Calling On You!

I know that I haven’t kept up this blog very well, but then again, you knew that if you saw the gaps between my previous posts.  This time, however, I have not simply avoided blogging or put it on the back burner.  I, along with the help of Paige Hogan (@P_rezzed), have been working on a new project outside of my internship and summer job.

The logo above is that of wilbwatch a film that will document my journey to thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in a record-breaking 45 days.  The title of the film is the aptly placed “2181.45.1,” and will follow the process of completing a feat such as this.  The audience will follow the planning, the fundraising, and the trip itself, complete with the drama of completing college, long-distance relationships, and a little bit of soul searching.

But here’s the thing.  I titled this post Calling On You! because you are the people that will make all of this possible.  There are 119 subscribers to this blog, and your support is what will allow everyone to be a “Wilb Watcher.”

I would like to assure you though that this is not a ploy to have some attention.  I want every person that is interested in the project to be a part of the process, of making the whole film happen.  Using wilbwatchtwitter.com/WilbWatch, and facebook.com/WilbWatch, I invite you to help shape the project based on your experience and interaction with me directly!

If nothing else, check it out!  You are a strong group, and I hope that you will give me that strength to complete this journey.

Running A Controversial Blog

In the field of communication, a key to success is accepting controversy.  I am a firm believer in the concept that managing controversy proves a communicator’s ability to do exactly that, communicate.

As co-founder of The Kitty Litter, http://klbox.wordpress.com/, I invited controversy into my life by providing an open forum for students at my university to voice their concerns.  During the movement to stop SOPA and PIPA, a buzzword of the time was censorship, and this is what The Kitty Litter looked to get rid of.  By remaining separate from the “official” university, the website was able to host conversations that were honest, and open, about concerns being voiced by students, staff, faculty, and alumni.

The reason that I have labeled The Kitty Litter controversial, however, is because hateful comments and general “trolling” took over the website in its first 36 hours.  To quote a fan of the website, “a lot of trolls just means that you have a good website.”  This idea held true in the fact that as trolls pushed to overwhelm the site, fans also spoke up, defending the integrity and the mission of the website.

With this understanding of The Kitty Litter, I have listed below the lessons that can be learned by anyone planning on starting a blog or website that is meant to generate conversation.

  • Establish rules from the beginning
  • If you do not want profane language on your site, block it
  • Do your best to approve every comment, even if it does not agree with your stance
  • Answer questions directed to you, the creator of the site
  • Provide information to the community, not simply opinion
  • Keep your online community involved

With these basic guidelines, an effective website can be run and maintained.  Though it will be difficult at first, once readers understand your expectations for the site, they will respect them.  As a final comment on the trolls, with the initial controversy of The Kitty Litter, the site’s busiest day generated 4,477 views.  Considering that number, I would say that The Kitty Litter was not only controversial, but rather successful.

Are You A Part Of The Problem, Or Apart From It?

As I am sure you have discovered from my previous posts, I continue to find that the digital generation has lost all appreciation for the English language.

Though I feel like an episode of “Sesame Street”, today’s word is “apart”.

As it is being used in the community around me, it perplexes me to read blog posts, status updates, and twitter feeds that run rampant with how proud a person is to be “apart” of an organization.

As defined by dictionary.com, apart is an adverb; meaning into pieces, separately, or aside.

Using this definition one can see the dilemma that I find in the “reformation of written English”.  To relate to the message that inspired this post, if I am “proud to apart an organization” then I am ultimately proud to stand separate from that organization.  However, as I am sure was the original intent of the message, if I am proud to be a part of an organization, then I am a proud and serving member of that group.

Though this post is not long, I feel that the problem of inappropriate word selection is an epidemic that is sweeping across the plains of the social media world.  We have a responsibility to protect the written language, and this post is my newest push in this effort.

Ethics Are Like Role Models And Heroes

You may not understand what I mean when I say “ethics are like role models and heroes.”  If that is the case, it is understandable. The reason for this post comes from the exploitation of the concept of ethical behavior.  As a public relations student, the importance for ethical professionalism seems to go without saying; the same concept that creates role models and heroes.

Considering the number of “heroes” that the media creates and portrays, we can find real-life examples of humble heroes that believe they did what any decent person would do.

In my experience with various organizations, role models follow the same pattern.  Though they impact the lives of their peers and those around them, role models are not self-created or self-proclaimed.  “Hero” and “role model” are given titles, ordained by the lives that are affected by a particular person.

With these definitions of “hero” and “role model” one can understand how I view ethics as a topic that cannot simply be taught.  Ethical behavior is a set of moral standards that governs life.  Ethics do not only pertain to business and professional relationships, rather they determine what type of person you are.  This is then respected and recognized by the people around you, or your “network”.

In short, saying that you are an ethical person does not make you an ethics expert; just as a self-proclaimed hero is not a hero.  To seek the title is to forget what the title represents, and this is why ethics are suffering in the digital age.

What Happened to Written Communication?!


“I was asked to be apart of…”, “But i never thought I…”, “… and to everyone who has help me become…”

I know that I have not blogged about anything since May 4, but I am back!  My inspiration has come in the form of the embarrassment that seems to be considered publishable writing.  The quotes that I provided above come from a student that will be graduating with a degree in communication.  Considering this fact, one must realize what the world is in for if the new generation of “professionals” are held to this sub-par standard.  Though you may feel that a typo every now and then is forgivable, I encourage you to take note of this BBC News article that explains how much money companies lose on typos and common misspellings.

http://bbc.in/pEzfCG

As a student with aspirations of making a difference, and being truly successful, I find it terribly unfortunate to know that I am competing with students that cannot proofread their writing; yet they are placed on pedestals for their simple ability to market themselves and put on a great smile.

To conclude, I ask you this:

When you have a crisis, and your company’s reputation is on the line, do want a pretty face or a person that can effectively convey your message to the public?  A person that can smile through any situation, or one that knows that you could lose your credibility, as opposed to “loosing” it.

If you have any questions about me, or my writing, I encourage you to contact me via jgwilb@gmail.com, or @JGWilb.  I might not always smile for you, but I will always be concerned with the reputations that I represent.

Finals: The Proof of an Arbitrary Education

As semesters across the country draw to an end, one has to question why it is that we are required to take finals.  There are two ways to look at this question.

The first is to consider that by the time finals roll around, a whole semester worth of work should have been completed.  This must show that the student is educated and dedicated to the material that has been covered.

The second point is that a final provides proof that there is an understanding of the material that has been covered, and thusly has been retained by each student.

This brings me to my point; if we have finals to prove an understanding of specific material, why then can that final not be used to prove an understanding at the beginning of a class.  This means that just as a student can place out of lower level foreign language classes in college, a student would be able to place out of lower level required classes for graduation.  Essentially a student would be able to register for a class, test on the material, and if the score of the test was at least a B average, the student would then receive credit for the class.

This whole concept can be seen by the number of students that slide through their classes until exams, and then pass the exam with flying colors.  This, to me, is proof that higher education is arbitrary simply because some students pass their classes based on the fact that they receive their effort grades for the amount of work turned in, but a student can fail a class by turning in little to no work and yet shows a complete understanding of the material on the exam.

I feel that education should be based on what a student knows and learns, to force a student to sit through a class of information that they already know is ridiculous; and therefore should be subject for review by the people paying for the education… THE STUDENTS!