You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Twitter’ tag.

As I write this, I have Microsoft Word open with nothing more than a title on the page. Even the title isn’t sitting well with me. It’s the beginning of a 5-6 page paper due next Friday for which I have a topic, enough background information, and websites for citation purposes. The words are just hard to come by. I’m writing here to vent my frustration with the sometimes overwhelming process of putting thoughts to paper.

In another Word window, I have some sentences down for a project I’m a bit more excited about, though there’s no grade given for that. That’s a personal project. Ideas came to mind, and it was best to write them down. I’ve always dreamed of making a film. Not for fame or fortune because I’m too much of a realist for that, but because it’s the best way I can think of to express some of life’s sensibilities. A diary. I’m not talking about some three hour epic, but something short; 10 minutes, 20 minutes. Maybe several 10-minute sequences over the course of time that add up to feature length. I can post them on a website dedicated to the project. YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram play a part in promotion.

It’s all a struggle. It’s like sometimes your mind just becomes a cloud. The type of cloud with nothing going on inside. No lighting or thunder, no rain or snow. I write, not because I think I’m any good at it (I give myself credit for being pleasantly mediocre), but because it can be very rewarding. Here, I vent my frustration. On another page, an idea comes alive. That’s when I love it. The screen in front of me becomes a form of therapy. Getting started is the hardest part. Then I get started, and the first 500 words become the issue, though once you get into a groove, it can be an infectious feeling. One idea follows another and suddenly you’re several pages in without feeling like you’ve really tried.

What’s the best ending to your story? Forget the story, what’s the best ending to a paragraph? How do I make the simple thought a powerful one? I should let more prolific authors answer those questions. It’s possible the answer isn’t the same for everyone. We each get to a specific point in our thoughts, but go in different directions.

Despite all that, I’ve always been capable of a good paper. Give me a 5 page paper any day of the week over a 50 question multiple choice test. Studying for weeks for a test is arduous at best, excruciating in general. Writing is such an important part of being a student at CUNY SPS. Its helped me view my strengths and weaknesses in equal measure, and with time, improve those deficiencies.

One tip I can give that’s been helpful to me as of late is to find a song, or a type of music you like; something that helps you relax, or puts a smile on your face. Play that music when you write. Not so loud that it’s a distraction, but loud enough so that you feel whatever emotion you’re looking for in the moment. I’d always heard that classical music was a great motivator in the process. I tried it. I liked it. I also find inspiration in a terrific film score. Sometimes it’s dark and creepy, sometimes it’s melancholic, and other times it’s the uplifting sounds that might push you to a place of triumph, so to speak.

Some will use big, thoughtful words, and speak in terms you might not understand. I find as much value in that as someone who just writes what they think in even the simplest of ways. I’ll go back to my open Word windows now and try to piece it together bit by bit. I know it will get done, and done well. It just takes time.

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

The Academy Awards are this Sunday. Here are some picks and notes for the festivities.

Best Picture

SHOULD WIN: Spotlight

WILL WIN: The Revenant

  • CAROL not being nominated is a travesty. THE REVENANT has abundant momentum. Not a film I enjoyed all that much, but the Oscars often get it wrong.

Best Actor

SHOULD WIN: Whatever (Really, whatever)

WILL WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

  • By far the weakest of the major categories. DiCaprio wins by default in a year with no competition, and for a performance that was lacking (I blame the script more than him).

Best Actress

SHOULD WIN: Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)

WILL WIN: Brie Larson (Room)

Best Supporting Actor

SHOULD WIN: Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)

WILL WIN: Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Best Supporting Actress

SHOULD WIN: Rooney Mara (Carol)

WILL WIN: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)

  • This category is a major wild card. Perhaps the strongest all around category, this is a pure guess, at best. Kate Winslet is a terrific actress and always a threat, but I’ll stick with these predictions.

Best Director

SHOULD WIN: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)

WILL WIN: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)

  • I’d be disappointed by another Inarritu victory, but with recent victories at the BAFTAs and DGA, it seems likely. Really pulling for Miller or Tom McCarthy.

Best Original Screenplay

SHOULD WIN: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (Spotlight)

WILL WIN: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (Spotlight)

Best Adapted Screenplay

SHOULD WIN: Phyllis Nagy (Carol)

WILL WIN: Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (The Big Short)

  • In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read any of the books these adaptations are nominated for, so I’m not to be trusted with my “should win” pick. I pick Nagy because I loved Carol, but it’s clear McKay and Randolph are the front-runners.

Best Cinematography

SHOULD WIN: Roger Deakins (Sicario)

WILL WIN: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)

  • I’d love to be wrong here. One of the great cinematographers of this or any era, Deakins has been nominated 13 times for an Oscar, and has come up empty each time. I could make an argument for each of the other nominees: Ed Lachman for Carol, Robert Richardson for The Hateful Eight, John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road, or Lubezki. Lubezki does brilliant work, but has won 2 years in a row (Gravity, Birdman). Would like to see a spread of the wealth. Wildly competitive category, and a great year for one of the most vital and powerful parts of the medium.

Best Foreign Language Film

SHOULD WIN: Son of Saul

WILL WIN: Son of Saul

  • Mustang is terrific as well, but this should be a slam dunk.

Best Documentary Feature

SHOULD WIN: The Look of Silence

WILL WIN: Amy

  • This is a shame. Amy has racked up almost every award this season, and while it’s fine (I feel like this doc could be made about thousands of people, making it less unique), it in no way compares to Joshua Oppenheimer’s devastating companion to 2012’s The Act of Killing.

That’s all I got. If you’re into it, enjoy the show. Brace yourselves for the inevitable boredom that will strike somewhere in the second hour (maybe first depending on how well Chris Rock is doing as host), and don’t take it too seriously. A lot of your (my) favorite movies this year weren’t nominated.

****One additional note: World of Tomorrow is nominated for Best Animated Short. It is incredible and at only 17 minutes, well worth your time. I LOVED THIS. It’s streaming on Netflix.

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

The Leftovers, HBO’s drama based on the novel of the same name written by Tom Perrotta, returned this Sunday for its second season. Season 1 focused primarily on the people of Mapleton, a fictional town about an hour drive north of Manhattan, and their dealing with the mysterious disappearance of 2% of the world’s population. In season 2 the story shifts to Jarden, Texas, appropriately nicknamed Miracle National Park, as not one person was taken from them in the Sudden Departure.

There is a bleak nature to The Leftovers, unlike anything else on TV at the moment (perhaps the only thing close in the “dark” department is, oddly enough, Review, which is great, but a comedy) that sucked me in entirely midway through last year’s first season. It’s grim. It’s depressing. Add that to a level of despair that will undoubtedly turn people off. It’s a divisive show, with a view of the world most people wouldn’t dare tackle nor one they want to be a part of.

Damon Lindelof, co-creator/writer, is no stranger to polarizing television. When LOST ended it’s 6 season run in 2010, many were unhappy, feeling they were left with more questions than answers. I was not one of those people, but I can’t argue with those who thought the show should’ve gone in a different direction. I didn’t agree with all the decisions made regarding the final couple of seasons, but I believe no less in Lindelof, who helped create something wholly original and unique, unlike anything else on TV then and with its failed copycats in the years since.

Alan Sepinwall, excellent TV critic for Hitfix.com, posted a wonderfully candid interview with Lindelof that gives great insight into the process of creating such a show, and the pitfalls of controlling something the magnitude of LOST.

The Leftovers is a show about grief, but it’s also a show about hope. A hope that these people can move on with their lives. Maybe not to rebuild the lives they once had, but to expand on lives they never thought possible. The departed are not coming back. We, the viewer, have been told by the creators that we won’t ever find out what happened to them. That focuses us entirely on what’s happening on-screen, right in front of us. There’s a supernatural aspect of the show that’s exciting in a non-alien way. No matter what your religious allegiances, it’s a show that tests your faith.

Mapleton has burned, figuratively, and to a point, literally. The Garveys, along with Nora (Carrie Coon’s performance as Nora Durst is transcendent and one of the great new TV finds in recent memory) are leaving that behind to start anew. I can’t wait to join them.

Here’s a beautiful piece of music from season 1’s Soundtrack. Part of a deep, emotional, and often contemplative score:

Twitter: @BobbyJDaniels

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

#FindYourReason

#SPSGrad2013

With the start of the Fall 2012 semester this week, those of us who took the summer off are quickly reminded of the juggling we will need to do in order to maintain our family responsibilities and jobs. Schedules need to be re-arranged, social outings declined or cancelled, and sometimes we have to ask others for help. I’ve already had to ask my brother to spend time with Athena, my daughter’s Chihuahua, because we are both keeping long days with work and school, and in my case, training for the marathon too.

Asking for help has become a new talent of mine. It is how I have been able to raise over $2,500 for the American Cancer Society and how reaching the goal of $3,500 is attainable. Since the CUNY School of Professional Studies has an opportunity to fundraise for Komen’s Race for the Cure, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my fundraising secrets that have made “asking for help” a lot easier than it sounds.

Social media has been my number one source for donations. Using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn and blogging, I make the opportunity available to many potential donors. I engage my audience of friends, family and colleagues by making meaningful posts about my progress, set-backs, victories and challenges. I invite others to comment, share, and get involved. I offer opportunities to support me with either financial support, moral support—or both.

One of the most engaging tools I’ve used is MapMyRun. While running, it tracks me and my friends can watch me live on the app. (Feel free to add me if you use MapMyRun, user name: xahndra.) One of the coolest features with MapMyRun is that when my run is complete, it posts a map and a custom message with my mapped run. I set the program so that it will automatically post to Facebook and Twitter after my run with a link to my fundraising page. My online community sees that I am doing the work and that their funds mean something to me. (It also socially holds me responsible to stick with my program and training days… Win Win!)

I try to think of gimmicks and mini-goals. For example, the hashtag on Twitter, #FF stands for FollowFriday. Many Twitter users actually search for that hashtag to see what fun people to follow on Fridays. Also, people pay attention to the #FF in their Twitter feed. So, I made #FF stand for something else. FUNDRAISING FRIDAY!

Fundraising Friday works best when you have some sort of mini-goal associated with it. For example, a few Frundraising Friday’s ago, I was very close to the 50% mark. I needed just a hundred dollars or so. By the time #FF Fundraising Friday was almost over, I needed just $19.25 to hit 50%. I sent out a tweet and status update requesting that amount and instead I received two more $25 donations pushing me well over 50% of my goal. It’s fun because now some of my teammates are using #FF Fundraising Friday and having success as well. Try using #FF this Friday as a member of the CUNY SPS team for Komen’s Race for the Cure. Let me know if it worked for you too!

In all my tweets and updates through social media, I try to engage others. If I can get a well known handle to retweet me or donate their status update for me, it’s a good day for my awareness. I always tag organizations on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve actually been retweeted by authors, sporting good stores, and the American Cancer Society. When this happens, it’s a great day for my awareness campaign! I’ve even asked for a status updates and tweet donations from my friends and followers. It’s really helped me reach the friends of my friends. In the last 3 months, I’ve actually doubled my number of Twitter followers. This will really help me for the next time around.

Outside of social media, I write bi-monthly email updates to all my contributors, family, friends and colleagues. This keeps them engaged and aware of the huge impact they’ve made in my life and reminds them of the good cause they have contributed to. I write updates to the blog on my fundraising page regularly, reporting my progress and milestones. I’ve held two happy hour fundraisers with friends and colleagues and I plan on doing a bake sale in the office. There really are so many little things that a #CharityRunner could do to raise big money without costing too much time.

So, here’s my personal challenge to the CUNY SPS community. As a team, let’s try to raise some serious cash for the Susan G. Komen #RaceForTheCure! So far we have 17 team members. If each of us raised $100, we would be making a huge impact with $1,700 raised as a team. That’s almost half of what I am raising on my own for the American Cancer Society. Can we do it? I think we can! To join our team and efforts, please visit http://bit.ly/CUNYSPS.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

The wonderful world of Twitter is to thank for my latest blog post! A little over three weeks ago now, I was going through my normal morning routine by surfing through my three favorite websites (the NY Times Homepage, Gmail and Twitter) when I came across the actor Ed Burns’ latest post about a winner for a song for his new movie “Newlyweds.” That is where I quickly clicked on @mrpatmccormack and found the man who won the contest; which then lead me to his website and contacting him personally. At first I had to congratulate him on his winning and of course than thank him for us little people who try very hard to follow our dreams. He entered a contest and won a once in a lifetime dream! After a few emails back and fourth I asked him if he’d let me interview him for the CUNY blog and he said yes!

I asked Patrick to tell us a little bit about himself before we started the questions …. I’m a singer, songwriter and film composer originally from New England.  Last spring, I recorded and independently released my debut EP, “Fresh Paint.”  I pride myself as a self-sufficient recording artist, performing guitar, drums, piano, vocals and all other instrumentation.  I’ve spent the past 3 years living in Chicago, playing in my band, T & The Wonder, while writing and recording my original songs.  In addition to singing and songwriting, I spend equal time composing and producing instrumental music for independent films.

·     If you had to describe your music in three or four words, what would you call it?

Sentimental | Folk | Pop

·     What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Growing up in the 1990’s was a very inspiring time for popular music. When I heard stuff like Beck, Beastie Boys, or Cake all over the radio, it just seemed so relatable.  Even if it got me nowhere, making music is such a versatile form of expression. I felt like such an underachiever by NOT having a band, even when I was 10. As far as actually pursuing music, I saved up for a four track cassette recorder.  The first batch of simple folk songs I made on cassette really kickstarted my obsession with layering instruments and vocals.  That’s also when I realized you can make a record completely by yourself.  With enough practice, and commitment, I learned bass, guitar and drums; the brick foundation of every rock song.

·     I saw through Ed Burn’s personal Twitter Account that you’ve recently entered a contest sponsored by him through Twitter; can you tell us about that experience? How has it changed your career?

It was a huge surprise to me.  My friend Giancarlo even had to talk me into entering the contest.  Burns chose “Ovenbird” from my “Fresh Paint” EP.  This could not have been any easy choice for him, I think there were about 100 song submissions from some very serious musicians. Luckily, they had a pair of tickets to the premiere for me, so I flew into New York about 36 hours after finding out I had won. Very surreal.  The film was amazing, so just being attached to it was such a thrill.  Edward Burns was extremely encouraging when we spoke in person.  Getting complimented by such a legendary filmmaker,I couldn’t even mentally process it. A large part of my career focus is composing music for film.  Right now I’m scoring a few short films and other instrumental projects. Getting the credit of an Edward Burns film is a huge boost for my future in cinematic music.

·      What are your up-to-date performance plans? New Releases? Tours? News?

Sometime in the next week I will be releasing the “Mile Away” single, along with some other material.  This is a prelude to a new album, which has no official release date yet.  I’m at my home studio just about every day, working out the details of my new songs.  Should be around mid summer, so look for that. Currently, the “Fresh Paint” EP is ‘name your price’ on bandcamp.com, in other words, FREE.  I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in independent music to download and listen.  Each track is original, and every instrument was performed by me, including all vocals.  I’m very proud of this EP and I can’t wait to share my next one.

I’d like to personally thank Patrick for lending me his time to answer these questions for his blog post! If you’d like to find out more about his work,  check out his website or follow him on Twitter @mrpatmccormack 

Louise Marie Russo is currently an undergrad at The School of Professional Studies majoring in Communication and Culture. She enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, photography as well as volunteering. Her goal one day is to work with a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless population of New York City and one day publishing a book of photography.

When you want information on something, it’s likely that one of the first ways you go about seeking it out is through a quick Google search.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s comprehensive.  But have you ever googled yourself?  Because if you’re not, and consequently you’re not doing whatever you can to manage those search results, you’re putting yourself at a severe disadvantage.

Taking control of your search results is a key part of managing your personal brand online.  It allows you to control (to a certain extent) what people see when they search for you.  This is something that can be very important if you’re looking for a new job.  And even if you’re happy with your current employment situation, it’s never a bad idea to try and manage what people see when your name comes up.

The first time I googled myself, I found out I was  on the FBI’s most wanted list, that I thought my University was doing a great job of bring events to campus thanks to a quote in the student news paper, and that I was a hip hop artist.  Only one of those actually pertained to me (my ranking FBI most wanted list, naturally), so I went to work figuring out how to make the search results actually reflect me and my online presence.  It’s not an overnight process, and you’re competing with a lot of other people with the same name, but it’s an important process nonetheless.

Now there’s my website, my social networking profiles, a blog I wrote when I was living in China, and then, below all of that, some results for other Shawn Abrahams.  I did my best to make sure that my content was the first thing you’d see when you search my name, and people seeking information about me can see the information that I want them to see right at the top.

Naturally, the more common name you have, the more difficult it is to guarantee that you show up on top.  Here are three quick tips to keep in mind if you want to take control of your digital destiny.

1. In case you haven’t heard it from me enough, social networking is kind of a big deal.  Google and other major search engines have a tendency of floating Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to the top.  So make sure you register a vanity address for your account wherever possible.

2. If you haven’t done it yet, if someone ELSE hasn’t done it yet, register http://www.yourname.com.  Even if you don’t know what to do with it, you’ll find a use for it eventually.

3. Time to start that blog about cross stitching vintage 80’s pop art that you’ve always been talking about.  Blogs are a great way to up your relevance in searches.  Your name comes up a lot, and it helps define you as an expert in something.  This can be a key component of your personal brand, especially if that brand is 80’s Pop Art Cross Stitching Expert.

The idea of developing your brand online will be central to this column moving forward.  Now that the semester is in full swing, we’ll be going bi-weekly, but the next installment will pay closer attention to the idea and importance of starting your own blog.

Shawn Abraham is SPS’ Virtual Campus Manager, which means he gets to have a lot of fun building an online community for the school.  He also has a lot of fun reading books about zombies.  These two things rarely intersect.

I’ll venture a guess and say that most of you have heard of Mark Zuckerberg.  I’ll venture another guess and say that most of you have not heard of Reid Hoffman or Jack Dorsey.  Hoffman and Dorsey are at a decided disadvantage here as Zuckerberg is the centerpiece character in the Oscar nominated movie The Social Network. No big screen for Hoffman or Dorsey.  But I’m thinking that’s just fine with Hoffman as his company will soon go public.  That said, Hoffman is the founder of LinkedIn, and Dorsey is the founder of Twitter.

Left to right: Zuckerberg, Hoffman, Dorsey

In full disclosure, I really never understood the fascination with Twitter – or, at times, with Facebook.  Pardon my learning curve but status updates like getting ready to vacuum just do not strike me as the depth of information that needs to be posted for public consumption.  But far be it from I to make the perfect the enemy of the good.  As social network platforms, there is no denying their power and significance in today’s interconnected world.   Connections matter.  Get on board or get left behind.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses that John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie, along with a number of other capitalists of that era, were all born between 1830 in 1837.  It was the dawn of a new era saliently marked by extraordinarily robust growth in the oil and railroad industries.  These men prominently stood at the epicenter of such industries, in the right place, at the right time.  We saw a similar occurrence during the computer revolution. Had Bill Gates and Steve Jobs been born in an earlier time, Microsoft and Apple might not exist today.  To their credit, all of these men comprehensively harnessed the technologies and infrastructure advancements that were available to them at the time, and ran with it, while the rest of the world remained pedestrian.  They were risk takers and unyielding in there myopic focus in seeing what others could not, or would not, envision.  But it was the combination of internal forces and external facilitators (most of all, timing) that ultimately brought their embryonic visions to fully matured fruition.

In a sense, Zuckerberg, Hoffman, and Dorsey are today’s Rockefeller, Morgan, and Carnegie.  They are visionaries, entrepreneurs, business luminaries, and billionaires.  Like their predecessors in their respective sectors, these contemporaries figure prominently at the forefront of the newly created social networking space.  J.P. Morgan dressed in a three-piece suit and top hat as he walked through Central Park while Mark Zuckerberg goes to work in a Gap sweatshirt and flip-flops.  Yet, both have had an astounding impact on the world.  They all deserve celebration and should be lauded (unlike many “celebrities” who have accomplished remarkably little and often contribute nothing of value to our society – read: Kardashians) for their respective, significant creations that we all may opt-into as participants.  They are corporate titans of the highest magnitude, even in flip-flops.

John Brigantino is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Business Management & Leadership Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.  He enjoys writing, non-fiction books, traveling and the many cultural and leisure experiences Manhattan has to offer.

#CUNYSPS is a new weekly column running on the SPS Community blog that will delve into various ways social networking and other advances in online media can be used to foster and grow a dynamic environment that serves the diverse community at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies.

Today, I tagged friends in photos on Facebook after tweeting about a news item I read on a blog.  When I arrived at work, I checked in on Foursquare, pinging all of my friends to let them know where I was.

That was today.  Ten years ago though, that sentence would have made no sense at all.  But welcome one and all to 2011 and the second decade of the 21st century, a time that will be defined by the new levels of social interaction being pioneered through various new online platforms.

I’m a bit obsessive about some of these sites and platforms, but it’s the users that have more casual interactions with Facebook, Twitter and the like that are guaranteeing that this is nothing short of a fundamental shift in how we communicate and interact with each other.  From the sharing of content and ideas, to the ease in which we can stay in touch with one another, we’re living in a golden age of connectivity.

The ecosystem being cultivated through sites like Facebook is ideal for community building in a place as diverse as CUNY’s School of Professional Studies.  From our online only students, to students working full time jobs that make more traditional interaction less manageable because of an already packed schedule.  Through online interaction, our students can engage and interact on a schedule that works for them, and bolster a network that can be just as beneficial professionally as it is socially.

And this is the foundation from which our Virtual Campus will be built.  We will foster communication on platforms you are already invested in.  It’s already well underway.  You just didn’t notice it because it’s natural at this point.  The #CUNYSPS column will highlight ways that this is being done, and spotlight some new technologies you may not yet be aware of.

And if the idea of Facebook, and Twitter, and blogs scares you?  Well then you’ll get a lot out of this column as well.  You’ll see just why these sites aren’t scary, or the waste of time you may be concerned about.  And to get you warmed up, as I sign off, I’d like to share this video with you.  Some food for thought until next time.

Shawn Abraham is SPS’ Virtual Campus Manager, which means he gets to have a lot of fun building an online community for the school.  He also has a lot of fun reading books about zombies.  These two things rarely intersect.