SXSW, here we come

18 Jan

Yesterday, I received great news that the SXSW Interactive panel proposal written alongside friend and colleague Anna Tauzin, who is the web and social media editor at J-Lab, was accepted.

The proposal, titled ‘Landing Your Next Job Through Unconventional Personal Branding,’ will be featured as a Core Conversation at SXSW, which is a format that allows us to interact at a more personal level with our audience. We hope you can join us and we will spread information on the precise time and date, as schedules are still being constructed.

To say we are excited is an understatement. We can’t wait to share our thoughts on this topic. Searching for a job is no easy task, regardless of whether you are a recent college graduate, recently laid off or a veteran in your field looking for a new position. The web has provided us with many outlets to network with potential employers, but standing out from the crowd of job seekers takes some extra initiative.

In the meantime, the process of gathering ideas and solidifying the content of our conversation will be the task at hand. Hope to see you there in March.

 

 

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A few resolutions for the new year

2 Jan

Typically, I’m not much for new year’s resolutions. I can be pretty fickle (ok, maybe a little impulsive).

I wrote a post a few months ago about goals, and a lot of those have stayed the same. However, some of these goals I’d like to expound upon. Besides, I know I need to get out of the living-in-the-moment mode a bit.

I have divided these up into personal and professional goals.

Personal goals

1. Keep running and stay injury free. Running is how I relieve stress. It energizes me. However, I’ve been dealing with a nerve injury for a couple of years now. It’s been expensive (and painful) to treat, but I finally found a doctor that I feel has put me on the path to real recovery. I haven’t felt better and I have a marathon coming up at the end of January. I’m going to kick those 26.2 miles in the butt!

2. Continue to strengthen my relationships with the people I love most. A couple of years ago, I went through a very rough time in my life. I hated myself and who I had become. I stopped appreciating the people that cared about me most.  I made some serious changes. I never want to go back to that place again. I love the life I lead now and all the people who are a part of it.

3. Get out of debt. I had to support myself throughout college. Thankfully, I had a full scholarship as an undergrad, but I had to pay for graduate school on my own. I have a lot of credit card debt and student loans that need to be repaid soon. I live on a budget now and have started to drive down a lot of that credit card debt. Pretty proud of myself for that, so I want to keep it up.

4. Make art. I don’t shoot photos or video like I used to. Granted, I would do it for the other gigs I had in the past and I had better equipment. I want to focus on shooting more, but with an eye toward art versus something journalistic.

Professional goals

1. Always make an effort to learn new things and see how I can become better at my job. Since I started working at the Statesman in August, I slowed down on blogging and coding in my spare time. However, now that I feel adjusted, I want to continue to explore different ideas in communication and technology. Sometimes a lot of my understanding of new technology requires me to ‘play’ with it on my own before I can apply it elsewhere.

2. Build a mobile app. It’s always cool to know how the backend of something works by building it yourself. I hope do this at some point in my spare time.

3. Redesign my site with a CMS. Last year, I was introduced to several CMS and now that I understand the front end, I want to know more backend here as well. Now that I FINALLY got my domain back and my site is horribly outdated, it’s a good excuse for me to start from scratch.

P.S. Don’t ever forget to pay your domain host like I did…it’s expensive and time consuming in the end.

 

Christmas means being grateful for those obnoxious pink pajamas

25 Dec

It’s 9 a.m. Christmas Day.

By this point, I have Christmas No.1 knocked out with my boyfriend Mitchell’s family, which is held Christmas Eve. Only two more to go…

After seven years, this sort of Christmas has become a routine. I pack up my car with gifts, food, two hyperactive mini dachshunds and drive from Central Texas to the tiny South Texas town where I grew up, Cuero. I arrive at my mom’s, prepare any last minute food, sit down, have a tamale or two with my mom, and head out to meet with Mitchell’s family.

His family’s gatherings remind me of the ones we used to have as a child, which is why I enjoy spending my Christmas Eve’s with them. His grandmother’s home is filled with his aunts and uncles, close family friends, little cousins (all boys, mind you), dogs, lots of food, and presents. The boys run around with plastic guns, soccer balls, cans of soda as gift wrap flies around the room where the Christmas tree and gifts reside.

It’s a stark contrast from the Christmases with my Mom and Dad, respectively. They are much more low-key. My dad’s closest relatives live hundreds and hundreds of miles away in deep south Mexico. Cousins from my mom’s side of the family live near, but we usually don’t get together. So Christmas No. 2 begins with my mom, sister, her boyfriend, my niece and Mitchell. Christmas No. 3 is spent with my dad and stepmom.

While things have changed since I was a child, I’m starting to appreciate these smaller gatherings more. My parents are getting older and I understand how important it is to spend time with them. Last year, my mom was diagnosed with Stage Four Ovarian Cancer. It was a scary time, but she’s fought it with a might. She’s doing great and being, well, my mom. Even though she gave Mitch and I an early Christmas present of a new dryer (it’s AMAZING), she still gave me the hideous pair of pajamas I’ve come to expect. It’s become amusing now.

I’ll humor her and wear the obnoxious pink PJs later…

 

Questions regarding new media and how it changed the direction of my career

13 Sep

A good friend of mine, Carly Smith, asked me to answer a few questions for a newsletter she has to develop for a independent study course she is taking during her last semester of graduate school. I wanted to share a few of those responses. She had some great questions to ask that made me think about my education and career direction.

What is your current job?  How long have you been there?
I’m a content producer for the Austin American-Statesman. I have been there for about a month now.

Has new media become your main focus, or are you using it to compliment your original career interests?  (For example, public relations + new media, journalism + new media, technology + social media, etc.).
It’s a little bit of both. When I received my undergraduate degree in print journalism, it was at the point everything was beginning to change. I didn’t feel my degree was irrelevant, but I knew I didn’t have a lot of the skills necessary to be a successful journalist. I needed more, which is why I chose to go to graduate school and get a degree in mass communication-new media. While my job is in journalism, it’s focused more on new media and coming up with creative solutions to showcase a story with multimedia and other visual elements.

How has the world of new media altered your original career goals?  Have they completely changed?
It absolutely altered my original career goals. I suppose I always imagined myself getting a job at a newspaper as a reporter post-graduation and doling out stories on regular basis. Funny how that never happened, but I couldn’t be happier with the direction my career went. My first job out of college was as a multimedia producer for a news startup, and while I didn’t stay there long, I remember only writing up one piece. The rest was focused on site development, photography and video. Now at the Statesman, I don’t actually produce much content (contrary to my job title). My role is more about posting content to the web and deciding which stories, video or photos should be displayed more prominently. Granted I get direction from my bosses on this, but it’s pretty exciting to be a part of that editorial process.

 

So this leads me to ask all of you the same.

How has new media changed your career? Do you think you could have learned more about it in college?

A new chapter: The start of my career at the Austin American-Statesman

16 Aug

It was unexpected. It happened in a snap. It was some of the most exciting news I’ve received in a long time.

Last week, I was officially offered a position as an evening content producer for Statesman.com, which I accepted. I’m thrilled that I will be working at a media organization I truly respect and has so many innovative ideas. I cannot wait to become a part of this award-winning team and publication. My first day is Aug. 23.

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From http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ (only one of the raddest blogs in existence)

The road to finding to a job was long and took a lot of perseverance, but it all paid off in the end. I’ve been on countless interviews and took on some contract work while I found something more permanent, which helped me learn a lot about the job process and working independently. It is an experience I won’t soon forget. I was very lucky to have the support of family and friends who knew I would eventually land a great opportunity. My network of contacts were terrific and intstrumental in helping me land this position as well.

This all leads me talk about a SXSW Interactive panel I have proposed with a good friend, Anna Tauzin, who works as the web and social media editor at the J-Lab at American University, on job searching and I believe it ties well to this experience. It’s called Landing Your Next Job Through Unconventinal Personal Branding. We want to discuss using personal branding in a creative way to help get a new job. We’ll discuss web tools, social media and networking and show examples of such creative personal branding. We plan on having our former professor Cindy Royal on the panel, and hoping to get someone like Mark Luckie of 10000 Words, who is a great example of someone used a personal brand and other creative approaches to land his latest gig as the Washington Post’s Innovation Editor. Feel free to take a look at the proposal and tell us your thoughts.

Otherwise, all I have to say is I’m pumped to start training at my new job and I hope the Statesman is ready for a lot of awesome and baked goods while I’m around.

Designing for cuteness: My card collection

3 Aug

I spent this past weekend visiting my parents, sister and her daughter. It was a laid back weekend, with the exception of some horrid virus I’m trying to battle right now. It hit me out of nowhere yesterday.

Anyway, before I become completely bed-ridden, I wanted to share some designs I created over the weekend with the help of my very creative 10-year-old niece. Children really have a different way of looking at the world and when I got stuck on the bear design I made, she was right there to give me advice. She really seemed to enjoy watching me play with Photoshop. Maybe she’ll latch on and grow up to do graphic design 🙂

Anywho, without further ado, here are a series of cutesy graphics I made. I’m thinking they may work well as greeting cards. Your thoughts and advice are always appreciated. Enjoy.

Happy Panda

Monkey Face

Yum Cupcake

Happy Bearday

 

Steve Jobs is still Steve Jobs and iPhone 4 users will get a bumper. Yay.

16 Jul

I watched/read liveblogging of Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference this afternoon like any good tech geek should.

Full disclosure: I don’t have an iPhone 4. I don’t plan on buying one anytime soon either because I’m perfectly happy with my 3GS. I could generally say I love using Apple products too. However, I never really thought Steve Jobs’ and Apple’s handling of the whole iPhone 4 issue was done very well. Jobs is considered to be a stubborn fellow when it comes to his business practices, but it’s that stubborness that has produced some amazing products that consumers love.

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Nevertheless, I remain skeptical about the fix and I think Apple had a whole public relations debacle they didn’t address properly. I think they are still being rude and condescending about it. But will this whole experience really change my mind about Apple or not make me a customer? Not really. They’re still better than a PC. I don’t necessarily have an interest in buying an Android phone. That’s just me.

I’m not sure if this is a genuine fix, but if giving people free bumpers, an exchange or refund is what makes them happy, then cool. I wouldn’t totally be down with someone suggesting to me to stick a piece of rubber around my phone in order to make it work better. I stick a piece of rubber around my phone because I like the color pink and I drop my phone a lot. But if that tickles your fancy, then more power to you.

Look, no smartphone has ever been spectacular at making phone calls, especially iPhones. When I lost my second iPhone (I know. Bad iPhone owner!), I used my sister’s old Samsung Blackjack from 2005 for six months until I could upgrade my phone. While the technology was outdated and web browsing was generally a terrible experience on the Blackjack, I never had a dropped call the entire time I used it. As soon as I got my new iPhone, it was back to dropped calls.

Anyway, just don’t death grip your iPhone again. Or I guess any other smartphone for that fact. That’s what Steve Jobs said.

 

How will the new Myspace profile design affect musicians?

16 Jul

In case you haven’t heard, Myspace is beginning to demo a new profile layout on its site. Mashable posted a story yesterday that showed what the new profile design will look like.

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Photo from Mashable.com

Some are comparing the new layout to that of Facebook’s, which I could agree with. I think the most interesting aspect of this new layout is a module that allows users to follow people on multiple social networks in addition to a Myspace profile. This is pretty smart especially for those that don’t want to manage finding a user on different sites.

Myspace has experienced a diminishing community with the rise of Facebook, but it is still a powerful promotion tool for musicians, which is the community Myspace originally focused on at its inception. I’m interested in knowing what musicians think about the new layout because it looks like it will vastly change the typical design. I’ve been doing a little research lately on music marketing and it seems like musicians prefer Myspace because it is easy to upload their music and promote shows versus Facebook, which requires users to add applications in order to get some of the same tools.

Are you a musician? What do you think about it? Is this good or bad?

Hello, sweet smelling Old Spice. That marketing campaign smells like gold.

14 Jul

If you’re like me and enjoy lurking Twitter while you take a break from writing, designing or whatever it is you do, you have seen the wonderfully hilarious marketing campaign being promoted by Old Spice through Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Thanks to Omar Gallaga at the Statesman, who put together a nice blog post on the campaign, which after reading, I spent the next hour wasting time watching the numerous video responses.

Here are some of my favorite Old Spice videos so far:

To Kevin Rose

To Alyssa Milano

My personal favorite: What do you want your lady to smell like?

Picking a logo for my new design site

12 Jul

I’m in the process of creating my design site and I came up with a general scheme I want to use. Here are four different versions for a logo. Which appeals most to you?

Logo

Logo_3
Logo_1
Logo_2