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So it only seems fair that Mark Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year. He earned the distinction, the magazine says, because he has connected more than 500,000,000 people and mapped the social relations among them (interested to reading more about what that means); created a new system of exchanging information (no argument there) and for changing how we all live our lives (again, no argument).

Facebook – and social media, for that matter – certainly has impacted my life. I went from wanting nothing to do with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn on April 1, 2009, to now having more than 1,100 FB friends, more than 900 LinkedIn connections and, well, I'm really, really trying to become a more consistent tweeter. Nobody's perfect. Anyway, today is quite an emerging media day for my household. Last night, Richard Prince reported that my wife, Mira, is leaving her job as editor in chief of JET magazine to pursue new opportunities. So, of course, being the dutiful husband, I shared the link on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and then spent more time than I should responding to related FB messages and reading the comments, and then getting caught up in everybody else's business on Facebook. Whew! Love sharing news about Mira and reading all the love sent her/our way. But it can blow up a fellow's day.

Zuckerberg, that is, Facebook, that is, social media, that is emerging media has certainly been a key focus for me these past 16 weeks. I have enjoyed Professor Linda Menck's graduate-level course Emerging Media. I knew it was be interesting and different when she offered the class its syllabus not on paper but online via Weebly.com. We had two interesting books, "Open Leadership" and "Trust Agents," as well as more than a few related PDFs.

I won't mention how I missed Roy Halladay throw a no-hitter for my Phillies in the playoffs. I will say that I enjoyed all of our guest speakers this semester. From Philip Nowak to Laura Gainor to Justin Beck, we learned plenty from those who have been there and done that. How can you not enjoy a course when the professor tells you to skip a week's session and instead go see "The Social Network" – about, guess who, yes, Zuckerberg – so it can be discussed in the next class? Our frank class discussion about the movie was among my highlights of the course.

Of course, there was this weekly blog assignment. Proved to be more work than I thought, but I enjoyed it immensely and once I got into a groove I found it hard choosing which subject to write about a given week. I often opted to write about our guest speakers because wanted to review and internalize what they had to offer. I hope to continue this blog as I move onto my other courses for the Digital Storytelling Certificate program, and then, hopefully, en route to a master's degree, here at Marquette.

In addition to the blog and going to see the movie, my two favorite assignments of the course was studying the Top Social Brands of 2009 and helping Michele Tapp Roseman expand and enlarge her "Business Briefs" brand. I hope to produce a new personal brand website of my own for my certificate-program capstone next summer. Professor Menck will also teach that course and I know I'll learn a great deal more as I have learned much this semester.

We had to write down those things we hoped to learn in this course this semester. I have forgotten what I wrote. But I can say I have learned to master a new online-based web design program (Weebly) and more about things that would have otherwise never gained my attention (foursquare, scvngr, SoundCloud, mind maps, Groupon, etc.).

Cannot forget about my classmates. Learned much from – and enjoyed spending time with – them each Wednesday, and in some cases, each Thursday, as several of us also had Professor Menck's graduate-level Craft of Digital Storytelling course. Amazed at how well some of them have taken to using Prezi for their presentations. I hope our blog sites will be up for awhile so I can read those entries that I missed. 

One last thing: I enjoyed this course so much I hope to teach it one day! We'll see.
 
 
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So this was my pitch to Professor Linda Menck, back in October, after she charged our Emerging Media class to come up with a final-exam-worthy idea for demonstrating what we have learned this semester:

"Michele Roseman, a former colleague of mine at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, is creating a new brand for herself called 'Business Briefs." I regularly get e-mails via Constant Contact from her promoting "a free, 15-minute, weekly teleconference that promises to inspire, refresh and uplift.' The message continues: "You've been connecting the dots between your projects, goals and personal worlds. Why not take some time to make a connection with the one who made the world?' The e-mail newsletter also promotes a weekly devotional book that 'will allow you to connect with God at your own pace. It features the same-easy-to-follow connections between business people and biblical principles.' There's a companion website, www.businessbriefs.info. Both the marketing approach and website could and should be much more. Here's a chance to help someone I care about reach more people she wants to help – and to help us both learn more about developing a brand effectively and efficiently on a grand scale."

Well, after several weeks of development, this evening I revealed the new-and-improved Business Briefs website to our class in a 10-minute Keynote presentation. The presentation mostly focused on how Michele and I worked to create – as a guest speaker urged us this semester – one sight-one sound for her and her brand. First, she shared with me sample websites from other marketplace ministers she likes. She shared some very nice and useful digital assets (videos, audio files and photos) previously used to market and sell her "Business Briefs" book. We updated her bio and made sure to provide links to related articles and appearances elsewhere on the Web. We also created one-stop places for her site's visitors to join her teleconference and, of course, buy her book.

It helped that Michele has some prior Web management experience. So she could right away develop a new blog. But our greatest opportunity was to push Michele and the "Business Briefs" brand further into social media. She had already developed accounts for her brand on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – yet she had not fully engaged. Well, she committed to tweeting and we're still working on getting her focused on Facebook and LinkedIn. (Help her out by adding her as a friend and liking her page, following her, and inviting her to connect.) Happy to report, though, that there's a new Flickr presence. And, yes, we made sure to have the ubiquitous social media icons on the new site.

A great thing about this project is that Michele will take over managing the site after I get my final grade. We have talked about adding more video to the site and creating an archive section for her past and future teleconferences. We have talked about posting new entries on the blog at least once a week and tweeting morning, noon and night. We have talked about her finding ways to be part of the workplace-faith conversation, even 140 characters at a time.

Well, don't know that I have ever enjoyed working on a final exam more than this one. Please be sure to visit www.businessbriefs.info and to spread the word about Michele Tapp Roseman and her "Business Briefs" brand.