Tag Archives: Twitter

Scholarship of Engagement — Prof. Conrad Fink “Guest Blog” (Part I)

23 Mar


It’s been five years since my favorite professor and UGA legend Conrad Fink passed away. I recently rediscovered a Fall 1998 issue of the University of Georgia Research Report. (Not sure why I have it — I arrived in Athens for my graduate studies in 2001 — but I’m really glad I do.) Inside are Fink’s poignant and prescient remarks about academe’s obligation to engage the general public and major trends in higher education and communications that very few at the time had fully considered. Only Fink could make a research journal that engaging! In the tidy package are the timeless themes of caring, giving and sharing and how truly meaningful work must include those things.

Does the scholar truly have an obligation to relate learning to the general public? Let me ask you: Do scholars have a responsibility to shine light in dark corners? To help good triumph over evil? To assist reason in the eternal war against chaos?

Yes, scholars do have a responsibility to interact with the public — and I personally question that proposition no more than I would question whether I have a responsibility to dart into traffic and pull a child to safety. I question the proposition no more than I question whether a physician has a responsibility to heal.

And I don’t mean scholars should sit demurely on the sidelines, waiting to be asked to the dance. I favor aggressive scholarship of engagement, as it was termed by the late Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

But why do I feel so strongly about this?

It probably has something to do with my Methodist upbringing. I think that anyone — not just scholars, but anyone — who possesses something of value is obliged to share that in some way with humankind. Scholars are uniquely positioned to fulfill this moral obligation when they possess something of value: facts, revelations, insights, thoughtful reflection. Pull the child from the traffic, assist humankind’s search for truth and progress. Both are moral obligations and both require active effort by scholars that go beyond simply sharing with other scholars in the tight little world of academe.

To Be Continued


Atlanta’s Moving Performance in 2014 Solidifies Economic Path

31 Jan
Ponce City Market  (courtesy of Silverman CPM)

Ponce City Market   (Image credit: Silverman CPM)

Atlanta is on fire again! This time it’s a march to see and be a part of the city’s impressive growth in business and development. For five years running Atlanta has claimed the top spot on Penske’s list of top U.S. moving destinations. The robust influx of educated workers speaks to the tremendous opportunity found in the Capital of the South. The mild weather, favorable cost of living and many attractions definitely sweeten the appeal.

“You can see Atlanta’s ascension in the metro’s continued population growth, the city’s startup business boom and its very strong development wave, which includes vibrant mixed-use developments such as Emory Point across from the CDC and the recent addition of major cultural attractions like the National Center for Civil & Human Rights and the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Dan Graveline, 33-year director of the Georgia World Congress Center.

The civil rights museum and hall of fame debuted in downtown Atlanta last summer. In case you missed it, The New York Times included downtown as one of the 52 places to go in 2014 – and one of only eight U.S. cities on its list. Atlanta even has two stadium projects ongoing for the Falcons and Braves that combined will generate approximately 10,000 jobs.

Although the Peach State’s unemployment rate has lagged of late, that hasn’t stopped Site Selection magazine from declaring Georgia No. 1 for the second consecutive year in its ranking of best state business climates. According to CBRE Inc.’s mid-2014 analysis of office rents and wage costs in major U.S. metros, Atlanta offers the most value for employers, coming in at 25, 31 and 38 percent more cost effective than our nation’s capital, New York and San Francisco, respectively. PulteGroup moved its headquarters from Michigan to Atlanta last summer, WorldPay and Prince Global Sports have similar moves in the works, and Mercedes-Benz recently declared that it will roll the automaker’s U.S. base of operations into town this summer.

Georgia State University’s Economic Forecasting Center projected that Atlanta will add almost 175,000 jobs from 2014 through 2016. CBRE reported that Atlanta experienced employment growth in the technology sector of nearly 11 percent between 2011 and 2013. Ponce City Market, the nation’s largest historic tax preservation project, has attracted leading tech firms such as MailChimp, athenahealth, Cardlytics, HowStuffWorks and now Twitter.

So when do mixed results mean major market momentum? That’d be here and now. Mixed-use behemoths Avalon, Buckhead Atlanta and Jamestown‘s 2.1 million-square-foot Ponce City Market will open from September 2014 into this year, infusing character and enthusing consumers from the northern suburbs to the Old Fourth Ward. Crescent Communities President Brian Leary told Globe St. that the three “extremely unique” developments, which total around 1.17 million sq. ft. of retail space, might make Atlanta a “national anomaly.”

As the saying goes, retail follows rooftops. In November, Fannie Mae reported that consumer confidence in housing, which, historically, contributes 17 to 18 percent of GDP, hit an “all-time high.”

“Atlanta is showing signs of returning to its prior form of leading the country in population and household growth,” Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com’s chief economist, told CNN Money.

Emory Point (Photo Credit: Cooper Carry)

Emory Point   (Photo Credit: Cooper Carry)

The metro area is expected to see a 6 percent increase in home-owning households in the next 5 years, and, according to MPF Research, the metro’s apartment sector achieved a post-recession record occupancy rate and a two-decade high annual rent increase in third quarter 2014.

“Nationwide demographic momentum, especially in the prime Millennial renting segment, finds especially fertile ground in Atlanta where dynamic industries, top-notch universities, a unique culture and reasonable cost of living all come together,” said Cris Sullivan, executive vice president of Gables Residential, which continues to see high rents and waiting lists at the expanding Emory Point.

Like ordering The General Muir Burger or Ecco’s fried goat cheese balls, there is so much flavor and excitement in our city right now. People making places (and movies), places attracting people and all making a big difference. Now if only the Braves and Falcons would get on board the winning wave!

Anti-Social Media Tips for 2014

30 Dec
Best. Brother-in-Law. Move. Ever. #BeerHelmets #FenwayPark #NewTradition #OMG

Best. Brother-in-Law. Move. Ever.
#BeerHelmets #FenwayPark #NewTradition #OMG

Let’s make the following social media faux pas a thing of the faux past. I’m certainly no etiquette expert, but the new year is always a good time for a new start, right?

1. #When #People #Overdo #The #Hashtags
This trend is past its prime (Twitter experts recommend not exceeding two hashtags). Look, I appreciate a well-crafted, comedic post with a hashtag serving as the punchline, but overusing them is only funny if you’re Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

2. One. Word. Sentences. For. Emphasis.
This practice is old, too, maybe because so many people on Facebook have resorted to this emphatic choppiness only to describe their latest latte or enjoyable restaurant meal.

"If this Sea Bass special is as good lookin' as it sounds, I'm sharing it with all my Facebook friends."

“If this sea bass special is as good lookin’ as it sounds, I’m sharing it with all my Facebook friends.”

3. Which brings us to the habit of taking pictures of your food. Are you one of these people? Some have theorized that this practice is a sign of mental illness; I just think it’s weird. Share food, share your photos, but don’t share photos of your food!

4. Explosive onomatopoeia, i.e., BOOM!, to emphasize (and validate?) a hip quip or otherwise strong verbal play. Totally guilty of this one. I’m all for the Phil Dunphy character on “Modern Family” doing this as much as possible (or anyone popularizing the word onomatopoeia), but in real life it quickly loses its luster: “This oatmeal is surprisingly good. BOOM!”

Notice I didn’t use the term ‘pet peeves.’ I almost wince when hearing this phrase. It has been around since way before social media, obviously, but it really, um, gets my (pet) goat.

So what online communication habits do you love or love to hate?

“No Cheering In The Press Box”

30 Aug

Courtesy of Red Line EditorialLast month at a rehearsal dinner, aka booze cruise, before the Florida wedding of a cousin, an uncle said to me, “I still think you’d be the best sportswriter.”

Flattery and blood-alcohol levels aside, I couldn’t help but think of the time when I viewed sports writing as the greatest job in the world.

Being a huge sports fan with a burning passion for the teams that represented my school and city was par for the course. Then add to that the ultimate access to the people and places that make up that exciting, dramatic world. And to top it off: collecting a paycheck at the end of the day for pursuing and documenting my sporting passion! Where do I sign up?!?

As the years passed and my journalism school days shrank in the rear-view mirror, I enjoyed some really memorable freelance sports-writing assignments, but also came to realize the significant trade-offs. For starters, the deadlines are tough, the pay is meager (at best) and the newspaper industry, as you may have heard, is not quite in its heyday.

“The whole sports writing thing didn’t seem as appealing because it seemed like you had to write an essay every night,” Jim Powell, the radio Voice of the Braves, told me. “An essay everyday — what’s fun about that? The broadcasters just got to talk about the team, and when the game was over they got to go home.”

Missing much-anticipated holidays to relay the usual coach-speak or athlete clichés to readers was not so appealing either. Also, sports writers get complimentary food in the press box, but enjoying the tailgate scene with friends & family is not part of the job description. That reality was about as appetizing as warm beer.

There are some real-world, non-epicurean concerns as well.

“Unfortunately, in sports writing you’ll be writing negative stories, and dealing with the same people you just thrashed in a column can get very uncomfortable,” said a friend and former j-schoolmate, who now covers the New Orleans Saints. “But you have to do it if you want everyone to take you seriously. The truth hurts, but it also builds respect.”

“Also, you’re never really told or taught about how to deal with angry readers. And in sports, there are tons,” he added. “One thing you always hear and end up laughing at is that you’re always wrong. And you’re an idiot. And you’re a bunch of other things I’d rather not put down in writing.”

Nifty technological tools like Twitter only bring the hate and insults closer to sports writers… as in around the clock. How dare these professionals have an opinion or even a story angle!

Yes, I’ll take my occasional contract assignment, and leave to the pros the sports-writing headaches and that woeful wave of critics from the Web, whose reflex is to denounce upon disagreement.

Keeping the tailgates, college roadtrips, beloved holiday traditions and other leisurely and passionate sporting pursuits — I’m a fan of that.

The Much Needed Breaks After the Breaking

23 Dec

This past summer we saw our home’s AC give out — the wet hole in the ceiling of our daughter’s room resulting in a substantial hole in the ol’ bank account — at the same time that both our cars (both!) had cooling issues. In that bad — and hot — stretch, I felt just my wife and dog leaving me away from living a country song. To add to the hot mess, I spilled coffee on myself (twice!) while driving to the home improvement store for fixer-up help…

Any timeout from that full-on frustration was quite welcome, whether playing with my daughter, a beer with a neighbor or just a well-timed Harry Chapin song on the radio while at a red light returning from Lowe’s.

peace-dove-2In a much more serious time, I hope and pray our country seizes the loving moment this holiday break after the breaking of our collective heart following the tragic events in Newtown, Conn.

Are we going through the motions again this Christmas or fixated on our toys instead of making the most of the all-too-limited time we have with family and friends?

“We live in a society of social networks, Twitter pages and Facebook and that’s fine. But it seems like half the time we’re more preoccupied with our phones instead of the actual relationships in front of us,” said an NFL quarterback in the aftermath of the recent violent loss of a teammate. “When you ask someone how they’re doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you telling the truth?”

So one more time (and every time) with feeling: Merry Christmas and on Earth peace, goodwill toward all!