Archive | February 2014

How long until the next Winter Olympics?

The torch has been extinguished. The athletes have all gone home, some with metals that testify to their athletic ability and others with newfound canine friends. As the world shifts its attention, Sochi has become a ghost town overnight, with its  infamous stray dogs returning to reclaim the streets. There’s no more buzz on social media, no more triumphant tweets. All I find at primetime on NBC are primetime television sitcoms.

The Winter Olympics, which have captivated the world for the past 16 days, are over. And if you’re like me, I’m already asking myself how long until I get to see the beauty of ice dancing, the high flying tricks of freestyle skiing or the precision and skill that is curling again.

ImageSomebody must be wondering the same thing and has posted a countdown to both future Summer and Winter Olympics.

In the meantime, I’m diagnosing myself with the Winter Olympic Blues. And I am prescribing my own medicine: a rundown of my five favorite things from these Games in particular order.

The Stubborn Snowflake

Maybe it speaks to a nation still on the mend from a rocky past. Maybe it sums up the whole record breaking $51 billion Games. Or maybe it is was just a minor glitch in what was otherwise a terrific opening ceremony. Whatever it was, one of the five mammoth snowflakes did not morph into the interlocking Olympic rings. The best is that the Russians made fun of it during the closing ceremony.

Bode Miller

When the Internet attacked NBC reporter Christin Cooper for cuasing Miller to cry during a post-race interview, he came to her defense. Cooper asked Miller about his emotions following his Super-G run, which made Miller tear up thinking of his deceased brother, Chelone.

Sportsmanship

That’s what the Games are all about. When Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth saw Russian Anton Gafarov trying to finish the men’s cross-country skiing sprint with a broken ski, he ran out and replaced the ski with a new one. I wish this kind of cooperation extended beyond the Olympic course.

Ice Dancing

The costumes. The routines. The duo. The light, quick and lovely American duo Meryl Davis and Charlie White dazzled all with their breathtaking gold medal performance. For me, this event was second only to freestyle skiing.

Ruffled Media

Before the opening ceremony, the Olympics were all over Twitter. But it wasn’t the coverage event organizers imagined. Journalists were tweeting about unfinished or underprepared hotel rooms in and around the Olympic Games.

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One too many screens

As usual, late Sunday night finds me in front of my T.V. absorbed in the newest episode of AMC’s original series “The Walking Dead.” And I’m not alone. The mid-season premiere last Sunday drew a total audience of 15.8 million viewers, more than the Winter Olympics. The zombie apocalypse drama is pretty contagious (pun intended!), to say the least.

ImageThe popularity of the show has spread from the living room to the Twitterverse, where hashtags like #TheWalkingDead overrun my newsfeed for hours before and after the show Sunday nights. It’s a part of this trend in social media called “second-screen,” where people tweet or post on Facebook while watching a sports event, political event or T.V. show. Last night, tweets about “The Walking Dead” swamped my Twitter newsfeed, hiding any tweets about the Doug McDermott’s win over Villanova and Bode Miller’s emotional response to winning bronze in the Men’s Super-G. People were tweeting quotes from the episode and pcitures of their viewing parties. Someone even tweeted a picture of his cat scratching at the T.V. during the episode. (That was a winning combination; the Internet loves cats and “The Walking Dead.”) I was easily distracted from my studying and couldn’t wait to get home to watch it.

At the same time, I was a little annoyed that people were spoiling the episode, especially for those who live on the West Coast. One may think that one accepts the risk of spoilers when following twitter accounts of characters from the show, but I follow them more for the entertainment of their in-character jokes and asides. Next Sunday, I’ll think twice about checking my Twitter feed when the episode airs on the East Coast.

You’re excused to be on social media

We’re always distracted. We’re hardly ever focused on one thing at one time. As I write this blog post, I’m watching the season opener of AMC‘s original series “The Walking Dead.” I’m stopping and starting as I watch hordes of the undead attack the characters I’ve become attached to. I’m not being very productive. However, not all distractions are unproductive or bad, according to career and life blogger, Alexis Grant. Some distractions are meaningful distractions.

ImageA “meaningful distraction” sounded like an oxymoron to my type-A ears, like a flawless opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. If you get distracted from the task at hand, it’s hard to pick up from where you left off and finish on time or as planned. However, that’s the beauty of distractions. A distraction may take you off in a completely different direction and cause you to throw away whatever you were working on and start new and fresh with another idea. This seems especially true for those interested in advancing their brand on social media. In her blog post, Grant argues that scheduling time to peruse the Internet, to follow links in Tweets or to scroll through one’s newsfeed on Facebook or Instagram will help one to better promote their brand on social media. I follow many links in Tweets by news organizations, but I don’t necessarily use it to promote my own brand. A simple way to promote one’s own brand is to retweet interesting articles or tweets.

As a journalist, I don’t believe there is such a thing as “wasting time on the internet.” The Internet keeps journalists up-to-date on the latest happenings. Story leads can come from the what’s trending on the World Wide Web. Exploring the Internet for stories and news is no revelation to me, but now (thanks to Grant) I have an excuse for my time spent on the Internet and social media.

What’s in a number?

19 – That’s my number on Klout, a website that measures your social media activity. The score is pitifully low, seeing that it is out of 100 and comparing my score with friends. Many other people my age scored in the 30s and 40s, showing a greater presence on social media sites than me. Why are their scores so much higher than mine and what what can I do to improve my score?

ImageTo investigate my low score, I Googled myself. And the explanation for my low score became instantly obvious. I couldn’t find me–the Eric William Villanueva who attends Creighton University–on the first 3, 5, or 7 pages of Google. In other words, I don’t have a very large social media pull; I’m practically nonexistent by social media standards. However, I’m not upset by this at all. In fact, I think I’ve enjoyed this virtual anonymity for some time, the latest step in that lifestyle being my hiatus from Facebook.

Of course, my inactivity on Facebook probably explains some of my low Klout score. I also haven’t connected with many people on other social networking sites that I have just joined, such as Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pintrest. I think my Klout score will improve as I explore and use these sites more. Ayelett Noff has one great tip for improving one’s online presence: post engaging content. This will be something I will need to work on the most.

However, I am not too upset with my Klout score; at least, it’s double what the Broncos scored in the Super Bowl last night.