Web Design

Organization, visual appeal (without being gaudy), and significant content are key ingredients when creating a polished and popular website.

The YouTube FAQ page has many of these, if not all, characteristics. It’s a very well-organized page and simple to navigate.  I don’t find myself frustrated when trying to get my questions answered. Question topics are placed in categories, making them easy to locate.  All you have to do is go to the category in which your question would fall. Then to find the answer, click on the arrow next to the question which will navigate you to a “drop-down” box that reveals the answer. I love websites that have this feature because some poorly organized websites, after clicking on your question, will take you to another page, and then another, and then having to go back to the FAQ page to find answers to your other questions. Repeating this five times would make me want to pull my hair out.

The visual elements of the YouTube site are very basic, which can be appealing. There aren’t many colors or different types of dizzying fonts that make it difficult to read.  While Vbulletin’s FAQ page is very organized, the font was hard to read. I found myself within inches of  the screen to read the questions. They should have chosen a more legible font that’s larger. This con trumps the pro of the organization, because if I can’t read a site, what does it matter how organized it is?  I was also somewhat satisfied with the color scheme. It’s clean and very professional. Sometimes it’s nice going to a website and not getting hit in the face with a rainbow.

Green Training

“One day, every job will be a green job.’’ This quote is in a very interesting article in the New York Times, written by Sarah Crean.   Crean investigated a community in the Bronx that is trying to create a sustainable living environment. They created a school specifically for sustainable education called, The Center for Environmental Workforce Trainings (CEWT). They call on individuals who are unemployed; many of those who are former prisoners looking for a new start in life. Half of the CEWT graduates went on to find green jobs and are using their new skills. Some of them will find employment  in energy efficiency fields such as companies providing the means for efficiency upgrades for residential and commercial buildings, sustainable manufacturing and sustainable landscaping.

I like this idea of “someday every job will be a green job.” Schools offering majors in sustainability are  popping up around our country and helping us to head in the right direction towards bettering our environment. I know sustainability isn’t something we are used to thinking about during our busy schedules, but we can make a huge difference by doing something as simple as unplugging our toaster oven when we aren’t using it.

In Crean’s view, “work activity will have to shift toward conserving natural resources or at the very least, not harming the environment.” Schools like CEWT are a great start for creating more sustainable jobs.

Nachos and Cheese vs. Fruits and Veggies

Public school students around the country are furious with the new food being served at lunch. This October, Vican Yee wrote an article in the New York Times about Students are boycotting against their school‘s attempt to make them eat healthy, so instead of eating at the cafeteria, students are”brown baggin’ it.” In a school system outside  Pittsburgh, high school students are proclaiming a strike, taking to Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.

They are refusing to buy the new healthy foods being served at the school. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires public schools to serve a more nutritious lunch to their students. “According to the new restrictions, high school lunches must be no more than 850 calories, middle school lunches no more than 700 calories and elementary school lunches no more than 650. Before, there were no maximums.” So instead of pizza and greasy bread sticks, they are being fed a small portion of meat with a fruit cup and green beans on the side along with skim milk — not even 2%.

The UK Saving Economy by “Going Green”

The U.S isn’t the only economy going through a recession. Rebecca Smithers, a consumer affairs correspondent, wrote an article for the Guardian about the use of efficient resources which could help drive the UK’s economic recovery.  The UK has been in a recession since 2008 which is said will remain beyond 2017.  It is said that this is the UK’s longest depression since the 1920s.

Their economy is trying to find ways to make cuts in different areas, primarily in energy costs. Researchers believe that if they use their resources more efficiently this could extremely benefit their economy. “Liz Goodwin said: “Realizing the full value of materials through resource management could drive sustainable growth, with a recent McKinsey report showing 30% of global demand for resources in 2030 could be met through improved management. Resulting global economic benefits could be as high as $3.7 trillion a year.”

The U.S. is in the process of the same concept. The United States is going green to drive economic recovery. The term “going green” has become a trend not only on twitter but nation wide. We’ve been seeing more Eco friendly cars, buildings and efficient energy sources. It will take some time but I think if we continue eventually our economy will thrive.

The Importance of the Link

Why would anyone use a link? Well, linking is extremely important among journalists, and those distributing large amounts of news with very few people to cover all the information that is out there. They can connect their readers to other stories that they feel is important and maybe they didn’t have time or enough people to get to. Jeff Jarvis discusses the extreme importance of linking among journalists “Try this on as a new rule for newspapers: Cover what you do best. Link to the rest.”

I want to use newspapers as an example of linking because I have a small background in this area. My dad has been an editor/journalist at the South Bend Tribune for the past 30 years and has taught me quite a bit about the business. Before the internet, newspapers would do their own form of linking that is, borrowing stories from other journalists. He told me how they have other sports journalists all over Indiana who sell stories to one another if they are unable to catch an important game, but they still want to report this news in the newspaper. The Tribune helps other newspapers with stories as other newspapers help the Tribune. Now to this day, the Tribune will still do this. Although now the South Bend Tribune has moved to the internet which is more common. So on their site they will link to other newspaper sites that have stories they were unable to report.

Now, the Nasty Negatives of Social Media…

Dating back to my freshman year of college, I had a roommate who was obsessed with her Facebook. She would spend hours checking on her high school friends and seeing what they did over the weekend, while neglecting her homework and the possibility of having a social life outside of her computer. One day she cut off her Facebook and completely deleted it. She, like many others, can’t handle social media. This humorous USA TODAY article talks about the possible ways our personality and behaviors have changed from using social media. For example, that awkward moment when you see a person in public whom you are “Facebook friends”  but not actual friends and how you would handle situations of the sort. 

The misuse of social media is very common. This negatively impacts many students trying to get into college. Every time a high school student posts something on Facebook, it is as though he or she is adding to his or her application for colleges to view. For colleges, every picture of a student holding a beer is like tacking on another personal interest to their app. This college student tells his story recalling a high school experience of misusing social media among his classmates. 

There are Plenty of Perks with Social Media

If you own a computer, most likely you use some sort of social media. Some of you might even be addicted to it, which can both positively and negatively affect college students. But let’s just discuss the positives in this blog post, we’ll move on to the negatives a little later. So for you Facebook addicts, this might not be such a bad thing. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter can be great marketing tools for you and your future. College students are using these tools to market themselves to their future employees. (Yes, all future employees will creep on your Facebook and find out everything about you; so be careful with this useful tool.) Kate Brodock, executive director of social media at Syracuse University, spoke to Fairfield students about how the increase in social media usage can actually help individuals market themselves as products in a positive way.

The New York Times had a great story posted about a college student who entered in a social media contest to help promote this public relations firm and he ended up landing his dream job. Check out the story. It’s very interesting and gives you a positive view of social media. 

Social media is great for college students to market themselves, but it is also great for colleges to utilize as well. It will be hard to find a college that doesn’t have a Facebook or a twitter account but this article by USA TODAY picks out 20 colleges, they decided, has done great things with their social media usage. Notre Dame was first on their list of schools.

If you’re curious about some other affects of social media, Dr. Rey Jenco posted on his blog, a research study after observing first year college students and their usage of social media. Another team of doctors, crediting Dr. Jenco’s work, did their own research study on the usage of social media among students. This research team and Dr. Jenco alike  found that there are substantive indications that at least some use is helpful for more socially, politically, and academically involved users.