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Time to Start Blogging Again

Posted on : 22-10-2012 | By : Chikodi Chima | In : philosophizing

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Blogging is something I love. There are many forms of writing I have done, but none suit me quite like this. As I have traveled, travailed and lived many lives, the blogging medium has always allowed me to collect my thoughts, digest the day’s events, and think to the future I am creating.

I’m an expository writer. One of my classmates called me the ‘Class Philosopher’ during our high school graduation ceremony, and it’s a very fitting title. I write from the heart, and it’s something I can do for hours. Lately, though, I haven’t done much writing for myself, with the exception of a few letters and emails sent to family and close friends. Time to get back into the habit.

Life is all about choices. To do something,  and do it well, means not doing other things. I’ve recently come to the realization that my mind is only capable of carrying so many thoughts at any given time. Shouldn’t be news, but it was a new way of understanding the world. More specifically, when people ask me, “Have you done X, or considered Y,” my honest answer has frequently been, “No, I haven’t even thought of that.” This means the thought has not entered my brain, not only have I not thought it through, or made up my mind.

Blogging is something I’ve thought about a lot, and haven’t brought myself to do. One friend even told me that my day-to-day events were interesting enough for a blog. Whether or not this friend was right, it’s important for me to get back into the discipline, as a way to continue on the creative path. There are several books in me, possibly dozens. Today I was at a coffee shop thinking about how I could write a better book on sales techniques for my generation than the one I was reading. I’ve had this thought often. The only way to make that happen is to do it.

With His Golden Voice, Ted Williams Strikes Social Media Mother Lode

Posted on : 06-01-2011 | By : Chikodi Chima | In : Social Media

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In just 48 hours, former radio announcer Ted Williams has gone from homeless on the streets of Columbus, OH, to the couches of The Today Show. A stunning turn of events to be sure, and likely one of the greatest social media coups of all times.

Williams, who had battled with drug and alcohol addition, but says he had been clean for two years became an instant hit when a video with his story was published on the website of The Columbus Dispatch. This is the stuff that social media viral sensations are made of.

Since being discovered, Williams has been beset with offers of aid. The Cleveland Cavaliers organization has offered him a job as an announcer, and a caller to a radio show where Williams was being interviewed offered him a mortgage on a house. Kraft Foods has also swooped in with an offer for voiceover work, noting Williams remarkable voice, and also capitalizing on the instant Internet frenzy he has inadvertently created.

This is a heartwarming story, but also one that shows the Cleveland Cavaliers organization gets the power of social media. The fact that a cameraman from the Columbus Dispatch filmed this guy from the roadside, placed a video of it on the newspaper’s website, and catapulted Ted Williams to instant celebrity is proof of how powerful social media tools have become in instantly connecting the globe.

From the standpoint of the Cleveland Cavaliers organization, they’ve found a compelling character about whom they can tell a long story. Will he be able to deal with the pressures of notoriety? How good is he really? Will he be able to accomplish more than people expect? The only way to know is to stay tuned. As long as curiosity lingers, the Cavs organization wins, regardless of how the players perform.

It seems without question that Ted Williams will help sell tickets for the Cavaliers, and while not replacing a superstar like Lebron James, he will help the team change the conversation at a critical moment in franchise history. That he will be able to do so at a fraction of the cost is an obvious bonus.

Another interesting facet of the Ted Williams saga is that in an age of social media, scrubs make better stories than celebs. Normal people going through the ups and downs of life will elicit far more empathy and engagement from an audience of peers than the travails of celebrities such as Paris Hilton and frenemy Nicole Richie playing the role plebian princesses on their show The Simple Life. With no safety net, no one looking out for him, and no where to go if he fails, the stakes are much higher for Williams.

While reality shows allow us to peer into the lives of celebrities, we envy them and and hate them at the same time. They also can manipulate the experience to show only the sides of themselves they want seen. It’s unlikely that Williams will be able to demonstrate the same level of media savvy, and there’s no good reason to think he would. In any case, Ted Williams is one of us, and if he succeeds, we succeed. If he fails, well, how many second chances are there? It’s going to be a real cliffhanger.

Also, because he is a social media sensation, he will give the organization unique opportunities to engage an online audience around his story. People who don’t care about basketball will still love to hear about his resurrection story, and they should be able to see every detail play out on the Web.

The Arrest of Julian Assange Does Not Threaten The Future of Journalism

Posted on : 09-12-2010 | By : Chikodi Chima | In : Media Criticism

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Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Yesterday’s arrest of Julian Assange and the escalating harassment of his organization, Wikileaks, has proven many things, among them, the power of information, and how nasty things can get for those whose business it is to pry the lid off closely-guarded secrets.

While pundits, commentators, bloggers and the Internet as a whole debate the efficacy of the latest Wikileaks bombshell, Cablegate, one thing can be certain, Legacy Media benefits tremendously from the document dumps, while the journalists of the future have already sprinted ahead.

Wikileaks will not change journalism. Instead the fracases over Cablegate demonstrates how the economics of journalism have already changed the business of reporting, and the resultant product. If the 251,000 documents being released were originally pilfered as early as May of 2010 by Army private, Bradley Manning, as is suspected it is somewhat laughable that a group of distributed volunteers could keep such a juicy secret bottled up and away from the professional press for so long.

Organizations like Wikileaks, or groups with a similar agenda will have a role to play in the future of journalism, regardless of what happens to Wikileaks founder Assange, who is now in British custody, awaiting extradition to Sweden. However the future of journalism belongs to those who can use social media, devices like the iPad, location technologies and a suite of tools that make storytelling more rich, more communal and more locally relevant, while simultaneously empowering millions to join the conversation. That is the future of journalism, and the aim of the documentary and website of The Future Journalism Project is to capture the transformation that is underway. The future of journalism is being shaped by the convergence of tools and tales, both the medium of expression, what is now possible to express thanks to technologies that are becoming ubiquitous.

Aside from a few clever infographics and word clouds, little has been done with the information from the cables which demonstrate the power of new media story telling tools. (The term ‘new media’ is somewhat of a misnomer, as many of the tools and techniques are not new, but there are many mashups of existing technologies, as well as new tools that are being created every day that bring with them tremendous potential to change how stories are told and consumed)

Cablegate wordcloud from Fast Company

Julian Assange’s Death Will Look Like an Accident

Posted on : 28-11-2010 | By : Chikodi Chima | In : Media Criticism

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Today’s Guardian headline says it all; “US cable leaks spark global diplomatic crisis,” and demonstrates why Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is not long for this world.

Like a fly buzzing the ear of the world’s most powerful nations, Assange is bound to get swatted, and it will look like an accident when it happens. Surely the day is not far off.

“Tweet It” Viral Video Nails the Social Media Sharing Imperative

Posted on : 15-11-2010 | By : Chikodi Chima | In : Social Media

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Sometimes you can spot a viral smash as soon as you see it. The new “Tweet It” video from Seedwell may very well go down in history as one of the most prolific memes of all time, or it may just be the week’s big hit. Either way, with 395,000 views on YouTube, it’s a good showing.