Latest Entries »

The internet is the most wonderful thing that has happened for college students in many decades as it allows us to have an infinite amount of information at our fingertips. Gone are the days of debate about who won the 1998 World Series (New York Yankees) or who won the Best Actress in 2005 (Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby). Anything we want to know is only a moment away. Seems great right?

The unfortunate side of the information age is the quality of information our students use in their research. High school and college students today are so used to using Google and Wikipedia in their personal lives that they transfer that into their studies. And while technology literacy is a wonderful attribute for them, understanding the pros and cons of the internet when writing and researching is essential to success.

In this blog piece, I’ve decided to take a look at the positive and negative aspects of the internet when it comes to certain aspects of the writing process. Hopefully, this will make students aware of some of these pitfalls before doing their next paper.

The Information Age has changed how students do research.

The Information Age has changed how students do research.

#1 – Prewriting

This is a crucial step that frequently people forget to do at all or spend adequate time with. Many feel that it is an extra step or extra work that they can skip and still provide a quality product. What I often explain to students is that without the framework of a paper, your organization is lacking. An example I give in class is: Imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint. What is most likely to happen?

Cons – Students often attempt to sit down with a blank Microsoft Word document when it comes time to write their paper. Prewriting guides the entire work, especially giving you direction when it comes time to research.   You can ask questions that you want to answer that can at least give you an idea of what you want to say by allowing you to formulate a central idea of your paper. Without prewriting, your “house” may not stand on its own.

Pros – A frequent statement that I hear when research papers are assigned is: “I have no idea what to write about”.   This is where technology comes into play. In the information age, bloggers have become the modern day public opinion meter.   Blogs are out there about any topic, therefore reading a blog piece or two may help inspire you about what topic to write about or what opinion to have. Much of writing comes from feelings and ideologies that the writer has and sometimes reading an opinion piece can help writers form their own opinion about certain topics.

#2 – Research

To me, research is the aspect of writing that has changed the most in the information age. Prior to the internet, researchers had to find books, magazine articles, or even microfilm to find information that they needed. Today, we have an infinite number of resources at our fingertips, including Google and Wikipedia. Understanding how to evaluate these resources is extremely important to success in writing.

Cons – Wikipedia – While Wikipedia is a wonderful asset to us as a society, many still do not understand the numerous problems that Wikipedia presents. The main issue is the fact that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. If I wanted to go change an entry right now I certainly have the opportunity to do so. That said, academically Wikipedia is just too general to be useful in a college setting. It’s the same reason that researchers wouldn’t use an encyclopedia in research; it is just too broad for the type of information that we seek as researchers at a college level.

Cons – Blogs – For the individual college student, blogging is a necessity. Blogging though is another major facet of research that has watered down the quality of information that we are presented with on a daily basis. Think of it this way: Writers have to painstakingly get edited before their work is published and journalists have an editor that can dice up their stories to fit spacing guidelines or other factors in the news media. Bloggers, however, have little or no oversight and some bloggers do not take the time to fact check. Also, blogs are often meant to be persuasive in nature. Books, news stories, etc. are typically meant to be informative in nature, to present the facts to you and allow you to make your own opinions.   Blogs are typically trying to attempt to make you change your opinion on a matter, which detracts from the validity and usefulness in an academic setting.

Pros – Wikipedia – Wikipedia does offer many positive things to a researcher though. First, if you are new to a topic and have limited knowledge on a subject, Wikipedia may be a good starting point for general information, as it may point you in the right direction for future research. Also, Wikipedia has extensive references and further reading sections that can direct you to other sources that provide a wealth of quality information. So, while Wikipedia shouldn’t be cited as a source, it is a great place to start your research.

#3 – Revision and Proofreading

One of the aspects in writing that is often neglected is the step of revising and editing a paper. Technology has made us “lazy” in the sense that once we run a spelling and grammar check, we feel that this step has been completed and often may not even read back over our work

Cons – Spelling and grammar check – Microsoft Word and other word processing programs have come a long way in providing us a great deal of tools that can assist us in the revision and editing process. As I mentioned, however, many students think that this tool is a substitute for taking a little extra time to reread their work. In fact, the most common error I see as a professor is students either not using it at all or only using it and not reading through their paper prior to turning it in. And to a professor, this is quite obvious.

Pros – SmartThinking – At Central Penn College, we have series of tools that students may use to help improve their revision and editing skills. The first and most useful is SmartThinking, a tool on Blackboard that provides online tutors to help assist you in your writing. I encourage students to learn more about this wonderful tool by check out their website (http://www.smarthinking.com/explore/how-it-works/) and accessing the tool through Blackboard on the “Tools” tab.

Pros – Emailing your professor, classmates and others

Technology has made getting feedback on your work much easier than in the past. First, you should always reach out to your professor at their office hours or via email. I’m always happy to look over a paper and provide feedback to students should they email me their paper in advance of the due date. You could also email classmates and get their feedback, realizing that you may also be helping them in their studies by seeing how someone else approached the assignment.

As we are clearly in the information age, instructors have realized that this is both a blessing and a curse for students. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of technology could be the difference between success and disappointment when it comes to the writing and researching processes that all college students face. Using some of the tools I’ve suggested here could make the navigation of this information age less of a challenge and more of an adventure!

By:  Paul M. Miller

Professor, Central Penn College

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495/

I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to teach a variety of social media related classes in my time at Central Penn College and am fortunate this term to be teaching a social media marketing class.  I get to show my students how to listen on social, how to create a content calendar, and this week’s topic, how to deal with customer comments.  The irony is that I had a situation last memorial day weekend that provides a perfect case study for what we are speaking about in class this week.

The situation:  My wife and I took a much-needed mini-vacation to Pittsburgh over Memorial Day weekend.  From my time at Slippery Rock, I still have friends in the area that we usually stay with.  The years however have caught up with us and my friend now has two young children, so staying with them isn’t an option.  We decided to stay at Motel 6 at 2834 Banksville Road just outside of the city, mainly because it was the closest to his house.

The room and hotel itself weren’t bad (you get what you pay for in the hotel industry more than any other) and certainly would have been sufficient for our one evening stay.  The issue arose when I went down to get coffee in the morning.  I went to the lobby to see if they had a continental breakfast of some kind.  Unfortunately, they didn’t.  This wasn’t a major issue because we had early lunch plans anyway and they did have coffee.  After I got my coffee, I needed to use the bathroom and went to the attendant at the front desk to ask where the bathroom was.  She proceeded to question that I was a guest in the hotel and that the bathroom was only for guests.  This was shocking to me.  When I told her that I was a guest and then showed her my room key she then told me that I should “Go upstairs to my room and use that bathroom”.

I want to preface the rest of this piece by saying that I have worked in the service industry from the time I was 15 years old until just before I started teaching about three years ago, so for the better part of 15 years.  In that time, I worked at every sort of restaurant you could imagine and even in a hotel.  Treating a guest in this fashion is absolutely unthinkable.  I could understand if I wasn’t a guest in a large city I suppose, but telling a guest to walk upstairs to my room to use the bathroom is unthinkable.

This is not the main issue for me though.  The main issue that I encountered was the lack of response that I received from their customer support and via social media.  The lesson that we are discussing in class this week is how to deal with comments that a business receives via social media and the importance of timely responses.

Here is the aggravation that I went through regarding this complaint I made:

#1 – The day of the incident, I immediately emailed their customer support (around 8:30am).  I received an automated message saying that their customer service department was open seven days a week from 9a – 10p, so I expected to hear from them later that day, which I did not.  In fact, I’ve yet to receive an email from them four days later.

#2 – Then I decided to take to Facebook.  I sent them a message explaining what happened and again did not receive an immediate response.  It took them nearly three hours to contact me back and when they did, all they did was to give my the number for customer service.

Let’s think about it this way:  If I’ve already emailed them and sent them a message on Facebook, do you think that I want to spend time on hold waiting for them to respond to me again?

#3 – Finally, they sent me a message that said that if I provided them with my information that they would contact me immediately.  I did so at 1:30pm and here it is five hours later with still no response.

The point I’m trying to make here is simple:  Businesses have an obligation in the day and age of social media to respond in a timely fashion to customer complaints.  According to research, it takes 7 times as many resources to convert a new client than it does to retain an existing one.  They very easily could have reached out to me at the beginning of this exercise and tried to make the situation right.  If they did a good job, not only would I have remained an existing customer, I may have then taken to social media or my blog to discuss how wonderful of a job they did in taking care of the situation.  Social media has changed the way that customers do business and companies that don’t recognize this now are doomed for failure.

So, at the end of the day, Motel 6 took an opportunity to professionally take care of a situation and make me a life-long customer and tossed it aside.  All I really wanted to know is that I was heard and that the situation was going to be handled with the respect I was due.  Unfortunately, this did not happen.  So I encourage my network to please reconsider staying with Motel 6 until they shape up, or at least make this situation right.

And then of course, this happened just after my stay:  http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2015/05/26/undercover-sting-on-prostitution-at-hotel-on-banksville-road/

I will update this situation should they respond.

Over the past few years, one of my most successful and important blog pieces has been my “Why I’m Thankful on Thanksgiving” posts.  I get an opportunity to reflect upon the last year of my life and give thanks to those that made the progress I’ve seen possible.  This year will be no different, as I’ve managed to continue seeing my goals come to be thanks to the assistance and guidance of those around me.

While I haven’t seen monumental career changes this year, I continue to do a job that I love and am inspired every day by my students to be a better professor and person.  What follows is not a comprehensive list of those responsible for where I am, but a list of those that I respect and admire and have made this year one of the best ever.

My new wife, Jacqueline

2014 was a monumental year for my personal life.  After being together through good times and bad for seven years, Jackie and I finally got married.  We had been engaged and planning  our wedding for nearly two years, so needless to say that consumed most of my time.  Anyone that was fortunate enough to be in attendance will certainly vouch that we had an amazing time.  From the 75 degree late September weather, to the beautiful scenery at Hunter’s Valley Winery, to the most amazing wedding food (and cake from Bella’s Bliss Bakery), to having all of our friends together to celebrate, our wedding was one for the ages.

In addition, we had the opportunity to have our honeymoon in the most beautiful place in the world, Punta Cana.  It was an amazing experience for many reasons, but I can’t help but get the feelings out of my mind about the level of poverty we witnessed in our time there.  Truly, after the honeymoon was over, I was indeed thankful to have a beautiful wife, a loving family, and a career I love.

Our Fantastic Wedding Party!

Our Fantastic Wedding Party!

My best man, Bart Kaminski

Bart and I have had an interesting friendship, one that culminated with a tear-jerking best man speech at the wedding.  But he also has given me an opportunity to advance my career with our new endeavour of Hop Hedz Gear (http://www.hophedzgear.com), where I am the marketing director.  While over the past five years or so I’ve been involved with social media, I now have a tremendous opportunity to handle all aspects of marketing for an emerging business with a killer product.  It is amazing the amount of faith both Bart and business partner Brett have put in my ability to showcase the company, not just at shows, but online as well.

My Loving and Supportive Family

This year was a bit difficult for me family wise, in that my mother has been in and out of the hospital with heart problems.  I honestly must say that I’ve never been so worried as I’ve been for her over the past few months.  For those wondering, she is doing okay, but it seems that this is going to be a lingering problem for the rest of her life.  Hopefully, things for her begin moving in the right direction so her health can be something that she doesn’t worry about in the future.

Also, I can’t thank my family enough for all of the assistance that they provided us with the wedding.  They were able to take care of several things that we simply didn’t have time for or didn’t think of even doing.  Special thanks go out to my sister Danielle, who made a beautiful bridesmaid for Jackie, but also served as emotional support for her as well.

Finally, My Students

For all of the times that my students make me crazy, there are even more times that they drive me to become a better professor.  And while some of them may get upset that I dock them points for being late or tell them to get off of their phones, I promise they will look back at me as being influential too.  I look back at two of my favorite professors, Dr. James Laux (Slippery Rock) and Dr. Ted Carlin (Shippensburg) and realize that it’s not the easy teachers that make something of you, it’s those that challenge you to be the best you can be.

When scheduling classes, I remember asking “How easy is Professor X?”, when I should have asked “What did you learn from Professor X?”.  Life is not easy, and as soon as my students realize this fact, they may understand why I am hard on them.  It’s not because I want to be rude or because I like to give them a hard time, it’s because I want the best for them in ways that many of my professors did not.

Truly everyone associated with my life has helped make me the person I am today.  It was an honor and a privilege for each and every one of you to spend your day(s) with me and my new bride at our wedding day.  I hope that each and every one of you understands how much I value your friendship and I hope that we can continue to share these special moments of our lives for years to come.

Paul Miller

pmiller@kollisionmedia.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495/

As someone who has had a successful blog for the better part of three years, I often have students show great interest in blogging.  There is one question that continuously arises:  What should I write about?  Students have an easy time understanding why blogging is so important:  It gives them a place to showcase their writing ability, their knowledge of their chosen field, and their dedication to do something not (usually) required in a college curriculum.  The issue remains:  How do you develop content?

Answering this question is something that took me quite some time to develop an understanding for.  At first, I had the same quandary.  I started my blog after an influential moment in my life, the first time I attended Harrisburg University’s Social Media Summit.  I took great notes on each panel and decided that I would write my commentary about what I learned to share with my network.  The problem arose after I wrote about each session, accomplishing my initial goal:  Now what do I write about?  The tips that I discuss are ways that I’ve managed to keep my blog going strong over the past few years and I believe these tips can help any blogger for both the short and long terms.

Tip #1 – Develop a frequency of posts and stick to it

When I first began blogging, I felt that a weekly blog piece was the direction that I wanted to pursue.  After about two months, I felt that this was a goal that was very difficult to achieve.  I wasn’t because I didn’t like to write or that I had trouble finding inspiration; it was that I was working multiple jobs.  Making sure I was doing my job to the utmost of my ability superseded the need for a weekly blog.  Since then, I have vowed to have at least one blog per month.  While I’ll admit that some months I didn’t have the opportunity to write, I’ve averaged about 10 blogs per year.

For those starting a new blog, my advice would be to start with what you are comfortable with.  Don’t be unrealistic and think that you’ll be able to blog daily, or even weekly.  If you love to write and have plenty of ideas at your disposal, make an idea bank with potential topics.  That way, if something doesn’t strike you between entries, you always have ideas to fall back on.  Secondly, don’t write just to write.  Be inspired about your topic.  Show that it is relevant to your career path or at least of interest to you.  The worst blogs are those that show no passion, as if the writer is just going through the motions.

Tip #2 – Follow Influencers on Social Media/Reach out for comments/interviews

Social Media has been a communications revolution unlike any the world has witnessed in the modern era.  The world has totally changed the way we as humans communicate with one another.  This also allows us amazing access to those that influence our field of choice.  One strategy that I’ve employed is to look at the field that I’m involved in and find those that are on the cutting edge.  I continuously read and interact with these individuals so I can be in the know of current and important topics.  This has been one of my largest inspirations when it comes to writing my blog.  Also, reach out to your network and ask them questions.  I’ve never had one person turn me down for a three question email interview when I told them I was writing a blog piece.  People want to help you and you shouldn’t feel intimidated to contact them.

blogging-tips-300x225

Tip #3 – Read articles related to your field

Beyond following people that are influential in your field, it’s important to constantly read anything you can find about these topics.  To be successful in the modern age, one must love what they do.  You have to be able be immersed in the topic on a daily basis.  Read at least two articles a day about your field of study and understand the current problems or issues that go along with it.  This will help you become educated and more importantly, well-rounded in discussion.  You can then use this knowledge in interviews with potential employers.

Tip #4 – Develop an informed opinion

This tip is the most important of all with regards to developing content; you must form your own opinion.  No one wants to read a blog that conforms to the status quo; people want to read viewpoints that differ from the norm.  This is where your knowledge of your field can truly come in handy.  Show your audience that you know what you are talking about and (more importantly) have something of value to say!  In the modern day, audiences have more content at their fingertips than they could read in a 24-hour period.  If you don’t provide some sort of value to them, you risk losing them forever.

I encourage you to give blogging a try.  I cannot explain enough the value of a blog to your potential long-term career goals.  I give this example every time I speak on this subject:  Most college students are acquaintances or even friends with others in their major.  What these people really represent is competition for every job that we seek.  Stellar grade point averages are expected now from college students in the open market, so every available job is like a chess match.  With things equal, who gets the job:  Someone that has demonstrated great knowledge of their field via a blog or someone who doesn’t have one?

Professor Paul Miller, Central Penn College

paulmiller@centralpenn.edu

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495/

Molly Pitcher Brewing Co.

As part of what we do at Hop Hedz Official Gear, we will be featuring a blog about the craft beer scene in the central Pennsylvania area and in surrounding regions.  As our first feature, Marketing Director Paul Miller had the opportunity to interview Operations Manager Mike Moll at the forthcoming Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. in Carlisle, PA.

Molly Pitcher Brewery is a brand-new establishment based in Carlisle, just a brief walk from the square.  The town has seen fantastic growth as far as nightlife in concerned over the past few years.  Mainstays like the Gingerbread Man and Scales have expanded their craft beer offerings due to demand for the product.  In addition to that, recent years have brought a new “food and beverage renaissance” with establishments like Cafe Bruges and Helena’s Craperie to the downtown Carlisle area.  The one thing still lacking in the area is a brewpub.  According to Moll, “One of our main goals in opening a brewery in this area was to have it be located in Downtown Carlisle for this very reason. There is only one other Microbrewery within a 15 mile radius, and with the craft beer drinking population growing so rapidly, we felt Carlisle was in need of a destination brewery.”

The first test that any new business must pass to be successful is location.  Moll feels that the lack of many breweries in town is going to make this venture much easier, especially because Carlisle is a craft beer town.  For anyone that has visited the Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. website (http://www.mollypitcher.com), you may notice that the brewery is in a quite small space.  One would wonder if that could be a good situation for business, especially because people may be turned off if they go to the establishment a few times and are turned away.   Moll was quick to clarify something when I asked this question.  “Molly Pitcher Brewing will be a production brewery, initially self-distributing, to other local bars and restaurants. Our tasting room will have full pint and growler service with a light food menu, however we will not have full ‘bar’ hours.”  Basically, the priority will be making the product in this space, not as much focusing on the front of the house.  That being said, Moll also mentioned that there will be a 32 seat tasting room, offering growler fills and sampler trays for their product.

A view of the artist's rendering of the tasting room at Molly Pitcher Brewing Co.

A view of the artist’s rendering of the tasting room at Molly Pitcher Brewing Co.

There is a growing sentiment in the craft beer community that craft beer fans may be getting too much of a good thing.  In researching this piece, I found many articles that feel the same way (Time Magazine:  http://business.time.com/2013/07/04/too-much-of-a-good-thing-concerns-about-craft-beer-saturation) and (Breaking Brews:  http://breakingbrews.com/?p=752).  Which brought me to my next question to Moll:  What will Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. do to set themselves apart from others? “Our beer recipes focus on traditional beer styles, what many consider session beers. We offer 10 standard recipes that we feel offer something for everyone from our light, refreshing Kolsch to a higher ABV Stout. We also consider ourselves ‘malt-heads’ in a beer world where hops are the current trend. We will also have special release small-batch brews only available in the taproom as often as possible.”  I really like this concept, as Moll points out, many breweries are focused on the hops.  The fact is (and I comment I hear repeatedly by craft beer drinkers) not all beer drinkers like hops!

Hop Hedz couldn’t be happier in supporting a great group of gentlemen that strive to make a successful small business in our region. According to Moll, the brewery plans to open by late October. Hop Hedz is currently in the works for being a part of the grand opening, so be sure to stay tuned to our (and Molly Pitcher’s) social media channels for the definite opening date. We wish Molly Pitcher Brewing the best of luck in their new endeavor!

The Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. is located at 10 E. South Street, just a short walk from the Historic Square in Carlisle.  They have a fantastic social media presence that can be found on both Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/MollyPitcherBrewing) and Twitter (@mpbrewing), as well as online at http://www.mollypitcher.com.

Paul Miller

Marketing Director, Hop Hedz Gear

pmiller@kollisionmedia.com

In somewhat surprising news, Bruce Bond has made his triumphant return to the midstate airwaves.  Millennials may not know who Bond is (or even what good radio is for that matter), but Bond’s loyal listeners most certainly do.  Even though Bond has had an interesting few years since he left Central PA radio, his return proves that there is some hope for traditional radio in our market.

The reason that I’m writing this piece is because of the personal admiration I have for Bond.  Back in the mid to late 90s and into the early 2000s, I was one of Bond’s biggest fans.  As a teenager, his brash personality along with his cast of characters made for an amazing listen each and every day from 3pm – 7pm on WINK.  Even when his new morning show was derailed due to a non-compete, I just knew he’d be back on the air.

Bond provided a great deal of inspiration to me.  Back in 1999, I ventured to Slippery Rock University with dreams of being in Computer Science.  When I got to Calculus II, I realized quickly that this route was not for me.  So I thought to myself, “What is it that I love to do?”  Radio was the first thing that came to mind.  It was mainly due to my love of the Late Afternoon Show and the art that was radio.  I quickly changed my major to Communications and started my own show at 88.1 WRSK FM and the rest is history.

The King returns to 92.1 WTPA Saturday Mornings from 9 am - 12 pm.

The King returns to 92.1 WTPA Saturday Mornings from 9 am – 12 pm.

For those of you that may not know me personally, I’m now a Communications and English Professor at Central Penn College.  My task is to educate the young people of the region about the glory of mass communications.  The unfortunate thing about mass communications involves the corporatization of it, especially in the radio industry.  I remember writing one of my greatest papers about the lack of a key concept, “localization”, and how local radio has lost all sense of the word.  For those of you that don’t know, a large majority of radio is voice-tracked, a fancy way of saying pre-recorded.  As with many Communications related jobs, the internet has caused fewer jobs, but more importantly those that do work in the field are required to do a great deal more work.  Radio has lost one of the few things that it had in years gone by, a connection with the local people and the local economy.

Radio has now morphed into a “vast wasteland” of hearing the same songs over and over again, with little or no value to the local community.  There are rarely (if ever) any local DJs of any substance that people care about and most avid radio fans have either switched to satellite or abandoned traditional radio all together for a blend of other media.  The question, however, still remains:  Why is Bond’s return a harbinger of things to come?

The “rat bastards upstairs”, as Bruce famously used to speak of management, need to realize something about radio.  In the age of the Internet, the public can find what they want at any time, whether it be in the car, at home, or on the go due to the multitude of options in content, Wi-Fi, and more.  People do not want to listen to the same ten songs over and over, they want to hear something of substance.  If traditional radio station owners do not do more to give back to the local community in some fashion, they risk losing the entire medium to the internet.

Radio’s future admittedly looks quite bleak, but the return of Bruce Bond allows us to remember what good radio was like, as opposed to this ridiculous example of garbage we constantly hear from KISSFM and HOTFM.  One thing about Bond is that he is real.  He never kisses up to management, nor does he waste his time giving us bad radio.  During his first show, Bruce even admitted, “Don’t expect perfection from me today”.  He knew that his loyal listeners would remember the old show and quickly reminded them that everyone will be rusty.  One week later, Bond returned a former co-host, Janice Radocha, and immediately returned to form.

So regardless of how you feel about the man himself, you have to at least give him a great deal of credit.  Put in a notoriously horrific Saturday morning slot, WTPA is taking little risk by giving Bond a chance.  Hopefully, this venture will in some small way return Bond to the Marconi Award Winner that he once was and give him a chance to do what he loves so much full-time.  After all, everyone deserves a second chance to do what they love to do.

 

Paul M. Miller
Professor, Central Penn College
Social Media Editor, KollisionMedia

pmiller@kollisionmedia.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

For the April 2014 edition of the #HbgWingUp, the gang journeyed to Moe’s Bar and Grill on Gettysburg Road in Mechanicsburg.  Moe’s history for wings is very well-known, as they are multiple-time champion of Harrisburg Magazine’s Best Wings contest held every year.  This made it the perfect place for the Wing Up crew to try!

The crew itself is growing by leaps and bounds.  At last count, we filled the back dining room with 15 wing fanatics.  Maybe next time we should warn the establishment as the #HbgWingUp is developing a life of its own!  Considering it was a Saturday night, the place was relatively busy.  There was only one server so that led to some rumblings about slow service.  I even went to the bar to order a drink and was refused service by the bartender because I had an open tab at the back table!

That aside, the group all sincerely enjoyed the time with one another, but especially enjoyed the wings.  Moe’s has 12 different flavors of wings to choose from.  They range from sauced favorites like hot (or suicide) to a dry wing like Old Bay or Cajun.

 

A little bit of deliciousness!

A little bit of deliciousness!

I went with a saucy wing (Hot Honey BBQ) and a dry wing (Cajun).  While the Hot Honey BBQ was not anywhere near the heat level I was looking for, it still had a quality flavor that I would order again.  I was looking for quite a bit more kick as I’m not a fan of regular hot wings.   I love the heat in wings, but hot sauce itself usually lacks in flavor, and is just hot for the sake of being hot.  The dry Cajun wing was the star of the show, however!  I usually like my wings to have a lot of sauce, but wanted to try the wing itself to get an accurate idea of the flavor.  I can’t tell you how much I loved it!  I also was able to trade a wing out with a friend and her Old Bay wing was just as quality as the Cajun.

To top off the evening, Saturday night is Moe’s Wing Special.  For $11.99 you receive a small bucket of wings that is enough to feed two slightly hungry or one really hungry patron.  My advice would be to split your small bucket and get half of your wings sauced and half dry (with either Cajun or Old Bay).  You will not be upset with your selection!

Long known in the area for having some of the best wings around, Moe’s certainly didn’t disappoint the #HbgWingUp crew for April.  While the service wasn’t the greatest we’ve seen, the wings certainly lived up to their reputation as some of the area’s best.  Also, if you haven’t had the opportunity to join us, make sure to stay tuned to our Website (http://www.hbgwingup.com) or follow us on Twitter (@HbgWingUp) for all of the details about our next outing.

Paul M. Miller
Professor, Central Penn College
Social Media Editor, KollisionMedia

pmiller@kollisionmedia.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

Yesterday I had the opportunity to read an interesting article entitled “I Lost my Dad to Fox News” by Edwin Lyngar and it spoke to me somewhat.  This was not because of any specific political ideology I have, but because of the latest (and most fun) class I’ve had the opportunity to teach, Media and Politics.  I’ve always had an affinity for the media (as a Communications MS), but my love for politics has been evident since my college years.  I minored in Political Science, have volunteered on campaigns in the past and have always done my research when voting season rolls around.   This class was perfect for me to teach.

Before reading this blog piece, it’s important to read the article, as I don’t want to summarize it.  Any summary would not do it justice.  (The article is located at:   http://slnm.us/s7tyt23).  Also, I want to preface this article by saying I will not be adding any of my personal political commentary here, just a discussion of our present-day media.

The idea behind the blog piece is that our older generations are being influenced (to say the least) by the propaganda empire that is FOXNews.  I’d like to discuss several reasons why this is happening:  media conglomeration, demographics and gatekeeping.

The first reason that our older generation relies on FOXNews is media conglomeration.  Whether we like it or not, our media is owned by six major companies.  This leads to a multitude of problems, but one of the major problems with this is the bottom-line.  If these companies don’t have advertisers for their product, they don’t make money.  There is an inherent problem with media ownership in our present landscape.  News is no longer out to serve the public interest, it is to sensationalize stories to become more appealing to the viewer.  Why is this?  A viewer is now a consumer and therefore a potential customer for advertisers.  News quality is not what is important, making money is.  And while I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone, the problem is not likely to go away.

This leads to the second reason that FOXNews influences our older generation, demographics.  For those of you that don’t know, CNN leans left (democratic) and FOXNews leans right (republican).  There are many reasons why this may be, but demographics plays a key role.  There needs to be a news outlet that supports the older generation’s ideology. That doesn’t mean that FOXNews even believes what they broadcast; it means that there is a large segment of the population that wants to hear the news spun in this manner.

I don’t want to bog this piece down with a lot of Communication theory here, but one theory that needs to be discussed in this piece is the Uses and Gratifications theory.  Basically, this theory discusses that as news consumers, we will almost always seek out information that is in line with our viewpoints, regardless of who says it.  I gave this example in class:  If you are pro-life on the abortion issue, you seek out information that supports your pro-life standpoint.  Let’s say there are two articles about the topic, one pro-life, one pro-choice.  Even though the pro-choice article could have been written by someone with a doctorate that is very knowledgeable about the topic, you would still side with the pro-choice article even though it may have been written by someone with little or no education.  You do this because it reaffirms your own views on the topic, not because the person writing it is educated.  Twitter is the modern-day example of the Uses and Gratifications theory in play.  We follow those that have the same or similar viewpoints as we do and don’t follow those that do not share our viewpoint.

That said, there are large segments of our population that believe certain things about our country. One is the democrats, one is the republicans.  It’s well-known that the media typically leans to left because the democratic party is often progressive in their ideology.  Younger people tend to be more progressive in nature, while older people are typically more “stuck in their ways”.  FOXNews understands this and intentionally spins their stories to be in line with that republican ideology.  They want those watching their news to agree with their views and make it seem that the “liberal media” is against the republican party.  But really what they are doing is simply shaping their news to the demographic that they serve.  Take a look at some of the “experts” they bring to their programs.  Most of the experts will agree with the spin of the topic of the day.  If they do not, they are berated by the host or simply cutoff totally.  They do this because there are advertisers out there that need to hit this demographic.

The final reason that FOXNews influences our older generation is gatekeeping.  Gatekeeping refers to those people who have extreme power to determine what news makes the broadcast.  Imagine the power the owner and producers of FOXNews have.  They get to determine for a large segment of the country what news is worth being discussed.  One key thing to remember is that the news media doesn’t necessarily tell how to think, but what to think about.  So if all day FOXNews goes on and on about how Barack Obama’s new Healthcare plan is responsible for holding back our economy, those watching these newscasts will tend to believe what they are hearing over and over.

To me, this is the same reason that political radio talk-show hosts are rarely (if ever) moderate.  They have to appeal to certain demographics that the station is seeking.  That in turn determines what news will be broadcast and what spin that broadcast will contain.  I understand there are exceptions to some of the things I’ve mentioned, but media studies must generalize certain points.  I’d contend that the gatekeepers for FOXNews don’t even believe what they are saying (and the journalists most certainly do not), but as long as the overwhelming majority of the audience believes what is said, they’ve done their job.

Unfortunately, this trend will not change.  There was a comment in the article that FOXNews will die when the demographic passes on, but I don’t agree with this statement.  As we grow older, our ideologies change as is what is important to us as a human being.  FOXNews understands this and will alter their broadcasts to reflect what is important to the demographic that they seek.  Don’t count on FOXNews going anywhere anytime soon.

Paul M. Miller
Professor, Central Penn College
Social Media Editor, KollisionMedia

pmiller@kollisionmedia.com

Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

LinkedIn: The Time is Now!

I have been afforded a fantastic opportunity at Central Penn College. Other than the fact that I love my job teaching future generations of professionals, I get to make up for a huge void in my college career. This Tuesday, February 25 at 4pm, I am moderating a workshop at Central Penn College entitled “LinkedIn: The Time is Now!”.

For those of you who are fans of my blog, you may remember some references I made to shortcomings in my college career. To refresh your memory, I feel that my education did not provide me with adequate job search skills in today’s landscape. This said, this may have stemmed from a few different reasons:

1. I didn’t seek out the available resources.
2. Social Media was only just beginning to enter the landscape when I graduated (and no one ever used Myspace for a job).
3. The job search has changed drastically over the past decade.

I don’t want that same mistake to happen on my watch. I’ve already moderated a workshop at Central Penn College entitled “Social Media and the College Student” where I discussed the right and wrong ways to operate on social media for the present college student. I received an unbelievable amount of positive feedback from that workshop, but many comments said “I understand LinkedIn is important, but I don’t know why”. It is from these comments that I felt I needed to address this question.

So for those of you that have this same question on your mind, I encourage you to attend this workshop. If you are looking for work, are about to graduate from college, or simply want to have an all-star profile, I encourage you to attend this workshop. I want to help.

 In the time that I’ve been writing this blog, my life has gone in many different directions.  I’ve become very social-savvy,  if you will, to the point that I now represent 10 different small businesses in the Harrisburg, PA Metro Area.  I have become Social Media Manager at a very successful company, KollisionMedia (http://www.kollisionmedia.com) and I write for the company’s blog (http://www.kollisionmediablog.com).  I’ve also written articles for The Central Pen Blog as well as other various websites over the past year.

But something happened to me in 2013, however, that may change my life forever, I was hired as Part-Time faculty at Central Penn College.  Teaching has always been a dream of mine going back to my decision to go to Graduate School at Shippensburg University in 2005.  My journey has been quite interesting to say the least. 

Since completing graduate school in 2009, my job search was one of dismay, disappointment and heartbreak.  I interviewed for a variety of jobs that I should have had no issue getting, but somehow I never got that call.  As it has been well-documented on my blog, the Social Media Summit was one thing I look back at as life-changing.  So, with a few lucky breaks and proper networking, I was able to land my dream position as a Communications and English professor at Central Penn College.

In my time here, I’ve learned an immense amount, but also have had the opportunity to understand what being a professor is all about, helping students achieve their goals.  I’ve never had so much delight then when I see a student “get it” whether right in front of my eyes or in their work.  It makes me look back at professors that I’ve had in the past and make me wonder.  I wonder things like:  “It really seems like that person was just collecting a paycheck” or “Wow, this person really made me who I am today”.  I hope that my students look back at me years from now and think that I in some way impacted their lives for the better.  In my opinion, this is the true job of a professor; to help young students live up to not only their potential, but goals they have set for themselves.

Obviously, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without a few specific individuals in my life.

My fiancé, Jackie – Jackie has been one person that has always been there for me.  I can’t explain enough how important she is to who I am today and how I got here.  Also, we are just under one year from getting married!

My family – My story about my family is similar to others.  I had a great family that supported me, but when I came home with bad grades they obviously were upset.  At times, I wished they’d just get off my back.  In hindsight, however, I’m so glad that they didn’t or else I may not be where I am today.

Dr. James Laux – Dr. Laux was one of my favorite professors as I spent time at Slippery Rock University.  He taught me so much about Communications, but also taught me a lot about life as well.  In my opinion, he was solely responsible for making me into the person I am today, and for that I am eternally thankful.

All of my colleagues at Central Penn College – I have had the pleasure of meeting many fantastic academics here at Central Penn College.  People that continue to push me to be the best professor I can be.  I appreciate everyone’s willingness to answer questions, assist me when I have problems, and to guide me through issues in class. 

I had an opportunity last week to do my first Workshop “Digital Media and the Job Search” last week at Central Penn.  Not only was it a rousing success based on attendance, I was able to get amazing feedback from my colleagues and students who attended.  I want to make sure that this group of students doesn’t go through the same struggles that I did.  I want them to feel the way that I do someday, having a career and a family that you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.