The Final Countdown

I picked up my cap and gown today, and if that wasn’t enough of a reality check, fifteen international clocks are currently staring down at me- reminding me that my time at the University of Florida is rapidly coming to an end.  So what’s up with the clocks, you ask?  I’m referring to the fact that I’m writing this blog from UF’s premier, state-of-the-art media lab, The Center for Media Innovation and Research (aka CMIR).  On the back wall, large clocks reveal different time zones throughout the world.  But trust me, that’s not all the CMIR has to offer.

This last semester, I’ve had the enlightening opportunity to use the all of the resources of the CMIR.  As a part of my Interactive Media class, we met here regularly to explore the ever-changing world of technology.  In many ways, I owe a lot to the CMIR.  Had I not been able to use these resources firsthand, I know I  would not be happily blogging to you today.  In no way would I consider myself a natural “techie,” but the experiences I’ve gained in this very room have exponentially boosted my “computer confidence” and stimulated my desire to learn more about the intricacies of modern-day media.  If you still can’t believe how awesome this place is, check out the grand opening  ceremony for yourself! (and don’t just take my word for it, listen to testimonials from other Florida grads.) 

I think resources, like the ones available at the Center for Media Innovation and Research, are truly what make attending a research university so revolutionary.  I am just as much thankful for the education I have received from the University of Florida, as I am thankful for the practical experience I have gained.  While naysayers might argue that the research university of today is nothing more than a modern-day trade school, I maintain that this philosophy of higher education has best prepared me for the future upon which I am about to embark.

Thank you, UF for ALL of the lessons learned- both in and out of the classroom!

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The Tipping Point

The straw that broke the camel’s back, the boiling point, the last piece of paper that made the whole stack fall down: The Tipping Point.  How many people have to wear the same thing to start a trend?  How many hits does it take for a site to go viral?  How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?  What takes an idea from ordinary to extraordinary?  According to writer Malcolm Gladwell in his best-seller, The Tipping Point, the answers may surprise you, and they may be easier than you think.

Gladwell says that the most significant changes are not incited by grand gestures; however, it is the little things that create the biggest buzz.  Gladwell often refers to the largest movements in trends as “epidemics”, and says that if you examine them closely, one will find three common underlying factors that resulted in such a movement.  His three principles, The Law of the Few, The Stickiness Factor, and The Power of Context will explain everything you would ever need to know about making something cool, buzz-worthy, or marketable.

The Law of the Few states that it truly only takes one person to start an epidemic (preferably this person is an effective communicator who has a connection to the community to which he or she is speaking, but it still only takes one.)  He uses the example of Paul Revere, the heroic patriot who stood vigil and notified troops that “The British are coming!”  He will forever remain famous in American history books for those four simple words.  While the words were simple, Gladwell explains that the meaning behind them were truly what caused the epidemic; Gladwell believes that Revere’s long-standing credibility paired with the fact that he was relaying actual news, is what made the message so effective.  Paul Revere’s famous quote truly was one of the first, and most effective word-of-mouth campaigns in American history.

The next factor, The Stickiness Factor, describes a trends natural ability “to stick.”  Attention to detail and meticulous planning in the presentation of an idea can single-handedly determine if an idea will fail, or if it will succeed.  It made me think of window-shopping (one of my favorite activities).  If the items in the store-front are aesthetically arranged, there’s a greater chance I will walk in to see what’s inside.

The last theory, The Power of Context, explains how the context of a situation can change the outcome of a movement.  Almost everything is based on circumstance; in this theory, the age-old adage holds true, “how will you ever get where you want to go, if you have no idea where you’ve been?”  In this section, Gladwell talks about the “epidemic” in New York in the 1990’s.  The city’s decision to invest money into its infrastructure led to a great wave of prosperity and a decline in violence and drug use; the simple act of “cleaning up New York” became the tipping point for a better, safer city.

I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone, regardless of current occupation or major.  I truly believe that these three principles for effectively creating a “tipping point” will serve me well, not only in my future blogging, but also in better understanding the social interactions, trends, and epidemics I encounter every day.

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Can’t Get Enough?

Check out more of these noteworthy blogs!  Daniel Katz is an incredible radio personality on campus, and you can see all of his work on his blog, daklive.  If you want to be blown away by breathtaking photography look into Click and Captured by Kendall McCrory.  She’s a true talent and has an artistic eye for her passion.  Another blog I love reading is Non Profit News by Meredith Chipman; her dedication to philanthropic outreach is very inspiring.

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Meet My Classmates!

I love looking at my classmates’ blogs!  They’re VASTLY different; however, each one has it’s own special flare and provides a unique perspective.  Lucia Tolosa is a great friend of mine, and her blog, Stories in Spanglish, provides a comical and exciting view into the life of a bilingualist.  Thanks to Katie Keene, I can proudly say that my 2011 is off to a healthy start!  Her blog, Gator Fitness, makes diet and exercise look like a piece of cake!  She’s blogs ALL THE TIME, constantly providing helpful tips for a healthier you.  And last but not least is Matt Cretul.  If it weren’t for Matt, I would have no idea what was happening in the world of sports!  His blog coincides with his successful radio show, The Cheap Seats.  You should definitely check out these blogs!

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Life as I know it…

Last week was Spring Break.  A group of my friends and I went on a cruise, and it was then that we truly realized how little time we have left before graduation.  As we reflected back on all of the times we’ve shared, we looked toward the future with excitement and a bit of apprehension.  After graduation, we’ll all move on to jobs or grad school, and some of us (myself included) have many questions unanswered.  Whatever the future may hold, I am so thankful for my family and friends to lead me to the point where I am right now.  A year can bring many things.  With hope, I will be hard at work in a job I love a year from now.  Attached is a copy of my resume.  Feel free to make any suggestions or comments or forward it on to anyone you may know is hiring.   2010 resume revised

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Honk For Japan!

It’s great to see the power of the internet, and the difference just one person can make after the recent tragedy in Japan.

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The Bayh-Doyle Act of 1980

While the intentions of the Bayh-Doyle Act if 1980 may have been pure, the ramifications of this act have significantly effected the goals of high education since its institution.  According to Academic Capitalism and the New Economy by Slaughter and Rhoades, the act “gave universities and other researchers patents on intellectual property derived from academic research funded by the federal government” (36).  The implications of this act have fed the “business” motives of higher education.  Students deal with the consequences of this act every semester; many professors use their textbooks as “intellectual property.”  As a result, these professors have monopolies on their textbooks and can raise prices and change editions as they wish.  The article states that the majority of those who are capitalizing on “intellectual property” are in the science, business, and medical fields.  I would maintain that the universities are also capitalizing on the individual successes of researchers.  The University of Florida knows this all too well.  As student, I am very proud to go to a research university where countless contributions have been made in all fields; however, I know that the university also uses these successes to draw in more money from investors, boosters, and students.   My only concern is that this system has negatively affected the standards set for teachers, and inherently damaged the quality of education administered to students as a result.  To become a tenured faculty member, one must almost always perform some sort of published research.  Many great professors are not given recognition for their hard work in the classroom because they are not “published” and they lack “intellectual property.”  While agree that intellectual property should be protected, I also believe that university administrations have capitalized on and exploited research as means to “grow” their “businesses.”  In meantime, it is the hardworking teachers who are left making adjustments.  I believe research universities offer many enriching opportunities; however, research should not be forced upon faculty members in order to maintain a job.  The implications of the Bayh-Doyle Act are very present in higher education as we know it today.  Take a look at the chart below; patents issued to universities have sky-rocketed since 1980.

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