Be Sure to Bookmark:

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

Courtesy of

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 … … 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.” isn’t a spotlight textbook case study, but at the very least it deserves an Honorable Mention medal.

Most importantly, the 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 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

Obviously unwilling to go against any fellow social media channels, it’s impressive that’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

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 – 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


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

@OliverStuenkel: A+ Media All Star and Int’l Relations Professor at Brazil’s Fundação Getulio Vargas Institute

 “When you learn from great teachers, you will grasp much more from their hard work
and commitment than from their lecture style.”
― William Glasser

Courtesy of

Before discussing the brilliant Dr. Oliver Stuenkel and his on-going contributing efforts to improving one of Brazil’s premier universities, the Fundação Getulio Vargas or FGV as it’s referred to abroad; let’s briefly review some historical context.  Flashback seven decades ago… give or take a year… to 1944.

Overseas, the Allie/Axis national leaders so anxiously desperate to resolve World War II’s problematic consequences spent the year’s majority drafting/revising/finalizing numerous surrender treaties.  But several thousand miles across the Southern Atlantic, FGV’s founding advisory board gathered at the very first assembly to discuss an entirely different world issue: how to sustainably improve their nation’s higher education industry. It’s a relentlessly complex subject yet today -now well into the 21st century- FGV’s current leadership still upholds that earnest commitment to maintaining an exceptional standard when it concerns their nation’s education rankings.

The FGV campus continues to explore, develop and execute progressive ideas, all influencing how a higher education infrastructure, adequately prepares students to begin post-graduate life successfully.  Every class gives students numerous opportunities to interact with invaluable resources, teachers deliver inspiring lectures about how to apply classroom instruction to careers beyond academia; Perhaps most importantly FGV continues to recruit top industry talent ‘turned’ professors, as the newest additions to a fast-growing, remarkable, faculty roster.

Courtesy of FGV.Academia.Edu/OliverStuenkel

In Spring 2011 when FGV approached Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, International Relations Professor extraordinaire, to join their convivial teaching troupe, his reply to their position inquisition was an emphatic yes.  It’s advisable to colleges worldwide, that whenever possible, hiring multi-lingual, internationally versed PhD, media savvy, all star candidates like Stuenkel will only help ennoble education’s foremost audience, the students.  Indeed, any student entering the lecture hall will undoubtedly realize upon finishing his semester course (as long as they’ve gone to class), that they’re all the more wiser, mindful, and discerning thanks to the good professor’s knowledgeable instruction.  Beyond the classroom, Stuenkel’a main media website, openly shares his latest research findings, thoughtful article readings, and other links to his recent contributing writing.  It’s a tremendous library that continues to curate new, enlightening materials.

Comparatively,’s social media presence needs a slightly bigger fan base before reaching notoriety similar to Sir Richard Branson’s or Elon Musk’s.  However, its overall audience engagement isn’t terribly shabby when it comes to their Twitter, and Facebook accounts.  Stuenkel often posts extensive information about how to help support diverse philanthropic endeavors, and shares interviews he’s given while attending different conferences worldwide.  Take a few minutes to check out his recent discussion with the GEG Africa Project, while attending at a policy-making symposium at South Africa’s University of Pretoria earlier this fall.  The conversation highlights his recent observations about Brazil’s evolving philosophy toward the changing dynamics impacting global economic governance.

Courtesy of

In the same way an apprentice painter hopes to study under an industry master like Henri Matisse, Oliver Stuenkel’s online/offline teaching will better prepare all scholars intent to make their life’s career achieve prominence as a CEO, Engineer, Diplomat, etc.  More importantly, a first-year FGV undergraduate stands to learn as much from Stuenkel’s expressive media presence, as does a corporate Vice President with twice the work experience. exemplifies a truly creative way to disperse expert information to the masses, when one makes a choice to work diligently at featuring only the most reflective content using the right emerging media platforms.  Each tutorial reviews provoking question that any future leader needs to contemplate and debate.

Realistically, there’s no possible way to design a truly comprehensive course load that will provide all the ‘right’ answers to future generations.  But if campuses like FGV continue to appoint such influential educators like Stuenkel, then higher education will improve all the more quickly.  It’s equally important that professors also keep a healthy balance between developing their academic work while also helping to advance their respective fields.  Hence, partnerships that connect leaders like Stuenkel to international organizations such as serve a larger social purpose.  The resulting conversations ideally bring up new suggestions to improve such community issues like urban planning, international relations, and education.

When reading over the numerous achievements Dr. Stuenkel’s CV outlines, its encouraging to know that his leadership continues to engage the commercial and academic environments simultaneously.  It’s largely inconsequential as to whether one absorbs his mentorship online via a podcast session or spends a semester abroad to take his classes.  In time, the students who understands why Stuenkel stresses that all lessons carry a global, applicable context will start a career, already significantly more observant than their less insightful peers.  This fact alone makes all of Stuenkel’s previous pupils a powerful force to contend with; and really who’d expect anything less knowing they’ve spent ample time studying under Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, a clear reflection to FGV’s best.

Amanda // @acmontgomery

Building Education w. Brazil by saying ¡Bienvenidos!

“The most important trip we take in life is meeting people halfway.” ~Henry Boye

Although only two remaining Beatles still walk amongst the living, it’s a fun idea to entertain that if we’re able to create a TuPac Shakur holorgram, then it’s also possible that hopefully one day in the not so distant future, the legenday Fab Four will also come together once again (no ironic pun intended).  While a live, mixed jam session on Leno or Letterman would electrify the nation, it’s my humble, personal hope that the boys will return from a enlightening, transcendental journey with a plan to discuss how we might all collectively improve higher education worldwide.  At the very least, I wish someone would dare to ask university administrators nonchalantly, “I don’t know why you say good bye? I say hello.”

This witty lyric translates to a broader question concerning 21st century universities everywhere: why are a percentage of schools still choosing to resist certain digital media platforms designed to help enhance and also grow the learning and campus experience?  Even despite mounting evidence which proves that when a college classroom uses these emerging media tools, applications and innovative technologies effectively, the end result means that the entire academic community improves overall; there’s still a lingering protest that enrolling these changes will create more mess than good management.

In a recent article for BBC World News, Anna Bressanin’s video interview features three students, currently studying abroad in the United States in order to gain a more dynamic education, so that upon finishing their programs, they’ll be able to return home and hopefully apply their experiences toward helping resolve local, pressing issues like poverty, global warming, problematic urban infrastructures, etc.

Ambitious institutions like Science without Borders, EUSA, and other study abroad sites work diligently (and truly bring value) when it comes to helping universities establish resourceful partnerships, opportunities, and networks for students/professors wishing to expand their educational threshold.  But more importantly, emerging media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Blogs, YouTube and LinkedIn allow those participating and representing these programs to generate an ongoing, engaging dialogue about their real time experiences. Moreover, these technologies also allow a person cataloging this information to create a digital file history so that when future students wish to embrace similar opportunities- the information exists in readily available, searchable, and shareable formats.

Courtesy of

Today, every campus aspiring to develop an internationally known  brand identity and expansive relationship network both externally and internally that supports an evolving campus must think about how digital platforms will help, hinder and enhance the education experience challenging all eager and committed students who want to learn by using application in addition to the classroom protocol.  Moreover, academic leaders must also be willing to turn to their global neighbors and at the very least offer to say ‘Hi there … I hope we can help each other and I’d also like to learn a little more about you.”

It’s amazing what happens someone starts a conversation by saying a simple hello.

Say Hi and connect with Amanda Montgomery || @acmontgomery  ; also as always feel free to share thoughts, comments, and observations about ideas relating to this Fall’s thesis research below – Thanks!

Has Social Media Revived or Revolutionized Salon Scholarship?

This week’s theme and blog post highlight various readings which address Shifting Models of Creation/ Participation in Art & Pop Culture.

As I set out to prepare and review my notes and ideas for my Case Study presentation, admittedly, I struggled to find a new media object that would best capture my presentation’s theme and compliment the assigned readings. Bunnies, Cookies, and Podcasts had been all used up so I thought harder. I am interested in International Communications; we’re going to discuss shifting models of creation/participation amongst art and pop culture… How do these things relate back to EMAC 6300?

When a very kind and brilliant professor advised me took back and explore how Lev Manovich describes a new media object, I heeded her guidance and stumbled upon this little nugget which began to solidify things-

“What is new media? We may begin answering this question by listing the categories, which are commonly discussed under this topic in popular press: Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, virtual reality. Is this all new media is? For instance, what about television programs which are shot on digital video and edited on computer workstations? Or what about feature films which use 3D animation and digital compositing? Shall we count these as new media? In this case, what about all images and text image compositions — photographs, illustrations, layouts, ads — which are also created on computers and then printed on paper? Where shall we stop?”

Courtesy of Dean Terry ;

What about a classroom where students transcribe their musings and observations into a rolling feed stream via the Internet while at the same time analyze and critically discuss various other media platforms such as videos, paintings, literature, and song? Could this not also be a new media object? I’m inclined to vote yes; but that’s not where this case study is headed.

To a certain degree I would qualify our Wednesday evening class that meets at 7pm every week as a new media object. Our class incorporates technology in to the traditional components of communication and media so therefore it retains a ‘new media’ aura. However I think the more appropriate label is something I like to refer to as ‘Salon Scholarship’. Salon Scholarship occurs when academics congregate at any given time to converse, theorize, collaborate, observe and record thoughts on a certain topic or idea. Salon Scholarship requires participating using communication to express one’s ideas to those gathered. More often than not addressing these concepts amongst a group leads to inspirational creativity. And so the question presents itself.. Has Social Media Revived or Revolutionized Salon Scholarship?

When we look at all the online platforms we participate in every day (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, FlickR, SlideShare, Prezi, YouTube, etc.) we’re participating as online citizens who converses with our peers, family and friends about relevant topics and at times create art, opportunities, or other expressions of life that thrive amongst the technology that pushes us forward. As we see things today are Convergence and Salon Scholarship a nostalgic throw back to the times of The Renaissance, Moileré, and Mary Shelley? Or has social media revolutionized the model to a point of no return and altered the idea entirely? We’ll participate in a lively debate over these questions and create our own conclusions. Of course this also means we’ll celebrate as scholars in fantastic salon fashion!

Til Soon-

Would You Ditch that Make-Up Mirror for the ‘Beauty Mirror’ App? I Would.

For this week’s blog post I wanted to make an honest confession: I am so glad that for the FIRST TIME in my weekly writing, I did not have a story planted in my brain, ready to roll… I’m completely abandoned all Type A inclinations!

Instead of sitting down at my laptop to write my weekly blog post with story notes, thoughts and musings neatly outlined I struggled with a bit of writer’s block after surviving what I loving call on Twitter #thegreatbigmoveof2010 – My Brain was trying to say it needed a spa weekend.

So imagine my surprise when I ran across an article featured in North Texas Kids monthly magazine (I swear I was searching for business leads, not filling in the crossword puzzle…) and when turning the page an article headline and the answer to my writer’s block slapped me square in the face: ‘New iPhone App Inspires Tween Girls to be Positive!’ – Hallelujah!

Although the interview article was on the shorter/plainer side (maybe 300 words, and that’s a high ball guess), I was inspired to feature a story on the iPhone App Beautiful Mirror because I believe its implications carry far beyond the borders of newsprint in the October issue of North Texas Kids Monthly…

The Concept: Beauty Mirror is an application available on the iPhone/iDevice which essentially serves as a ‘Magic Mirror’ reminder about how awesome you (a woman) are and encourages ladies of all ages to disregard those negative nagging thoughts and replace them with positive, proactive perspective.  In short, think of it as a portable Magic Mirror like in Shrek or Snow White crossed with Richard Simmons—

The Creators:  What do you get when you add technology smarts, outgoing personalities, and roots based in California and Toronto?  Isabel Rasmussen and Lauren Wood, the 2 super cool, super incredible creators of the Beauty Mirror application who want to positively shape the way tween and teenage girls look at themselves, that’s who.

Applying it to #EMAC6300… While I do not own an iPhone/iDevice I see this emerging technology as one of the most impressive ways app/computer programmers are leveraging their ability to manipulate technology for good instead of not so good.

Remember when we talked about the screen society in class the other week?  We circled around what we were doing in a world of screens of all shapes and sizes including TVs, Desktops, iPads, Cell Phones,  iPhones, iPods, etc.  In it’s own way I think a mirror is a sort of ‘screen’.  An interesting question came up about how society as opposed to removing screens instead was figuring out ways to adapt and incorporate them more into daily life.  I have to admit that I wouldn’t be terribly annoyed if I had a screen in my life which reminded me on a daily basis that Beauty first begins on the Inside.  Now that’s the power of emerging media.

Where Did All the Parisian Summer Grad School Classes Go?

Friends, Scholars, Paris Lovers – Lend Me Your Ears.  As graduate students taking a course in Emerging Media and Communications, I personally invite all of you to contribute your thoughts, musings, and speculations to this week’s New Media Question, which is simply the following…

Where Did All the Parisian Summer Grad School Classes Go…

While I was torn between writing about the new BlackBerry Playbook (too easy), Remediation (too repetitive) and New Media around TX-OU weekend (too risky- I went to Alabama), I decided to focus on a question that has personally been bugging me since I began to navigating the new world channels within the labyrinth of Graduate School Bureaucracy.

At this point I am sure you’re asking, why does Amanda even care about Parisian Summer Grad School classes?  You raise a good point so let me explain further why I inquire about the above:

As many of you readers may remember from when we went around and played the ‘Hello/Intro’ game on our 1st day of EMAC6300, I shared with the class that I have a particular interest focused on International Communications.  In the past, I have traveled to Europe extensively and also lived there in college while interning with a boutique agency, Comms-Unit.  When you combine a person who loves to travel and emerging media with a rising international social media firm like Social Media Delivered where I currently work – You can bet two cents that I will do everything in my power to plan and complete a cultural emersion internship and course that which will cover the 6 hours of class credit that I need for Summer 2011.

Here in lies the problem… from the extensive amount of research I’ve done, virtually every Summer Abroad program in Paris I looked up and collected data from was designed for an UNDERGRADUATE… which I am not.  And to add salt to the wound, I discovered this fact after sending a very comprehensive/detailed email to both my abroad and academic advisors who are working tirelessly to help me make my way abroad.

So I decided to turn to you, my fellow colleagues and classmates.  Perhaps you may have run across certain opportunities which offer concrete details about Parisian Summer Classes for GRADUATE students.  Through this investigative journey I am also interested in documenting how social media’s role effects this research question, because virtually all information available can be found online in social networking vehicles like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  You would think there would be a LinkedIn group focused on Graduate Students Studying in Paris… I intend to start one if I don’t find it next week.

This scholarly voyage is also an extension of the research paper I eventually hope to conceptualize and develop as we move toward the end of the semester.  I intend to write my final paper for EMAC6300 on what criteria is key for developing a strong & well-rounded Emerging Media program.  It seemed natural to also consider students who had attended programs where completing abroad fieldwork was not only a requirement but encouraged because it gives students a broader idea about the holistic global village we all play a role in.

The French are also famous for one of the more primitive forms that could be considered a pioneer in social networking communication: the salon.   So if you do know where the Parisian Summer Grad School classes are, I am begging you, PLEASE send me any of the following:

Their Twitter Handle / Facebook Fan Page / LinkedIn Group / Email Address / YouTube Account / MySpace Info / Gowalla Link / Yelp Review / 4Square Badge / Contact Name

– As the French would say so eloquently: Merci.

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