Communications Professional – Your message. Clearly. 

From Teenage Dreams to Crime Scenes: The New Value of Twitter

Published on June 15, 2012, by

Can we stop trivializing the value of Twitter already? Like any other communications medium, there will always be fluff and narcissism and addiction, but unlike other platforms, Twitter is fast becoming the place that stories break. Actually, it’s more than that – it’s becoming a space for eyewitnesses to give firsthand accounts and share photo evidence of crime scenes. When CBC broke the story about the shots heard ‘round the city, the headline read: Witnesses share images after Eaton Centre shooting: Pictures, videos circulate on social media. Before the ceeb could even get a word in, numerous eyewitness accounts of the shooting had already circulated – they had no choice but to defer to embrace Twitter. Similarly, when chaos broke out at the University of Alberta campus on the morning of June 15, 2012, Twitter was again the place where the word broke and the investigation started. Laura Osman of CBC Radio 1 had this two tweet: And most recently, the community block party turned ‘war zone’ that erupted in Scarborough on July 16, 2012, was first documented on Twitter feeds across the city. Regardless of how one feels about the constant barrage of fluff (a few days ago, #vaginamovielines was trending … worldwide) one cannot deny the value

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The Myth of the Digital Native

Published on May 3, 2012, by

We’ve all heard it: digital natives just get visual information. But … do they? One of the first scholars to look into the net generation was Marc Prensky, the man who coined the term ‘digital native.’ Prensky believes that millennials’ extended exposure to new technologies has resulted in a range of enhanced (and visually-oriented) cognitive skills, including image interpretation and mind mapping. Following suit, others (Coates, Oblinger & Oblinger, Tapscott) have argued that digital natives are equipped with a considerable degree of visual literacy, and are “intuitive visual communicators … able to weave together images, text, and sound in a natural way”. Interesting, but can you spot the assumption? Eva Brumberger puts it succinctly: “[R]epeated interaction with visual material – specifically visually-oriented technologies – somehow results in visual literacy” (2011). Unsatisfied with the empirical evidence to support this theory, Brumberger conducted her own survey of nearly 500 undergraduate students at the University of Virginia Tech. The 90-question survey attempted to gauge how students were using certain visual technologies, how much they were using these technologies, and the students’ abilities to read, produce, and interpret visual images. And wouldn’t you know it, the results paint quite a different picture: “The data certainly give no indication that

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