All posts from 30 Jul 2014

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CommLeader Spotlight| Amaroney Thach, Cohort 13

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: Spring 2015

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

I am interested in social entrepreneurship, specifically utilizing digital media in higher education.  I am also interested in multimedia storytelling.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I have been working in higher education for more than 10 years.  I am currently a Scholarship Coordinator at South Seattle College.  My professional goal is to create a user-friendly scholarship web site that is engaging and social.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

I want to create a start-up, taking the knowledge and skills I’ve learned from my classes and putting them in action.  I plan to write a business plan for a business venture that involves the scholarship web site I mentioned earlier.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I have been both a full-time and part-time student.  I find it quite challenging to be full-time and work 40 hours a week but it keeps me busy and engaged.  I enjoy the intellectual stimulation I get from my courses and the practical experience at work.  I also find time for social activities so I can be well balanced.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

I really enjoyed Rick McPherson’s Business Fundamentals in Digital Media.  I took it the first quarter I started the program and the class really set the bar for the program.  I was challenged tremendously and I learned a lot from him.  I have the experience to now write business plans and present them to the public.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

I enjoy First Fridays.  It has been a wonderful way for me to connect with my cohort and other professionals in the field of communications.  The companies which have hosted the events this past year have been valuable, and did I mention the free appetizers and drinks?  I always plan to attend every First Friday event.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

My ultimate goal would be to create a more user-friendly web site for scholars and scholarship seekers.  This has been my main focus during my studies with Comm Lead.  I envision a web site that will be used by millions of students around the world.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’m a huge fan of wearable technologies, specifically fitness tracking devices.  I have owned a Fitbit and a Jawbone UP24 and was happy with the results.  At the moment, I am in search of a new fitness tracking device.  Possibly Apple is coming up with something in the near future?  I would totally buy it.  Fitness tracking devices keep me motivated to stay active and eat healthy, and who doesn’t love accessories?

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

One of the strangest things I’ve eaten would be a duck embryo egg.  It’s soft-boiled and contains a half-formed duck embryo. I enjoy mine mostly when I can taste the crunchy bits of the cartilage.  If you’re lucky you can even taste the feathers.  My mother makes a killer lime & pepper sauce to go with the dish.  It’s a delicacy in many Southeast Asian countries, so I grew up eating it.

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CommLeader Spotlight| Amaroney Thach, Cohort 13
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CommLead Spotlight|Shannon Hutchins, Cohort 14

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Twitter Handle: I don’t tweet. (I’m a renegade)

Graduation date or expected graduation date: December 2016

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general): I’m really excited to create interactive digital media storytelling pieces.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I currently work as a Brand Manager but intend to move into a Creative Director position or start my own company (again) and work as a freelancer, maximizing all the amazing skills I’m honing during my time in the MCDM program.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

Every day at work is an opportunity to use my skills from the program, but what’s most inspiring is the motivation and impact it’s having on my personal projects and artistry.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

Upside: 5 credits = part-time and you finish in 2 years. Downside: 15-20 credits worth of great classes each quarter and I can’t take them ALL!

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

So far, both core classes have had a lasting effect on me in regards to the program and its place in the digital world. But joining Scott Macklin for his Immersive Production Studio in the spring is, for me, what I believe is really going to impact my career goals.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

At this stage it would have to be listening to all of the amazing guest speakers. Seattle is such a rich place for leadership and digital media, and it’s amazing that we have access to these people. It brings everything down to a level where you feel that anything you can dream, you can do.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

To take over the world one smile at a time.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’m fascinated with the concept of distance, interactive learning through mobile technology.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I haven’t eaten meat since 1998, but there’s a sad song called “strange fruit” that comes to mind with this question. Nina Simone’s version is beautiful and is still a mark of the times. Google it.

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CommLead Spotlight|Shannon Hutchins, Cohort 14
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CommLeader Spotlight|Jenny DeRaspe-Bolles, Cohort 12

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: September 2014

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

Content development, conversational marketing, brand storytelling.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I handle marketing and business development for my family’s business, Epoch Design. I enjoy working at a small company because I wear many different hats and have a range of responsibilities, from crafting digital strategy to creating market insight reports for corporate buyers at Fortune 500 companies. Plus, I get to bring my dogs to work! My professional goal is to continue to grow my knowledge and skillset, and always work in a challenging environment that promotes personal growth and learning. 

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

The Communication Leadership program has given me the tools to better craft marketing narratives and leverage networks with which my target audiences interact. Moreover, I have honed the skills for measuring those interactions, and using that information to adapt strategies in support of company objectives. Finally, I have learned that marketing – at its core – is really about storytelling; consumers want a personal connection with a brand. If you intrigue and engage your audience, they will remember you and keep coming back.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

As a part-time student and a full-time employee I have taken one course per quarter and been successful in managing responsibilities at work and school. I believe it has been beneficial to spend as much time in the program as possible (not rush it!) since everything changes so rapidly in the digital space.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Business Fundamentals in Digital Communications (also known as “The Business Plan Class”) taught by Rick McPherson, was challenging and inspiring. We were tasked with putting together a complete business plan, from the mission statement and market analysis to cash flow statements and revenue projections (yuck!). I enrolled as a non-matriculated graduate student, and the quality of instruction made my decision to apply to the program an easy one. This class is a must for anyone interested in being a business leader!

Narratives and Networks, led by Comm Lead Director Hanson Hosein, was the most demanding and rewarding class of the program. We were tasked with building a community around a website, no easy challenge with all the noise in the digital landscape. We learned how to attract and engage an audience with compelling narrative, and effectively disseminate that narrative through relevant networks. In this class, I created Dog Gone Seattle, an online resource for Seattle Dog Owners providing information on dog-friendly establishment and events. Since inception, I have attracted over 60,000 visits and successfully developed a following of dog lovers. Without taking this class, I never would have been driven to create this online community which has evolved into such a personally rewarding venture.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

Through connections I made in the Comm Lead program, I had the opportunity to work for the Agence France-Presse (AFP) covering the pleading hearing and sentencing trial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who killed 16 Afghan civilians. Working alongside big time reporters from the AP, CNN and MSN was thrilling, and I loved the challenge. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool to see your name in a byline, too!

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’m currently taking Digital Media Ethics with Ken Rufo, so at the moment I am particularly intrigued by the mass amounts of data that we are complacently or unknowingly providing about ourselves day in and day out. With every click of a mouse or swipe of a card, we are lining Big Data’s pockets, and providing a wealth of information to marketers who are serving better (and creepier) ads, and infiltrating our lives in ways we’ve never before experienced. Meanwhile, the NSA is also utilizing this data, with what some argue will be nefarious consequences for citizens’ privacy and freedom. I think that this phenomenon will significantly shape the human experience in the very near future.

And for the sake of a silly question:

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I wouldn’t consider myself a foodie. I did try to make homemade hummus once but after hours of prep, the final product tasted like dirt. (I’d call that pretty strange.) Apparently I missed the part about cooking the chickpeas. It was a major fail.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight|Jenny DeRaspe-Bolles, Cohort 12
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CommLeader Spotlight|Amy Rolph, Cohort 9

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What Cohort are you from?: Cohort 9

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

The intersection of journalism and social media, specifically how the digital revolution has enabled journalists to be better storytellers.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I’m a news editor for MSN at Microsoft, where I’m responsible for social media and community management. I was a reporter when I entered the program, and the MCDM degree really changed how I approach my job.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

The CommLead program occupies a unique place in the social sciences, because it straddles a line between two incredibly powerful areas of study: storytelling, a soft science where intuition and creativity are paramount, and the hard-and-rational field of data science. The journalism industry has the power to understand news consumers like never before because of digital data and metrics, and now we’re learning how to best apply those learnings to how we tell stories. It’s a fantastic time to be working in the news industry, and CommLead is where I really started exploring the relationship between these two skills.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

A class where we conducted intensive usability testing for business and non-profit clients revolutionized the way I thought about the public’s relationship with products. There’s rarely a day that goes by when I don’t think about something that was revealed to me in that class.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

Anita’s leadership class. It’s a fantastic look into the psychology of good leadership, and a great introduction to debunking many ineffective assumptions a about leadership.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

When I grow up, I’d like to be the Humans of New York Guy. Seriously, how incredible to be use technology to show the people of the world that we are all part of a shared struggle, to help people see that we are all the same? But really seriously, my goal is simple: I want to tell compelling stories that touch lives. I try to stay as open as I can to ideas and paths that will help me do that.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’m noticing some really fantastic journalistic efforts happening on Tumblr and Instagram. Highly visual platforms have remarkable potential for more advanced forms of storytelling if the platforms develop accordingly. I’m also fascinated by citizen journalism efforts on Reddit.

What made you want to become an alumni fellow?

CommLead is a wonderful community, and I enjoy being a part of that. We all learn from each other, and I missed being a part of that after graduating.

What workshop will you be leading as an alumni fellow?

I’m the alumni fellows program manager, so I help out wherever needed.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I ate a cricket once. I didn’t really know how I was supposed to eat it, so I just ate the whole thing. It was crunchy, and overall pretty good. This happened while I was visiting my husband’s family in Japan, and they were all so polite I couldn’t tell if I did it wrong or not. The moral of that story would probably be: When in doubt, just eat the whole bug.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight|Amy Rolph, Cohort 9
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CommLeader Spotlight| Aparna Das, Cohort 13

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: December 2014

Area of interest (within the MCDM program or in general):

I want to pursue Content Strategy and would also love to polish my skills in video storytelling.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I have been lucky to work with some of the best journalists and TV networks in India. Having worked as a reporter, anchor and then a news producer, I wish to now shift my focus from facts and stats to storytelling for a more targeted audience base. My goal over the next few years would be to establish my mark as a content strategist. It’s a new and fast emerging field and I would love to join a team where I can add value with my skill-set and aptitude.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

My experience with the Communication leadership has taught me to re-look at the dynamics of communication in its entirety. The market is constantly changing and this is the time to experiment with content. From my experience at MCDM, I have learnt to take more risks in my creative approach. It’s always exciting to try a new route, a bold idea and as long as we are taking a calculated risk, it will work!

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

That’s a difficult question, most classes have taught me something new on how to better evolve with this emerging digital landscape. However, I have to mention Andrea Zeller’s content strategy class, which was perhaps one of my most the interesting subjects I took. The class got me thinking about content in a whole new perspective.  Given my past experience in TV journalism, I was expecting some familiar thread, but content strategy is so much more than just fixing a copy or writing the perfect headline. From collaboration, execution to governance – it is a very holistic approach to content and its distribution platform. This is a must take class for people with a journalism background!

Another class I thoroughly enjoyed was Rick McPherson’s Business Fundamental class. I have no business studies background and so I had to put in some extra hours, but I learnt a great deal and I would strongly recommend it for students who wish to become entrepreneurs at some point in their lives.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

The entire process of Screen Summit 2014 would be one of my most memorable experiences in the program. The competition was great fun and gave me an opportunity to learn about public speaking from some of the best in the industry. It was a challenging too because participating meant extra work on weekends during the final weeks of the spring quarter, but my Professors were accommodating and my cohort was very supportive throughout the process. It was an honor to be chosen to showcase my work –Project Black Noise.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

Uff…there is a long list of it. My most recent one is to understand how some of the most unique & bizarre hashtags on twitter become so popular. #HowMuchIsTooMuch?

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

When it comes to cross-platform storytelling, I believe there are no boundaries to imagination and creativity! So, I really wish I can experiment with new tools and techniques to become someone who just tells beautiful, meaningful stories

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I am here as an international candidate, so I am a full-time student. The classes in this course are very well-spaced out, so I actually managed some extra time in hand to pursue my other interests like volunteering, photography, cooking etc.

And for the sake of a silly question:

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

That’s an easy one. Snails – boiled in broth with spices. And no it was not a French delicacy but a local dish in the eastern state of Nagaland, India.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight| Aparna Das, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight| Joseph Pavey, Cohort 10

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What Cohort are you from? Cohort 10

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):
Online video distribution, mobile computing, wearable technologies.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I work in the Video on Demand Space. My current focus is on improving digital video supply chain logistics by creating and promoting standardization and best-practices for handling of materials.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

On a near daily basis, I use the storytelling skills the MCDM taught me to write business documents that combine research data with narrative storytelling to describe a problem space and present potential solutions in clear, concise, and effective language.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Ken Rufo’s “Evolutions and Trends in Digital Media” helped me look broadly at the technology landscape and become better at predicting what might come next based on analyzing historical trends. Jamie Wells “International Trends in Mobile Technology and Marketing” taught me how to analyze trends from a business development angle and critically evaluate new technologies and their possible adoption. Finally, Anita Crofts “Leadership in the Digital Age” helped me consider what kind of leader I wanted to be and how I could most effectively inspire others to do great work.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

During the summer between my two-years in Comm Lead, I did an internship with Plan International in Cameroon, West Africa. I got to live in a small village for 10-weeks and teach citizen journalism to local youth. It was so exciting to see how the kids embraced technologies like Flip Cameras and used them to share the stories they wanted to tell. It’s an experience I couldn’t have had any other way, and my time in the Comm Lead program helped make that possible.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

To use the skills I’ve learned in my educational and professional career to disrupt the business models of legacy media organizations in a way that benefits consumers and content creators around the globe.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’m fascinated by mobile banking, and the impact that companies like M-Pesa are having in developing countries. The fact that so many cultures are skipping over legacy technologies that rely on expensive infrastructure investment (like land line phones, and wired internet) and going straight to wireless internet and mobile phones allows them to embrace newer, more innovative technologies more quickly. I find that extremely exciting to watch.

What made you want to become an alumni fellow?

Comm Lead has been such a great experience for me, educationally, professionally, and even personally. I wanted to help give back to a community that’s given so much to me. Also, it’s a great way to stay connected with faculty and meet new students in the program.

What workshop will you be leading as an alumni fellow?

So far, I taught the “Intro to Digital Video” workshop that debuted in October, as well as helping lead the “Insider’s Guide to Comm Lead” workshop. I’m not sure what’s next, but I’ve still got just over a year to go, so there will definitely be more.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

A couple of years ago I was on business trip in Tokyo and I ate basashi. (Which is essentially, raw horse.) It’s a regional delicacy in the Kyushu prefecture of Japan, and was the specialty of the restaurant we were at. It was surprisingly good. I doubt I’d order it of my own volition, but it was fun to try it.

 

 

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CommLeader Spotlight| Joseph Pavey, Cohort 10
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CommLeader Spotlight|Molly O’Donnell, Cohort 12

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: December 2014

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general): 

Multimedia Storytelling

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I am an ethnographer with 9 years of research experience currently working for Microsoft . As a visual anthropologist, I am passionate about capturing experiences and telling compelling visual stories that strive to inspire empathy with my research subjects. I am a trained social scientist committed to identifying tensions and barriers that get in the way of achieving goals and success in product design and experiences.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

It’s been amazing how timely and relevant every class has been in my work as a researcher. Almost every quarter, I found myself bringing books, articles, and discussions from class to share with my colleagues.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

It’s pretty tricky juggling a full-time job as a part-time grad student, but the professors are so flexible and willing to work with our schedules. It has also been crucial to have the support of my managers and colleagues at work who understood my commitment and recognized the value of my time at the MCDM. And over the last two years, I think I’ve slowly become a Jedi Master of time management, so that helps.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

The DrugsOverDinner project was an incredible and eye-opening experience. I got to work with some amazing people, including Michael Hebb, Scott Macklin, David Llama and the extremely talented design team at Civilization. To be a part of bringing it to life now and hopefully affecting positive change on the conversation Americans have about drugs and addiction is truly gratifying.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

I probably shouldn’t mention this here, but during our core research strategy class, a couple of my fellow cohorts and I decided to apply the skills we were learning in class to come up with a mixed method approach for objectively rating our satisfaction with international chewing gum flavors…

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I’m really interested in collaborative consumption and economy in digital media. Companies like AirBnB, Uber and Duolingo are (for better or worse) a huge disruption to traditional business models. I think it’s fascinating to see how companies will respond through their marketing and product/service delivery systems.

And for the sake of a silly question:

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

Chicken feet, pig intestines, and jellyfish. I was on a business trip in China and I kept asking to try the local delicacies in the cities we visited.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight|Molly O’Donnell, Cohort 12
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CommLeader Spotlight|Matt McWilliams, Cohort 13

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: Summer 2015

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general):

I have become focused on the importance of practicing transparency to inspire trust among customers or constituents. People expect greater choices and better experiences that promote a better quality life. I like to think of it in terms of re-creating Main Street USA, which promotes a real sense of belong and provides a means to hold businesses and community leaders accountable.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I have worked in the public policy realm and envision the Communication Leadership program to transition to commercial work focused on creating meaningful customer experiences.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

Digital media technology has become inescapable, affecting all facets of life. I am constantly applying lessons from my coursework to everyday situations, no matter whether it’s a civic, cultural or commercial experience.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

The program’s flexibility has been invaluable while I have had to manage other obligations. I remain deeply impressed by the faculty’s commitment to supporting student needs. It has been wonderful to experience such sincerity in all my interactions with faculty members. They are genuinely interested in your work and in providing the best educational experience for students.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

My favorite has been Leadership through Story and Communities because it focused on managing during a time of profound change by focusing on timeless skills, such as story and community. The readings, the lectures, the projects and guest speakers about the importance of human relations in achieving meaningful and sustainable impact. Technology may aid business practices, but it doesn’t replace the basic competency of managing people to achieve organizational results. Insightful analysis still requires human judgment. More than ever organizations need to invest in their people to achieve meaningful and sustainable impact.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

Again, Leadership through Story and Communities provided a wonderful opportunity to integrate my long-term interests with the course subject matter for a final project focused on change management. As such, I created a sculpture inspired by Seattle’s built environment to explore the role of design in achieving organizational goals. I chose this approach because I thought it would allow people to visualize the impact of design on communities and workplaces. In the world of traffic engineering, that has meant less reliance on traditional technological solutions to managing traffic in favor of behavioral approaches that actually have a much greater impact on system performance in improving traffic flow, reducing the frequency of accidents and creating better places to live, work and play. Traffic engineers have learned the folly in ignoring the fundamentally social nature of navigating the complexity of roads and intersections. Great design invites participation, builds trust and promotes a sense of belonging. It’s the social capital that makes everything work and leads to places we care about. Work can and should be the same way.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

I care about intentionality. Mostly, I want to work with good, smart people doing interesting things that address some of today’s challenges. I like to think I can be part of something that makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives by promoting a greater sense of independence, choice and control. If I can accomplish that to some reasonable degree, then I’ll be pretty satisfied.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I believe Do Not Track may become in the next few years one of the most important issues, as data collection continues to challenge traditional interpretations of consumer protection and fair trade law. Although the digital advertising industry has established a voluntary system, questions remain about its effectiveness as long as there remains no meaningful legal enforcement mechanism. Fundamentally irreconcilable differences have emerged within industry, underscoring the need for federal legislation. A voluntary solution no longer appears practical.

And for the sake of a silly question:

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I am willing to try most anything, although I am not particularly fond of sweet things. I can’t stand watermelon.

 

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CommLeader Spotlight|Matt McWilliams, Cohort 13
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CommLeader Spotlight|Paolo Mottola, Cohort 8

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: June 2010

Area of interest (within the MCDM/MCCN program or in general): Content strategy/MCDM

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I manage content marketing and content strategy at REI, an outdoor retailer and the largest consumer cooperative in the U.S. I get to work with a talented team on developing brand-building content and information products that’s all about celebrating and playing in the outdoors.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

I think a lot about the media landscape, how people interact with each other online and how our brand can be a part of these trends organically and authentically. During my time in the MCDM, the discussions that most affected my job today had to do with the evolution of communication channels, and the new standards of speed and transparency that we culturally expect with these changes. In business, these communications changes and expectations can crush you or become a competitive advantage.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I was a full-time student, working full-time. The schedule worked out fine but I was admittedly drained the day after an evening class. On the other hand, I probably would have spent the time binging on Netflix otherwise and would have dealt with the same lack of sleep.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Media law with Kraig Baker. The changes in media and communications come with inherent legal implications that you have to be aware of working at a well-known brand. Familiarity with media law is a critical aspect of driving my areas of the business responsibly. I think I get a little street cred with the lawyers, too.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

Interacting with the members of my cohort from other countries. I always appreciated the diverse perspectives that challenged me to not think so domestically.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal? Get Mark Zuckerberg to accept my friend request.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now? Multiscreen is most compelling. The idea of picking up where you left off on consuming a piece of content across devices and screens isn’t a new idea but it’s actually becoming real. As a result, content creators can’t just think about “mobile first,” they have to think about “mobile first, then desktop, then big screen, then tablet, then mobile last.” Not all content easily scales from a 4” screen to a 46” screen, but that is the reality of media consumption.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I’m not too intimidated by trying food, but I have to say that fried squid eggs weirded me out. I was in San Sebastian, Spain, as a teenager.

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CommLeader Spotlight|Paolo Mottola, Cohort 8
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Rules of Engagement: 10 Guidelines for Posting Photography on Social Media

A girl walked into Auschwitz and took a selfie. It’s not a joke, and it went viral.

Awkward and inappropriate photographs now travel as fast as the average social media follower can click, post, or share, and deftly send the ill-chosen imagery into an unintended destiny. In the meantime, everyone -– family, friends, and followers –- weighs in with an opinion. Just ask Breanna Mitchell, who took the scandalous “Auschwitz Selfie,” or even President Obama, who was captured snapping a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

This speed of sight has put visual communication in a new quandary. Forget the ongoing argument about who’s a photographer and who’s not; today the visual challenge is to understand the appropriate rules of engagement for posting photographs on social media. There have been many articles published to guide written posts and tweets, including Forbes magazine and The Huffington Post. Even a recent issue of Wired Magazine has Jerry Seinfeld offering advice on how to master your domains in the age of social media.

However, nary a guideline exists specifically about what photographs are okay to snap and post. Given that over 500 million photographs a day get shared on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Instagram, the UW Communication Leadership program’s Visual Culture class decided to set some rules of engagement for social photography and brainstormed the following guidelines:

  1. BE AWARE OF CONTEXT. From weddings to a funeral, photos should match the tone and intent of the event you are attending or the place you are visiting. In other words, don’t post a picture of yourself, or your friends, acting like you are at an amusement park when you are at a somber memorial. Be sensitive about intruding on special events or interrupting sacred moments and ceremonies with photographed behavior better saved for a Saturday night.
  2. DON’T SHAME OTHERS. You are entering into a social contract when you take someone’s photo and post it for all the world to see. Be careful not to cross the line. Do your best to avoid posting an unflattering photo intended to make fun or shame someone. Ask yourself if what you are posting can hurt that person’s career or personal life in any way. Do not take a photograph without someone’s consent and then use it to embarrass that person online.
  3. THINK BEFORE YOU COPY, PASTE AND POST. It’s bad form to use (meaning steal without their knowledge) other people’s photos, even if you give them credit or attribution. While you may think it’s a compliment, you are actually in violation of their copyright.
  4. NO CREEPY PHOTOS. Stay away from posting photos that make you appear like a stalker or, even worse, a pedophile. Avoid taking pictures of other people’s children without permission, even at public events or social gatherings.
  5. ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION TO TAG SOMEONE. Enough said.
  6. AVOID THE GORE. Steer away from posting disturbing images to promote personal causes. Instead, channel your passion with words, logos and appropriate memes. In the same category, no photos of your injuries or your friend’s emergency room visits.
  7. BE ALERT TO YOUR SECURITY SETTINGS. When you post a photograph, be aware of your own social media permissions and understand who will be viewing your photographic postings. Are you broadcasting photographic posts for the world to see, or just a select group of friends? Is that okay with your subject?
  8. DON’T OVER-EXPOSE YOUR CHILDREN. Yes, they are cute and adorable, and every moment is precious — to you. Consider setting up a Facebook page or site for the family to chronicle within a limited group rather than constantly peppering the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds of your friends and acquaintances with images of your little one.
  9. USE DISCRETION. Specifically in regard to death, dying and posthumous postings. Consider how you share photos to announce an individual’s death. After a reasonable mourning period, consider moving posthumous posts and photographs to a memorial site, and remove the ongoing dialogue and images from Facebook and Twitter feeds except to intermittently remember the person during a poignant time like Mother’s Day or a birthday.
  10. REMEMBER TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Be alert to the news and events happening and consciously think about what you are choosing to post and when. In the midst of a national, global or regional disaster (think 9-11, tsunamis, tornadoes, fires), avoid posting photos that could be misconstrued as lacking awareness of the serious circumstances and situations.

With the massive volume of photos posted to social media every hour of every day, no set of rules will cover every situation, but, hopefully, following these 10 guidelines will keep your own photo feeds thriving and appreciated.

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Rules of Engagement: 10 Guidelines for Posting Photography on Social Media