An ongoing attempt to make unfiltered content appear semi-intelligent...

An ongoing attempt to make unfiltered content appear semi-intelligent...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still Alive

Well, I survived the fast. When I was preparing to start this whole gig, I thought I was going to experience a major struggle, and come out the back side with a whole bunch of horror stories. So let me tell you how many I have: none, zero, zilch, nada.

I did experience a lot of revelations into the way I spend my free time, but nothing that I would consider negative. To preface this, you should know that I have what doctors call an “addiction” with television. I realize this, but I also find therapeutic value to escape into a world of fantasy after a long day of academia. Watching television was the most difficult to give up, especially over a weekend full of college football games.

So, here’s my list of new-found discoveries:


Channel I can’t live without: ESPN

Channel I thought I couldn’t live without, but turns out I can: Bravo

Program I wanted to watch the most: NBC Nightly News


Station I can’t live without: ESPN Radio (I’m sensing a theme here…)

Program I can’t live without: Dan Patrick Show


Thing I missed the most:

Thing I didn’t miss at all: Facebook

Cell Phone:

Eh. Didn’t bother me that much, with the exception of a few times when I wanted to tell friends/family something random in a specific moment. It’s worthless three days later.


Best of the fast: Quiet time with my wife and kids

Worst of the fast: Feeling like I couldn’t reach my family if needed

Technology I’m most grateful for: DVR (I told you, I have a problem)

So, what did I learn most from all this? As wonderful as technology is, and despite all the great and wonderful things it can help you do, there is life outside of it. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it made me realize that I am a slave to certain technologies, but I didn’t feel much of a loss not to have access to them. Most of all, it made me realize how fun quiet time with my wife and kids can be; and that time provides more enjoyment and gratification than any TV show. (Except maybe The Office…or White Collar…or Modern Family…or The Event… oh, did I mention every show on ESPN? J)

Moving forward, I want to try and implement a “media fast” weekend once a month, and spend some real quality time with my family. I would suggest everyone try it once in a while—it’s quite liberating.

And yes, I do realize “Thing I missed the most” under Internet is blank. I honestly can’t think of anything. I suppose that says it all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Diet or Malnutrition?

No, I’m not about to start some extreme starvation diet. Although it may be something I need to consider… Nope, I’m about to embark on a self-imposed media fast. Well, self-imposed is not entirely accurate; it is being “highly suggested” by one of my communication professors. I have simply chosen to take part in this absolutely ludicrous idea.

The idea is to abstain from any form of media – traditional or social – as well as anything electronic, for three days. And by anything I mean everything, including cell phones! What is this guy thinking?! He gave us one exception: the microwave. Because, as we all know, 90% of a college student’s diet comes from the wonder that is the microwave (The other 10% comes from a vending machine if you were wondering).

Having said that, I did negotiate some of my own terms (I can’t help it, it’s the inner wheeler-dealer in me. Thank my father.). I suggested that I might get an exception on the cell phone front. I explained that I may not have a wife after three days of falling off the grid. So, he kindly compromised with me, and allowed me to use my cell phone to make/receive phone calls and/or texts from my wife only. So, if any of you try and reach me for the next three days…sorry? Mom, Sis – call Amber if it’s important.

So, starting tomorrow, no Internet, no e-mail, no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube, no Hulu, no blogging, no TV, and the list goes on.

My first response: no big deal. It’s three days. What could really happen? I’m not that dependent on these things, right? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight…

My second response: wait, three days?! What if I miss something? Three days is an eternity in the world of social media! I don’t think I’ve gone 3 minutes between some sort of interaction through my cell phone, e-mail, social media or the internet. I AM that dependent. There’s no way I can do this!

So therein lays the genius of this assignment. It’s crazy. Crazy like a straw. You know, crazy straws! My professor calls it a “Media Fast” or “Diet.” I’m curious to find out whether I will see it in that light, or if I will feel like malnutrition is a more appropriate description.

Once this three day torment is over, I have get to write a paper about it. And, don’t worry; I will be blogging about it. I’m intending to keep a daily journal while I endure this. Should be great…

The silver lining? I have 6, count ‘em, 6, papers to write in the next 5 days. Maybe this will be a good thing?


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Skeletal inhabitants of my closet

No, not Halloween – simply coincidental. I must admit, I struggle to find something meaningful to write about constantly. Most things that come to mind are fairly personal in nature. But I am really trying not to turn this into a personal journal. No offense to anyone who uses their blog in that way, it’s just not my style. I imagine this is not a unique frustration, especially for rookie bloggers. I want to communicate the things on my mind without spreading a bunch of emotional vomit. Fair enough?

Aside from bludgeoning myself with Butterfingers over the weekend, I was attempting to complete my resume and write cover letters for summer internships. In the process, I asked for advice from my wife, my parents, teachers and mentors on campus, etc. Everyone had great advice for me, but everyone warned to be careful about what may be on my social media sites, and whether I should have URL's directing them to said sites. I discovered what seems to me to be a conundrum.

I chose to put my Facebook and LinkedIn URL’s on the top of my resume.

I have had the opportunity to hear from a number of guest speakers in the world of public relations. Every one of them has talked about the ways social media has influenced their business and why I should care. It’s all great stuff. And they never fail to mention that they will be looking me up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. if and when I apply for an internship or job with them. Like it or not, we have all created an online portfolio that reflects who we are. So my thought process goes like this; I don’t have anything to hide, so I’m going to plaster those URL’s up on the very top of my resume like a neon billboard. I figure it is better to volunteer them in an attempt to be transparent. Go ahead. Look. Like I said, I’ve got nothing to hide.

Or do I?

Therein lays my paradox. If these portfolios are supposedly representative of who we are, why are we so quick to censor them when we know someone important might be looking? I found myself going back 3 months into my Facebook profile removing borderline comments by myself or others, removing PG-13 pictures from high school and my younger years. I even followed links to comments I had made on others sites to make sure they were kosher. But why?

Certainly no one wants a potential employer to stumble upon a picture of you doing a naked keg stand at a frat party. But my profile didn’t have any such pictures. None of my comments contained curse words (you should know that I don’t think hell counts…go ahead and judge). None of them were comments that I wouldn’t say in front of my mother. So why did I feel the need to delete what seemed like 30% of the things that existed on this portfolio of mine? So there were some PG-13 rated items. I am PG-13. What’s the big deal?

Again, I don’t think this is unique to me. I found myself trying to shape my portfolio the way that I believe the potential employer would want it. And while I think this is smart in a professional sense, doesn’t this entirely defeat the purpose of social media platforms like these?! Wasn’t the whole idea to allow you a place to say what you really wanted without the fear of back lash? Intent or not, it is the way most of us use it. And frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with it (at least for those of us who have a maturity level above that of a cardboard box). Should I even be posting this? Is this too real?

So what now? For those of us looking to excel professionally the outlet is gone. Do I find a different way to let my true colors out? But wait, what’s wrong with my true colors? Aren’t we encouraged to be individuals, be unique, set ourselves apart? I’ve been told to be myself since the days I swung on monkey bars. And so here I am, being myself, and now back peddling to edit my “real” self. So what gives? Where is the problem? Does the professional world expect too much? Or am I expecting too little of myself? I suggest that maybe it is a little of both, but truthfully, I find it to be a bit dizzying to understand. Where is the line? Can someone actually define it? Or should I simply lead two lives: one personal and one professional? One PG-13 rated, and one Disney style G rated.

Really I’m asking. I can’t possibly be the only one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I feel like the first step of this blog needs to be making everyone aware of my stance in life. The two most important things in this world for me are my family and my relationship with God. I truly believe that if you focus on these two things, all the rest will take care of itself. Not far behind these is a belief in and passion for this great country.

I just returned from a trip to Washington DC where I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge and reflect upon what this country is all about. I found a few specific attractions to be quite inspirational. Arlington Cemetery, where I was privileged to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The National Archives, where the beginnings of this great country become quite tangible. The Lincoln Memorial, which has to be my favorite. I remember visiting the memorial for the first time when I was 16-years-old. I have a very vivid memory of my father, standing inside the memorial as the warm glow of the sunset shone in on him, reading those profound words, and watching tears roll down his cheeks. I never grasped why that was, but this time, standing there in the shadow of Lincoln's statue, reading those inspired words, I understood what had moved my father to tears, as it did the same to me. Those words force you to remember what this country should represent. Lincoln believed we were better than slavery. He believed the country needed to stand for higher values – and I still believe that today.

My upbringing and my religion undoubtedly shaped my beliefs, and for the most part I consider myself to be a Republican. However, for the past few years, I feel I have really come into my own as far as my political beliefs.

Is there such a thing as a Constitutionalist? Personally that just translates into a desire for this country to return to its roots – the things the United States was founded upon. The forefathers of the United States have never looked as intelligent as they do now. What ever happened to men like George Washington, who handed over power to the people when his control and influence was at its peak? He knew that there was a higher power at work than him. Can we say that today? I believe that men like Washington and Lincoln were in fact inspired by God, and therefore strongly believe that the country should remain centered on God. None of this removing “In God We Trust” from our currency, that’s blasphemous. Indeed, regardless of religion, in God we should trust.

This country needs to honor its forefathers, instead of stepping on the great progress they have made after all these years.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Since coming into the communications and public relations world, there seems to be one constant theme that we continually hear – the social media movement. Advice from professionals continues to be that we can't afford not to be a part of these social avenues. I’ve had a Facebook account for some time now, recently joined Twitter about a month ago, and here I am, attempting a blog. This is my attempt to dive completely into this world of social media. Please excuse the learning curve…