Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Job Hunt in Pittsburgh

Companies and positions in Pittsburgh I have already applied for:
  • Akustica - Sales and Marketing Administrator (Just applied moments ago)
  • ModCloth - Customer Care Representative (Several rounds of interviews. No job offer.)
  • ShowClix - Customer Care Representative (Mentioned on Twitter)
  • EDMC - Online Customer Service Representative (Phone interview. Face-to-face interview later today.)
  • Dick's Sporting Goods - Various website jobs (Rejection email)
  • Best Buy - Mobile Store (Rejection email)
  • Zipcar - Member Services Associate (No response after phone interview)

Jobs I am interested in applying for:

Any other suggestions out there? Or should I focus on getting my online used bookstore, Tome Gnome, off the ground? Or should I focus on writing compelling blog posts?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity in Higher Education

"The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak - when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you're experiencing, when you are fully alive." -Sir Ken Robinson, "Changing Education Paradigms"

Last night, I applied for a position as an Online Customer Service Representative for a company called Education Management Corporation. Later today, I missed a phone call inquiring about my application. While I plan on returning that phone call tomorrow, I started thinking about how to answer the inevitable question, "Why do you want to work here?"

Education Management Corporation (EDMC) emphasizes a career-focused education at each of their 100+ locations across the United States and Canada. One main branch of schools under EDMC is The Art Institutes. In 2007, I participated in a community "unconference" called PodCamp Pittsburgh in which people attended sessions about blogging, social media and Web 2.0 tools held at The Art Institutes of Pittsburgh. The event changed my life in many ways.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh provided the setting for anyone interested in creative self-expression and communication tools in the digital age to gather with like-minded individuals. We discussed different communication platforms, podcasts, blogs, social media, wikis, open source, community, Wikipedia, Second Life - and started conversations in the classroom and online which continue years after the original event. Most of my interest in using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media tools as a means to create content and develop a community originated at PodCamp.

This is the future of education - communication, collaboration, and creativity - around digital devices and across all borders. If institutions of higher education, such as The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, increasingly become creative spaces to communicate and collaborate, I believe excitement around education will flourish. Now, I have no idea whether this job opportunity will encompass the ideals I have laid out, but events like PodCamp Pittsburgh give me hope.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Digital Bookshelf

In 2011, books are designed to be judged by their covers. We enter bookstores mainly to browse, soak in ideas, and find inspiration. Our books of choice need to jump off the shelf. Bright colors, action shots, and bold text excite us in our entertainment-filled world. Unfortunately, digital books don't come with display copies to impress people we know.

Craig Mod writes in his article, "Post-Artifact Books & Publishing: Digital's effect on how we produce, distribute and consume content" that digital tools and connectivity make books less permanent. The once hardbound, carefully designed and endlessly edited copies are now becoming malleable, spontaneously written, and too easy to produce:

When someone says ‘book’ this is what we think of (but, curiously, we may be one of the last generations to think this). A very specific physicality. We imagine the thick cover. The well defined interior block. We feel the permanence of the object. Inside, the words are embedded in the paper. What’s printed there today will be the same stuff tomorrow. It’s reliable.

With digital, these qualities of printed books listed above become artificial. There is no thick cover constraining length. There are no additional printing costs for color. There is no permanence: the once sacred, unchanging nature of the text is sacred no longer. Updating digital text is trivially easy. When you look at the same digital book tomorrow, it may very well be different from the version you read today.

A great many texts are held sacred from religion to science to philosophy. Now we must cope with our strongest held beliefs being challenged, remixed, and transformed digitally before our eyes. The ideas we adopted to shape our identities, the very permanent texts we proudly display on our shelves are losing their intrinsic value. We are left with an aesthetic value.

Marketing and business advice guru, Seth Godin, said in this interview on the website The Rise to the Top about the bookstore of the future: "A souvenir shop for smart people, that's what bookstores are going to become." I think physical and digital books will both become souvenirs as information will be everywhere, but at least we can decorate our homes with the former.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Nerd Chic

Nerd Chic

Reversible dress
$160 -

Reversible dress
$55 -

Fitted tee
$28 -

Patent leather shoes
$200 -

Ankle wrap heels
$50 -

Retro jewelry
$60 -

Holding Pattern Makeup Bag
$24 -

All Ears Bookend
$50 -