My Thoughts on Video Communications

I wrote this article for my Media Imaging and Sound interactive communications class at Quinnipiac University. Enjoy.

The Significance of Video on the Web
I remember discovering YouTube sometime after I moved to New Mexico in 2005. For all of us television watchers, YouTube naturally entertains us. The Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments video went viral for me. I shared it with everyone I thought would enjoy it. I drank Diet Coke and my company promoted Mentos in the local market during the late 80s. That video had special meaning for many of us and now it was easy to share by linking to it.

In honor of our mental trek thinking about the significance of video on the web, I revisited the “101 bottles of Diet Coke and 523 Mentos” movie. This time; I brought a more mature look at the video. Now, in addition to enjoying the explosive fountains, I read the stats and comments…

13.5 Million Views
40.3 Thousand Likes
1.5 Thousand Dislikes

A link declaring “as seen on:” lead me to an article celebrating YouTube’s 5th anniversary in 2010 which placed Diet Coke + Mentos at #43. The number 1 position went to Charlie bit my finger – again! with 310.9 million views whose spin offs add another 40 million viewers. I wonder if in a few short years YouTube will worry about their number data programming due to the unlimited viewership ability to create staggering numbers. Will YouTube experience their personal “1999?” I believe billion is just the start of the large numbers we will be seeing on websites like YouTube.

Recently I discovered we must provide “closed captioning for the hard of hearing” to post video on our organization’s website. Due to the popularity of videos on the web, I believe “accessibility” will increase in importance. I have a good friend who’s hard of hearing. Our communications improved with the advent of texting. Fellow interactive communications student Monica Guy in her blog, Unleash Web Access, writes about “the power of technology for people with disabilities.” I have learned much about accessibility from her writings.

I believe videos need closed captioning. YouTube has responded and provides it as an option you can add. It appears fairly simple; I will be writing closed caption text soon — both because I want to…and because I have to. I wonder how it will work for me. Will editing be required to adapt the message to the medium? I suspect so.

Mobile computer phones (aka communication devices) will only increase in popularity; fast replacing desk top computers. Most phones now upload and posts to the internet immediately. More and more slice-of-life videos like Charlie bit my finger – again! will appear.

Price and size does matter. Constant communication has fast become a way of life also. Tablet computers will increase along with e-books; but android phones will be the norm for most of the world.

The size makes them the most mobile of all which requires us to provide good graphics and clean designs. This will separate the talented, computer graphic artists from the technical, computer graphics people even more.

In order to rise above the noise, we need to be smart about our approach to video production. Videos require clear messages to reach intended audiences; prepared scripts, stimulating visuals, and technical competency. Today’s audiences expect to be entertained. As interactive communications professionals, our jobs merge communications with entertainment.

That is what I think. Thanks for listening. Jan Bush

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Washington State Historical Society’s History Lab

Through my work I collaborate with Mary Katchur of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum on a STEM program. Whereas I graduated with a BA in Ceramic Arts, Mary graduated with a BS in Ceramic Engineering. Mary also completed two master degrees; one in material science and another in science education. You can understand why I collaborate with Mary — she is smart and learned. Mary brings her knowledge of visitor interactions with displays to help ensure any displays we build will be of interest to our audience.

To round out our core planning group, Dr. Stacie Williams with the Air Force Maui Optical & Supercomputing Site serves as our resident scientist. Her doctoral topic centered on “ultra-fast, time-resolved laser investigations.” You will have to ask her what that’s all about. Stacie is another super-smart person working on this collaborative team. Stacie’s years of experience in both formal and informal science education provides a deep understanding of our youth and what interests them in addition to the teacher side of our STEM outreach equation.

Other key collaborators include Dr. Joe Janni, Dr. Roy Hamil, Dr. Sean Rowe, Stewart Bailey, Mathew Van Dixon and more. All of us have a passion for helping our youth succeed.

In this passion we are finding others who have gone before us and have a successful informal education program. Although we focus on science, technology, education, and math; we recognize all areas of study.

The Learning Center
One such find is the Washington State Historical Society’s History Lab Learning Center. Mary attended a workshop presented by Stephanie Lile from the historical society. Mary was impressed with their curriculum for teachers, books and displays in addition to Stephanie’s passion. Mary passed on the site’s information to us; I am passing it on to you. Click on the links below to visit their sites for more details.

Washington State Historical Society

History Lab Learning Center

Find out more at

Sage Advice
Stephanie Lile did offer advice to Mary in their correspondence. Stephanie encouraged us to ensure with each project and each contract we retain full rights to reproduce as needed for educational, training, and outreach efforts. She also suggested to obligate contractors to “produce media that you can re-purpose easily.” I imagine this extends to the final production as a whole or any part there of.

Thank you Stephanie Lile for sharing your experience with us. Keep up the good work.


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Make-your-own Comic Strip

Make-your-own Comic Strip

Young and old can create comic strips at Make Beliefs Comix. In addition to English, your characters can think and talk in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and Latin. The instructions are easy; tools limited. It’s fun. You can see my thought process deciding my topic for my next class, Media Imaging and Sound Design, through Quinnipiac University.

The “sister site,” Bill’z Treasure Chest, provides more activities for recording personal histories, diaries, and stories.

I found Make Beliefs Comix through the Google supported Literacy Project site which I found through CAST, the Center for Applied Special Technology. I learned about CAST from a LinkedIn discussion group sponsored by the National Science Foundation. In the discussion on software for K16 grades, Tobias McElheny from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics recommended CAST.

CAST is a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through Universal Design for Learning.” provides the lesson plan; the comic strip

CAST provides items of interest to students, teachers, parents, and guardians to help in the different ways of learning. This brings me back to my topic of Make-your-own Comic Strip. In the Strategy Tutor Teacher Website you can use their tools to make lesson plans from on line content. A data base contains a variety of lesson plans including a make-your-own Charlotte’s Web comic strip.

I had to try it. Following the lesson plan I would have summarized the story of “Charlotte’s Web.” It’s been a few years since I read the story so I added my Kansas farm roots and closed with The Waltons. Enjoy.

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Informal Science Education reference book

I am recommending a book without reading it. According to the coauthor of Surrounded by Science, Marilyn Fenichel states that this video “captures the essence of what we were trying to say (in the book).” I like the video and how it explains informal learning of science. Surrounded by Science places informal science education into six strands of learning. The video provides examples of all six. The book provides useful tools and information for informal science educators.

The six strands of learning include:

  • Understanding Scientific Content & Knowledge
  • Engaging in Scientific Reasoning
  • Reflecting on Science
  • Sparking Interest & Excitement
  • Using Tools & the Language of Science
  • Identifying with the Scientific Enterprise

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments, is designed to make that task easier. Based on the National Research Council study, Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits, this book is a tool that provides case studies, illustrative examples, and probing questions for practitioners. In short, this book makes valuable research accessible to those working in informal science: educators, museum professionals, university faculty, youth leaders, media specialists, publishers, broadcast journalists, and many others.”

P.S. Thank you Stacy Jannis for introducing this video to me through LinkedIn.

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Innovation 21C

I have watched General Electric adapt to a changing world. My friend once worked for GE in industrial sales. I respected GE for hiring a woman in a male dominated industry; my friend was one of the first women in the industry and consistently ranked among the top sales people for GE. To me, GE wraps itself in an innovative spirit.

When I saw this article on GE’s Innovation Barometer declaring partners and localization are key to innovation, I immediately went to it.

Compiling answers from 1,000 business executives in 12 countries, this independent study by GE, according to the Stamford Advocate, “found that the greatest innovations in the future will be those that help address human need, more so than those that simply create the most profit.”

Ninety-five percent of executives said innovation is the main lever for a more competitive national economy, and 88 percent agreed that innovation is the best way to create jobs in their country. Eighty-six percent said that 21st-century innovation is about partnerships as opposed to the success of a single organization.”

Read more: GE’s Innovation Barometer from the Stamford Advocate

My Quinnipiac University professor, Lisa M. Nichols, connected me to another study — IBM 2010 Global CEO Study conducted every two years; this being the fourth study. Like GE, I have watched IBM adapt its mission to the changing customer and technology environments.

In this study, IBM conducted personal interview with 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries who believe that…

…more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”

Interesting points brought up in this survey report reflect the differences in regions based on the their experiences getting to the “new economy.” China’s CEOs believe “global thinking” serves as the most important leadership quality. In North America CEO concern focuses on “greater government intervention and regulation.”

All regions understand the impact of technology and the need for technology to address our “massively interconnected” world. It is this interconnectedness that brings complexity to business and demands creative thinking.

The IBM report identified top performing organizations with the majority believing they need to make swift decisions, get closer to their customers, and capture future revenue from new sources. When it comes to getting closer to customers…

95 percent of top performing organizations identified getting closer to customers as their most important strategic initiative over the next five years – using Web, interactive, and social media channels to rethink how they engage with customers and citizens. They view the historic explosion of information and global information flows as opportunities, rather than threats.”

These two world reports stress the need for our Nation’s youth of today to become our researchers of tomorrow in science, technology, engineering, and math. Support STEM education of our youth any way you can. I personally ask that you encourage these same inquiring minds to consider working for the United States Government directly in our Federal research laboratories or for one of the hundred thousand businesses who contract directly or indirectly with our Federal labs. Thank you. Jan

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Chevy Cruze New Media Campaign

For one of my interactive communications graduate class assignments, I had to find a social media campaign that inspired me. I considered Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Kraft Miracle Whip’s new campaign, and others. I finally, while biding my time trying to think, discovered Veronica Belmont on Twitter. She intrigued me with her 1,595,738 and growing followers. I clicked to her web site and discovered:

Veronica is a technology and gaming-centric video host based out of San Francisco. Currently her projects include Qore (a monthly interactive magazine about the PS3 for Sony) and Tekzilla (a weekly tech help and how-to show on She has also written for Slate, DoubleX, MaximumPC and PC Gamer.”

Her links included Cruze-arati for Chevrolet…hmmm. I went there and this is what I found:

    six young adults

  • traveling around in Chevrolet Cruzes,
  • blogging on assigned topics (entertainment, fashion, music, sports, technology, and travel),
  • checking in to interesting locations on Four Square,
  • documenting Cruze tours with photo postings on flickr,
  • linking to the Chevy Cruze Facebook page,
  • reporting via video on YouTube, and
  • you can also subscribe to an RSS feed of the site to keep up with the hype.

In addition to this entire “new media buzz,” you can Tour the Chevy Cruze which takes you to the Chevrolet site for the model. The traditional website displays a technical attitude with 360-degree views, color changes, a video tour of the car, and a “Live Chat” to talk to a Chevrolet representative. In addition you will find car specs, price specials, and dealer links like traditional websites for cars.

The Chevy Cruze Facebook fan page let’s owners post personal experiences about their Cruzes in addition to admiring photos, watching commercials, reading blogs, and linking to the Cruzerati website.

This campaign focuses on 18 to 34-year-old car buyers. The Chevy Cruze reportedly “fuses compact pricing and fuel economy” with mid-size luxury and styling. It also offers hands-free Facebook® with GM’s OnStar services, blue-tooth communications on the steering wheel, and USB ports for music from MPS players or flash drive. The campaign and the car speak to young America.

Experience the attention to detail of this campaign; watch Veronica’s 15 Feb 2011 report of “the International Speed Texting Champions battle to take home the 2011 LG Mobile World Cup.” Notice the non-invasive introduction of the car; and then on with the report.

Veronica Belmont also visited TechShop in Menlo Park, California. TechShop, a member-based community, provides “access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a community of creative and supportive people so they can build the things they have always wanted to make.” Again, she reported on a topic of interest to young adults 18 to 34.

When you go to the Chevrolet Cruze YouTube channel, you can enter a contest to appear in the Cruze video for the New York Auto Show. The contest uses a slide-show format to explain the rules.

This campaign excels on using the new media to target a specific audience — 18 to 34-year-old car buyers. It focuses on tech-savvy, young adults. It appeals to topics of interest to young adults (entertainment, fashion, music, sports, technology, and travel). It conveys professionalism with every link working and presented in an easy to understand flow. It also gives off a youthful attitude from the writing to the graphics. I’m impressed.

According to NPR, Chevy Cruzes sold 18,000 cars in February. November 2010 was the first full month of sales. The Cruze replaced the Chevy Cobalt. Edmund’s Inside Line reported that, “Approximately 22 percent of the early buyers were age 16-35 years old. More than 50 percent of early buyers were women.”

I would say the Chevrolet Cruze new media campaign works. It works as Chevy identified their market and then built the campaign to target that market. The attention to detail shows in every part of the campaign — you can see it in the video staging, the blog topics, and the story choices for reporting. This campaign exemplifies a well thought out and produced marketing effort utilizing multiple platforms relying heavily on the new media. Inspiring.

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YouTube Channel Activated

Linking the STEMStrong YouTube Channel took awhile to find current instructions. Most Google links stated it could not be done. I persevered and found this 2-part video instruction produced by Claude Pelanne. Mr. Pelanne gave me the code to crack the mystery which lies at Custom Player tool. As you can see I could not quite get it to work as an embedded object. My channel links do take you to full screen view player which is almost embedded. Someday I will fix it. Meanwhile, enjoy. Jan

Part 12 – How to create YouTube embed channel code: New Custom Player

STEM Strong Channel Play Lists

Technology Rocks!

The People Equation


My Favorites

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Failing to Fail

Braden Kelley, host of Blogging Innovation had the opportunity to interview Seth Godin, author of “Linchpin,” “Purple Cow,” “Tribes” and nine other books, at the World Innovation Forum 2010 in New York, NY. In this video Seth Godin talks about innovation, education, and more.

Go to Innovation Videos for more interesting interviews conducted by Braden Kelley. I also encourage you to check out Blogging Innovation.

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Student 1. Opportunities for Federal Employment

If you would like to work for the Federal Government, I urge you to take advantage of their employment opportunities. I have worked for the Federal Government since 1997 and enjoyed all the positions I have held and all the places I have been. The people are terrific and the work rewarding.

I started my civil service career in Kansas, spent five years in Japan, and now I work in New Mexico. How cool is that? I’ve moved around because that’s what I like; some people work 40+ years at the same place. On a military base, that’s easy to do and still work for multiple organizations.

The Federal Government offers positions for both students and professionals.

Federal employment requires that you are a citizen of the United States. You must have a social security number to register your income and a bank account for automatic deposit of your electronic paycheck. Positions of trust may need you to have a Security Clearance. Where you work and/or your job description will decide if you need a clearance. Most, if not all, positions require a background check. You will be fingerprinted which totally blew me away. I thought only criminals were fingerprinted. Consider yourself warned.

There are multiple positions available to you.
Appropriated Positions: these positions are part of the President’s Budget and we commonly refer to them as “civil service.” USAJobs.GOV has a listing of Federal jobs by college major. I recommend that you go there first. Look it over; decide what Federal career fields interest you.

Today, most agencies list through USA Jobs.GOV. Some use specialized hiring sites that process your application and you will be automatically directed to them. For example the U.S. Forest Service uses Avue Central for their employment website.

Non Appropriated Positions: These jobs are career and seasonal openings specializing in the moral, welfare, and recreation (MWR) of the active duty and retired military and their families. Non Appropriated Positions (NAF) personnel specialists hire people on site of the base or fort. I would suggest you go to the base Internet site where you would like to work and follow the links from there. The benefits and rules vary slightly for NAF positions from Appropriated funded positions (civil service), and usually the hiring process takes less time.

If you live by an U.S. Air Force base anywhere in the world, you can apply for NAF jobs from the Non Appropriated (NAF) jobs site. This site lists openings for lifeguards, child care, bowling attendants, arts and crafts, outdoor recreation, graphic artists, cooks, housekeeping, and other positions with family oriented programs. If you want to go to school overseas and the school is by an American base or fort, research before hand, contact hiring staff, and apply. Student opportunities exist there also. It’s a great way to have some benefits of home while living overseas — and earn a paycheck.

Both the Army and Navy offer MWR positions at their bases; both have recreational sites also. The Army located its only MWR facility in the continental U.S. Shades of Green, in Orlando, Florida at the Walt Disney World® complex.

In Hawaii, all the Department of Defense Services lists their openings on NAFJobs.COM. In addition to the base offerings in Hawaii, you could choose to work in some of the most exotic recreational areas in the world.

As a Department of Defense employee, these recreational sites are available to you when you vacation. Active duty military do have priority.

All bases have retail centers with all the support staff like payroll, computer systems, etc. You can apply to work at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) or the Navy Exchange (NEX). Both offer good jobs and exciting careers, especially if you are willing to move anywhere around the world.

I hope this helps to give you an overview of the two types of positions with the Federal Government — Civil Service and NAF. In part two of this three-part series, you can find out more about civil service opportunities and especially jobs for students. Part 3 helps you fill out your application and apply on-line. Take care and …

Good luck! Jan

Three-Part Series:

Student 1. Opportunities for Federal Employment
Student 2. Jobs in Civil Service
Student 3. Application for Federal Employment

HELPFUL Sites for Students

Careers in National Defense
Salary Tables
USA.GOV Civilian site Student site
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Avue Central’s Crack the Code and
Skills for Applicants.

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Student 2. Jobs in Civil Service

Student Civil Service Jobs Overview

Working for the Federal Government while in college, graduate, and/or post-graduate school is rewarding. It is also a win/win situation for both the student and the organization. For the organization, a student position depends solely on the organization’s need for, and ability to fund, that position. Student positions are not counted against the department’s finite number of positions allowed.

As the student, you need to think of your student employment as a government sponsored scholarship program — only the Feds set up this scholarship similar to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930s where you work for your money. You do have to keep your grades above average.

Organizations select student new hires based on resume, grades, application, references, and interview. Like all places, if you know someone who works for the Government and likes you, ask her or him to serve as a reference. This includes people your own age. The form you fill out requires references.

Through the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP), many students start in the clerical and office automation areas, especially for high school seniors and college freshmen and sophomores. Any student taking 6-credit hours or more qualifies for this program. Students attending accredited technical and vocational schools are also eligible to work as a STEP student.

There are career opportunities through the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) where you work for a department in your field of study. SCEP participation commits the organization to train you in your chosen career and, if your work impresses, your supervisor will hire you. For these, definitely check the Federal jobs by college major site. SCEP opportunities exist throughout and especially in some of our under-filled career fields like accounting, acquisitions, contracting, and procurement.

Agencies hire direct for the Federal Career Intern Program. You may need to contact your career guidance counselor, placement office, or teacher; and then contact the Federal agency employment office for details.

A good site for understanding employment in the Defense Department is Go Defense which lists the developmental intern programs for newly graduated students. Some of these require you to sign a “mobility” agreement stating you are willing to relocate. Most have you work in two to three different locations for you to gain experience and develop a world view as the Federal Government is a global organization. I know people who have interned through the Air Force Palace Acquire program and they thought it was a great skill builder that definitely helped them. Student teaching opportunities exist with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) throughout the world.

In the research laboratories, scientists and engineers can take advantage of summer intern programs and other jobs; some of which help graduates work on their thesis. Go to the site of the research laboratory to find these programs. For example the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate has a healthy Space Scholars program working new technology in space weather, satellites and all things space. Applications close mid January. Ask your instructors about these opportunities.

You can apply for other summer jobs through USAJobs.GOV. Most agencies use students for the summer in seasonal positions, like the Forest Service, or general office help. Check it out. If you live near a base or Federal Government organization, go to their websites. Often the summer hire program processes through the local human resources office.

I hope this helped you to better understand what the Federal Government offers for student employment opportunities. You can have a rewarding career with great benefits and some of the most amazing opportunities in the world when you work for the Federal Government. Part three of the series provides helpful steps to apply for a student position.

If you have questions, ask them in the comments section and I will attempt to answer. If I cannot answer, I will find someone who can or will send you to a website for the answer.

Good luck on your job search! Jan

Three-Part Series:

Student 1. Opportunities for Federal Employment
Student 2. Jobs in Civil Service
Student 3. Application for Federal Employment

HELPFUL Sites for Students

Careers in National Defense
Salary Tables
USA.GOV Civilian site Student site
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Avue Central’s Crack the Code and
Skills for Applicants.

Posted in Citizen Researcher | 1 Comment