I’ve been on a binge learning curve, trying to jettison my video-illiteracy and catch up with the young-uns. I’ve got more to learn, of course, but I’ve come a long way. Very cool.
Today I sat at my son-in-law’s (Joe Drouillard) side as he tutored me in video and audio posting to websites, YouTubing, MP3 and MP4, burning DVDs, and more. Since he’s a web designer (J D Web Design Studio) he also created the video box in the right column of my rexmrogers.com homepage. I can now rotate a new video, most likely from the ministry with which I serve, SAT-7, whenever I want. This is a useful skill that will allow me to add a video blog or vlog feature to the website. Very cool.
Here I’ve learned to “embed,” as opposed to just link, a video from YouTube. This will allow me from time to time to highlight a video with relevant content re my blog. Very cool.
Short videos or films are called, guess what, “shorts.” These days, given the abbreviated attention span of virtually everyone, especially under 40 years of age, a short is all you get. Like the “Making a Difference” radio programs I used to do: you get in, try to say something meaningful, and get out, all in about 90 seconds. Video shorts are generally anything under 10 minutes, but the shorter the better, as in under 2 minutes…kind of like television commercials.
One reason to climb this learning curve is to experience the sheer joy of learning. I know, some people write me off at that one. But I’m an old educator with a lifelong passion for lifelong learning. In fact, I’ll do you one better. I think one of the things we’re going to be doing in heaven for eternity is learning from the omniscient, infinitely interesting, Sovereign God. Very cool.
Another reason to learn is to be able to speak to the current generation. If we want youth to know about Christianity or international missions, for example, we have to go where they are, where they live. Youth and young adults live in cyberspace, online, plugged-in, and tuned-in. They speak through interactive new social media via smart phones. I want to speak their language, so I have to learn. So I am and I have. Very cool.
What this video short phenomenon says about our ability to communicate, much less our culture, I’ll save for another time. For now, I’m happy to catch up, a little, with Generation Y, the Millenials. Very cool.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at http://www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at http://www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.
In a manner of speaking I wanted to understand the technological revolution that had happened “behind me.” By this I mean that at 58 years of age, I didn’t grow up with so-called “new media,” which includes social media. Actually, I didn’t grow up with computers of any kind.
I find my way around Facebook pretty well. I even “tweet” on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers. I’ve used RSS feeds, sent text messages, and blogged. I know what Flickr is but haven’t used it much, nor have I accessed many podcasts—but I plan to record and distribute audio podcasts shortly. I can navigate the Internet with relative ease. But I hadn’t until this weekend caught up with and climbed the learning curve of video and audio media.
Long story short, over the weekend I took advantage of the infinite number of tutorials available online, on Apple and YouTube in particular. I must have watched more than 50 videos. A lot of viewing, but now I can import a video into iMovie, edit it, and export it to YouTube, iDVD, or some other final resting place (and I have).
I finally understand the general process by which audio or video content becomes accessible, including how it is compressed, which is to say I now know the difference between an MP3 and an MP4. I can post audio and video to my website. And oh yes, I “get” keywords or meta tags, understand embedding videos, and can come pretty close to creating my own ebook. Audiobooks are much more challenging, and maybe as yet less useful. But ebooks are here to stay and increasing in popularity thanks to Kindle, iPad, and the Nook.
I now understand enough new media lingo and functionality to be dangerous. I can’t do everything, but now I can at least talk to more sophisticated techies to get done what I need done. Things have come a long way.
I remember first using a Digital VAX mainframe computer when I was in graduate school at the University of Akron. Some students were learning BASIC, COBOL, and other early programming languages. But I was fortunate enough to come along when packaged programs were being marketed as user-friendly ways for non-techies to use computers. To compute our regression analyses as political science graduate students we used SPSS, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, or SAS, Statistical Analysis Software, still being marketed today. At UA I sat at IMB punch card machines and typed/punched IBM cards to form the “Job” we’d submit to the computer center, then wait, holding our breath. That was 1978-79.
A few years later while pursuing my doctorate, 1980-82, at the University of Cincinnati I worked at the Behavioral Sciences Laboratory (later known as the Institute for Public Policy Research). Here we used SPSS and SAS too, but now we’d moved up the ladder to remote terminals. No more punch cards, no more waiting at the computer center. Here we got feedback on the screen. Here also I saw my first “PC.”
During my first two university assignments I used a PC. Eventually I had to learn about websites, blogs, and emerging social media. Before that, I had to learn how to switch from overhead projectors to PowerPoint slides and video projectors. I did. I even learned to craft my own Ppt presentations so I could model this frontier thinking for faculty members and so I wouldn’t have to depend upon administrative assistants, thus could build my own Ppts the night before if I wished.
Learning is about investment. That’s all. It takes some time and effort, but the dividends can be huge. This I enjoy.
A couple of months ago I talked to a middle-aged pastor and said I’d email him if he gave me his address. He told me his wife did his email and that he wasn’t on computers. I didn’t say anything to him, but I was nearly stunned. How can a person, much less a leader, function well today if he or she remains willingly unconnected and unconcerned to boot?
So, when it came to video and audio I had to climb the learning curve. Or if you prefer, I had to catch the wave. I think I’ve caught it, even if I’m not yet riding it. Surfing that wave is the next thing to learn.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.
Twitter is an interesting and still relatively new social media tool. Great fun and useful. I enjoy it and there’s much about Twitter that’s worthwhile. It’s amazing what you can say in 140 characters. And I find it fascinating how quickly you can detect what makes people tick, what they’re personality is like and what values they hold, just in a few tweets. It’s also truly social media, meaning you can connect, possibly directly interact, with famous, powerful, distant people you wouldn’t typically engage in any other way.
But if you use Twitter for a while you’re bound to develop a few pet peeves, or “Tweet Peeves.” Here are ten of mine:
· Following a promising bio and it turns out it's a front for ads.
· Following a notable individual, then reading a tweet "from him/her" written in third person, i.e., a ghost-tweeteer.
· Following a theme but getting spammed.
· Answering people’s direct message questions and never hearing from them again.
· Tweeters who never offer original thoughts or material, just compilations of what others have done. This material may be intriguing, but you wonder after awhile what the tweeter thinks.
· Following a person or organization hashtagging a theme of interest to you, then discovering the hashtag is being used by the tweeter to assure his or her message, which has nothing to do with the hashtag, appears in hashtag searches.
· Multiple tweets listing nothing but wall-to-wall thanks for RTs. Give it a rest or thank them via direct mail.
· Spam-a-palooza. If this keeps happening, I un-follow.
· Vulgarity. I can take it if it seems to fit a given context, but if it becomes a pattern I un-follow.
· Tweeters who want to be followed but never follow. In other words, they’re enamored of the sound of their own voice.
Twitter culture is still in its infancy, so it will be interesting to see how it evolves moving into adolescence and beyond. Tweet on tweeple.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.
I'm into social media, Facebook, Twitter, so this is not a Luddite rant. But along with others I've mused about what the social media juggernaut seems to mean or imply for thinking, writing, and civility:
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.
For children, and for that matter, for teenagers, the Internet is not a harmless toy. In fact, like many other features of modern life, people need to exercise a degree of spiritual discernment and maturity when the access the Net. Since all children, most teenagers, and many adults do not possess the requisite maturity, the Internet can become a pathway to trouble.
Gambling is the number one cash transfer business on the Internet, out-pacing pornography by about two and one-half to one. Both gambling and pornography can seduce people to ever higher levels of involvement to the point of addiction and to the point of emotional, financial, and other forms of harm.
Young people are particularly susceptible to new youth websites like MySpace.com or Facebook.com. Not that there is anything especially wrong with these sites in themselves. But young people often naively post personal details that attract pedophiles, perverts, and pornographers.
Sometimes the danger is a relational one. This week, a 16 year old Saginaw, Michigan girl lied to her Mother about why she needed a passport, then ran away from home, caught a flight to the Middle East, and finally was detained in Amman, Jordan. She was on her way to meet a 25 year old man she met through her MySpace.com account. Thanks to U.S. government customs officials, she is apparently well and will be returned to her home in the States.
Young people have posted nude pictures of their friends, not realizing they could be committing a crime. Youth have been accosted by sexual deviants because of what the adult learned from the teen’s website. Students at a Michigan high school posted party pictures of friends involved in underage drinking and were later suspended from high school and barred from attending the senior prom.
Unfortunately, we are probably going to hear more of this. Access to the Internet is too extensive and too easy to think otherwise. At the very least if we are responsible for young people we need to warn them about the danger of unfettered expression on the Internet. We should not teach them to “live scared,” but we do need to make our youth aware of the evil that lurks within and around any human endeavor. Learning this and learning to identify it when they see it is one step toward maturity.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.
My launch into the “Blogosphere” has been fun. To write an online web log or “blog” is to participate in what has been called “New Media.” It’s to experience the power of self-publishing.
Blogging by-passes publishers, editors, and editorial influences. It allows me to speak directly to anyone who cares to listen—at no additional cost to either of us.
For a writer, the blogosphere is the ultimate “free market,” a cyberspace version of the public square where we can share ideas, opinions, analysis…concerns, vulnerabilities, anxieties. We can be candid, straightforward, open. We can take the “risk” of speaking the truth as we understand it. We can be real.
The blogosphere is a great equalizer. Anyone who can write and has access to a computer and the internet can blog. And just like that one can be read by people around the world. Blogging is immediate. It’s a people’s tool, not just a tool for elites.
Blogging elicits response. In its best form it thrives on interaction. People reading this blog can email me at any time. They can share their comments, points of view, criticisms or kudos. The “I” becomes “We” as a new blogging community is formed around a common interest, idea, action, or attitude.
Bloggers are talking, influencing. It’s the newest and purist form of democracy. Blogging by conservatives helped bring the Harriet Miers Supreme Court Justice nomination to a screeching halt. Liberals have their own blogs. You can now find a blog on just about any topic representing just about any point of view.
About 1 in 6 or 32 million American adults are reading blogs, and the number is growing daily. According to Technorati, a search engine for blogs, some 18.6 million blog sites receive an average of 900,000 posts per day. Amazing.
Apparently not many college or university presidents are blogging. As far as I can tell, I am the only Michigan university president blogging, and I have so far found only two others nationally, one offering commentary and the other reading like a teenager’s diary—I assume a staff member in Admissions is writing this one, trying to reach prospective students.
Christians are also blogging—“God’s bloggers.” Earlier this fall, Biola University in California hosted the first ever Christian bloggers conference, drawing about 135 writers who try to analyze issues and events from a Christian perspective. The three-day conference attempted to understand the phenomenon, to analyze blogging itself from a Christian viewpoint. This is a promising development, because Christians have sometimes resisted new technologies as “tools of the Devil” (think T.V. or movies) while at other times have uncritically embraced new technologies as “gifts from God” (think T.V. or movies).
If you are over 30 and blogging, you’re ahead of the curve. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project most bloggers are 18 to 29 years of age. If you are a CEO and blogging, you’re also ahead of the curve. According to The NewPR/Wiki website, about 200 CEOs are currently blogging. Add mine and make that 201.
Blogging is a great new way to communicate or simply to test new thoughts, so when it comes to blogging, I’m a convert. And I say with Buzz Lightyear, “To infinity and beyond!”
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2005
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.