Archive for the people Category


Posted in Blog, education, people, Social Media Book Reviews (by A. Dustus), writing with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2009 by dustus

bloggers on busI must confess to being addicted to blogging. Back in November of 2008, I wrote my first entry and hit the “post” button reluctantly. In fact, I knew next to nothing about the blogosphere, key personalities, or such informative online leadership. After blogging for ten months, Bloggers On The Bus by Eric Boehlert caught my eye in the bookstore. Without question, it is one of the best nonfiction books I have read in many years.

Bloggers On The Bus offers the reader a window into the lives of the individuals who prompted an online interactive political movement. Philip de Vellis, Alegre, Susie Madrak, Jane Hamsher, Howie Klein, Glenn Greenwald, Phil Munger, Lee Stranahan (to name a few) demonstrate their passion for political discourse, oftentimes overcoming great obstacles.

Bloggers On The Bus details the work of the liberal blogosphere from the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries to Obama’s win in the general election. What struck me as most fascinating was Eric Boehlert’s insights about the beginnings of this movement. Feeling a backlash of progressive invisibility and growing cynicism with the Bush Administration, many liberal intellectuals began posting media and discussing issues often missing from traditional news reporting. Many bloggers of this ilk challenged promotion of stories claiming to be “fair and balanced.”

Beyond the thorough recounting of the political blogosphere, Eric Boehlert reveals the novel lengths Barack Obama implemented in order to reach voters online. Still, while often ignoring blogs and generous online support, Obama directed some bold new moves through social media channels. This insight alone renders this book a must read. Nonetheless, you might come to the conclusion that I did. If not for the sacrifices of many bloggers, McCain-Palin could be drilling a hole the size of The Great Depression deep into our collective progressive heart —the real majority of The United States who want health care and deserve quality news that is not insulting to one’s intelligence.

With the help of blogs and social media, historic change in American society became reality. Thanks to Eric Boehlert for documenting a true online revolution.

Bottom Line: Bloggers On The Bus = Definitely A Must Read!

What Would Google Do? (book review)

Posted in Blog, education, people, social media, Social Media Book Reviews (by A. Dustus), writing with tags , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2009 by dustus

Picture 140I would like to begin this review by first warning the reader: This is book more than about Google and its massive sphere of influence.  What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis (copyright 2009) is an optimistic cultural statement in both scope and form.

Google is more than about the retrieval of posted information. For many individuals it represents an ideal, alongside being a major economic player on the global stage.  As an author or business entity today, you cannot build your “online platform” without understanding Google and the tangible effects of their continual rapid development. As newspapers, television, and other older media may have lost the trust of the people, revenue, and perhaps the overall faith of their consumers (perhaps deservedly so, or not).  Established rule, unyielding corporations, and inefficient bureaucracies—they all change as Google provides immediate relevant information to the masses.

Google does not own the content to everything out there—it simply organizes that information. They make billions selling targeted ads all over the Internet. To me, Google represents infinite possibilities and instant help in the form of immediately answering questions. (In fact, I probably searched Google at least 100x myself while writing this review).  Up until reading this book, I had no idea the extent to which Google can unearth answers.  Throughout What Would Google Do? Jeff Jarvis not only provides useful tips for search engine optimization (SEO); he also presents a cogent argument for Google’s results to be considered as the foundation of a theoretical democratic-meritocracy (a “demotocracy”—I “googled it” to find the term does not exist), which represents the collective will of the people based on what they most seek.  To put it another way, our clicks provide information for what is relevant based on what we all search.

While it may be common knowledge that Google owns the two popular services Blogger and You Tube, there are numerous Google research and philanthropic endeavors in areas aimed at discovering means of more efficient energy, improving the knowledge base of countless fields of inquiry, and connecting individuals, companies, products, and services all through a strikingly simple home page.  Google, along with other prominent figures in this digital zeitgeist (like Facebook, craigslist, Twitter, Digg, MySpace), represent more than a great platform for discovery.  In WWGD? Jarvis elucidates the general philosophical affinities that the aforementioned behemoths of social media seem to encourage.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of What Would Google Do? for me is that I find myself contemplating a connected world where the only limits are myself, the extent to which I pursue searchable choices, and the potential possibilities of connecting with others through my inquiries.  As an author trying to build my online platform, I state unequivocally that WWGD? helped me to understand what needs to be accomplished in order to truly be “searchable.”

Bottom Line:   What Would Goggle Do? = Must Read
Jeff Jarvis (born July 15, 1954) is an American journalist. He is the former television critic for TV Guide and People magazine, creator of Entertainment Weekly, Sunday editor and associate publisher of the New York Daily News, and a columnist on the San Francisco Examiner.

New Podcast… High School Asylum excerpt “Jenny’s Essay” on School Shootings

Posted in Blog, education, people, podcast, Poetry, writing with tags , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by dustus

This “documentary-style” podcast illuminates the essay “My Generation’s Lost Soul” by Jennifer M. McGhee, sophomore at Skyview High School. (Running time approx. 6 mins.)
—Please allow a few moments for download
Take a Listen to the Podcast!
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Listen to Podcast…