State of the Union 2013

Everyone knows what the “Golden Rule” in life is, but everyone also knows that a second “golden rule” in conversations is “there are two topics you avoid in everyday conversation: politics and religion.” While most people know me as an opinionated, sometimes outspoken person, I do try to keep my political agenda under wraps.

Unless, of course, the topic is the 2012 presidential race or the 2013 State of the Union Address.

Though my views have not “switched” from one party to another, I feel as if I have become more and more moderate and leaning to the left since the election. Politics in general have people pitted against each other and frankly it’s starting to get old. I’ll admit I’m not an economist or a political figure by any means, but the constant blaming and arguing and not getting anything done is not helping our country, and you don’t have to be an expert in either of those fields to recognize that.

There five points I took away from President Obama’s speech last night include the problem of the deficit, early childhood education, the minimum wage debate, the topic of families and gun control.

But more of those in a minute.

I’ll borrow from Will McAvoy from HBO’s “The Newsroom” briefly. In the pilot episode he has a long monologue about why the United States is no longer the greatest country in the world, and I had no choice but to wonder what he would say (had he been a real person) about the POTUS’ speech last night.

The POTUS was quoted in the beginning of the address as calling the United States “the greatest nation on Earth” and it reminded me of the following excerpt from “The Newsroom”:

“It’s not the greatest country in the world professor, that’s my answer…There’s some things you should know and one of them is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world…We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn’t scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one-America is not the greatest country in the world anymore…”

While “The Newsroom” is a fictional show, it does bring topics like this up. And McAvoy makes a good point: America really isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. We’re too busy fighting each other over gun control, when or how to bring troops back from Afghanistan, immigration reform and what makes a certain party better than the other.

You know, it really grinds my gears that everyone is fighting so much. I thought this was called the UNITED States of America? At this point I think we should just call ourselves the States of America because it seems ridiculous that we can’t even come together on a topic like gun control when guns took the innocent lives of 26 elementary school kids not two months ago. Yet we can’t even agree on that? I don’t know what it’s going to take for the two sides to act bipartisan again because a tragedy like that sure didn’t. It’s disgraceful. We should be embarrassed. I fear for what has to happen to get any kind of legislation going that we all agree on.

It’s like politicians are so busy pointing fingers that there aren’t any fingers left to write any legislation or get anything worthwhile done.

So away from my political rants and back to last night’s State of the Union Address President Obama delivered last night, in the order in which the POTUS spoke about them and my reaction:

1. “A promise to not increase deficit at all, period.” – I’m a little skeptical about this point. Though it garnered a positive reaction from the audience, I’m a little unsure about how this will actually pan out. With all the arguing back and forth between Democrats and Republicans these days, I need to see progress happening before I can believe in this promise.

2. “Make sure kids don’t start life already behind.” – The POTUS’ remarks on education not only makes sense but I feel is an attainable promise. He emphasized the importance of pre-k education and how it affects the rest of a child’s life. My mother is a preschool teacher and she knows a heck of a lot about early childhood education, so I believe her when she talks about some of her students who already know their colors and alphabet at age 2. If that education is stifled at an early age, how will a child’s brain develop for higher learning? I agree with you, Mr. President, pre-k education should have more focus.

3. “No one who works full time should have to live in poverty… Raise minimum wage to $9/hour.” – When I started working I believe I remember being paid something like a little over $5 an hour at my first job in 2004. Because of the stumbling economy, more and more people are working minimum wage jobs and need an increased income to survive. Obama said “a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year…and still lives below the poverty line.” This is wrong. If we want any hope of being the greatest country in the world again, we need to make sure our citizens are able to support themselves financially. That way, the deficit won’t increase by having to support federal programs to support the impoverished. I’m no economist, but it just seems obvious.

Basically the POTUS’ entire segment on minimum wage makes sense. I can see the other side of the argument, how there are loopholes and reasons to not raise the minimum wage, but this is another point I think America should agree with the president on, regardless of which side you’re on.

4. “And we’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.” – I love this. My heart goes out to all the single mothers who have to work and raise a child. Having been brought up in a stable home with both parents, I can see how having two parents is key to a child’s well-being. And you know what, it doesn’t even have to me a mom and a dad at home. It could be a home with two moms or two dads – I’m all for equality – but I feel that a child needs two parents to look up to, two viewpoints in the household, two advice givers, two caretakers. I’d like to see more fathers stay in their child’s life and more marriage, whether it’s after a child is conceived or just in general.

5. “…more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.” – The POTUS mentioned the tragedies of Blacksburg, Gabrielle Giffords, the Newtown shooting, Aurora and “the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence.” The phrase “deserve a vote” resounded not only with the audience but also with me. I liked how the president didn’t point to legislation that one side or another proposed or his party’s view on gun control, but that he made the segment in a call to action. He urged everyone to look out for one another and care for each other. It was at this time that I didn’t see a president on the podium speaking, but a father and a human appealing to our natural instincts – to love and to take on the challenges we face.

Overall my opinions on the POTUS have changed since last year, right? So I actually wanted to watch the SOTU because I was actually interested in what he had to say in the midst of all the worldly goings-on and the stateside violence happening in our own backyard. I was pleasantly pleased about what I heard. Never thought you’d hear me say that, do you?

I brought up five points that I believe to be of note from the whole SOTU. And I’ll admit, I didn’t watch the Republican response because Marco Rubio was blatantly reading off the teleprompter and it was painful to watch.

So, reactions of the SOTU. It felt like a little over an hour of applause, Biden’s watery eyes, Boehner’s Grumpy Cat impressions and lots of panning over to the audience for reaction shots, but overall, the POTUS, in my opinion, used his time wisely and delivered what I thought to be an all-encompassing message.

I’m looking forward to what 2013 brings for President Obama and the members of Congress and the House of Representatives. Let’s see if we can again make the United States the greatest country in the world. Will America be allowed to flourish as it had in its humble beginnings or is human nature going to continue to stifle its growth? Sound off in the comments! 

Find the first scene of “The Newsroom” on YouTube, here. Will McAvoy’s quote featured in this article starts at 3:39.

Find the full text of the State of the Union Address on the New York Times webpage, here.

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The New American Dream: Success Before Age 35

Logo created from RVA Creates, featured image: cupcake design from Frostings.

Logo created from RVA Creates, featured image: cupcake design from Frostings.

RICHMOND, Va. – The old fashioned American dream was once to be married with two children living in a house with a white picket fence out front. While that may still be the case, many Americans today are experiencing digital media and creating their own careers and wealth, most before the age of 35, according to four recently interviewed young entrepreneurs.

Several Richmond entrepreneurs are doing just that – working their way up the ladder while juggling personal lives and even continuing education. These young entrepreneurs agree that the American dream is slowly changing to incorporate both the fluctuating economy and creative minds’ desires.

According to Style Weekly’s “Top 40 Under 40” article in October 2011, there are 24 young entrepreneurs in Richmond making waves in their respective fields. Of those, many are employed at the management level and above, like Dr. Stephanie Crewe who works at MCV Hospitals as assistant professor of pediatrics or Christine Stoddard, founder and editor of Quail Bell Magazine.

Digital Analyst Christine Pizzo, employed at Create Digital, says the American dream has changed. “It’s all about a person’s success. It’s not more about what you have; it’s what you’re doing with your life,” Pizzo said.

Many young entrepreneurs like Pizzo agree that building success in a career and also in other aspects of life is ideal, but have differing opinions on the digital world. While on one hand digital media is fairly simple to get into, it can be hard to set yourself apart from the rest of the field.

“Start early when you start looking for a job. Really make sure you stand out and are set apart from other people,” Pizzo said. She encouraged job seekers to not only take unique classes but to do internships and gain as many opportunities and networking relationships as possible.

Anyone can get into digital media, though, with a college degree in hand or not. Anyone can make a website, learn to code, create graphics and build a following. The strategy is less about education and more about how an individual can hone in on the skills already possessed and be able to self-teach the rest.

Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40 boasts several digital media-related entrepreneurs that are top rated in their field.

Trevor Dickerson, director of new media at Loving Consulting and editor of Downtown Short Pump dot com, demonstrates how experience outweighs education in his situation. Loving Consulting, located in Richmond, specializes in marketing and advertising for small businesses. Now only 24 years old, Dickerson started Downtown Short Pump dot com when he was in high school and took off from there; he now owns RVA MediaWorks and becoming director of new media. Downtown Short Pump is an online blog which Dickerson maintains and writes, edits and creates graphics for on his own.

Dickerson’s approach to digital media is anything but conventional. Not only has he founded and edited a website and owned a company, but he has had a lot of responsibility weighing on his shoulders by way of web design, copyrighting, social media management and videography.

“Anything I’ve done I’ve never really been intentional about, so that’s kind of how I got to where I was [at the time]. [By] seeing needs that people had and self-teaching myself, [I] tried to fill those needs,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson was able to work his way into some high profile projects, including helping redesign the website for Richmond Biz Sense and working with Venture Richmond, the Folk Festival and Friday Cheers. Each of these entities is exclusive to Richmond, having been created and nurtured in the heart of the city. He was able to create new graphics and redo the web design for these entities so they could engulf their full potential. Dickerson’s path may be unconventional, but it shows that going into digital media as an “expert” is not a necessary quality to possess.

Similar to Dickerson, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame started and is still employed with Facebook today. Since having the idea for Facebook in 2003, he is now worth over $50 billion according to Forbes. Zuckerberg is 27 years old and is showing no signs of slowing down, much like Dickerson who is 24 and the self-proclaimed “Mayor of Short Pump.”

Another Richmond native making her way into the media world with style and grace is Christine Pizzo who graduated from Radford University. Pizzo has become a digital advocate at Create Digital. Digital advocates are responsible for being the voice and face of a brand as well as be present on social media networks. Pizzo is going to graduate school at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, a program designed to educate and train students to enter the highly competitive advertising industry.

Pizzo has not always been successful in her field – she worked in Newport News as a server in a restaurant before moving on to Richmond. Though she worked at the student newspaper at Radford, Pizzo had a difficult time at first landing her first media job.

“Don’t give up. I randomly found a Craigslist ad and it ended up being a great job at a Fortune 500 company, so don’t give up,” Pizzo said. She was not discouraged by her first job right out of college – being a waitress at a local restaurant. She hopes to work abroad in Europe in the near future and work at a big agency.

“I want to see the world and not just watch TV about it or read it in a book,” Pizzo said.

As a student or someone looking to break into media for the first time, Dickerson and Pizzo serve as examples of different paths into the same field. Both individuals are still pursuing education while being able to handle the demands of a career, something not many individuals are able to accomplish. Neither Dickerson nor Pizzo, though, would be able to get where they are now without networking.

Networking is key to getting into any field, but especially to becoming part of digital society. Sarah-Tyler Moore, one of Create Digital’s digital advocates, has been able to have a hand in several different media-related fields. Having graduated from the University of Richmond in 2008, Moore has worked for Northwestern Mutual, the University of Richmond and now Create Digital.

“[I was on] just kind of this jagged path to where I am now and it was definitely a good experience,” Moore said. She started out as a campus recruiter for Northwestern Mutual, which led her to the job at the University of Richmond in the Robins School of Business. She found out about the job at Create Digital through a contact from Northwestern Mutual.

Moore demonstrates that networking is one of the biggest factors that can land that dream job, though it is important to realize that the first job may not be the one that an individual really wants. “Not a lot of people get lucky enough to find their first job and have it be their dream job,” Moore said.

One of the lucky few who was fortunate to find a company she loved after graduating college is Christine Carlson, who is an account executive at Wireside Communications Inc. in Richmond. Wireside specializes in business-to-business communications, according to Carlson, meaning Wireside works with large corporations rather than individuals. Carlson was able to land her first and only job after graduating from the University of South Carolina.

“I started out as an intern so I was doing a lot of entry-level work and then worked my way up, but the thing is that we’re a very small agency so even in my role as account executive I still do a lot of work that I did as an intern,” Carlson said.

With any role in any digital media company, the title does not always embody the responsibilities. It is important to keep in mind that responsibilities will change with role or title and should always be taken as a learning experience.

“I think [moving up in a company] is all about what you put into it. If you put a lot into it and try really hard and go the extra mile – always asking to do more, that’ll get you far. In that case, I do think it is easier to move up,” Carlson said. Eventually she says she wants to do public relations for the National Football League, and Carlson is already very prepared if that opportunity comes her way.

On a daily basis, each of these digital media enthusiasts use people skills and creativity to curate fresh, new content. All four have their own blogs and social media accounts and post regularly. Platforms such as Twitter and the blogging site WordPress are essential to building a personal brand as Dickerson, Pizzo, Moore and Carlson have done.

All in all, new graduates and those looking to emerge into the digital media world need to remember that it takes a lot of practice and self-teaching to be respected and well known. Respect in the media world is earned, not given, and sometimes it will not be so easy to get that kind of recognition. However, networking is an effective way of communicating with those who are already established to help with first impressions.

“People are very willing to help, especially when they think that you respect them enough to come to them and ask them for [information],” Dickerson said, “If you find people that you respect and you go to them, they’re going to help you break into [media] a little bit more and make the connections you need.”

Keep up with these influential individuals by following them on Twitter or finding their LinkedIn profiles!

Second Screen Technology: Where Social Media & Television Collide

Television sets have been in existence for almost one hundred years while social media have been in existence for less than 10. Both televisions and social media have the power to bring groups of people together for entertainment purposes, and both can be used in the home and on the go. Three experts in the field of second screen technology who were interviewed weigh in on this ongoing debate: Mick Darling of Tomorrowish, Kimber Meyers of GetGlue and David Markowitz of Second Screen Networks.

Users like Jason Yu who works at The Hardwicke Group, a local Richmond company that specializes in social media for small business, is both an avid television watcher and social media savvy. His experience with a platform like GetGlue can help sway those who are still unsure about using second screen technology to communicate with others about their passions.

In today’s digital world, users can combine first screen technology – television sets – with second screen technology – any content accessed using smart phones, tablets, laptops or other handheld devices for personal entertainment. By definition, second screen technology is either a website or an application that gives users a way to access additional and sometimes exclusive content on television shows they watch.

For example, when Mary watches “Modern Family” on her television set and tweets about it using her iPhone, Mary is unknowingly participating in one aspect of second screen technology. Like Mary, many people are talking about what they are seeing on the television screen using social media without having a clear understanding of what they are doing.

The definition of second screen technology as well as the origin of it remains debatable. While the media experts like those at Google or Microsoft generally agree that this phenomenon began when television was first introduced, they also vary on how today’s technology got mixed in.

Media powerhouse Google prepared a presentation in August 2012 with several marketing strategy companies that detailed the intricacies of users and evaluated their interaction with varying handheld devices, as noted on Manila Standard Today’s recap of the presentation. According to Google, second screen technology plays a role in users everyday lives – the study shows 81 percent of people use a smart phone in combination with television. Some people even watch television through their smart phones on websites like Hulu or Netflix.

According to Kimber Myers, senior director of partnerships at GetGlue, mentions “the water cooler effect” of yesteryear. “You go into work the next morning and you talk about what you watched the night before. But with technology…[platforms like GetGlue] is making it so that people [can talk about what they just watched immediately] and also you don’t have to talk about it with someone who’s in the same room as you,” Myers said.

GetGlue, whose headquarters is based out of New York City, is a website and application that users can create accounts for and log into a variety of hobbies, including favorite television shows, movies and sports. Users have the option of sending these check ins to various other social networking platforms like Facebook or Twitter to share activities with friends.

Second screen capabilities have only recently come about with the introduction of smart phones and handheld devices. Mick Darling, founder and CEO of Tomorrowish, says that this trend “started when enough people were using social media platforms that we could really chat in real time about what was going on.”

Based out of Boston, Mass., Tomorrowish labels itself as a “social media DVR,” according to Darling. Basically, Tomorrowish aims to allow users to comment on their favorite shows while they air. Users are also able to go back and watch a show and still be able to access all the user-generated content that occurred while the show was first aired. The infrastructure that Tomorrowish has, according to Darling, captures social media content from the television and can be used in conjunction with any third-party application such as Hulu, a popular online television viewing website.

“It has just evolved,” Darling said. “People have been chatting on [chat rooms] about television for a very long time but the crowd that used [chat rooms] didn’t really intersect with pop culture all that much.” Times have changed. Those chat rooms have evolved into current social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Sometimes second screen technology is used interchangeably with the term “social TV.” There are several services, both online and in application form, that allows users to watch television on the first screen and get additional content from another source. GetGlue and Tomorrowish both offer users a way to engage with fellow fans using their products. These companies can be found on the web or have downloadable applications for smart phones and tablets.

Both GetGlue and Tomorrowish work with TV networks to bring users the most in-depth content for their favorite shows as well as a platform to view those shows and interact with fellow fans. TV networks work with both of these companies by giving them exclusive content, interviews, behind the scenes experiences and sweepstakes opportunities for fans and users of the products. In a broad sense, these products exist to give the user a full fan experience in a convenient and easy to use interface.

With over 3 million users, GetGlue is one of the more well known of the second screen platforms. Myers says GetGlue revolves around the idea of the “check-in.” When users check in to GetGlue, they share what they are watching with friends and other fans of the show. These check ins can be sent to other social networking platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, in order to maximize viewer interaction.

The GetGlue experience is different than any other within second screen technology. First and foremost, GetGlue’s conversations are filtered, so filler comments and emoticons are eliminated from the stream. Essentially, user-generated content that does not add to the conversation does not appear at all within the platform so as to give the user the most rich, extensive comments available. User rewards come in the form of stickers, encouraging users to tune in to their favorite show the first time it airs to get unlock the sticker.

Jason Yu is not only a fan of GetGlue but also of the incentives the application offers. It gives you sweepstakes opportunities as well as discounts.

“When you check in you earn a sticker. There’s a certain amount that you’re able to get in snail mail, the actual stickers that you can post, you know, on wherever, so that’s really cool,” Yu said.

The overall conversation, though, is a key part of the GetGlue experience, Myers said, allowing users to interact not only with strangers but to be exposed to content their friends, family are watching first. Beyond the conversation and the stickers, GetGlue “pulls in official videos from their network partners as well as tweets from both network and talent associated with that show,” Myers said. “So if you check in to Breaking Bad, you’ll not only see a tweet from AMC’s Breaking Bad account but you’ll also see a tweet from star Aaron Paul’s account. So it’s a really great experience that makes it easy for fans to access all kinds of content in one place.”

Yu has been using entities similar to GetGlue before GetGlue was a product. Since he started with GetGlue, he tries to check in to at least one show a day, according to Yu. Because he watches an abundance of television during primetime, he wanted to be able to interact with others about the shows he was watching.

“I’ve slowly ingrained it into my routine and use it every day and I find it to be a very positive experience because people can comment on what you post, they can agree…or like what you’re watching so I just think it’s great for another aspect of social media, it’s what they call social TV nowadays,” Yu said.

According to Yu, the stickers, rewards and discounts that GetGlue offers keeps him coming back; there are perks to being active on this application.

Tomorrowish is another such second screen technology platform. Darling defines second screen technology as “basically any time you’re using a technology on your iPhone, iPad or laptop to integrate it some way with another screen. That other screen usually is a TV set but not always.” Founded in 2009, Tomorrowish aims to stimulate conversations through use of their product. By using Tomorrowish and their services, users can expect a seamless experience and easy to navigate interface to watch their favorite shows.

Tomorrowish can be best described as a kind of social media recording device. Not only does the program allow users to watch TV directly on the website, it also allows for bonus content to be accessed and encourages interaction with fellow fans. Shows are available via the Tomorrowish website to watch at any time, even if the air date is weeks previous.

“We capture right off of Facebook fan pages and Twitter public streams. That’s how we collect the data, at least the first time,” Darling said. However, Tomorrowish offers users an alternative if that person is unable to tune into the live airing of the show.

“If someone wants to integrate with or make sure their messages can see the social media screen and they’re watching after the fact, then they have to use our platform,” Darling said.

Social TV encompasses more than just conversations and interacting with fellow fans. Second screen technology might not even exist if not for advertising. Advertisements help promote products and services and help networks fund shows. Second Screen Networks is one company behind these advertisements for social TV.

David Markowitz, vice president of marketing and business development at Second Screen Networks in New York City, explains that his company has developed an ad platform for social TV. “For example, you’re using an application like GetGlue and you’re watching ‘Glee,’ and a commercial break comes on,” Markowitz said, “we have servers watching television and we can identify that there’s a Pizza Hut commercial on, so we serve a complimentary digital ad onto your second screen platform specifically for Gleeks.”

Second Screen Networks aims to allow TV advertisers that are already spending boatloads of money on primetime television to “also reach this growing audience of people who are using these companion applications,” Markowitz said. Second Screen Networks is unlike GetGlue and Tomorrowish in that it wants to enhance a user’s experience by providing a more personalized advertising strategy rather than a conversation tool.

Similar to GetGlue and Tomorrowish, Second Screen Networks works with all TV networks in order to maximize viewers reached. “We work with everyone. That’s very much the strategy. We want to be the Switzerland; we want to work with different TV networks, different advertisers and different applications,” Markowitz said.

Second screen technology is a collaborative effort. Each piece of social TV works together to create an experience for the user. Advertisements power the networks. The networks power the shows. The shows entertain the viewers. The viewers fuel the applications.

“90 percent of viewers are multi-tasking and juggling different activities at the same time,” according to Google’s study. Users are able to take this technology with them on the go in the form of applications on smart phones and tablets. Social TV is a trend that more and more people are engaging in because the technology is portable entertainment in a nonstop society.

“It’s a conversation about a topic or a show; it allows people to find like-minded people that they may not necessarily have found otherwise,” Darling said. Three media experts and one avid user agree that second screen technology already has changed the dynamic of social media and television and it will continue to evolve until the next generation of social TV emerges.

Websites

GetGlue

Tomorrowish

Second Screen Networks

Google presentation – http://www.scribd.com/embeds/104313542/content?start_page=1&view_mode=&access_key=key-2c8q5mvqawdh7d1bt8me

New Year Efforts

To make sure I don’t start over for the umpteenth time, I’m going to try to blog my eating and exercise efforts on the weekdays. I want to finally get myself healthier and more in shape and not just because it’s the new year! I used to be a cheerleader and got to exercise every day and basically eat whatever I wanted and still stay in shape. Though I know that this probably won’t be the case again, though I’d love to be able to cheer like when I was younger, I still want to be proud of myself and not have to worry about the mirror being my enemy.

My initial idea for today was to alternate a cup of Yogi detox tea (up to 4 cups like it says on the box) and a 20 ounce glass of water, but my eating yesterday was anything but clean. I decided to make my breakfast count so that I could alternate the rest of the day without getting a headache or feeling weak (that happens when I don’t get enough sleep and/or sustenance).

I am also taking Shaklee vitamins – 1 Vita-Lea without iron formula tablet, 2 Shaklee B-Complex tablets and 1 Biotin tablet a day after dinner to help supplement my diet (or lack thereof).

This morning’s breakfast:

1 whole sliced banana – about 90 calories

1 c Rice Krispies (I wanted a crunch & don’t have any granola!) – about 130 calories

1 c Horizon Organic 0% milk – about 90 calories.

Total for breakfast: about 310 calories

Stay tuned to my Twitter for more up-to-the-minute details of how my days go (@KatelynTatti). We’ll see how long this lasts! Hopefully since I intend on blogging about it every weekday it’ll help keep me on track. Wish me luck!

Edit: I will be using Endomondo Sports Tracker. Unfortunately the only option is to send information to Facebook, which I won’t be doing, but I will tweet my activity totals. I’m not sure if the app is available on iOS but it’s available at the Google Play store.

Douglas Stone: A tribute to a devoted grandfather, Marine

Grandaddy

My grandfather, whom I lovingly call ‘Grandaddy,’ lived from April 26, 1924 to December 24, 2012. Though he departed this world, I believe that he is free from pain and suffering and resides in a much better place now. I wrote a small tribute to him and read it on the day of the funeral so I could honor his memory and celebrate his life:

I don’t remember Grandaddy as a young and adventurous Marine who rode motorcycles and raced boats. Instead, I remember Grandaddy as a loyal, kind, hard working and devoted husband, father and grandfather who never stopped fighting for his beliefs, his family or his country.

Maybe that was the Marine in him that made him such a strong person – after all, Marines are known for their individuality and loyalty – or maybe it was because he had such an influential, strong and loving wife in Gran. Their faithful devotion lasted 61 years – and continues on through Gran.

Either way, Grandaddy will always be one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever known. I’m thankful to have been a part of his life and to have shared so many wonderful memories with him.

The best way I can think of to describe Grandaddy’s life is through the insignia that he lived by for so many years – represented by the eagle, globe and anchor of the United States Marine Corps.

For Grandaddy, I believe that the eagle represents his love of country and of family. He volunteered for the Marines and served overseas, proving not only that he was courageous but also that he was humble enough to put his country first and himself second.

The Marines motto of “Semper Fidelis” – meaning “always faithful” or “always loyal” – was more than just a motto to Grandaddy, it was a way of life that continued through every other aspect of his life – whether it be to his church or community or family.

The globe represents Grandaddy’s love of nature and exploring all it had to offer. From racing boats to attending motorcycle rallies, Grandaddy loved to see new places and have fun while doing it.

And that was part of his charm – visiting new cities and always making friends wherever he went. Many people say that he never met a stranger and I can definitely believe it. He was always so kind and friendly toward everyone he met – it’s no wonder he was beloved by all.

The anchor represents Grandaddy’s role as a husband, father and grandfather. I know that I am a better person just by seeing his love and devotion toward his family, but his influence is especially apparent through Gran, my mom, Aunt Nae, Uncle Kevin and Uncle Barry that he was an exceptional role model and foundation.

People say it’s always best to remember loved ones at their best and to keep that memory close to your heart. I will always remember Grandaddy in his Marines hat and jeans. I will always remember his sense of humor and booming laughter. But most of all, I will always remember his wonderful smile and excited greeting of “hello there!”

Austin Prime: Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

Image

Photo copyright Austin Prime, 2012.

RICHMOND, Va. – Sitting in his bedroom studio in a t-shirt and pajama pants, Austin “Prime” Moore lives the life many dream of – working a job, building a network and creating a brand without leaving the comfort of his home.

It took many hours of hard work and self-learning to get Prime to where he is now. Not only did he break into the radio business at the age of 12 on a small Internet radio station but he also landed a big-time job at Clear Channel Communications at 16 – two years under the minimum age requirement.

Austin “Prime” Moore was not always known simply as Austin Prime. He experienced what some call an epidemic in America – online harassment and bullying – that resulted in the nickname “Prime.”

“Someone found my last name and where I lived and they were calling my cell phone and texting me all the time. It was freaky. Changing my last name to Prime just stuck. Prime is like ‘the best, number one,’ so that’s how I did it. Everyone had stupid last names back in the day so I figured I’d just do this.”

Jasmine Flowers, a longtime coworker of Prime’s, said he is a hard worker and very professional. “He’s a go-getter. He doesn’t wait for opportunities to happen, he creates [opportunities].”

Many of Prime’s coworkers and friends share the same sentiment. In 2009, Prime’s second Internet radio show, The Prime Krew, was a three-year excursion in which Prime and two co-hosts were able to interview some big name celebrities, including Damien Fahey of MTV fame.

Greg Simpson, a long time friend and coworker, holds a high opinion of Prime. “My impression of him has grown in the time I have known him. I think he’s a very determined person, I think this idea that he has of being involved in media is something he’s had for a very long time.”

Between taking classes at John Tyler Community College, interviewing artists for his current Internet radio show and booking events for his mobile DJ business, Austin Prime is just as busy as the rest of the working professional world. There is just one gaping difference between Austin Prime and everyone else – he is only 20 years old.

Prime’s latest show, The Weekend Show, of which Prime is the only host, is about two hours long and can be heard on about 20 different Internet radio stations on Saturdays and Sundays. Recently Prime interviewed Jeffree Star, a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles known for his outlandish transgender outfits, makeup and fashion line. Most recently though, with the addition of The Weekend Show, Prime has gained several thousand Twitter followers, bringing his follower count up to over 28,000 – a number reached by many well-known journalists and successful radio hosts.

Prime has become more and more popular since the debut of his first Internet radio show in 2004. In 2011, Prime was a finalist for a Shorty Award in the “brand” category, losing only to Sesame Street. The Shorty Awards honor the best of Twitter and other social media networks in a variety of different categories. Anyone is eligible to be in the running – all it takes is peer voting for individuals, businesses and brands to be nominated.

“I went up to New York [for the Shorty Awards] and there were about five other people from Richmond there, so it was kind of crazy…The Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote an article about it [with me included].”

The Times-Dispatch article featured the other Richmond natives who attended the event, but added that Prime is a “teen multimedia whiz.”

As a multimedia whiz, Prime has also added being a mobile DJ and voiceovers to his resume. He does a lot of school dances and Girl Scout functions and is always looking to expand his client base.

“The school things are fun but they’re less pay because schools have no money. I’d rather have fun – I’m still making way more money than I do at the radio station,” he said.

Voiceovers, although hard to advertise for, are something that Prime enjoys doing. He has built his client base through a website called Fiver that sells voiceovers for just $5.

“[People who do voiceovers can make about $100 for 30 seconds] so I’m ripping myself off big time, but at the same time I’m getting a client base so it’s hard to advertise for that,” said Prime.

As a part-time student and full-time multimedia enthusiast, Prime spends his days running from class to work to his home studio and back again.

Clayton Hall, Prime’s boyfriend, said Prime is very smart and loves what he does. “He’s a very hard worker and he’s extremely motivated to do what it takes to succeed,” he said.

Motivation for success is a driving force in Prime’s life. His busiest days happen on days he has to record his radio show in order for Cam Black, his producer, to produce it in time for airing. Prime will advertise for The Weekend Show on his Facebook Page and Twitter account in order to garner more followers and listeners to the show.

Social media plays a large role in how many individuals become celebrities. Prime has become best known from Twitter as opposed to other platforms because it is more open. “Back when I was 17 it was crazy. I had almost 16,000-17,000 followers and everyone in Richmond thought it was so cool. Back then it was a big deal,” he said, and that his recognition is due in large part of shout outs on local radio and overcoming the struggle to build his brand from the ground up.

Social media has taken on a whole new level of influence in the communication industry since Prime started in 2004. Radio is changing and so is how we listen to it. A lot of radio has changed over into Internet radio, but the industry continues to thrive. High definition radio has come into existence, changing the concept of radio and taking it to a whole new level – listeners can now see the weather and artist information right from their radio.

“A lot of people think radio’s dying and that’s kind of funny to me. I can totally see what [people are] saying, but it’s not dying. Cars still come with radios built in; iHeartRadio, an application that Clear Channel owns, is one of the top apps on the App Store under Pandora. It’s not radio waves anymore, but it’s still radio. Radio is never going to die I don’t think,” he said.

Prime is unique in his success at such a young age because he has no formal training in the industry, but has attended several conferences and learns the equipment on his own. “It’s nothing special, just playing around with [the equipment], knowing what you’re doing,” he said.

Prime is able to utilize a variety of equipment for all of his endeavors. At Clear Channel Radio, that owns Q94 and an abundance of other stations, Prime is the board operator, meaning that he essentially runs a radio show that airs on 102.1 the X.

In his home studio, Prime makes use of “an audio mixer; a nice microphone – the Shure SM7 – very nice, a lot of radio stations use it; that’s pretty much it,” but as far as DJ equipment, he simply said, “that’s a lot.”

“In radio he’s energetic, intelligent and in the know. He always wants to succeed,” said Lacey Morlan, who has known Prime for about five years. She and Prime became acquaintances back when Prime was first starting out in radio.

Prime has certainly succeeded – he has held multiple jobs in the radio and multimedia industry and has big plans for the future. “I’d like to do marketing and work with small businesses and have horrible benefits and do social media. But as far as working radio full time, probably never going to do that. Social media would be cool,” said Prime.

It seems Prime is a kind of superman when it comes to multimedia. Prime seemingly already has a firm grip on how the industry works – radio and social media might evolve but the basics are never going to change.

“It’s the way of the future…Who calls on a cell phone anymore? Let’s be honest. It’s a text message or a tweet or a Facebook message,” he said.

Many people hold a high opinion of Prime, the way Prime has a high opinion of those in the media industry. “I really like this guy named Mo’Bounce in New York City. There are a lot of people I listen to in order to learn from, but he’s kind of my radio idol I guess you could say. He’s pretty awesome,” said Prime.

Similarly, many think highly of Prime, his success at a young age and his outgoing personality that allows him to be so recognizable. “He’s one of those people you always want around. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, he tells you what’s real,” said Flowers.

Prime has built his brand entirely on his own. His advice for those trying to break in to the industry is to not give up and keep asking questions. “Just go for it, that’s what I say. Just keep putting yourself out there and keep trying. Save your money and spend it on things you need,” he said.

His home studio equipment is a direct result of working hard and saving money. Prime encourages people to just “keep going from there,” because the media industry can be a difficult industry to get your start in.

“Watch what you say, be careful what you post,” said Prime, on the best media advice given to him. “People say things are posted to the Internet and it’s there forever. I agree with that in some ways, some ways not.”

The best thing for Prime in the future is to just keep doing what he is already so knowledgeable about, continue his influence on Twitter and to just be himself.

“He oozes personality – I don’t think there’s anyone that when they meet him would be turned off by him – he’s one of those kind of personalities that people want to be involved with and he’s very engaging as far as his personality and he really does look for the best in other people,” said Simpson.

Austin “Prime” Moore may be young at just 20, but Prime has taken the multimedia industry by the ears. With three Internet radio shows under his belt, two professional careers and a college degree in progress, Austin Prime has seen more success than many and a bright future ahead.

 

Additional links:

Austin “Prime” Moore  homepage

The Prime Krew Wikipedia

The Weekend Show

@AustinPrime on Twitter

Austin Prime on Facebook (Page)

[Photo from Austin Prime Facebook Page]

Clear Channel Communications website