Be Sure to Bookmark: youngdigitallab.net

  “Formal education will no doubt make you a decent living;
But it’s self education that makes you a fortune.”
–Jim Rohn

Courtesy of YoungDigitalLab.net

Try to name one person not smitten by Italy’s charms … go ahead … no rush.

To quote Shrek’s endearing pal Donkey, think about it …
“Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s go to Italy,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no Italy?” Italy is delicious!”

You had me at delizioso Donkey; you’re preaching to the Convert.

Ah Italia!  Of course the fashion, food, and fascinating art scene emit such intellectual stimulation that it manages to seduce the world’s most prominent academics using barely any effort.  It’s a long revered home-town stomping ground to the legendary Innovative Entourage members: Galileo, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and one impressive Dodge dynasty. But when I came across the Padua-based (or Padova as the Italian language spells it) website … YoungDigitalLab.net … well only two words came to mind: Così Impressionante.  Translation: YDL features such amazing contentcentric media discussions, that it’s now Safari marked as an ‘official’ new friend.

Chris Andersen’s new book (Oh, need his credentials?  He’s Wired magazine’s current Editor-in-Chief; but it’s not yet public knowledge if he also prefers to go by the Godfather, I’ll make a fact check note.) Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, he speaks to three specific characteristics that ‘true Makers’ exhibit unlike the majority societal public.  Anderson acknowledges with confident authority how “[Real Makers instinctively] default to thinking in public…sharing…and collaborating with people they don’t know.”  YoungDigitalLab.net isn’t a spotlight textbook case study, but at the very least it deserves an Honorable Mention medal.

Most importantly, the YoungDigitalLab.net project demonstrates that when discerning, expressive minds come together to build an online community that fosters a celebratory spirit supporting collaborative learning – I think a fairy procures their wings.  Well, something magical happens because this renaissance continues to unfold both on and offline, in HD, 3D, BluRay, and flatD to the North, South, East and West -worldwide.  It’s truly admirable that YoungDigitalLab.net refuses to tolerate geographic borders; and the resulting content they publish justifies why they stick to this decision.

It’s never only about ‘the numbers’ (Connection, Fan, Follower, Tumbles, Pin counts, etc) when one analyzes what really makes a brand’s emerging media campaign successful.  That said, YDL’s numbers highlight a reputation that already includes a lengthly achievement list including: supporting 19 speakers under 30, across an eight-city Italian tour, adding to a blog archive that currently stores 289+ articles posted by 25 unique authors.  Data drives everything a communications practionier does; to live by data is to die by data.  Thankfully, ever since graphic designers began popping out data visualization charts, (R/GA’s Bob Greenberg deserves a huge thanks here), marketing professionals now look forward to reviewing significant data collections meditatively not anxiously – no Valium necessary.  To celebrate turning 2, check out the below visual summary YDL put together as a birthday gift to their site:

Courtesy of YoungDigitalLab.net

Obviously unwilling to go against any fellow social media channels, it’s impressive that YoungDigitalLab.net’s Editorial Team maintains such a genuinely engaging presence between three channels.  Take a moment to visit their LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Facebook accounts.  Each platform reiterates the Young Digital Lab brand’s ability to deliver content elegantly and eloquently.

Hence the reason this site earns a well-deserved A –  
Pros: International subject matter addressing major industry concerns/trends, Check.  Responsive authors willing to converse with worldwide audience, Check.  Aesthetic -yet also- Navigable site design, Check.  ‘English On’ button, Check.
Cons:  Their currently following 0% of their Twitter audience, that’s just bad manners.  Still, there’s an argument to say nothing is ever truly perfect.

Courtesy of Facebook.com/YoungDigitalLab

Now let’s assume, ‘hypothetically’ of course – that you’ve saved up some airline miles; because for several unspoken reasons (no judgement), it’s vitally important that at least for this season, you’d prefer to avoid a 96 hour family holiday rotation.  Well if you enjoy lasagna, meeting new industry colleagues, and attending lectures that discuss sometimes unorthodox business philosophy then it’s highly recommended that you book a trip to Rome – pronto!

Our friends at YDL are hosting a little seasonal get -together and you’re invited!  So pack those bags, arrive a few days early to spend a little time sight seeing, and plan to enjoy November 8 / 9 learning about what’s changing media relations, journalism, advertising, and social networks just before Christmas hits.  It’s a unique event but not to fear if you can’t make it – YDL will post a live update stream online capturing the conference highlights.

If you’re an avid fan, new follower or just a friend to the folks running YoungDigitalLab.net – by all means please feel free to sing their praises, opera style or no, in the comment section below.  I look forward to your site reviews!

Ciao for now dearest friends and speak soon!  I hope everyone enjoys a trauma-free, treat-filled Halloween holiday.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Brazil’s 2013 Plan at Hand: Fixing the Education Gap ASAP

“In the long term, most plans are of little importance but that said,
thoughtful planning is always essential.”
— Winston Churchill

This past summer, when the last 2012 London Olympics athletes finally left England with their medals in tow, and after the last Confetti gun was fired at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the whole UK let out a collective, appreciative sigh. Understandably worn out, her majesty’s government wasted no time in passing on the ‘Party Host’ torch (pardon the pun) to Brazil.  Their Southern Atlantic neighbor will spend the next four years serving as the official ‘Celebration Nation’ not just to the 2016 Olympics but also to the 2014 World Cup community.

Never mind Brazil’s infamous reputation concerning the ability to throw one fun carnival; that’s not exactly helpful when it comes knocking out a housekeeping ‘To-Do’ list many miles long.  Every Culture,  Tourism, and Engineering office continues to spend day and night strategizing ways to accommodate a guest list exceeding millions.  And forget the tea candles, place cards, or pressed napkins.  For now, the country’s education leaders will spend next year’s majority trying to fix the education gap that’s holding back amongst other things Brazil’s booming growth spurt.

While in São Paulo for BBC World News, Katty Kay’s latest report on this topic explains how looming concerns over slower economic growth, inflation, etc., stand to nullify every progressive educational benchmark Brazil’s surpassed since the early/mid 90s.  Moreover, the leading international research firm PISA, recently profiled national education systems, ranking Brazil 53rd.  It’s a concerning placement, taking into account that Brazil’s economy -now the world’s #6 GDP- just bumped the UK to spot #7 not all that long ago.  To point, Kay notes that if Brazil wishes to sustain noticeable progress, “it will require more than muscle to lift a country into modernity; they will need human resources too.”  And while it’s not an exact science,  the process to improve a nation’s ability to educate their domestic population needs to begin with reviewing all teacher feedback.

It’s extremely risky when a government, underestimates a teacher’s role (no matter the grade level) and their ability to influence the educational community locally, nationally, and abroad.  Speaking candidly with Kay about the subject, Priscila Cruz, a prominent Education Campaigner, reiterates that Brazil’s 2+ million teachers posses a great voting power.  In serving as the Executive Director to the organization, Todos Pela Educação, Cruz operates an invaluable company, using the latest technology and media to distribute countless necessary resources, in order to help any Brazilian teacher receive better professional training.  As a result when it comes to electing senior officials who have the power to change government policies concerning education, more teachers will cast knowledge votes.  Any social, economic, or political change relies upon the individual citizen’s ability to maintain a versed political understanding- all party loyalties aside.

As Kay’s article for BBC points out, it’s true that “over the past 20 years Brazil has done an impressive job of getting more students into the education system.”  However that success translates to a different problem, as enrolling more students, now requires schools to expand their class availability.  Furthermore, if teachers fail to receive extensive training before they actually start teaching their classes – the negative impact gradually trickles down and directly impacts every Brazilian student.  Although sophomoric, many young students voice their genuine understanding that gaining even the most basic education, acts as a passport that will eventually grant access to creating a successful future.  Such enthusiastic, insistent student potential deserves far more than an educational environment that underserves the teachers and their instructional materials.

Failing to implement such serious changes will not only hurt Brazil’s academic reputation internationally; there’s also weighty financial implications to consider.  It stands to reason that if Brazil’s working demographic isn’t sufficiently educated, then it will force the present and future commercial development to hire a labor force – not locally from Brazil – but more expensive professionals, eager to relocate overseas.  A Brazilian workforce lacking transferable skills, also jeopardizes the ability to diversify the nation’s economic activity.  It’s exceptionally dangerous for any country to rely on a single trade exchange, i.e. only exporting natural resources or supplying commodities to China.  Hence, if Brazil wishes to evolve past the ’emerging leader’ role then they must prepare to keep pace with Asia/US/European competition.

Without question, luck, timing and a rare geographic/coincidental proximity between two such monumental events like the Olympics and World Cup all give Brazil premium opportunity to show off the nation’s historic legacy and other strengths.  But in order to make this global presentation a truly successful, resonating performance they must first figure out how to redesign the way both lower/higher education rouses the population.  Once this internal enlightening begins, it’s only a matter of time before Brazil’s talent pool will flood into the market place.  It will serve Brazil well to follow their national motto more closely than ever over the next decade.  It’s an unremitting philosophy… Order first, then Progress.

Verdade, meus amigos, muito verdadeiro. // True, my friends, very true.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Corazón Digital: A Chilean University’s Alumni Volunteer to make an Impact

“It’s not that successful people are givers; it’s that givers
turn into incredibly successful people.” — Patti Thor

Any curious researcher wanting to learn more about which top-notch Chilean universities lead the way to progressively educating this emerging nation’s future work force, will no doubt discover La Universidad de las Artes, Ciencias, y Comunicaciones – also known by its international acronym UNIACC.

The private university, since opening their doors in 1989, currently operates three campuses (including the institution’s Santiago headquarters), offering 18 bachelor’s and two master’s programs to a 3,000+ student congregation. Moreover, comparable to the premier arts/technology instructor networks one finds at Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford; UNIACC boasts an internationally recognizable, faculty directory all their own. And while class choices run the gamut between digital communications, computer science, architecture, journalism, etc. – all UNIACC degree candidates enter their respective programs with an understanding that their work must exhibit passionate creativity and always harbor a unique force combining invention, innovation and change.

As a result, by encouraging such a standard amongst the entire student body, this produces a dynamic alumni community, who then go on to work with world’s top media publications, advertising agencies, marketing firms, or even for a brand’s global internal communications team. Collectively, these graduates recognize that charismatic professionals lead by example, continue their education beyond graduation and give charitably whenever possible. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that earlier this summer when a relatively small group of UNIACC alumni began campaigning to launch the initiative Corazón Digital – as a way to help mainly immigrant women learn necessary, basic computer program skills – university administrators practically leaped at the opportunity to offer the organizing committee resources and their enthusiastic support.

Although Corazón Digital maintains an admirable, on-going track record, launching any new project or philanthropic effort will unavoidably generate numerous challenges. In an interview with the university, Senior Director of Communications, Alfredo Santibanez shares that, “One of the first challenges for the project was that it was needed [a] digital volunteers form; that is, [a way to find] people who can teach information technology. We found that the digital volunteer training requires some knowledge and content must be systematized.” Indeed, coordinating, organizing and distributing materials takes patience, time and effort. On average, the program’s volunteers spend 32+ hours teaching course lectures that all explain how to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint successfully.

However, anything worth completing correctly typically adds up to a rewarding end. To date, 300+ participants now posse an advanced training background regarding these programs. More importantly, course instructors also see an intangible benefit by volunteering their time to help improve the local community. Since seeing this initiative’s impact around campus Santibanez observes how, “[Student volunteers] gain an awareness about realities that maybe [they] did not know; [every volunteer] can provide concrete tools for people to overcome their barriers, gaps and situations that may [previously excluded them] from better job performance.” An earnest testament proving once again how one never experiences success without giving selflessly first.

Courtesy of Twitter.com/IntelAprenderCL

If you’re interested in supporting the Corazón Digital initiative, there are several ways to follow up with UNIACC, in addition to the school’s main website.  They promote several social media channels including active Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.  Specific questions about the program can be directed to either Magdalena Quintero, Intel® Aprender’s Lead Coordinator or UNIACC’s Senior Communications Director, Alfredo Santibanez.  Lastly, if you’re a UNIACC alum/current student that’s worked with Corazón Digital at any point, please feel free to share your thoughts/comments about volunteering below.  Here’s a cheer to this fantastic cause and the truly inspiring individuals that kickstart this project both on and offline. ¡Felicitaciones para su trabajando!

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Did your campus celebrate Connected Educators Month?

“There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware; it’s a small world after all.”  – Walt Disney

Courtesy of ConnectedEducators.org

It’s hard to imagine that when Labor Day ends and September rolls in, Fall 2012 classes will really begin to pick up speed.  Time’s flying but the fun’s just beginning dear readers. It’s dreadfully sad to bid summer bon voyage, but let’s  begin to celebrate Autumn and start the academic year with bright-eyed pep!  Speaking of celebration, were you aware that the fine folks running Twitter.com/edcocp officially deemed August 2012 Connected Educators Month?  What a smart idea!

Understandably, kicking off the school year calendar requires a mile-long check list, so it’s entirely possible that your local campus missed throwing a ‘Connected Educator’ fiesta, soirée, or sock hop.  Not to worry because classes, teachers, and education leaders everywhere should really support this idea all year long. Therefore in the spirit of prolonged partying, check out a few suggestions below that will help raise support and hopefully connect the entire education industry:

Courtesy of CMU.edu

#1 Get the thanksgiving ball rolling by taking a few minutes to write a thoughtful LinkedIn Recommendation for a professor, a superstar student, and/or outstanding colleague.

#2 Expand your weekly reading list to include a blog or trade resource that discusses international education initiatives.  Go the extra mile by sharing feedback to connect with author and spark interactive discussion.  Feeds worth a read > UniversityWorldNews.com and The21stCenturyTeacher.com.

#3 Look around SlideShare.net’s library – it’s great!  If there’s a smart user that offers wonderful information and recaps cool presentations, it’s easy to connect amongst different community platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

#4 Start following a Twitter list or even better, create your own list and highlight certain faculty/students/campuses that you enjoy tweeting; all the folks on these lists post A+ stuff > WorldWideLearn.com’s Top Foreign Language Professors and @SMMmagazine’s Top Marketing Professors.

#5 Tune into a Video library or Podcast stream (which in most cases synchs to your iTunes library) and download exciting materials that enhance classroom lecture activities.  Award-winning sites like VideoLectures.net and BigThink.com allow free access to excellent, informative materials featuring internationally known institutions and leaders.

Courtesy of MattWilsonPrime.com

Of course, this post only scratches the surface when it comes to discussing how education uses emerging media platforms to develop a powerful resource network.  If there’s a website, online tool or other innovative technology that supports connecting academic communities everywhere, please feel free to share any and all creative suggestions.  As always looking forward to your feedback and conversing online: @acmontgomery, LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery, or email me at acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com.  Happy Labor Day US friends!

TR35 & L.America Universities promote innovative competition to future leaders

“Always act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”  — William James

Courtesy of Comunidad.cic.ipn.mx

The ‘Natural Selection’ process possess a certain, exquisite talent that somehow manages to merge at least two seemingly, unrelated ideas together and magically ends up creating something wonderful.  Peanut Butter + Chocolate, Simon + Garfunkel, ‘LOL’ + Cats; they’re all unique, unpredictable combinations that enrich our otherwise mundane livelihood.  In a similar capacity, MIT’s prestigious TR35 award -a 13 year old program which every year rewards 35 tech-savvy innovators who are all under 35- also possess a natural ability to select only the most promising, forward thinking endeavors that once given a green light, will optimistically make the world better.

This year, in an effort to bring even more awareness about this program internationally, organizers will partner with specific Latin American markets in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay to stir interest and participation amongst each country’s exceptionally talented young professionals.  Given the award’s nature, it’s only logical that TR35 leaders will seek support from select universities in these areas.  In the same turn, the academic communities readily supports this type of opportunity which gives students the ability to experience real fieldwork before, during and after finishing their degree tracks.  It’s a text book example showing how natural selection builds symbiotic relationships that’d even make Darwin smile.

Courtesy of Technologyreview.es

Entering this innovative competition begins throughout Latin America in the following six countries but the main stage event takes place later this October, when the 2012 Global TR35 inductees will travel to this year’s EmTech conference in Boston, and present their work to top industry leaders.  As these ambassadors continue to promote their creative projects and pick up support, it’s equally important to praise the higher education institutions that support TR35’s efforts and bring awareness about the program to their campus community:

TR35 Spain & Instituto de Empresa (IE Business School)
Inaugural Winners announced October 2011

TR35 Mexico & Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey
Inaugural Winners announced May 2012

TR35 Argentina & Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires
Inaugural Winners will be announced in August 2012

TR35 Brazil & Universidade de São Paulo
Inaugural Winners will be announced in November 2012

TR35 Colombia & Pontificia Universidad Javeriana y Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Inaugural Winners announced June 2012

TR35 Uruguay & Universidad ORT Uruguay y Universidad Católica del Uruguay
Inaugural Winners will be announced in August 2012

Courtesy of TechnologyReview.com/emtech

While this year’s EmTech conference promises an excellent speaker line up and a myriad of learning opportunities, your Fall schedule fills up fast when trying to coordinate all these conferences.  If you’re unable to make the Boston trip, not to worry because there’s plenty of ways to connect and support these amazing finalists online through social media.  Feel free to connect with the EmTech community and this year’s TR35 inductees on their LinkedIn group, video channel or at:
Facebook.com/emtechMIT ; Facebook.com/techreview.es
Twitter.com/TechReview ; Twitter.com/Premiostr35 ;
the conference will also produce a live stream here.

A heartfelt congratulations and best of luck (¡Felicidades y Buena Suerte!) to the entire 2012 TR35 Global roster!

In Fall 2012 a Thesis is coming…

Above all things, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest stories are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” – Roald Dahl

Courtesy of Vogue.com

Let’s consider the above photograph for a moment; go ahead… give it a lingering, philosophical, studious gaze.  Although fully ready to set out on a voyage that requires at least one suitcase, one book and one traveling suit, it’s clearly evident that this young, bright-eyed bon vivant wants desperately to ask several questions about what’s to come her way  traveling.  Fair enough.

Coincidentally, certain similar feelings start to emerge when one begins planning their Master’s thesis.  Where how or what’s the most appropriate place to commence writing one’s graduate school magnum opus incessantly expends the mind.  However, the general conclusion that universally applies to all those enduring the process regardless of institution, instructor, or interest area- is that there simply isn’t  one, single right way to introduce a semester long academic endeavor.  That said, it’s probably best to go ahead and initiate the process.

Of course, it’s impossible to know where in the world the focus of our photo intends to visit; but on the other hand, I’m considerably thankful that my thesis will follow a clear, discernible journey.  This research project will analytically study university campuses, located in both Latin America and European countries, that employ emerging media platforms to not only develop their branding initiatives but more importantly use these technologies to strengthen relationships between students, faculty/staff, & the surrounding community.

Other questions that one must consider when broaching deeper into this subject include:
– Are these efforts increasing viral participation with the University brand online?
– Is the campus seeing a gradual increase concerning grants or funding/enrollment/teacher retention?
– When a University campus employs select emerging media platforms to increase brand identity and community participation, what advantages/disadvantages affect different areas in the educational environment?

This platform (www.LivinLaVidaNewMedia.Wordpress.com) will serve as a collective space that publishes all in-depth research findings (both quantitative and qualitative), in order to answer the above questions relating to how University systems, located in Latin America and European use emerging media platforms successfully or dysfunctionally and why.

Specific research methodologies that will assist this project include:
– Scholarly Article Evaluations
– Platform/Technology Investigation and Reviews
– Critical Response and Analysis
– Interviews and interactive discussion with various Campus Representatives
– Case Study Profiles

At any point should you have any questions regarding this project’s research please feel free to reach me at the following contact information: Amanda Montgomery,
MA Candidate / Dept of Emerging Media & Communications ;
University of Texas – Dallas
Email – acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
Twitter – @acmontgomery
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

The anticipating young lady in the photograph poses a calm yet alluring demeanour; it’s my greatest hope that the collective research gathered for this project during Fall 2012 will capture a similar essence and more importantly raise awareness towards the symbiotic potential that exists between global higher education and digital media.

Is Dallas the new Hot Spot on the US Advertising Map?

Dallas, Texas.  Population: 1.3 million, the 9th largest city in the United States.  Known as the home to Maverick icons like J.R. Ewing, Jessica Simpson, Mark Cuban, Willie Nelson, Kinky Friedman, Melissa Rycroft, Laura Miller and Jerry Jones.  Not to mention that it hosts the Annual State Fair of Texas, ‘Texas vs. Okalahoma’ Red River Shoot Out and in 2011 will welcome the 45th Super Bowl to Cowboy Stadium.

Business is booming.  The city’s American Advertising Federation chapter ranks as the 5th largest AAF club in the country, following shortly behind New York, and Los Angeles.  Interest in relocating courting efforts targeted at Fortune 500 brands is at an all time high, with reportedly 20 to 30 relationships under way for the next 5 years.  When they say folks tend to do things bigger in Texas – they mean business, and that’s exactly what’s headed this way when Q1 kicks off in January.

Are the top CEOs and Chairmans looking to move to Dallas in the coming months because they have a hankering for incredible Bar-B-Q, a fixation for cowboy boots, or just can’t get enough of the delightful, seasonal weather?  Perhaps.  But those things alone, wonderful as they may be, retain surface value.  When looking at the bigger picture, Dallas is a safe bet to many CEOs because it’s sustaining a growing population, managing a resourceful infrastructure, and advocating environmental and urban development efforts.  The Texas State motto is ‘Friendship’ and when you do business with people who smile and offer a handshake, things seem to go well better from the beginning.  Dallas is in the mood to do business and they want to welcome you with a big Texan How’d Do Ya Do Sir/Ma’am? Welcome to our great and humble state.”

For marketing folks (and really across all industries), one undeniable hot button topic, which still leaves the industry shaken, and shuttering is the unemployment rate.  Jobs are hard to come by even in these times when we supposedly see the harsh recession veil slowly lifting and recovery moving in.  The BBC news reported just last week that the US unemployment rate had unexpectedly risen back to 9.8% – a dark statistic still hanging over many people out of work.

But many Texans that I know are choosing to make Margaritas out of the lemons we’ve all been given.  An optimistic and entrepreneurial spirit is part of our inherited character.  We’ve got an airport the size of Manhattan, we aren’t afraid to embrace change, and for the most part we know how to take care of ourselves because we had to once upon a time when we were our own country for 10 years between 1836 and 1846.  Indeed, it’s fair to observe that Dallas is quickly becoming a rising ‘Lone Star’ player across the communications industry and in the United States, so it’s only natural to wonder – what other big plans are they making down there in the South West?