Livin’ the Good (Digital) Life!

On Wednesday May, 27th I attended the full session of the event “Your Digital Life” supported by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and sponsored by Conkling, Fiskum, and McCormick.  I learned much about certain aspects of a life you can lead digitally and ways to protect yourself from potential threats.  In this short blog, I’ll give you some insight to the helpful information the speakers gave.

PANEL 1: Risks, Privacy, Copyright and Security

Three speakers informed us about these topics that I thought were very helpful.  André Chinn spoke about “Safe Social Media”, bringing some very helpful tips about how to protect your digital self.  André explained that one of the main things a person should do with their online identities is not use the same password everywhere.  He also recommended using a strong password; mix letters, numbers, case, and punctuation.  Phishing is a hot topic in his profession and one that should be taken seriously.  Some ways that phishing is successful is when someone clicks on a link in a place such as their email, then are asked to enter in their protected information like passwords and more.  Overall, André said to do three simple things:

  1. Pay close attention
  2. Be skeptical
  3. Use common sense

Joanna Goode was the second speaker who shed some light on “Teachers as Cyborgs” and about how our digital footprints are expanding enormously the more we people use technology.  Her insight on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has five points:

  1. Interface Stability
  2. Growth of Technological-Dependency
  3. Growth of Hyperconnectivity
  4. Increased Amount of Information on People’s Lives and Actions
  5. More Creativity

She said that a lot of these can be perceived as threats to our personal growth but that more creativity could very well be a good thing to come from technology in the form of blog writing, art programs, and more.  One last point she touched on was about cyberbullying and other forms of dangerous behavior.

The last speaker on the first panel was Ryan Vacca, speaking about “Applications to Social Networking & Online Media.”  It seemed to me that translating Internet law to people outside the industry has to be a difficult thing to do.  While there was some jargon used, Ryan brought some good points to the audience explaining how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) helps the public from getting sued over copywritten posts on forums you may, in part, own or oversee.  After the speakers were done, I asked Ryan if the DMCA has anything to do with how people can use music file sharing on forums such as blogspot and he said those people are actually the ones taking advantage of it.

PANEL 2: Opportunities and Practical Applications of Social Media

Four speakers shed some light on many practical and interesting ways on how to use social media to your advantage personally and professionally.  Crystal Lyon and John Weiss both spoke about how the company they work at, Waggener Edstrom, uses social media and some applications they’re creating to help with research and more.  John said that one of the key things an individual should do is create their own personal brand.  He also said that one should match their experiences with others easily and center their brand on engaging discussion.  I believe this should be done to ensure maximum impact and transference from one to another.

The second speaker was a very informative assistant professor of public relations at the U of O, Tiffany Derville Gallicano.  Her panel was about “Tweeting Your Way to an Entry Level Position” and gave some great tips on how to do just that.  Her focus was mainly on Public Relations but also gave tips that could be attributed to any sector that’s connected digitally.  The first tip was to find your career interest and then find individuals in the industries Twitter handle. This can be found through such places like P.R. Open Mic as well as using hash tags for key search words like #prjobs and #pradvice.  She also said to turn your Twitter profile into a professional place with a nice background that stands out among the rest and putting pertinent contact info and links on your page so that someone can thoroughly check you out.

The third speaker was a very animated young lady who writes for the Register-Guard Ticket section, Serena Markstrom.  She brought an old-school approach to a new emergence in digital technology by showing how she used to communicate with people and how the tools we use today can still be directly applied to older ones we once used more.  Serena writes reviews for shows she’s seen and still uses places like Myspace to contact artists and find where shows are going to be.  She also tries to not only develop relationships with people but to maintain them on a personal level.

The last speaker, Hannah Smith, is an Associate at Conkling Fiskum & McCormick and spoke about her process of creating a burgeoning online community for Tillamook Cheese.  Her process included connecting with their community offline to see if they were online to begin with then, once they heard that people were online, they began “listening” to the online conversation about Tillamook Cheese.  After that, they created a Facebook page, Twitter profile, YouTube page, and a dedicated Tillamook Cheese Fan Club Website.  Critics of this type of media usually argue that once you have these types of social media websites, there will be individuals that will go out of their way to bash the company.  Her argument back was about how the conversation will happen regardless if you’re in it or not, so you might as well have your own voice in the conversation to speak some sense about a situation.

When the speakers were asking questions, I stated another place of where to go to find jobs via Twitter with which Tiffany also said that Twibes is another good place to find a job then asked John and Crystal how much their agency is devoted to research and what types of tools they use and/or are developing.  They said a very large part of the company is devoted to research alone and are creating more tools rather than using existing ones devoted to research.


The final speaker was the Executive Director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society (CIS), Lauren Gelman.  Her main focus was about why people are posting so much online and to how our privacy is affected.  Lauren went through some of the history of the World Wide Web and how Web 2.0 has been created by the convergence of message board forums with static web pages; blogs are a perfect example.  She then went to talk about how privacy has been affected by social media and how we should have some restraint about what we put online that can be connected to us that could potentially threaten us some way later.  She then started taking questions that took up the rest of the time and, I speculate, the other part of her written speech.  I asked her about how certain companies are asking their employees to sign “No Blogging” contracts and if she thought this was going to increase in the future in a time where companies should be encouraged to become “part of the conversation.”  She didn’t think very many companies would embrace that.

Overall, the presentation was full of helpful advice about living a digital life and how to properly maintain a professional profile safely.

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