Why it’s Good to Know how to Code

Computer programing stands for a professional title, but I find that many other professional areas require programing knowledge as one of the skills. Even though the job description does not clearly states that programing skills are required, knowing core-programming languages became a competitive differentiation. With the development of technology, social media and online platforms, coding is a technical skill that can push a marketer, communicator, or a journalist at the top of the job applicant list.

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Photo Credit – Yuko Honda (Flickr)

I had the pleasure to learn about a project / platform development that will teach journalist how to code. During a field trip to Stanford, we talked to Cindy Royal, an associate Professor of Journalism at Texas State University, who is observing computer science students in Stanford as part of a fellowship. She is interested in pushing programing into a journalism curriculum. In summary from her presentation of the subject, coding is a new skill to know. It will be easier and more efficient to know programing basics to do the job, without asking for help from the IT or the engineering employee.

Women are also encouraged to enroll in software engineering to balance the number of men in the field. I learned about various groups that support women in tech, such as Women who Code and Ladies in Tech. There are academies, which provide software engineering workshops and courses just for women. For example the Hackbright Academy is a fellowship for women that learn core-coding programs in 12 weeks and introduced to companies in Silicon Valley. Partner companies in the academy are Facebook, Pinterest, Survey Monkey and more… There is even a scholarship provided by Facebook to mothers who are interested in the workshop.

For those who are new to coding and think about incorporating programing languages into their career. Here is a useful article by Rebecca Hiscott in Mashable about useful programing languages. Description of the most useful programing languages in a blog topic on it’s own. You are welcome to follow my blog to learn more about programing and how programing will be used in the marketing communications field.

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Community Engagement Showcase

The core idea that works in modern marketing and in social media marketing is building an online community – a community that cares about your message. When you provide something of value, people will be excited to be part of your company or project. Many appreciate true community services and original projects become easily active. University if Nevada, Reno is providing community based learning experience and stimulates community research that will address community issues.

On Thursday, April 24th, the Office of Service & Civic Engagement (OSLCE) hosted the first UNR Engagement Showcase. Students presented projects in categories that provide service, create change and apply community research. Marlene Rebori, Director of OSLCE at UNR opened the ceremony:

“I want you to consider the showcase a marketplace of ideas – learn, converse, engage, share different aspects, network with each other and inspire!”

Truly there were multiple interesting projects that give something of value to the community. Between a recycle bike, wilderness awareness, and the food bank projects the one that stood out to me the most was a project conducted by the School of Community Health Sciences. One of the courses they offer includes a field study abroad. Recent project that students worked on was a women protection trip to Kenya. Future courses will be taken to Turkey, Cuba and Kenya in a matter of public health.

IMG_2134During the event a presidential award for excellence in engagement was given to a group of biochemistry students. Morgan Hines and Sumayya Bekkun presented the Food and Tobacco demographics of Washoe County. The group recognized that rich food availability is correlated to Tobacco usage in certain neighborhoods.

I personally engage in a project that provides value to Reno’s startups and to UNR students. UNR Tech Connect is a project that we presented in the engagement case.

We developed the project in a Participatory Journalism graduate course. After two month of design thinking, interviews, research and information processing we came up with UNR Tech Connect. It is a news site and an upcoming event – a startup career fair. I am glad to take a part in a project that got such a positive response from the startup community, UNR, EDAWN, City of Reno and other sponsors. The project proved to me that great ideas that are important to the community get the desired recognition. Please follow my blog to get news about connections that serve a community. This principle works for successful marketing and social media campaigns.

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Google Land

Google is one the most desirable companies that people want to work at. It is known for being able to provide the most comfortable environment for its employees. Even though it is a corporate company with more than forty thousand employees, the building offices represent a playful environment. The company’s strategy is to hire the smartest and the most determined employees from diverse backgrounds that speak various languages. Open-minded culture and creative interaction areas are designed to encourage the best outcome form the working minds.

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We visited Google as part of a filed trip last week, which was organized by the graduate journalism class at UNR. The main focus of the trip was Design Thinking work atmosphere and process. We visited IDEO, Google and the d.school in Stanford about which I wrote in a previous post. My impression about the work culture in Google was that it is very creative and playful, yet very professional and technologically modernized.

In each building that we visited and in between the buildings there are many areas of interaction, such as cafes, cafeterias, and hangout areas with colorful comfortable couches. Google employees can enjoy a variety of food cuisines at the cafeterias for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the Indian food to sushi and organic kitchens, the nutritional advantage is provided to employees, with caffeine stops available at any moment. The management does not want anyone to worry about anything beyond the frame of the Google glasses. Landry services, baby day care center and charge station for electric cars are also available on the site.

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Colorful sculptures are spread out inside and in between the buildings. For example the front of the Android Building looks like a sweet yard from Hansel and Gretel. Seriously, there are enlarged cookie figures in front of the building. Colorful bikes are available at the entrance of each building, in case employees or visitors are tired from walking around. There is even a volleyball court with send, for those who need to get the blood streaming. In the lobby of the main building, where Google collects the information of all the visitors there were many art-tech activities. There were also few screens at which visitors can have a full experience of Google Earth. I enjoyed finding my parents home in Israel, starting at the full vision of the globe and by slowly zooming into Haifa, Israel.

 

 

It was exciting to view the culture at Google. Of course there is a big difference between a first time visitors to a long-term employee. But when someone enjoys such facilities as part of the daily work routine, I am sure that this atmosphere is encouraging fast and efficient results. Especially in the high tech world, structural thinking needs the brakes to continue creativity and efficiency. If you are interested to hear more about creative professional environments, feel free to follow my blog!

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Design and creativity is the new way to solve global problems!

Is there a right or wrong way to get to the final solution? Truly, the sky is the limit when it comes to creative thinking process. Many companies today use the Design Thinking process to develop the most brilliant ideas and products. New products or services must stand out in today’s innovative, fast-paced tech environment. People can develop great ideas while collaborating in a design setting. Design thinking process is generation of multiple ideas that fennel organically into a result that helps a need of a community.

It was fascinating to observe Design Thinking processes and workspaces during a field trip to d. school in Stanford, Android building in Google and IDEO. The trip was originated as a part of a graduate Participatory Journalism class, at the University of Nevada, Reno.  The atmosphere, work process and workspaces in d. school and IDEO were both screaming freedom of expression.  The design program in Stanford is focusing on global challenges of the complex business and social environments.

IMG_0434Hannah Mensing a product design graduate student took us around the classes in d. school, a combination of workshops that I have not seen before. White boards, sticky notes and sharpies were the most used materials in those classes. Students have the option to work in different arrangements of furniture with various crafty accessories and machinery to produce the idea in mind.

Design process is bringing diverse minds together to develop an idea with creativity, yet with definite strategic goals. The projects in d. school can focus on tech-oriented ideas that match the Silicon Valley professionalism or non-profit projects that will serve the global community of the developing countries. One example that design students were working on was a Nicaragua Fruit-bread project. Project’s direction was developing a solution that Nicaraguan rural citizens can use to strengthen the economic resilience.

 

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I already mentioned the two core principles of design thinking – creativity and rationality. The main principle that Hannah and Steve Bishop from IDEO were both talking about was empathy. During a design process people can be sensitive to the environment. Group members can belong to a different experience stage in which case the leaders should encourage their creativity thinking. The process of creative thinking to accomplish the most original result is a process of full collaboration between the members.

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The design process takes more notable effort that the process of project execution. In contrast, the actual time of the project should take three times longer than the brainstorming process. The first step often involves prototyping and figuring of project images. In many cases, the project seems ta take the right direction, but during the execution ideas may hit the “dark knight” space, meaning that results don’t look as they were planned. In other cases, events like that could end a project, but design thinking process allows continuity of creative work towards redirection towards creation of a better idea.

UNR Tech Connect bringing Startups and Students together!

Can Reno be the next innovative ecosystem? By looking at the local startup development in downtown, the surrounding area and the talent at the University of Nevada – Reno has a great chance of building an innovative community. A group of graduate journalism students at UNR recognized the need of a connection between the startup community and the university. Students, members of the startup community and the faculty of UNR all agreed that a communication channel between the two will be beneficial for a future of a better economy.

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Photo Credit – UNR Tech Connect and Reynolds School of Journalism, UNR.

UNR Tech Connect is dedicated to provide information and engage in events that will minimize the gap between the startup community to students and between other local communities.  There are two main ways of interaction between the tech community to students at UNR. One way is personal interaction in engaging events and the other one is following up-to-date news about local startups and development of different communities.

There is an emerging startup community centered geographically around First Street in downtown Reno. Key members of the startup companies located in that area, which is called the Startup Row were excited to participate in a first event of connectivity The Biggest Little Startup Fair is a career fair that will be held at the Marketplace in downtown on May 9th. Fifteen startup companies will be presenting job and internship opportunities at this open event. The event is also supported by EDAWN, The City of Reno, and few sponsors.

The event and other tech news will be notified on UNRTechConnect.com – a site that is managed by graduate journalism students from Reynolds School of Journalism.

Here is a quote from the About Us page from the website:

“UNR Tech Connect provides information and news about the local tech startup community. This website will also serve as a notification center for events organized by members of the local startup community.”

Current and future event information is available on the site, along with an interactive tech map and directory.

 UNR Tech Connect is also engaging with students and startup members on social media. The group is hosting weekly Twitter chats that focus on tech subjects and what’s happening in the local communities. Participating in those chats is a great way to meet students, local entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals.

More information is available on the Twitter by following @UNR_TechConnect.

I encourage students, startup personnel and local business owners to follow UNRTEchConnect.com. As more people will engage in local development and news about innovation and entrepreneurship in the city of Reno, the goal of becoming the next innovative ecosystem will get closer.

Social Media Storytelling – Why It’s Important to Create Content for a Small Business

You don’t have to be a marketing expert to create engaging content for your customers, it will develop with persistency and passion to the nature of your business. If you want to get the attention from your audience, you must provide valuable content that will differentiate you from the competitors. Valuable content is what will get you the additional revenue. Multiple content tips were given at the Reno AMA Marketing Workshop last Thursday at the University if Nevada, Reno. One of the speakers was focusing on content creation for small businesses to expand brand awareness. Dave Polivy from Tahoe Mountain Sports shared his experience on how to create great content that your audience will love:

“Why to do it?

  • It’s Free
  • It’s Fun
  • Engaging for your team and staff
  • It’s unique
  • It will set you apart because you are trying!”
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Photo taken by Alexandra Gurevich during AMA Marketing Workshop (Content Marketing for Small Business by Dave Polivy, Tahoe Mountain Sports)

The first rule is to have fun with content! As anything else in life when you are enjoying your work the results will be outstanding. People recognize content that presented with a good energy and follow it. Showing that you care and documenting that activity for social media content is a great way to build trust with the community.

As we know by now, content can be shared in a blog and social media story telling. You can read more about branded story telling in my previous blog post. A must have, the easiest to make and the most sharable content is an About Me Video. Dave almost creamed in his presentation that “If you don’t have an About Us Video yet, make one right now!”

People appreciate educational content. That is why product guidance videos and product reviews can be also shared by the many. Posting a How to…. Video on youtube is a great way to link traffic to your site. For example, I was working on my yard this week because of the coming up summer. I was searching on  Youtube about how to mow a lawn. I found useful videos online and that I thought to myself, what a great way for a small business to enrich traffic by providing such advise. Clear and educational videos received between 30,000 to 130,000 view in two to five years, which is a lot of traffic for a small business.

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For the Dave and his team content creation came naturally and even created by accident, but because it was amusing to some, their business acquired a serious crowd of online followers. As you approach content creation for your website and social media platforms do it with intention and a clear goal to increase the number of follower, likes, traffic to the website, brand awareness and mostly important increase revenue! To hear more about content marketing for a small business and success storytelling stories, please follow my blog!

Who are the Users of Social Media News?

Here are few facts that prove that most adults in the United States are using social media. It’s not just a place to connect with the community and to find the reflection of your identity. Many use social media as a source of news. In fact, during braking news events, social media post become handy for journalist to find details and current information about the event. People are tired of traditional news sources as they’re tired of traditional advertising. On social media and online search, people can find the story of their interest without flipping pages. It’s all about a matter of time; we just don’t have the time to consume information that we don’t truly care about.

Here are some facts about the users of social media in the United States. Those facts are taken from a research conducted by the Pew Research Center.

  •  62% of adults use social media
  • 60% are using Facebook
  • 19% – Linkedin
  • 18% – Pinterest
  • 15% – Twitter
  • 2% – Reddit

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Facebook is the largest social network in the US and half of it’s users get the news on the site. While the percentage of Twitter users is lower, the news readers on this site are half of the visitors. On Reddit 62% of the users read the news on the site. Youtube also plays a role in news delivery; 50% of the adults use the site and 10% read the news.

Detailed demographics of social media users and news readers can be found in this report – News Use Across Social Media Platform conducted by Pew Research Center.

There is human voice, a personalized voice in social media postings during the time of braking news. Not only the readers are getting news on social media sites, but also journalists are looking for news sources. Twitter serves as a popular tool for news sourcing by using the Advanced Search Tool. The key is to search for words that witnesses would use, such as: My on Train. The fact that people are on social media, not just to interact with friends, but for other reasons such as news gathering. That means that every company should be present on social media because that’s where people spend their time.

Are you interested in facts about social media users today? I will be posting similar articles in my future blogs…