Posted by: simonk6 | December 14, 2009

Final Project- Homeless Holidays in Seattle

A preview to my project. See the link below or the page tab above to enter my project.

“Homeless Holidays in Seattle” was created by me for the purpose of raising awareness about the understated problem of homelessness in Seattle, WA. Using a combination of photos, video, audio interview and screen shots I have created a page that is dedicated to the thousands of individuals that are freezing and without shelter during below freezing winter temperatures. I include a personal story from a man named Garland who has lived on the streets for over 18 years. On the page you will see links to organizations that accept donations to provide food and shelter to those in need. The project was created as part of a Digital Communication Technology course at the University of Washington taught by instructor Kathy Gill.

Posted by: simonk6 | December 10, 2009

Stumbling Upon Travel Ideas- final subject matter post

My friend's and I vacation to southern California in July of 2009.

Each year I plan a big vacation for me and two or three friends. We usually travel during the summer time when we are out of school. The past eleven weeks in COM 495 I have been introduced to an abundance of online tools/websites that can be of much benefit to me. One site that I decided to revisit is StumbleUpon. This is a site that allows you to “stumble” upon different websites related to the search criteria that you choose. Unlike typical search engines like Google and MSN, StumbleUpon searches by topic of the website and not keywords in that site. For me, I chose the topic  “travel.” I can just keep clicking “Stumble” until I find a site related to travel that interests me. The number of sites seems like it will never end so I can spend hours on Stumbleupon until I find some useful info for my next summer vacation. Stumbleupon is a unique and valued alternative to traditional google searching.

So go ahead StumbleUpon your interests!

In this article they talk about the problem with blogs being both public and sometimes very personal. I wanted to draw on something that I found pretty interesting and important to the continued increase of users in the blog world. The article says that blogs are getting an increased amount of attention from the mainstream media. Most network stations like KIRO 7 and KING 5, affiliates of CBS and NBC have adopted blogging technology themselves. In promoting their own blogs they give “shine” to the blog world. Due to the influence that news has on its consumers, attention to the blog world from mainstream media encourages us to be bloggers.

An interesting fact that I pulled from the article is that the first mention of a weblog in the press was in 1998. Since then I feel that blogs have gained a lot more users and more traction in bringing together people of similar interest.  The article says, “It appears that blogs originated as a way to share information of interest.” For me, this is one of the most unique things about a blog is that you can share information, ideas, opinions, help and concerns with people of the same interests. For example, in the future I plan to create a blog on “Mega Mansions.” I am not sure whether I will focus on the Northwest region or across the entire nation and world. Either way, I plan to attract like-minded individuals and have the opportunity to share my knowledge, information and they can share theirs with me. Maybe meeting these people will open up opportunity for me in the future. This is related to using a blog as a marketing tool to produce leads.

I agree with a lot of the features that the article says makes a blog a blog. The article says, “…reverse chronology, frequent updating, and combination of links with personal commentary” are all subjects to define the basis of a blog. I agree with each one of these and feel that if one of these is omitted that the blog is not as “official” or credible. For example, a blog arranged with the newest post at the bottom of the page and the first (oldest) post at the top does not follow standard blogging structure. In this format you would see that same old post every time you go to the blog and not see the new post. This kind of blog is more like a normal webpage and people don’t usually scroll all the way down in hopes of a more recent post.

What features do you think makes a blog a blog? (External links? How frequent of updates?)

How much of an impact do you think the mainstream media has had in the sudden growth of the weblog?

How does sharing information of interest promote interactivity on websites and blogs alike?

Posted by: simonk6 | December 5, 2009

Homeowner’s promote vacation rentals online

For this week’s subject matter post I chose to write about how homeowner’s are using the internet to produce income from their rental home. Instead of long term rentals I refer to vacation rentals. What brought my interest to this topic was my own hunt for a vacation rental and me stumbling upon a home that was for rent. The man was a real estate agent but he had an awesome rental property on Whidbey Island and had designed a unique site that showcased the rental. He rented the home on a nightly or weekly basis and included a hot tub and a trail to the water.

From then on I always thought of how cool it would be to have a vacation rental that could produce income and provide convenience for me and my family. The success of a rental property like this can be attributed to the online presence of the property. Overall, I will be looking to digital media and social networks to promote my future rental properties. Being members of numerous networks and having a strong online presence provides exposure to your property and helps your business.

Posted by: simonk6 | December 5, 2009

Convergence- Reading reflection wk. 11

The article for this week goes over the new trend of convergence and how it is being implemented and the hundreds of billions of dollars that companies are spending to make convergence possible. Television on your phone and internet through your cable box are both examples of the kind of convergence that is happening today.

One of the first things I thought of was Netflix and how they now allow you to instantly stream movies and watch TV episodes through “Netflix ready devices” like game consoles, TVs, Blu-ray players and others. You can watch these shows and movies as many times as you want and whenever you want without having an effect on the number of DVD’s you still get my mail. What amazed me most about this entire service is that it is included in your membership at no additional fee! This example with Netflix could be a pre-cursor to the increased consumer benefit of convergence.

While Netflix is an excellent example of the new convergence that has took place it does not prove that it will be a winning strategy for the vast number of companies that have spent billions of dollars to provide multiple services on one platform. Many land-line phone operators are losing their customers to broadband providers who now offer phone service as well. Consumers are also giving up their home phone lines for their mobile phones. My mother fell into this category and tried to cancel her phone service from Qwest and rely on her T-mobile cellular phone. Fortunately, when she called to cancel her service Qwest offered to give her 2 free months and drop her bill significantly for a year.

Specials offers like the one offered by Qwest to my mother are what will keep the land line phone companies alive. For me, I need to have both a mobile phone and a home phone because of the nature of my business in real estate. When the power goes out or my mobile phone has no service, I can always rely on my analog home phone which requires a simple analog connection for both power and a phone connection.

What kinds of big business merging can we expect to see in the future?

How does internet drive many of the forces that affect and control/limit convergence?

Posted by: simonk6 | December 2, 2009

Discussion Leader Reflection- Activerain

For my discussion leader topic I chose the networking site “activerain.” My goal was to show the class that activerain can be useful not just for real estate salespersons but for investors, first-time homebuyers, entrepreneurs, sales and marketing professionals, those who are moving and those who are interested in new technology.

A classmate who also works in real estate had never heard of this site. It felt good to be able to show someone a site that is useful and they were unaware of prior to my presentation. For all the other students who do not work in a real estate related profession I hope that they too can use the site in the future for consumer needs and that it may possibly spark interest for a career related to real estate. As I explained in my presentation, there is a lot of awesome and useful content on activerain that is all user-generated.

Activerain allows you to share ideas and helpful tips with other professionals and consumers across the world. Self-educate on this site and be prepared when you are ready to buy your first home. I hope that some of my classmates will consider activerain as a source of information.

Activerain makes it competitive for its professional users by having a point system. They also rank you with others in you city, county and state. Brian mentioned in class that the only site that he could think of similar to the point system implemented by activerain is a sports blog that ranks you with names like “elite” wtc. Overall, activerain is a unique site that I was glad to research and present. Focused around real estate, the site can provide help for everyone from 20 year veteran realtors to first-time homebuyers.

Posted by: simonk6 | November 29, 2009

Discussion Leader- activerain network

I chose to explore the activerain network. The site is mostly used by entrepreneurial real estate salesperson and related professionals. These individuals represent a vast range of companies across the nation that include: Windermere, Redfin, John L. Scott, Remax, RealtyUSA, Old Republic Title Company and Keller Williams.

The Voices of activerain users youtube video

Posted by: simonk6 | November 29, 2009

Reading Reflection wk. 10

This week’s article, “Why the News Media Became Irrelevant—And How Social Media Can Help” written by: Michael Skoler attempts to explain the change that has occurred in the mainstream media over the past 25 years. Unlike many others that attribute the internet to the big shift in the way we consume media, he says change began long before that. Skoler refers to surveys that show a decrease in the trust that the public has in journalism in the past 25 years. Oddly, he does not link to any results or explanations of the surveys nor does he tell us who produced the survey. He says that our news has become “less local and less relevant” and as a result reporters became less connected to the community. Skoler explains how this began happening over the past few decades when “news conglomerates took over.”

For journalists, a decrease in trust and connection with their communities is not a good thing. Just like anybody else in our lives if we don’t trust someone we tend to stray away from them. This means we will stay away from the content produced by journalists and lean more towards other forms of content either online or within our network.

If you take a network perspective on media consumers we can then see the tremendous impact the internet has had on the distribution of information. Even as Skoler says the shift began before the web, the internet has excelled our abilities to communicate in lighting speeds. When news hits, we can disburse it instantly. For example, if we see a car wreck on I-5 a simple Facebook status update from our i-Phone that says, “ I just saw a huge wreck on I-5 north right by UW!” can alert hundreds of people in your network who now can choose to confirm the incident, pass the info to their network or both.

What do we have to say about the irrelevance of local news today? How does Skoler’s view of the new media compare to yours?

Skoler says, “Mainstream media are low on the trust scale for many…” how does this statement compare to you and your friend’s opinion of mainstream media and how can we connect this to the elevated use of social networks today?

The Sharehouse is a non profit agency that provides furniture and household goods free of charge to families that are in transition from homelessness too permanent housing. They collect furniture or household goods that you no longer want and deliver them to families that are in need of a couch, bed or table.

The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) provides an option for people or organizations to sign up as a member and they charge a set amount as a membership fee. These fees are used to “support the Coalition’s local, state, and national advocacy work, and help to maintain its 29 year history of organizing an independent, accurate, and community-driven One Night Count of people who are homeless and without shelter in King County” (SKCCH). Founded in 1979 they are one of the oldest homeless coalitions in the country.

Both of these links will be useful reference material for my project on Homeless Holidays in Seattle.

Posted by: simonk6 | November 27, 2009

My Project Update: Change of topic

Since my last post on project updates I have done a 360 turn on my project topic. Instead of doing plug-ins for WordPress I am now going to create a short video on the issue of “Homeless in Seattle.” I plan to create a short video in which I go around the city and try to capture the reality of living on the streets. I will link to sites like the Seattle’s Union Gospel mission in which people can donate to the cause and help provide food and shelter to these people. My time line is as follows:


Shoot video: TODAY 11/27/09

Process and edit video: 11/28/09

Edit photos in photoshop and post to my blog: 11/29/09

FINAL TURN IN: 12/2/09


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