digiWelcome to Digital Media Issues. I’m excited about meeting all of you and getting started with the class. We’ll be discussing a range of digital media issues, starting with some background and foundational materials, then moving to contemporary topics. I want to hear about your interests. All course modules will be online, and we’ll do some meetings via Google Hangout. It should be a fun and quick summer session. All of the work will be presented as lessons on TRACS, but links to the readings are also available on this website.

mcmillanThis week, we’ll be talking about digital media research in general and the concept of interactivity. We will want to pay attention to how our understanding in these areas has changed over time. Jacqueline will be recoding the key points, and we’ll all discuss on the Google Hangout.

Your blog question is: Discuss the different ways the concept of interactivity is defined. What is your definition of interactivity? Make specific references to the readings. Include links and visuals in the post.

Be sure to engage the readings, include relevant links and any visuals (images or embedded video).

We’ll also discuss your Twitter exercise, sending @replies to three people in your profession.

See you on the Hangout on Thurs! We’ll start at 6:30pm.


Jobs & Gates At Tavern On The Green

Great discussion last week. I hope you have a good appreciation for the many definitions of “new” in new media and some of the foundational pieces in digital thinking. Here’s what we have going on this week. We’re not meeting in San Marcos. You just have online assignments. This week we focus on the titans of the tech industry. Let’s consider a little about innovation and leadership.

  • Do the readings, watch the videos on the outline for Sept. 11. Answer the blog question: Discuss the personal computer environment, its history and direction. What role did Jobs and Gates play? How do you feel about Mark Zuckerberg in relation to Gates and Jobs? Where is the technology industry going?
  • Make sure you pay attention to the instructions for a good blog post. Engage the materials, make connections. Use links, images, embedded video. Blog posts are worth 35% of your grade.
  • I forgot to mention it in class, but you should also go on to at least two other students’ blogs and make a comment. Links to the blogs are on the Blogs page of our website. Do your blog posts by 9pm on Wed night, and do your commenting any time on Thursday. You could use class time to read each other’s posts and craft good comments. These should be substantial comments, more than a sentence or two. Engage each other’s posts with thoughts, opinions, additional resources, suggestions.
  • I think everyone is set up on the Facebook group. Each of you should post a news item this week, and you all should make a comment on each. One or two sentences are fine for the FB comments, just something more than “awesome” or “lol.” This way, we can have virtual news conversations.
  • We’ll have a Hangout on Sept.18, and Jacqueline will prepare the key points. I’ll provide instructions for the Hangout after next week.
  • Join LinkedIn. Make sure your Twitter is public. Use Twitter to also post links to your news items. Use #webpub in these tweets. This way, we can share with students in the other sections.
  • Get your score on Klout. Make a note, we’ll discuss, and check again at the end of the semester.

That’s it.


Great job getting started last week. We have a wide range of experiences and interests in the group. Here’s what you need to do for tonight.

  • Watch the videos and read all the items on the Outline  for Sept. 4.
  • Start your WordPress blog. Make sure you get a theme and play with the general settings. You can add any additional pages that you’d like. We will discuss widgets and other features later. Make your first blog post on this topic:For your first post, write some introductory comments, a short paragraph or two about yourself, and then discuss your definition of new or digital media. Which phrase should we use? In regard to the resources we watched in class and your own observations, what is your impression of the pace of digital change? Be sure to engage the reading, make connections, as well as provide your own opinion. Include relevant links, images, embedded video.

    More details on the Blogs page. Email me the link to your blog when you have done the post.

  • Do this post by 9pm the night before class.
  • Join the FB group and post a news item. We’ll discuss more in class.
  • Join Twitter, if you aren’t already on.

We’ll discuss all of this in class on Wed.

Familiarize yourself with the website, the course outline, the course policies, and let me know if you have any questions.

See you in class.



Now that you have had time to work on a digital presence (and plan to continue after this class), you should think about ways you can network. This is an important step in a career hunt, and it’s something you should start well ahead of actually needing a job. Going to meetups with professionals may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The Austin area has many meetup, and you can try out several. Find ones where you feel interested and comfortable.

I also advise students to attend at least one meetup that stretches your skills, something you know nothing about. You have the most potential to learn when you are the least knowledgeable in the room. People are nice, and they like to meet students and recent grads.

Meetups are as much about what you bring to the community as what the community can do for you. It’s a two-way street. So, find groups that interest you enough to regularly attend and contribute. Eventually, you might even get asked to be a speaker. Who knows… you might even decide to host your own meetup group someday!

A good first step is to take Mass Comm Week seriously this fall. Don’t just attend the events that you have to (required for a class). We bring in multiple professionals and provide opportunities for students to meet with them. This event has grown to one of the most premier conferences in the region. This year, it will be held Oct. 21-24, and the schedule should be available soon after the fall semester begins at txstatemcweek.com.

There are a couple of calendars that list meetups in town. Check with the actual meetup group to make sure they still meet at the same time/place indicated.

Here are a few that I have attended:

  • Hacks/Hackers ATX – this is Austin chapter of the international organization that brings together journalists and programmers. I am one of the co-founders. It meets with the Online News Association Local chapter.  @HacksHackersATX
  • Social Media Club – this is a good place to start. They usually meet on the UT Campus (but not always), in the old ACL studios. They have speakers on a variety of general topics related to social media. We have a Student Social Media Club chapter at TXST (we were the 1st student chapter in Texas), and it could use some new leadership, so let me know if you are interested in reviving it. @SMCAustin
  • Refresh Austin – this is a great group if you are interested in Web design or development. @RefreshAustin
  • Austin on Rails – This is a meetup for Ruby on Rails developers. This is the one that I attend to stretch my technical know-how. Nice people, working for cool companies. @AustinonRails

Here are some others that may interest you:

There are plenty of student orgs in addition to the student Social Media Club, like Society of Professional Journalists and Public Relations Student Society of America. Check around campus for different opportunities.

Of course, if you can attend SXSW Interactive in March, that is an awesome opportunity to learn and meet new people. Another great conference in the area is the International Symposium in Online Journalism, held in the spring at UT.

There are also great meetups to attend out of town (NICAR, Online News Association, etc), but I have focused on those that are in the area.

I’m sure there are lots more. Get out there, finds groups that interest you, start talking to people and grow your professional network!

Another excellent discussion last night. Thank you for your attention to Aron and for your participation. I hope our topics have given you new insight into things that will be important in your careers.

  • We decided to do all 11 presentations on Mon night. That means we will be together from 6-10pm. There are a few things I want to cover. Read over the Lessig items, as well as the items I have on the Outline for next week. I will arrange for some type of snack on Mon, since we will be working so long.
  • You will be receiving an email to do the course evaluation online. If you are able, provide comments in addition to the numbers. These are very important to how we structure classes in the future.
  • For Mon, you will have 10 minutes to present, and another 5 for questions. Everyone needs to be thinking of a question, because each person must answer 2-3 questions from you, the audience. You can use Powerpoints or other materials. If you want to upload to TRACS in the Dropbox, I can have them ready on the computer when you arrive, so we won’t waste time fiddling with finding files.
  • I will cut you off at 10 minutes, so time your presentation. Focus on Abstract/Overview/Intro, methodology, research questions and results. Minimal on literature. This will be a lot like doing a presentation at a research conference. Don’t plan to read aloud your paper or any portion of it.
  • I will work on your blog and other grades over the weekend and post to TRACS.
  • Let’s say your final paper is due by midnight next Wed. Upload to the Dropbox. Make sure your name is on the document and your last name is in the filename. You probably won’t need that much more time after Mon. If anyone needs to slip to Thurs, let me know.


Excellent discussion last night. We just have one more week of readings, then you have your paper presentations, and we’re done. Here’s what’s going on:

  • Keep up the Twitter connections, finding people to follow, asking questions. During class, Melody tweeted Gary Vaynerchuk, and he replied. Twice!
  • The questions for next week are on the blogs page. On Monday, we deal with the future of journalism, and on Tuesday, we deal with the future of music. We also have some legal readings on Wed.
  • Some have asked how you can get beyond an A (96) on your blog posts, that elusive A+ (100). I reserve those points for people doing something that they are not told to do, initiative, creativity. I can’t tell you what those things are. Exceed expectations. Get beyond doing the minimum required.
  • Comment on two of others’ posts.
  • Make sure you watch the videos and do all the readings for Mon. Make sure you watch the Remix Manifesto Video and the Who Owns Culture Video for Tues. I have Aron Pilhofer of NY Times scheduled to do a Skype with us during class next week, as long as his schedule holds. Be as familiar as possible with his team at NY Times and have some good questions.
  • Any handouts should be in Resources on TRACS.
  • I will try to get any necessary feedback to you on the prospectus by tomorrow.
  • Brandon has news on Mon, Kathryn and Sidni on Tues. Keep up the comments.

Have a great weekend.

Google executive Marissa Mayer

I enjoyed our discussion last night. Good integration of difficult material. I think you will find the readings, although comprehensive, to be a little less dense going forward.

  • Twitter – make sure you have a good avatar and profile. Also, add a cover photo. We didn’t discuss, but that is something that gives a little more interest to your page. Please try out all these things and take these assignments seriously and professionally, regardless of how you plan to use it in the future. You’re here to learn.
  • You should also have a Twitter app on your phone, if you don’t already. I just use the regular one from Twitter, but there are others.
  • Find three new people to follow. They should be actual people that have something to do with your future career. You can find them in various ways: see who others follow/are following, look them up on Google (if you already have someone in mind), use LinkedIn to see if they list their Twitter there.
  • Now send questions via @reply to at least two people. Let’s see what kind of responses you get.  For example:

@pilhofer What advice do you have for a journalism student who is interested in learning data visualization?

Students have gotten actual internships and career contacts just from this exercise.

  • Instagram – if your phone supports it, use Instagram to take a photo that you feel best depicts grad life. You can connect your Instagram to Twitter. Use the hashtag #issuesnm. If your phone doesn’t support Instagram, just use a regular photo.
  • News this week: Courtney and Melody have Monday, Daniel and Flor on Tues. Post to both the Facebook group and on Twitter with hashtag #issuesnm (to also share with your follower). Everyone comment on the FB group. Good discussion on these items so far.
  • The questions are on the Blogs page for next week. We’ll cover Browsers and Search for Monday, Social Media on Tues. You might want to read ahead for the Wed items on Business Models to add to your Monday question about Google. You don’t have to do a post specifically on the Wed material, though. But please make sure you read or watch the items. Items under Other Resources are not required (but feel free). And for Pew Reports, just peruse the results.
  • Pay careful attention to the elements of a GOOD blog post as we have discussed. The content should reflect the time you have put in reading, so it shouldn’t appear that you wrote it in 5 minutes. Use thoughtful placement of images and links. Engage multiple readings or any other outside readings.
  • Be sure to watch the videos from the Download series (Parts I, II and IV). Part III Bubble is not required, but you can watch if you are interested. Also watch the Marissa Mayer video.
  • I provided the Crush It handout in class.
  • Your Research Paper Prospectus is due next Wed. Refer to the description on the Assignment Page for the details. 2-3 pages. Include your research question(s), methodology and brief lit review. You’ll turn it in via the Dropbox on TRACS.

I think that’s it. See you next week! Have a great weekend.