Digital & Media

Digital and media literacy demonstrated by the ability to create and evaluate content on at least one digital or media platform related to a specific communication initiative and audience.

The instructors pushed us in unanticipated directions, toward developing a range of technical communications skills in audio and video production. Although these assignments tended to be the highest anxiety-producing, they also resulted in some of the most memorable and fun experiences.

My personal favorite output was the digital project for COM 613 – “Constructing Messages and Audiences”, where I analyzed the press conference to announce the 2015 firing of Tom Ross as president of the University of North Carolina. Titled “22 Minutes of Doublespeak,” the video applied Peter Berger’s motifs for social constructionism to explain why the example of strategic communication failed so spectacularly.

Producing podcasts was another way to demonstrate digital literacy. To demonstrate branding concepts in COM 664 – “Organizational Identity and Brand”, I created a podcast that explored the distinctive identity of my favorite men’s clothing store, Bruce Julian Clothiers in Charlotte, NC. For COM 655 – “The Mediated Self and Changing Relationships,” I produced a podcast to enable teenagers to examine whether and how they adopted different face in their online and digital communications.


Big Branding Ideas: Acting Small


Below is my podcast about Employee Identification. I interviewed the owner and employees of Bruce Julian Clothier in Charlotte, NC.

The purpose of the project was to provide an opportunity to “critically examine the effects of organizational identification practices (i.e., employee branding) on employees.”

Although I don’t have much of a future as a sound engineer, creating the podcast was fun and I learned a great deal. Unfortunately, the interviews were recorded in store during regular hours, so there’s a lot of ambient noise like a delivery truck and the tailor’s sewing machine idling. Oh well…

Hope you enjoy listening. Comments are welcomed.

COM 664: Organizational Identity and Brand


Welcome back to my blog. It’s been a while since my last post.

I have created a category for COM 664 – Organizational Identity and Brand, where I will post assignments related to the brand project later in the course. When you return (and I hope you will), select the COM 664 category in the “Menu & Widgets” box at upper right of the home page.

Taking a cue from Neely M, a friend and classmate, here’s the course description for COM 664:

This course explores the ways organizations today craft and communicate an authentic brand identity. As the marketplace changes, organizations are challenged to find ways to differentiate and gain the competitive edge. Connecting with stakeholders through a clear and consistent identity that aligns with organizational values and mission can increase profits as well as customer and employee loyalty. This course highlights the most effective ways to craft brand identity through authentic, strategic messages and visual presentation disseminated through both traditional and mediated platforms. The course also investigates how social networks have changed and challenged efforts to craft organizational identity and brand, as well as the ways employees’ personal identities are ultimately interdependent with organizational identity.

Looking forward to re-connecting.

Book Review:

You Are Not a Gadget; A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier

My COM 655 classmates are probably growing weary of my angst and cynicism about certain forms of digital communications. I have taken aim at social media, especially Facebook, as well as the comment sections after online news stories. What is more, on several occasions (as recently as last week) I have shared personal reservations about my own digital literacy and competence, especially as it pertains to prosecuting this online masters program. This behavior probably strikes some readers as the crotchety rantings of a middle-aged man – at least that’s what my twenty-something children have accused me of. Guilty as charged.

Suffice to say, I have concerns about the social implications of digital communications and how they are evolving. I found a compatriot in Jaron Lanier.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 6.00.52 PMLanier is renowned computer programmer and scientist who, among many achievements, is considered the architect of virtual reality technology. Far from being a computer geek, he is also a philosopher, musician, and accomplished writer. Despite his pioneering work in digital design and media, or perhaps because of it, Lanier has become a vocal critic of pervasively negative influences that the Internet is having on our culture. In 2010, he authored a self-described “manifesto” titled You Are Not a Gadget that raised alarm about this phenomenon. I chose this book to review because I wanted to learn how Lanier went from consummate insider in the digital revolution to one of its first and loudest defectors. More specifically, I wanted to see if he shared my concerns.

Here is my book review: ABernstein_BookReview. Comments are welcome.