The Possibilities of Virtual Reality

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 12.23.40 PM

To some people virtual reality still seems like science fiction, but the fact of the matter is, that it is here and it’s just going to grow in popularity. There are many companies investing billions of dollars into the virtual reality industry with Oculus Rift in the lead. What these companies see that many people might not is the applicability of virtually reality to their businesses.

Virtual reality will allow brands to actively engage the target audience in an immersive ways that have never been done before. I predict that Virtual reality will be the next significant medium to advertising and public relations, and I am not alone. Facebook acquired Oculus Rift because they too see the potential.

Virtual reality is just around the corner but there are simplified types of it like what is in the marketplace today. The most basic ways of achieving virtual reality-like effects started Google’s use of phones as a virtual reality screen. Although virtual reality is just an expensive luxury right now, in five to ten years from now it will be much cheaper and as such many people will buy it. Once virtual reality has been adopted into mainstream media, it will be a valuable medium for advertisers to use to engage the target audience. Additionally public relations professionals will be able to expand brand content.

The applications of virtual reality are endless. As I mention in one of my previous post, gamification is currently trending into mainstream education. Once virtual reality is adopted and gamification is applied, education could be revolutionized. Instead of students just learning basic things, they would be applying them in virtual simulations. Right now students go to school to take tests, but virtual reality would offer a completely new way to teach the next generations.

-Nathan

Job Search: Distinguishing Yourself

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 11.10.46 AM

It need not be said that technology plays a significant role in our lives, but it is important to understand how vital it is to your career. This hardest thing for most people to figure out today is, how do we show employers our capability and willingness to learn and apply new technologies.  Lauren Johnson wrote an article about using Snapchat to land a job and I felt motivated to share the three tips that I see as crucial. However they will that when used together, I see as crucial to standing out when trying to snag a job.

1. Research, Research, Research

research-keyboard

Before all else, Research is the most important thing you can do. Since I am a planner and strategist so it’s easy for me to say that research is key. The truth is that employers and professionals are looking for people who will go above and beyond the average person. It says a lot about you when you have deeply research the companies you are applying to.

It says even more so when you have gone out of your way to discover the skills they deeply desire and acquire them. An example of this would be, finding a job opening at a new agency and you research the desired skills for that position. You see that this company could use all the skills you have but they also want someone who knows basic graphic design and adobe creative suite skills. Which leads to the next tip/step.

2. Learn Tangible Skills

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 11.12.22 AM.png

It’s not enough to just research the skills that these companies want, if you want to work there, you need to go out of your way to learn the unique skills that will set you apart. There are dozens of online tutorial sites that can teach you virtually everything that you need to know to actually acquire tangible skills.

Knowing industry information isn’t as important in the digital age what with search engines acting like a digital memory. What employers want in new hires now are applicable skills that can be applied and used to perpetuate the company. This means learning skills like the Adobe Suite, Final Cut pro, Microsoft Office, and much more will be a critical component to distinguishing yourself from competing applicants.  So once you take the time to learn the skill you’d think that would be enough, right? Wrong. This leads to the final step

3. Create personal project

Once you actually learn these skills, it isn’t enough to just say you have them. If you go into an interview tell the person interviewing you that you have skills in adobe creative cloud, you better be able to back that up. Which brings up the importance of personal projects. So many people get in this mindset that they only have to do things that are assigned to them.

Personal projects require you to be intrinsically motivated because there is no point to what you are doing other than to fulfill the goal you set for yourself. These are important because they allow you to develop your skills into physically or digitally produced items. It will be these projects that you can actually show during your interviews to set you apart.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 11.13.32 AM

Personal projects prove that you have not only researched what the company wants, but also you have learned the skills they desire and physically produced something to prove it. This goes above and beyond what more people do to apply for a job.

-Nathan

Video Games are the Future of Education

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 3.23.14 PM

When I was young, my teachers told me video games would rot my brain. Because I was a child and video games were just emerging, I didn’t have any proof to argue with my them, so I kept my mouth shut.

Looking back, I haven’t thought about whether or not my teachers were right or wrong until I read an article written by Jacob Kastrenakes. It stated that an educational version of Minecraft is being used in schools.  This assures me that I was right and my teachers were wrong. Now the world has reached a digital age where anything we can imagine we can make real on computers. The gamification of education is proof of this.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve goals with non-game purposes. It exploits the basic human desire and need for gratification.

By using video games to satisfy the users impulses that revolve around the idea of Status and Achievement, educational video games can be used to teach students while maintaining their interests. Are you still confused about what exactly gamification is? Allow me to explain with Microsoft’s latest attempt to turn Minecraft into an educational program for schools.

Microsoft recently announced that it would produce an educational version of Minecraft designed to have students explore real world places like the Pyramids of Egypt. The educational version of Minecraft isn’t too different from the original, except it is designed to go along with teacher lesson plans and show real locations. Microsoft’s use of Minecraft as an educational program is only one basic example how how video games are starting to be used to teach children in school.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 4.16.54 PM

Why is it important?

There is still so much educational potential in video games yet to be uncovered. Only recently have games started to teach what many consider to be complex skills. Educational games like Minecraft are limited to very young audiences, but now there are games that can even teach complex mathematical skills. If companies can continue to create games that can teach important skills and actively engage people’s interests,  the way that school systems approach education could be revolutionized.

Need more proof? What if there was game that could teach you how to code while having fun? Well there is and it’s called CodeSpells. This is a game where people create a wizard and play in an online virtual world interacting with many other users. The game works by teaching people how to code in Java script to create the spells that their characters cast. This then rewards the user by making them more powerful in the game with the more they learn to code.

Ng2Q48Z

As companies continue to find ways to teach educational skills through video games, public schools and universities will be pressured to use these tools to engage students in ways they interest them. Now that video games are being used in schools, what will be next? Perhaps companies with training programs will begin finding ways to use video games to train new employees.

– Nathan

Buy Buttons Will be Big for Brands

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 10.29.09 PM

As you may have or may not have noticed, buy buttons have invaded the Internet. Over the last year, many of the most popular social media companies have found ways to add commercial uses to their social platforms. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have all added buy buttons to their websites and mobile apps. Their hope is that people will begin using their social platforms for purchasing products directly.

A new frontier is emerging, where business is integrated with social media . As a result brands and retailers will need new strategies to reach consumers in this evolving marketplace. For brands that can see the opportunity  and merge their social media platforms with commercial use, buy buttons could be the first step to getting ahead of the competition.

So, why exactly do buy buttons have so much potential? The reason is because of an explosively growing ecommerce. Over the last year, the global ecommerce has increased by over 17 percent, and is intended to skyrocket over the next few years. By 2017, ecommerce is expected to be at over $370 billion per year in revenue; it was only $220 billion in 2014. 

One significant benefit about buy buttons is the vast amount of data provided by them is easily analyzed to determine the buttons effectiveness and give data driven results. This will change the way marketers and advertisers assess the effectiveness of social media marketing. Spreadsheets can finally have dollar amounts in the “ROI” columns.

After more than six months since Pinterest first added buyable pins, reports have started to prove the effectiveness of these buttons. Early success for Pinterest has lead to an expanding number of products with buyable pins. With ecommerce becoming an exceedingly bigger market, brands who can benefit from using buy buttons on social media to sell products would be foolish not to.

So, why should your brand be using buy buttons? Because if you aren’t, you’re missing the opportunity to have your products reach your target audience directly.

– Nathan

My First Blog Post

communications spotlightI’m new to the blogosphere and this is my first attempt to begin blogging. As a senior at the University of Oregon, set to graduate in June, I am eager to share my observations as a communications professional.

It is my intention for this blog to provide insight into the world of communications. By discussing trends and issues in the industry, I hope this blog will help provide an understanding of the ever-changing communications industry.

You might be asking yourself why I named my blog after a medical term for a doctor’s opinion about what is going to happen in the future. The truth is that Hippocrates inspired me with his “Book of Prognostics.”

A doctor’s purpose is to study, diagnosis, and treat a patient’s problem, which is exactly what communications professionals do for their clients. Because of this, I see communications professionals as a type of doctor, whose patients are the businesses and organizations they help. Since I consider myself this type of doctor, and the focus of my blog is on emerging trends, I thought it would be fitting to name my blog Prognosis.

I am interested in everything that relates to the world of communications, but if I had to pick one thing that interests me most regarding it, it would be technology. Specifically, how technological advancements are shaping and altering the communications industry. Every time i see the news it seems like a new technology is is replacing an older one, which is why I am so fascinated by how the communications industry is affected.

 

– Nathan